Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Marriage 501, Lecture 12: Who moved my cheese?‏

This is what it's like being married to a compulsive organizer.

I mean organizer as in "all the crap is neatly stacked," not organizer as in, "Life is pared down to its essentials and the process flows like silk."

I am the second kind of organizer, SH is the first.

SH does not believe in throwing things away.

Which you knew.

If I gave a pop quiz to you guys right now, almost all of you would get the right answer to the question, "What crap does SH have stored in the basement that I am going to toss when he drops dead?"

That answer is, "His phone bills from 1997 and the college tuition receipts for his older stepdaughter, who is now married with a child and who graduated from college years ago." You all know that answer.

You know he is a saver and I am a throw awayer. Only occasionally does that hurt me, but almost never. Whereas SH is encumbered with boxes and boxes of junk. And his office upstairs gets smaller and smaller every year because he won't throw anything away. He would ask that I include the fact that his Leaning Tower of Visa is what has gotten us a refund three months after the fact when we got goat cheese at Costco that was supposed to be vacuum packed but was not. That is true. I will give him that.

However, I would surrender that refund to have a basement free of junk. Do we really need old rubber Beavis and Butthead masks? At our age? I would say no.

So SH has junk, but he would say - has said, will continue to say - that at least his junk is organized. Which is true. Everything is squared away and stacked neatly, if precariously. You never know when you might need seven empty corrugated boxes of various sizes, stacked from smallest on the floor to largest on top. That must have been an engineering challenge.

But organized junk is still junk.

 He has the impulse to create order. Unfortunately, it's misapplied. He, without thinking, while he is talking to me, will push papers and books on the kitchen island toward the center. He stacks things. His hands work independently. He stacks the papers next to my computer.

Which means I can never find anything.

When he comes to my side of the bed to kiss me goodnight - because we almost never go to bed at the same time and we continue to argue about my crazy insistence on eight hours of sleep a night, he pushes my flip flops away from where I left them - right next to the bed, in the place that my feet naturally fall when I sit on the edge of the bed - to against the wall. They look better that way, he says. Neat. Tidy.

But when my alarm goes off at 6:00 a.m., while he is still fast asleep, while it is dark, my feet cannot find my flip flops. They are not where I left them. Where I am used to their being. Where I have been leaving my flip flops/slippers for TWENTY YEARS.

And then I get annoyed and envy women who live alone.


webb said...

My Mitchell is similar, but without the extreme organization. He recently decided to "get rid of" all the small carry on/boat bag type of bags he has collected for the past 10 years. He removed them from under his bedside table (surprise! It is carpeted there!) nand is now packing them in THREE large plastic bins to go in the attic.

So helpful. Now when hw dies first, there are three more things that i will have to pay someone to throw away. I feel your pain.

Kkchang said...

My husband is EXACTLY the same way. I wonder if it is a man from Wisconsin thing. Hilarious.