I’d like to blame those minimal skills on an inability to read a cookbook, but I was fully sighted back then, afflicted only with an aversion to domestic tasks. Serious cooking felt like yet another tedious married-with-children chore, right up there with emptying the dishwasher, grocery shopping, making a bed and vacuuming. Invariably, this affliction led to clichéd marital conflagrations:
Anna: “Why do I have to do everything!”
Me: “Hey, compared to my dad, I do a lot!”
Anna: “Seriously? He’s your bar?”
She had a point. My father paid bills and brought home a substantial income, but other than making himself a scotch and water, he never performed domestic tasks. He didn’t make coffee or sandwiches. He never made a bed, swept a floor or folded a towel. He was the breadwinner, and my mother was the homemaker. Period.
Like many boomers, Anna and I rejected this archaic domestic construct, striving for parity in our domestic responsibilities. That this bargain didn’t go well was my fault. I shirked, procrastinated, forgot. I didn’t see the reward in domestic work. I pretended to care about home management, even tried to care, but I didn’t, and that was reflected in my execution of the tasks, or lack thereof.
When our nest emptied in 2012, the burden of domestic management got lighter but remained a marital flashpoint. That was also the year PXE accelerated its attack on my vision. Despite monthly injections of a blood vessel growth inhibitor in both eyes, gray fields and distortion crept from my peripheral vision toward my central vision, the result of the result of atrophy, or cell death, taking my vision one micron at a time.
My computer font grew from 12 to 18 to 36 to 48. Even with the screen zoomed to 200 percent, I can barely read Final Draft, the screenwriting program that for decades made me the primary wage-earner.