Did I mention the General doesn’t put up with a lot of my nonsense? As I drove home from work yesterday, I had the thought that she might have negatively personalized some of the innuendos in the blog I wrote yesterday. Sometimes in an effort to glean a laugh, I stretch a little too far. By the way, as sure as night follows the day, it always come back to haunt me when I do.
Seriously, I’m a grown man. I shouldn’t need or want kudos for straightening up my office or picking up this or picking up that. I shouldn’t expect anyone to pick up after me. I’m a grown, responsible, happily married man (most of the time) who doesn’t always get it right. Who knows, I mentioned the movie “What About Bob?” in yesterday’s blog. I don’t think my level of dysfunction is equivalent to his, but I have a vested interest in not thinking so. At this point, I’m not going to shop for opinions.
In yesterday’s blog, I made reference to the fact that the General doesn’t give a lot of credence to the need to develop and implement a behavior modification plan to assist me in being age appropriate and responsible. She would probably be the first to suggest that pigs don’t pick up after themselves. While I am resistive to the notion that I could possibly fall into that category, I have some idea why she could think so. The standards I maintain for the way my office generally looks are incongruent with the way the rest of our home always looks. I can’t take any of the credit for things being clean, neat and organized. She does it all herself.
I’m embarrassed to admit that I like the OCD-tendencies she displays. When I was a kid, my mother kept our home spotlessly. She also ran a pretty tight ship. It was our responsibility to make up our beds and keep our rooms straight. On Saturdays, we also had household chores that included dusting and vacuuming. I guess you could say I married someone that had the same values related to how the house should look. Fortunately, unlike my mother, she doesn’t assign me Saturday tasks to dust and vacuum.
The General is the quintessential homemaker and she doesn’t flaunt the fact that she “works from sun-up to sun-down and always gets it right. She doesn’t need kudos for all the effort and time she invests in making our home a home. However, I think labeling shelves in the refrigerator to identify what you should be able to see clearly with your own eyes when you open the refrigerator door is a bit much. Truthfully, the General hasn’t done that yet. I thought I’d throw that in for a laugh, because there may not be much else to laugh about in the remainder of my blog.
All I’ve got to say is that when it comes to class, the General is a class act. She was at church when I got home from work yesterday. She left a hand written note on my desk. When I saw it, I had the sense it was time to pay the fiddler. She took the time to write a hand written note. I had the sense when I saw it next to my computer that it wasn’t a love letter. I should have seen it coming. After all, how did I phrase it in yesterday’s blog? Oh, I think I remember. I expressed her response when she noticed I had cleaned my office like this: “I anticipated some kind of verbal acknowledgement, a pat on the back, kudos of some kind or maybe even a package of M&Ms”. I should have stopped with that, but I didn’t. Leave it to me to put both feet in my mouth. I added: “Did I mention the General never bought into the concept of behavior modification techniques? Why should there be a reward or acknowledgement for finally meeting expectations?”
You’re probably waiting for me to divulge that she left me a “Dear John” letter. Actually, she didn’t there wasn’t a dear anything. It was a hand written note entitled: “Twelve Things To Get Rid Of”. That part was underlined. I quickly looked at the list and breathed a sigh of relief when I noticed my name was not at the top of the list. “Thank You Lord” was probably the first thing that came to mind.
I knew a guy from a church we attended many years ago who found out his wife had filed for divorce when an officer from Travis County Sheriff’s Department stopped by his home to serve him papers. By happenstance, he was outside at the time. It was on a Saturday morning. Interestingly, his wife was inside their home and had said nothing to him. He didn’t even know they were having problems.
I quickly glanced at the list and didn’t see my name by any of the twelve numbers. Actually, I was greatly relieved. Looking back to the top of the paper, the rest of the title included: “So You Can Get Organized and Reclaim Some Space”. Okay, so it was a list entitled: “Twelve Things To Get Rid Of So You Can Get Oganzied and Reclaim Some Space.” There was also the notation: “(AARP)”
Needless to say, the list had my attention. It included:
- The big house
- Clothes (especially when they don’t all fit in your closet)
- Anything in off-site storage
- (Unused) Exercise equipment
- Kitchen appliances and gadgets (that haven’t been used in six months)
- Childhood Memorabilia (keep a few precious, symbolic mementos (that truly spark memories and joy) & digital images of other things. (If your kids don’t want keepsakes now – they won’t want them when you’re gone)
- Furniture (start by eliminating a couple of pieces from a room and see how much more spacious it feels. Filling & overfilling a room with furniture is a common tendency. Doing sop makes the room seem smaller and gives you more spaces to store and display more stuff.
- Books, Magazines, DVDs – Unless a book has sentimental value or you’re going to read it again – put it back into circulation so others can enjoy it – yard sale, thrift store or donate to library. Use e-books and digitize music and movie collections.
- Files – Organize into 4 categories
- Papers you need to keep – 1 calendar year or less
- Ones that can be destroyed when you no longer own the items they cover
- tax records p which you need to save for seven years
- Papers you need to keep indefinitely – Consider storing digitized copies on a web-based storage system or an external drive
- Decorations – that haven’t been used in 5 years.
Before I finished reading the list, I heard the General’s car pulling into the garage. I won’t say I was sweating bullets, but I was a little anxious. I opened the door to greet her. She seemed very pleasant.
I went back to my desk and got the note. Holding it before her I said: “This is a classy touch. I’m sorry I made you mad”. She looked at me like I’d been inhaling with Willie. She asked: “What are you talking about?” I said, “You left me this handwritten list. I thought you were mad. She made another glance in my direction and said: “I wrote that list down for me. It had nothing to do with you”. Inquiringly, I asked: “Why didn’t you print the list on the computer.” She didn’t because the list was one you had to advance to the next screen to get the next number. It was easier to write it by hand.
Miracle of miracles, I wasn’t in the doghouse. This time, I really breathed a sigh of relief. However, she did tell me to go look at the stack of hangers in our closet. She had eliminated about twenty items. She implied it would serve me well to do the same. We’ll see?
All My Best!
All My Best!