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etc. - a little of this, a little of that - by Oliver Del Signore

A match made in heaven

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

My filing system in my small office consists primarily of things tossed in boxes of various sizes and ever-growing piles of papers, folders, magazines, newspapers, disks, books, and other sundries. It works well for me since, even with my often faulty memory, I usually know the general area where anything I need can be found. However, every so often, the accumulation nears critical mass and threatens to collapse around and on top of me.

Not wanting to be found, mummified, under a mountain of what would, to the casual observer, seem to be random pieces of trash but which are, in fact, all items that are or once were important, I am occasionally compelled to sort through the piles and boxes and decide what should be kept and what can be shredded or tossed into the wastebasket or recycle bin.

Sometimes, it’s not easy making the decision. Should I keep the business card of the lawn service I used five years ago? Probably not. I can always look them up online if I ever want to call and let them know I still don’t want their services. What about the one from a favorite sister-in-law who used to sell real estate but who gave it up years ago and went into nursing? It does have a really good picture of her on it. And I’m pretty sure that someday, the stars will align, the right words will come to me, and I’ll be able to use it to have a bit of fun tweaking her about something or other. Yup. That’s a keeper.

Thankfully, all the stuff  does not require such consideration. A quick glance is all it takes for articles circled and notes made in newspapers. If they can still be used for a post some day, they go back in the pile. If they’ve been used or are no longer relevant, out they go. Folders are active or not. CDs and DVDs are easy to sort.

During these periodic flirtations with actual cleaning, I usually have a lot of time to think. Many times, I think about how my lovely wife and I are perfectly suited for each other, a match made in heaven, really. You see, she likes a clean house and I wouldn’t notice a half-consumed cup of coffee on a counter unless whatever eventually grew in it evolved to the point where it took me hostage and demanded to be recognized as an independent nation.

She loves a made bed. I see the process of straightening and smoothing sheets and blankets that are going to get messed up again in a few hours as a complete waste of time. She long ago accepted that she would never be able to remodel me into a bed maker, though every once in a while I do make the bed, just to keep her a little off balance.

By now you must be wondering what is the point of this essay. Well, to tell you the truth, there isn’t one. Cleaning invariably makes me think of odd things and writing this was one of them. But it has led us to the point where I can ask how you feel about cleaning.

Who does what in your house?

Are you more like my wife or like me?

If the two of you are opposites, does it create tension or problems or have you accepted that you’re different?

And if the two of you are both clean freaks, who decides how the cleaning is done, how the towels are folded, etc.?

I won’t even ask what it’s like if both of you are like me. That’s way to scary to even think about!



8 Responses to “A match made in heaven”

  1. Paula Says:

    I am like you, but I work to keep clutter and piles under control. My husband can overlook many things. My children have inherieted that ability to step over dirty laundry and just not see it!

    Up until October 2010, I was a stay at home wife/mom. Now I’m back working full time, I feel I have to delegate to everyone. One of the disappointing things is actually having to tell my family what needs to be done. If I can see that laundry needs folding, things need dusting, and the floor needs sweeping, why can’t they?

  2. Lisa Says:

    I am like your wife and luckily for me, my new husband is too. We share chores. He is more meticulous about things than I am so often when I am getting ready to do something around the house I find him taking care of it. We do okay in letting the other person do things their way though.

    My daughter… she would let things go until she couldn’t dig her way out.

  3. Ann On Says:

    I’ve always been the neatnik in relationships and I don’t mind housework at all.

    That works as long as the neatnik partner is a stay-at-home because it’s only fair if one partner makes all the money and pays all the bills the other partner will take on 100% of the housework.

    Unfortunately, that’s not the case. I’ve always earned my own living and paid half the bills while my partner still ignores most of the housework no matter what agreements we make. I think this is common and it’s a reason a lot more women are happy to remain single once they’ve seen a little bit of how the world really works.

  4. Oliver Says:

    Paula, Lisa, Ann On – thanks for the comments. I think the core problem is that people have different priorities. In general, when a woman enters someone’s house, she’ll notice if it’s not clean. Most men wouldn’t notice unless they tripped over a pile of old newspapers. And even then, they might just settle down on the floor and read the sports pages.

    Frankly, if it were not for you dear ladies at least minimally civilizing us, men would still be living in caves and sleeping on mattresses of old pizza boxes.

  5. TheNumberSix Says:

    Google image search a picture of WF Buckley’s desk. Great minds do not have time for pointless cleaning

  6. SK Says:

    I once had a coffee cup that had the following quote on the front of it:

    “An immaculate house is the sign of a misspent life.”

    I don’t know what ever happened to it — it’s probably here on my desk somewhere ……

  7. Karena Says:

    My office probably rivels yours and since my other half is my 6-year-old daughter clutter is king. My coffee is never neglected long enough to become a part of the pile, if it were I may actually lose the battle of trying to keep the mountains of books, papers, cds etc… from overtaking me.

  8. Donna C. Says:

    I am a perfectionist, but I don’t actually do anything because it won’t be just right. As a result, our house is a mess. My husband must have everything perfect, or his brain won’t work correctly. The problem is, he won’t clean up after himself. He can get home, walk into a spotless kitchen, and destroy it within 5 minutes. His clothes are thrown in fron of the washer, the content of his pockets and a dirty tissue are on the table, the cabinets are open from where he got things out of them, and his dishes and the food he used to make something are sitting on the counters. It is frustrating for both of us!



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