Despite the incredibly high divorce rate in this country, I am quite confident that my wife will never send me packing. That’s because the packing I’m doing now is driving her crazy. As we prepare for carpet installation, Mary Ellen continues her methodical and meticulous approach to the task at hand, carefully wrapping each knick-knack and antique in newspaper or bubble wrap. My routine is quite different. I’m pretty much just scooping stuff off shelves and shoving it in U-Haul boxes and laundry baskets. Breakables? Give me a break.
The good news is: I’m done. Everything is packed. The bad news is: I’m done. Everything is packed. You see, the carpet won’t be here for almost a month. We can survive three weeks without the Dresden China Ballerina that my mother gave us, but I’m starting to get a little edgy about no bar soap, house keys or bed sheets.
My wife isn’t very happy. “The system you’re employing isn’t even user-friendly. Let’s see ... you have a giant box that says ‘junk,’ one that’s labeled ‘doo-dads,’ and one marked ‘stuff.’ And what’s the box with the huge letter C on it?
“That’s another method I use. Everything in the box starts with the letter C. Cameras, canceled checks, can openers ...”
“That explains why I haven’t seen the cat in two days.”
My son came in the room. He was distraught because I had packed his new video game console.
“Not to worry; it’s a C item, Brett. We’ll find it in the C box.”
“Dad, you packed my Xbox in the C box. That’s counterintuitive.” (When one of your children uses a big word like that, it’s a source of pride.)
Mary Ellen went on to say I was behaving in the characteristically neurotic way I approach everything I do in life. I defended myself, of course. “I don’t think I am that compulsive. It’s true all my shirt hangers have to face in the same direction, but my closet runs east and west so I can’t possibly ...
“I am like begging you not to finish this explanation. You’re really scaring me. Here’s what else you do: you put the condiments in the fridge in alphabetical order; and the weirdest thing of all is the way you arrange books on your office shelves.”
“Wait a second. Lots of people have a special way of doing that.”
“By the authors’ first names?”
Despite my wife’s complaints, she did realize that once all the boxes had been neatly piled in the garage, there was a whole lot less disorder in the house — kind of a nice feeling, she said. “Dick, let’s just sit on the couch, cuddle up, watch TV and enjoy our clutter-free home while it lasts.”
“Why don’t we go to the movies instead?” I asked.
“You packed the remote, didn’t you?”
“It’s either in the R box with your raincoat and my Reeboks, or in the gadget box. No worries. I TiVo’d everything for the next month.
As I mentioned, it will be weeks before I can unpack anything. In the meantime, I’d appreciate it if you didn’t call me on my cell phone. It will scare the heck out of the cat.