When we moved into this house, one of the first things I did was set up my shop. I was fortunate in that the previous owner had left me a homemade bench and some pegboard on one wall. There was room for my metal tool table and ample wall space to hang some shelves. I quickly put my tools in the proper drawers and hung some from pegboard. That was ten years ago and, except for when I leave them somewhere around the house, they remain in the same place today. I have always been a somewhat (I think they call it anal) organized person who takes comfort in being able to find things easily.
It appears that my wife feels the same way about her domain, the kitchen. The one differentiating factor being that, as organized as all the cabinets and drawers are, many of her utensils are never in the right place, or at least not for long. I can see it coming when she says something like “I don’t like the way this drawer is set up. There are some things in here that should really be closer to where I work by the sink, and there are other things we don’t use at all just taking up space.”
To the layman, this would seem to be a casual offhand comment. However, to the experienced husband, he knows it is just the tip of the iceberg. Kind of like thunder. First there is a distant rumble that slowly grows in intensity until it is deafening.
I first noticed it when I got a bottle of root beer out of the refrigerator and upon opening the drawer to get the bottle opener, it was not there. It is always in the tray next to the beaters for the hand blender and the can opener, which, I observe, are no longer there either. Exploratory research ultimately reveals that they are now in a drawer next to the refrigerator. Somehow, unlike most times, there seems to be a rational to that, at least in the case of the bottle opener. Beyond that, I know that everything, and I mean everything, is now in it’s proper place, proper place being defined as exactly where she thinks it belongs, today.
Here is the rub however. We do not think anything alike. We ascribe to two different schools of logic. What makes sense to me, doesn’t carry much weight with her. And I know better then to ask her to explain it. I am probably still not going to understand it, and will feel obligated to offer some helpful suggestions which will not be met enthusiastically. The phrase “deal with it” comes to mind. After all, it is her kitchen. I just get to use it, with proper supervision.
I have a tendency to replace things “close” to where they came from which experience has shown to be, shall we say, open to criticism. Take the refrigerator. Rule 1) All the mustard’s, relishes, and pickles are grouped together on one shelf. Do not slide one in next to the jam. Rule 2) Do not place anything in the refrigerator uncovered because, for some reason, it will go bad in the next half hour. Rule 3) Cheese never goes in the meat keeper. I don’t know why. It just doesn’t and I am not going to ask.
I guess it all comes down to this. It is our independent understanding of the definition of “proper place”. To her, it means “where it belongs”. To me it means “where it will fit”. This is why I am no longer allowed in the pantry without another adult being present.
My real frustration however is when after a through investigation, I still can’t find something and when I ask, am told that it was in the last box we took to Goodwill. “You gave away the apple corer? Why did you do that?”
“Because we never use it”.
“I use it”,
“Oh sure, when was the last time”?
“This spring when I planted the peas, I used it to drill the little holes”.
“Don’t you have a dibble for that”?
” Yeah, somewhere, but I couldn’t find it. By the way, where do keep the lemon zestor now?”
“Over there. What do you want that for”?
“I want to cut some grooves in a pine board I’m working on”.