Sunday, January 23, 2011


I am a firm believer of having a place for everything, and keeping 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 life easier to find the hammer or the rake or the scissors or the knives when you need them, if once you have finished with them you put them back in the place where they belong. The trick is to get everyone to agree to these rules. Of course, it always works best if everyone also agrees on the places. As a family, we’re still working on this.

My Old Man, Paul – excuse me, I’ve been watching re-runs of "Sons of Anarchy" lately – and my boys think I’m OCD, a little bit crazy, just because I like our house and garage to be neat and clean and organized - you know, so you can find what you need when you need it. By the way, I reminded them all just the other day, calling the garage The Man Cave does not preclude one from putting things back where they belong. I also do not understand how they can use glasses, plates, silverware, everyday, but when I ask them to empty the dishwasher these items end up in cabinets or drawers not remotely related to the places they removed them from. I am consider this is because they are working from the misguided assumption that the kitchen is A Women's Place, and therefore undecipherable to them. 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. In the meantime, during my breaks at work,  I am formulating a discussion on Women's Right Movement and how I might work it into the dinner conversation, or possibly when "we clean" up the kitchen afterwards.

Speaking of the kitchen, a word on kitchen utensils: I have an ongoing discussion with the boys about the function of knives as tools of the kitchen, not of the workshop. Not only do I continue to find them in the garage, on the edge of the lawn, and numerous other outdoor locations, usually with their tips broken off or bend into strange shapes, but each and every person refutes any question of using a knife as a screwdriver, a wood carving tool, a poker, a scraper, a trowel, etc. all of which are freely available for use, if you can find them.

I feel like a bit player 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 and as such are sworn to disavow any knowledge 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!). Worse, I get no support from Paul who shrugs his shoulders and also claims to have never misused a kitchen knife in such an inappropriate manner.

I want to attach a recording to the silverware drawer. When the drawer slides open 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, as a screwdriver, digging for worms, or any other non-kitchen related purpose, the Old Man will disavow any knowledge of your actions, disappearing 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 question my son’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 the stress of putting things back in their place.