Is it your turn to do the dishes?

How to trade domestic chores that you don't like for those you don't mind is part of the art of sharing a household. My husband usually wields the lamb's-wool duster and runs the vacuum, while I mop the floors and scour the shower. On occasion, we both take out the trash and water the flowers.

Where this spirit of cooperation tends to break down is over who does the dishes.

I know that some people enjoy washing dishes. I'm not one of them. Neither is my husband. And that's a big problem because we're the only people in the household, and, for the first time in many years, we don't have a dishwasher.

So, after dinner each evening, we manage to find other activities to occupy us, carefully ignoring the sinkful of dirty dishes in the kitchen.

A friend with a new baby and a full-time job says she tried that, and it didn't work for her. Eventually, the unwashed dishes bothered her more than they did her spouse, and she gave up and washed them.

Another friend reports that she and her husband have a rule – whoever cooks the meal doesn't have to wash the dishes.

But who does dish duty the nights you order carryout or raid the refrigerator for leftovers?

I wish some ancient worthy had come up with a clear answer to a reader's plaintive question: How does anyone get the other occupants of the house to help and still maintain friendly cooperation?

I've been reading about the new robot that automatically vacuums the house. Why can't some genius invent one that cleans bowls, spoons, pots, and pans as soon as they're placed in the sink?

My husband and I would be first in line to buy one.

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