The reason I mentioned today is that something interesting happened afterwards: John told Elly to her face that it was good to see her actually working for a change. Elly, of course, took it to mean that John thought that she was lazy and worthless and whatever and didn't notice or appreciate how much she did for him. The problem is that the phrase can be taken two ways.
The way that Elly didn't notice that it could be used is as a means by which John expressed his fascination with how she did chores; that's because he's usually been shooed out of the room so that he isn't underfoot. What he would then see, of course, is Elly doing a lot of frantic scurrying-around without really getting much done. Having actually seen why it is that when he gets home she looks like something that the cat dragged in while looking as if all she did was move the dirt around would answer the question of what she did all day.
Not, of course, that he would dare explain that maybe she isn't actually doing things the way Marian does or to suggest that there's an easier way to do things. He might be stupid but he's not crazy. Doing that would probably cause her to hurl heavy objects at him.