Sunday, January 23, 2011


I like to have a place for everything and put everything in its place. Cleanliness is next to godliness after all, and clutter only leads to stress. Besides with a houseful of people it sure makes it easier to find the hammer or the rake or the scissors when you need them, if once you have finished with them you put them back in their designated spots. The trick is to get everyone to agree to these rules. Of course, it always works best if everyone also agrees on the designated spots. As a family, we’re still working on this.

My Old Man, Paul – I’ve been watching ‘Sons of Anarchy’ lately – and my kids think I’m OCD, just because I like our house and garage to be neat and clean and organized. By the way, calling the garage ‘The Man Cave’ does not preclude you from putting the tools back where they belong. I also do not understand how they can use silverware, plates and glasses everyday, but when I ask them to empty the dishwasher these items end up in cabinets or drawers not remotely related to their designated spots. I am starting to believe that this is a conspiracy to keep me doing the dishes, but I haven’t been able to prove that yet.

Speaking of kitchen utensils, there has been an ongoing discussion that knives are not tools. Not only do I continue to find them in the garage, usually with their tips broken off, but each and every person questioned disavows any knowledge of using a knife as a screwdriver, a wood carving tool, scissors, a poker or a scraper; all of which are freely available for use, if you can find them.

I feel like I’ve become a spy in a Mission Impossible series.  My family has become part of an elite covert operations unit carrying out highly sensitive missions involving my kitchen knives, subject to official denial in the event of failure (breaking off the damn tips), death (why did he stick that knife in the electrical socket?) or capture (shit, hide the steak knife, Mom is coming!)

I want to attach a recording to the silverware drawer so that when it opens, Robert Cleveland’s voice is activated.  “Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to only use these knives for food service and return them to the dishwasher when you have finished eating. If you are caught using them to cut your lacrosse nets, guitar strings, or as a screwdriver for any purpose, the Old Man will disavow any knowledge of your actions and will disappear until the ranting subsides.”

I just don’t understand, staying clean and organized is really not that difficult. Let’s use the bathroom as an example.  After taking a shower do not leave your towels in a wet pile on the floor where they not only become quite smelly, but cause your mother undue embarrassment when guests have to pick them up to dry off their hands. Instead follow these simple steps: 1.) Step out of shower, 2.) Remove clean towel from rack, 3.) Dry body, and most importantly step # 4.) RETURN TOWEL TO RACK TO DRY.

I know for a fact that Jane Goodall taught chimpanzees to perform these steps as proof that they were, indeed, as smart as human beings. Much to my chagrin, each time I brave entering the downstairs bathroom, I have to question my family’s latent genetic make-up, admitting to myself that they may not be quite as smart as the monkeys.

As I mentioned, I have been watching ‘Sons of Anarchy’ and I’ve been thinking that maybe a more hard line approach might be the ticket to keeping our living space organized.

I contemplated what Gemma might do to Jax if he started leaving his AK-47’s willy-nilly around the Clubhouse. She’d probably say something like, “Hey dumbass, how many times have I told you not to leave the goddamn guns lying around. Jesus, even the Mayans keep their Clubhouse picked up.  You’re giving Sam Crow a bad name here.”

“Back off Mom, I’ll get around to picking them up.  I had to go kick some Niner ass and I haven’t had a chance to get to it yet. Geez.”

“Did you just tell me to back off, Jax?” Gemma asks with a raised eyebrow. “By the way, have you seen my favorite steak knive, I caught Tig using it to dig a bullet out of Opie last week and I had to kick his ass.”

“C’mon Mom, you know I always throw them back into their designated wall next to the bar.”

“Yeah, right.  Well get busy and hide these guns in the back room where they belong before I have to shoot you in the ass again. Oh yeah, and don’t forget to pick your towels up off the bathroom floor, I’m sick of them stinking like gun oil every time I go to dry my hands,” she says shaking her head.

I guess it doesn’t matter who you are, everyone struggles with keeping things in their designated places.

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