I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the bellow of someone in my family yelling out in exasperation that they couldn’t find what they were looking for. This proclamation is accompanied by a not so subtle insinuation that I, personally, am responsible for their inability to find this one particular item. According to the offended party, in each and every case I did something to make this item incapable of being found. The items I’m talking about run the gamut from food items to pieces of clothing to homework and on and on… Why they come to the conclusion that I am the culprit, I will never know.
It is my regular routine as far as housecleaning goes to be pretty darn easy-going about the quantity of clutter and filth I will tolerate. It is only at a time when I’ve reached the threshold of utter disgust that I will explode into action and move everything in sight. There is usually a fair amount of hints and cajoling prior to my unleashing my one-man cleanliness brigade. A once cluttered countertop is now open for business. A pile of clothes is now sorted and in the proper drawer or on a hanger. The canned goods are stacked. The refrigerator is now organized. The random stuff that spreads out in every room has either found a home or is waiting for its owner to claim it and put it away. You would think that people would appreciate the effort. No, that is not the case. Instead I hear whining and moaning that this or that is now missing.
It goes something like this:
The kitchen table is full of papers. Lots and lots of papers. So many in fact I can’t stand it anymore. I carefully sort through them making sure not to toss anything of importance. Days can go by before someone (who shall remain nameless) flies off the handle yelling that he can’t find a particular piece of paper. Mind you he never noticed that the table was a mess and consequently never noticed that it was picked up. All he knows is that a stupid piece of paper is supposed to be in the exact spot he remembers seeing it last. Once the frustration sets in apparently there is some sort of physical reaction that takes place. It makes the individual incapable of utilizing their hands and scouring a particular area with their eyes. Unless that item in question has the ability to jump up in front of them it is pronounced missing and I am ultimately guilty of this infraction.
Upon hearing the tone of voice and the proclamation of my guilt in this manner I am obligated to return to the scene of the crime. Once in those surroundings a stern finger is usually pointed at me and then the expected location of the paper in question. You see, it is obvious that I have hatched a diabolical plot to hamper this person’s activities by stealthily causing this paper to disappear. A call to action is implied and I heed this call by lifting up one, maybe two sheets of paper on the table. Alas, the paper in question has not evaporated. In fact, it’s right in front of your nose. (…your *#@* nose, depending on how angry I am at this point). Oh, I didn’t see it is the standard reply. A breeze of fresh air passes through the room and all is now well in the world.
I must say, for boys, my kids have always been great about doing their own laundry. To tell you the truth, I don’t mind doing it. They taught themselves early on how to wash their own clothes and I am grateful for it. Unfortunately, they don’t always have the ambition to take their clothes out of the dryer and fold it and put it away. It is not uncommon for me to find a full load of wash in the dryer – waiting. Waiting for its owner to claim it and show it some love. Fold it and put it all away. If I didn’t have my own things to wash I would probably leave the clothes in there. Many times I’ve found it necessary to just do the folding myself.
I take the clothes out of dryer and make sure it’s all sorted and folded. If there’s a laundry basket available I’ll put the folded items in there. If I have hangers at the ready I will hang up the shirts. You’d think this would make someone happy. A little less work for them. A nice gesture from me. No. It doesn’t work that way. In a rush to get out the door I hear the stomping of feet in and out of the laundry room. I hear the stomping of feet up and down the stairs. There’s some mumbling going on. Thank goodness I have no idea what he’s saying. Doesn’t take long before I’m confronted with that tone of voice. Perhaps you’re familiar with it. It’s the accusatory tone that implies that they know you did something. Don’t even think you’re going to get away with this. I want this injustice rectified immediately.
At this point I am obligated to at least pretend like I am interested in all this fuss. I ask what the problem is and I am immediately notified that he can’t find his shirt. You know, the blue one he just bought. It was right here and now he can’t find it. What did I do with it he demands? (Side note: depending on the body language and tone of voice I may or may not give him a blast at this point.) Once I know what he’s looking for I point to the clothes hanging from the rod in the room. Let’s see… you look down about three shirts from the right and oh, dam… how did that get there?! Here’s your blue shirt. It was right in front of your nose. At this point there’s usually a very obvious silence. I can see the wheels turning and there’s a choice to be made at this point. Take the risk of saying something really stupid to me now or just accept the fact that you were wrong and say Thank You. Luckily for him he decides on the thank you.
In my house the refrigerator goes from being an almost empty yet tidy storage space to a jam-packed house of horrors. Like the majority of people we have certain staple items that can always be found in the fridge. Butter, mayonnaise, catsup, mustard, relish, beverages, and eggs to name a few. It is my job as the refrigerator warden to inspect and decide what stays and what goes. I also have the onerous duty of making sure that everything that needs to be refrigerated actually fits in the fridge. On shopping days this can be quite a task.
In order to alleviate the congestion I have to periodically take things out of the refrigerator and throw things away. I then reorganize what’s left so it can be found easily and consumed before it goes bad. In my mind this is an honorable task to undertake. You don’t want to waste food. You don’t want your family to become ill after eating something that has spoiled. You’d think my family members would show some sort of gratitude for this effort on my part. After all I am taking on a chore that I know none of them would volunteer to do. Three cheers for me!
Not so fast. It is inevitable that on the very day that I’ve achieved great success utilizing my food sorting skills that I will be called back into the kitchen by a family member who is perplexed that he cannot find the relish, for example. I will hear all sorts of back-handed comments like: “I thought you said we had plenty of relish,” or “Don’t tell me you threw the relish out,” or “Well that’s just great. Why didn’t you tell me we were out of relish. I would have picked some up on the way home”. All of these statements imply that I am the guilty party. If it wasn’t for me there would be an abundance of relish in this house. If I only had left the refrigerator alone the relish gods would surely insure that there was a jar to be found upon opening the door.
A thousand pardons I implore. Alas I did not know the error of my ways. I open the refrigerator door and move the jar of mayonnaise about three inches to my left. Low and behold we are blessed. There is a jar of relish waiting to be discovered. A glistening backdrop of light provided by the refrigerator bulb gives the jar an ethereal quality. I reach in with pious respect and offer this revered product for consumption. In the blink of an eye it is snatched out of my hand with little more than an “oh… there it is” in response to my successful archeological expedition. The bright point of this escapade is the knowledge that hamburgers can now be consumed with a full complement of relish.
I’m sure the inability to find things that are right in front of your nose has plagued society for centuries. The great brains of each century surely tried to find the source of this disability. Until the day when we finally have a cure, I hope the accused find the patience and moral fortitude to face false accusations with honor. Know that the value of your efforts to provide a clean and healthy home environment will some day be recognized. Until then… clean up… clean on… hold your head high.
By Gret Boyd