Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Website Wednesday: Standard Operating Procedures

On Wednesdays I write about websites that I visit often.

Over on the Exotic Eating blog, the writer is talking about S.O.P.s: Standard Operating Procedures:

For the areas in your household that you are not directly responsible for (whether it’s finances, car maintenance or the like), do you know what your spouse does? Do you know where all the important papers are located? Do you know how to turn off the water if a pipe breaks? Do you know how to re-light the pilot light in the furnace? Do you know where all your money is invested? Is your gas bill on a budget billing system? Is your telephone bill automatically deducted from your bank account or auto billed to your credit card? These are some things I do not know the answer to - so I'm thinking maybe there are others out there like me.
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She goes on to list many areas where spouses and other partners really should have some clue about what the other is doing and advocates writing S.O.P.s.

While I think this is a great idea, I think those of us who live in rolling homes should go a step further and do more of each other's tasks. There's no better way to learn than by doing.

For RVers, there is often a division of labor along gender lines. Men often do the "engine/equipment stuff" and women usually take care of the "house/food stuff." That is certainly true with me and Sean. This morning the remote control panel on our inverter pooped out, and Sean was the one poking around behind the panel trying to fix it while I grumbled about how early it was and stayed in the warm bed.

He also had to go outside to prime the generator this morning. Priming the generator isn't rocket science, but it does involve three or four separate steps. Our genny has two unmarked switches and an obscure painted knob that have to be fiddled and turned and flipped and unflipped in the right sequence to get it going after losing prime. So a body needs to know first of all what the symptoms of losing prime are, and then the little priming dance steps. Do it in the wrong order and there is no power. I force myself to do it once or twice a year so that I keep it relatively fresh in my mind.

Similarly, making the coffee involves only a few simple steps. But you have to know that if the auxiliary air compressor kicks on during the brewing cycle, the coffee pot loses its mind and gurgles to a halt. The only thing that fixes it is resetting the clock and starting over. No biggie, but if you don't know the secret dance then there is no coffee. Which I would argue is sometimes more tragic than no generator power. Sean makes the coffee about once a month, which is good because this is just too vital an operation to be stored in only one brain.

The start of the new year is a good time to think of all those things that one partner does automatically and easily. On the really important ones, do some cross-training or write out how it is done. Where are the passwords to your financial websites? Do you have your spouse's social security number memorized, or could you put your hands on it quickly? Where are the jumper cables stored? Do you know how to use them or could you find instructions? Could you feed your partner nutritious tasty meals for a month while their broken leg healed?

So go ahead, pick your partner's brain and learn something new this year. You never know when you might need it.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Louise for your kind comments today on my blog.

    Wow, you are living the life my husband and I dream about one day after the children have flown the nest. I am going to bookmark you right now!!



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