Saturday, 20 July 2013


No, I’m not talking about exercise. I am a firm believer in regular and varied exercise being an important part of living a healthy life, but the cross-training I’m talking about is concerning just about everything else!

a holiday in Africa - before Les - organised
by me!
Once upon a time I was an independent, self-sufficient, competent person, who capably looked after herself (well, most of the time). I paid all my bills on time. I organised my holidays. I kept my home reasonably neat and tidy (in between visits by the cleaner, but then at least I knew I wasn’t much good at housework, so knew to outsource it). I knew how much money I had in the bank. I could mow the lawn. I painted the inside of my house. I could even put the garbage bins out!
But then along came Les. One thing with sharing my life with someone is we share the various tasks that need doing. When one of us was working and the other wasn’t, the jobs were divided up based on that. For example, the person at home did more of the housework and cooking. But most of the time, we have either both been working, or both been not working, and as a result the separation of duties is more even.  But we don’t each do everything.

We both cook meals, shared fairly evenly. We both clean our home, shared fairly evenly. But over time, a lot of the other jobs have become done by just one of us. This hasn’t been a deliberate thing, but rather because either that one person likes doing that particular thing, or has a lower tolerance for it not being done.

even on holidays, Les does the washing
So now Les looks after all the finances. Les organises our holidays and short breaks. Les tends to put the washing on. Les puts the garbage out. Les mows the lawn. I don’t even have to think about those things. I don’t take them for granted (well, not much, anyway), but I know I don’t have to worry about them.
That’s not a bad thing. Les is very good at doing those things. But what happens if something happens to Les? Could I go back to being an independent, self-sufficient, competent person, who capably looks after herself? The answer is Yes, but not without a considerable struggle.

So when we retired, we thought it would be a good thing to cross-train. I learnt how to pay the bills so the power doesn’t get cut off. I learnt how to reconcile the credit cards. I watched in amazement at how Les researches our holidays. I learnt (the hard way) how the lawn mower choke has been put on backwards, so On means Off. I learnt that even though I know perfectly well when and how to put the garbage out, I will have to put a reminder in my diary so I remember to do it.
some of my cross-training - how to be
safe when working with power tools
I also learnt that there isn’t much that I do that Les doesn’t also do. Les doesn’t know how I organise my clothes, so can’t properly put away all the clothes after they’ve been washed. But that’s probably about it – not a major challenge for him if something happens to me.
Occasionally I get a refresher course in my cross-training, but mostly we have gone back to the same way of doing things. Maybe I should put more effort into practising those skills I don’t use very often, but it is so much easier to just let things go as they are. I'm not sure that's the best thing for Les – but it works pretty well for me!

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