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We recently received a letter (see letters to the editor this issue) that basically said men should learn to cook and sew while women should learn to handle a screwdriver and change a tire. All the rest of the things should be shared together. Some of this letter makes a lot of sense but some of it just won't work at my/our house.

We have learned that two people don't fit into a checkbook. Does a car have two steering wheels? I have a simple method of keeping a checkbook balanced. You have 'income' and you have 'outgo'. The latter should not exceed the former. Don't take out more than you put in. Simple isn't it?

My wife's method on the other hand is to write checks for bills ahead of time and then mail them as they become due. This makes the balance in the checkbook bleed from red ink by all appearances when there is actually enough in there to make a down payment on a car. Her system works for her but drives me bananas. My system is too simple for her so I urge her to keep the checkbook and just let me have a running knowledge what the balance is. It works for us.

I keep the oil changed in the cars, the tires at the right pressure, and the gas tanks full. I do most of the cooking and she does the laundry. I don't wear any clothing that needs ironing so she does what little ironing she has to do. She remembers the grandkids' birthdays, our kids' anniversary dates, and Christmas cards; although I address the envelopes and do the mailing.

I don't do windows and she doesn't clean out the garage. I take out the garbage and she lets me. We both mow the lawn when it needs it, but it usually depends on who gets to the lawnmower first. I also keep it full of gasoline, watch the oil level, and see that the blade gets sharpened. I like trees and grass and she likes shrubs, flowers, and vines. I clean out the gutters, she holds the ladder and watches.

I don't shovel snow and I urge her not to either; we're both at the "over the hill" age and subject to heart attacks. God put the snow in the driveway; let Tom Gross snowplow it out along with the streets in Lakewood Addition. I do sweep the snow off the front porch with a leaf blower if it isn't too deep, otherwise I let God and the sun take it away. I just don't think getting rid of the snow from the porch is all that important. Our friends and neighbors come to the back door anyway.

I'm a professional Outdoor Freelance Writer and I write about Kampfire Kookin', Boy Scout Activities, camping, hunting, canoeing, and fishing for several outdoor magazines as well as being Associate Editor for THE WAYNEDALE NEWS. I do as much field research as I can on these outdoor subjects but some people accuse me of loafing just because I enjoy what I do. They think it's not a form of work. Sometimes Joanne goes along with me. She works for Fort Wayne community schools and we bank the checks from both our working efforts. If I spend money on something she knows I must need it for my writing profession and I never question what she spends.

I do the dishes (by hand) and she mends the rips and tears in my clothing and shortens the inseams of my new trousers. She arranges the furniture in the house and I move it where she wants it to go and learn to live with it. I collect cast iron cookware and she collects rocks. She enjoys watching ice-skating on TV and I like to read. I take her to see STARS ON ICE at the Coliseum and she goes with me to the SPORTS, VACATION, AND BOAT SHOW. I buy her flowers for no reason at all other than 'it's just something I've always done' and I may do it at any time of the year and not just on special occasions. Oft times I will include a box of candy or a piece of 'special' jewelry along with the flowers. (I remember my Dad did the same thing for my Mom.)

Oh, did I tell you we have towing on our car insurance policies, phone numbers for road emergencies, carry a cell phone, and are not afraid to ask the neighbors or relatives for help if we need it? I guess we do balance each other after all. We're now on our 33rd year of marriage, so we must be doing something right. By the way, why am I telling you this? I guess I must be counting blessings.

By the way, thank you Carl and Violet Loew for all your encouragement; you literally saved my life.


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