Has this ever happened to you?
You remove a freshly-washed batch of dishes from the washer and place the few dirty dishes from the sink into the machine. You leave the kitchen for one reason or another and when you come back there are dirty dishes . . . in the sink . . . less than two feet from the dish washer where the dirty dishes live. Sound familiar?
Wait! I have another one!
You walk into the kitchen and there is an empty soda bottle or othe piece of garbage sitting ON the trash can. It is not IN the trash can where it should be because it is full. Whoever placed it on top of the can did so because the can is full of trash and there was no room in it for another piece of trash. A mere 8 feet away is a box chock full of brand new, empty trash bags just ready to be pressed into service. Instead, that task has been left to you and trash has been placed ON the can.
Clearly these sins are unforgivable insults against what we do every day. The people in our houses are obviously completely out of touch with what it takes to keep them in order, right? Right? Right?
I have pondered this question many times while I put illicit dirty dishes in the empty dishwasher and unstacked garbage from on top of the can. I felt that maybe nobody noticed that I emptied the dishwasher and the trash can. Then I felt that maybe they did notice and just took for granted that I would take care of it. I thought it about it and stewed about it . . . then I put my big boy panties on and snapped out of it.
My snap actually occured in increments, not all at once. It started when when Charlie encountered an empty toilet paper roll.
“People should put more toilet paper in the bathroom when they use it all!”, he complained loudly. “You used the toilet last, Daddy!”
I got him another one from the pantry while I apologized for forgetting to replace it. I meant to replace it but I got busy . . . I was probably putting dishes in the washer or unstacking garbage off the can.
These things happen, I explained. It wasn’t intentional.
The next increment came as I was pouring a Diet Pepsi into a frosty glass of ice. As I smacked my lips in anticipated satisfaction my wife walked into the kitchen.
“That looks good,” she said and headed to the pantry. She opened the pantry door. I heard some rustling as she reached into the cardboard container. Then I heard nothing.
I looked up and she was looking inside the box. She was frowning. She shook the box. Nothing. She looked up at me.
“It’s empty,” she said.
“Uhhhhhhhh . . . . “, I said. That’s all I could come up with. I had quickly abandoned the idea of pretending to no longer speak English, so all I could say was “Huh?”
“You took the last soda,” she said. “That’s not a big deal, but you left the box in the pantry.”
That is one of her major pet peeves. The carton in the pantry promised a delicious beverage, but it was a lie. It was empty. The promised libation was a mirage perpetuated by me leaving an empty carton in the pantry. I understood her dismay. I wasn’t paying attention when I took the Diet Pepsi out of the container. I didn’t mean to do it. Her look was scathing. I took the single dirty fork out of the sink and put it in the empty dishwasher, but I couldn’t muster the righteous wrath I had hoped for.
“You want half?”, I asked, holding up my soda. She just looked at me. She put the carton on top to the can and walked out of the kitchen.
I was starting to think that maybe I wasn’t the only person in our house who sometimes felt they were on an island. Maybe I was taking things just a bit personally.
A few nights later we were all sleeping peacefully. By peacefully I mean Charlie was on our floor and Eli had wedged himself between us. My wife supplied Eli with his night juice and got up to go to the bathroom. I heard a scream.
We all sat up. “Honey, are you ok?”
“I have fallen into the toilet because SOMEBODY left the seat up!” she said accusingly. “Who used the toilet last?”
“Charlie, did you use our bathroom?”. I asked.
“Nice try Dad,” he muttered into his pillow. “Not me.”
I was prepared to offer an attractive package of incentives including later bedtimes and cash if he would take the heat for me. However, he heard his mom’s tone of voice just like I had and he wasn’t biting.
I knew I should say something. Just like in the “Diet Pepsi Incident”, she was well aware that I couldn’t forget how to speak English. “Uhhhhhhh.”
“Never mind,” she said. “I’ll be back to bed when I dry off.”
I rolled over. OK, so maybe I was a little perspective-challenged when I was feeling sorry for myself about the dishwasher and the garbage. My family doesn’t take me for granted. They rely on me. They rely on me to take care of certain things and they rely on me to not get all freaky when a dirty dish goes into the sink. I listened to noises coming from the bathroom. My wife relies on me to put the toilet seat down after midnight bathroom visits. I would much rather put a dish in the washer.
Thanks for reading. I will see you soon on This Side of the Diaper.