I am big on devising theories. Look at a set of facts, try to discern a pattern, share pattern with others so that they might marvel at my brilliance, my searing levels of insight. For example: the theory that those people who raise their hands incessantly during class to show that They Are Smart all spent childhoods as bedwetters, the theory that men buy dogs to try to get laid, and, most recently, the theory of travel karma.

I have a new one: the theory of conservation of homemaking energy. This is a lot like the first law of thermodynamics, conservation, which says that energy can be transferred from one form to another, but cannot be created or destroyed. I believe that the same holds true for housekeeping duties. There is a finite amount of energy available for housekeeping duties, and once it’s spent for the day, it’s spent. There is no creating more.

Case in point: today, I baked bread. From scratch. With many whole grains in it, and a little honey. There was softening of grains, there was kneading, there was the unending waiting for the dough to rest, and rise, and rise again. And now, there is bread- delicious, soft, dense, rolled in oats for a professionally finished appearance. Luscious.

There is also, however, a load of wet laundry sitting in the washer that I have been meaning to transfer to the dryer for HOURS, and I can’t quite get around to it. This is the law of conservation in action. I have expended my entire allotment of housekeeping energy for today on these lovely loaves of bread, and I think I am now stuck with the possibility that I will wake up tomorrow to face a washer ful of mildewed socks and t-shirts. And before you suggest that I ask John, kind lad that he is, to transfer these items for me, note this: the law of conservation of household energy applies to households, not individuals. John responded to my flurry of homemaking by taking a nap. I suggested that he might help, and he yawned mightily, sighed, and said “hm, smells like bread in here. Bring me a slice?”