Let Me Count The Ways

Since my Dearly Beloved and I are, and always have been, Total Opposites (deserving of capital letters) it stands to reason that we would have different skill sets.  That became more apparent than ever during the recent moving process.   I’ll just say modestly that while I rose to the occasion, Dearly Beloved was often clearly out of his element.

Lest you think I’m bragging, let me point out that I’m not talking high finance or brain surgery, but things like how to arrange furniture, for instance, or color selections… what to keep and what to give away.  In some of the areas, he assumed he had expertise. ( I am speaking of a man who chose navy and mauve furnishings for every office he ever had… and spent less than five minutes making the selections, probably.)  Because I mull these things over beforehand, my decisions are usually more …um… thoughtful.

I know to blot, not rub a stain… to prune azaleas after they bloom… that one can refreeze bread… that a microwave has settings other than popcorn… In blunt terms, I know the same crap other homemakers know because I’ve done it for a long time.

One day we were riding in the car and although I can’t remember the particular incident,  he acceded to my suggestion over something, acknowledging that my idea was better.  The man who never utters a profane word, said in exasperation, “I don’t know SHIT, do I?!”

“You know STUFF,” I assured him.  “You just don’t know SHIT.”

It has become his mantra.  He tells the neighbors that he knows “stuff.”

Just stuff; no s-h-i-t.   He spells the word in the telling.  Then he points out to the guys that they might be similarly handicapped.

One of the areas in which he is most deficient is the concept of nesting.  He can build a nest egg. but how to nest a cluster of objects clearly mystifies him.

When he retired, he announced that he was taking over the unloading of the dishwasher, something we’ve heard that many retired husbands do.  (Loading the dishwasher apparently requires more advanced skills.)

Emptying the dishwasher is simple.  Putting it away properly has proven to be beyond him.  I even rearranged drawers to try to make it logical for him.

  • This drawer is only for utensils I use at the stove:  wooden spoons, ladles, etc….  I
  • If it’s an unfamiliar utensil, it’s probably something I use in preparation– rubber spatulas, turkey basters, counter scrapers… so put those in THIS drawer.
  • Knives have their own drawer.

It didn’t work.

The cabinets are even worse.  Some have glass doors, but I keep the junky plastic items– measuring cups, mixing bowls, colanders, and some of my larger Tupperware containers and lids hidden behind solid doors.  Smaller containers and lids go in a deep drawer in the butler’s pantry.  To keep the assemblage neat and functional, one must sometimes take an item out to put a larger, but similar item under it.  That, my friends, is what I call nesting.

Exhibit A.
Exhibit A.


Exhibit B.
Exhibit B.

–             –             –           –              –            –            –           –             –           –

The pots and pans fare no better.  Sometimes a small saucepan lid is lost for weeks in the bowels of the corner cabinet where it’s been dropped inside a Dutch oven or behind the double boiler.

I, who am not known for my neatness,  despaired.  I e-mailed several friends who’ve told me that their husbands unload the dishwasher at home.  Possibly, I could send DB for lessons.

One sent back a photo of pots and lids lined up on the counter–her husband’s idea of unloading.  A second explained that yes, her husband unloads the dishwasher, he doesn’t put the items in cabinets because that requires skill of a level equal to that of loading the dishwasher.  Ahhh.  A third simply sent a photo of a carton of milk in a pantry.  ???

Their husbands, like mine, know stuff.

But–you guessed it… they don’t know shit.

I'll drink to that!
I’ll drink to that!

–             –          –           –           –           –

Happy Valentine’s Day, Dearly Beloved.  I love you.


13 thoughts on “Let Me Count The Ways

  1. NCMountainwoman

    My dear husband also unloads the dishwasher. After many starts and stops, most ending with my saying, “Where the HELL did you put the???” we mutually agreed that if he wasn’t CERTAIN where an item went, he would leave it on the counter for me to put away. Problem solved.

    Now if I could just convince him of three important facts: 1) you cannot unload a dishwasher quietly no matter how hard you try; and 2) you need not empty the dishwasher the first thing in the morning; and 3) you are the only one who gets up at 5:30.

    Yes, my husband knows stuff.

  2. Apparently this is universal. Except that my husband is a master dishwasher loader. He will spend 20 minutes trying to get it all in rack so that he only has to run 1/2 load.

  3. I think it general men know stuff and knowing they don’t know shit may save marriages after retirement. I have seen some not very pretty incidents at Bed Bath and Bring It Back over bed sheets, and almost a knock down drag out at a grocery store when a retired man kept pointing out alternatives that were a few pennies cheaper. “I bought this before we were married, after we were married and I am sure as hell not giving it up now that you decided to retire your sorry ass…now push the cart.” Or in my parents case where my dad decided after retirement to teach my mom how to unload the dishwasher or do wash more efficiently which made the possibility of my mom sprinkling some Oleander in his coffee one morning much more of a possibility. We all have our strengths and our weaknesses and knowing when you know stuff, but not shit is a real stength.

  4. My husband is just the opposite. He’s the one who went through the kitchen after we recently moved and arranged everything in a logical order. Sometimes when I put a utensil or container back in a different spot, I’ll find it relocated to its “proper” home later. I chalk it up to his being an extremely organized dentist before he retired. (That, and being a tad OCD-ish.)

    I think I’ll go and move something just for the hell of it. hehe

  5. nomad61

    Thank gawd! I thought I had the only husband whose idea of emptying the dishwasher was putting everything carefully on the counter to await my final wand wave – poof, poof, poof, poof – and more poofs! (ok, I will ‘cede his talent of proper plate placement – but other than that, nada!)
    BTW, where did you find that bottle of wine!! ??? LOLOLOLOL…. between that and the Duck Tape you have it covered!!:):) lololol Happy V Day, Mz Merrily, – I ❤ ur <3.:):)

  6. Oh my, I AM NOT ALONE!!! We’ve lived here almost six years and hubby STILL doesn’t know where things from the dishwasher go. Drives me bananas. And he’s always turning te Tupperware cupboard into a train wreck.

    But hey, he did buy me roses and chocolate and a stuffed animal today. 🙂

    And I didn’t know you could refreeze bread!! Really??

  7. My husband tried to “help” by putting away the leftovers a few weeks ago. He scooped the potato soup into a tupperware. The next day when I couldn’t find it in the fridge, I assumed he’d taken it to work for lunch. A week later when I finally located the ungodly stench permeating my kitchen, I realized that he’d put it BACK IN THE TUPPERWARE CUPBOARD.

    He tries to blame new-baby-sleeplessness, but I maintain that he just doesn’t know shit. 😉

  8. Carol Too

    I believe you have uncovered one of the great mysteries of “nesting”–yes, indeed one might have to MOVE another object, dish, tupperware, pot, skillet to put something UNDER it. This is also applicable to nesting IN the dishwasher–one often has to move an item put in when the dishwasher was empty to fit everything in rows “like soldiers” I keep saying. bowls behind bowls, plates behind plates. It is the moving of an already “stowed” item that seems to be the real problem–and it really is a Problem!
    BUT what would we have to talk about in retirement but the proper placement of items in the kitchen, eh?
    Nice to know I am only alone in the milk carton incident!

  9. Yup, I agree, it’s universal for husbands. My man can unload the dishwasher and can find the correct cupboard or drawer for some things, but those he isn’t sure about are left on the counter. I’m ok that because he knows other stuff.

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