Chapter 3 – Switching Roles and Chores

“If I’m the first to go, here’s what you need to know”

You have probably shared some chores or roles with your partner, but do you both know all the details of what your mate typically does in the relationship?  Most likely you do not, so now is a good time to start that dialog. And, gentlemen, since statistics suggest that you are likely the first to die, let’s begin by educating your partner so she’s not overwhelmed if she’s the survivor.

For Her:

- The residence

• Utility companies: account numbers & contact information.
• Utilities: shut-off valves for water & gas; angle stops (water shut off valves under sinks & behind toilets); the circuit breaker box – the main and individual breaker switches (each circuit should be labeled correctly); phone & cable entrance into the house; sewer clean-out access ports; water shut-off for clothes and dish washer; cold weather covers for outside hose bibs (if living in climates prone to freezing); overloading of electrical circuits; phone & answering systems & reprogramming; security alarm system – battery operated or hard wired
• Heating and air conditioning systems, cleaning or replacement of filters
• Hot water heater: location, temperature control, power source (gas or electric)
• Plumbing: detecting a leaking flapper valve in toilets; using a “plumber’s helper” to unclog a toilet; loosening a stuck garbage disposal; hair & drains – P traps
• Fire & use of fire extinguishers – aim at base of fire, not the top; (have them available throughout house); check periodically for charge/readiness
• Fire places: wood or gas; damper – closed or open; bird nests in chimney flues
• Irrigation systems: seasonal settings; purging for winter
• Yard maintenance company/person
• Reliable repairmen, service providers and handy-men; Emily’s List
• Titling of property, insurance agent & coverage
• Home mortgage, recommended realtor (for possible downsizing or relocation)
• Property taxes & payment due-dates.

- Vehicles

• Title, insurance agent & coverage, safety inspections, registration renewal
• Periodic maintenance: oil changes, tires, winterizing, favorite garage or mechanic,
• AAA coverage (?)  “Where’s the jack?”

- Filing system & the office

• Important papers, deeds, titles, safe deposit box, &/or safe
• Computer & cell phone accounts, ID’s & passwords.

- Finances: accounts, investments, broker, CPA, lawyer, passwords & pin numbers

• Bank account(s): check writing, banking on-line
• Signatories, insurance, pensions, annuities, social security
• Recent tax filings, past records, charities
• Share basic information about separate accounts, passwords, etc

Statistically, women continue to outlive men; nevertheless, an increasing number of male peers have become widowers, so – gentlemen - pay attention as your partner seeks to acquaint you with the kitchen and cultivate your domestic skills.

For Him:

- The Kitchen

• Appliances (la >rge & small), convection & self-cleaning oven
• Microwave: avoid metal of any kind including bag ties
• Utensils, pots, pans, bake ware, specialty dishes
• Bake, braise, boil, broil, grill, poach, sear, and simmer
• Minimum temperatures for various meats & fish
• Hygiene in the kitchen
• Composting food waste: great for your garden, yard & local landfill
• Basic cookbooks, recipes, food storage & preservation, use-by dates
• Grocery shopping: where to buy & why, reading labels
• Nutrition, meal planning, the food pyramid & a balanced meal
• Making veggies delicious, even Broccoli & Brussel Sprouts
• Fats: some better than others
• Alcohol: moderation but great in reduction sauces!
• Spices & enhancing flavor
• The pantry (Costco room: acknowledgment: Costco stock-holder!)
• The den/office (if she handles finances, bills, etc., see above)
• Family birthdates, anniversaries, SS#’s (for bonds, monetary gifts, IRA beneficiaries, etc.)
• The address book, email addresses, social calendar
• Keeping in touch w/ family & friends

- Laundry

• Fabric varieties, washing, dry cleaning, spot removal
• Preferred local cleaners, laundry

- House cleaning, rugs, hardwood floors, upholstery, drapes

• Name, contact info & rate of house cleaner