1 - Balanced Eggs - Does anyone remember being taught in Driver's Ed to remove and tighten lug nuts opposite each other when changing a tire? I do. And for some reason, that logic and the notion of balance led to my Egg Removal System. I start by taking one of the outer eggs out. The second egg to be removed is the one opposite the now empty spot at the other end of the container. This results in a nicely balanced egg carton.
My husband on the other hand, seems to thrive on the precariousness of chaos. He takes eggs haphazardly from random locations in the carton. Sometimes, he removes all of the center eggs. This isn't too bad because at least the container remains balanced. However, other times, I have picked up the carton only to have it tilt dangerously under the weight of the remaining eggs all being on one side. If I were a more suspicious person, I might even think his pattern wasn't random at all, but part of some master plan designed to make me crazy, even though he insists that 'this is the way we do it on Earth'.
|This is madness!|
2 - FIFO vs LIFO - The most important principle in my kitchen. When I first began shouting FIFO at my husband, he accused me of speaking in my alien tongue, and it took me some time to realize that I must have learned the principles of FIFO and LIFO in economics courses I took in college. Apparently, they don't teach that in standard high school educations (a glaring oversight in my humble obsessive compulsive opinion).
FIFO (First in first out) ensures that I will not have to engage in one of those horrid sessions where I end up discarding food items that somehow expired before we even bought our current home. My husband's LIFO (last in first out) system means that he will always be using our freshest ingredients, which might sound like a good thing but actually brings wastefulness to new heights. My obsessive compulsive stocking up plan directly clashes with his LIFO plan. More battles have been fought over FIFO/LIFO than I care to recount.
3 - Manual pre-wash - This brings us to Antoine. Who is Antoine, you ask? He is my dishwasher. No, I don't have a servant, it's the name I gave to the automatic dishwasher (because the perfect man would do dishes, right?) Anyway, Antoine was only named after the TV incident. Let me explain.
A few years ago, we decided it was time to join the 21st Century and buy a digital television. We lugged the old heavy clunker off the TV stand and went to the store. Hubby's eyes glazed over in euphoria as he envisioned himself sitting on the couch watching the latest action flick that starred a marine, a firefighter, and a cop chasing an alien monster through a city in hovercrafts on a screen three times the size of our old clunker. I snapped my fingers to regain his attention and we set about selecting a big screen television. He hugged the box the whole way as we wheeled the big cart through the parking lot to the car, where we realized that the box was too big and clunky to fit in my little Saturn. So we removed the large packaging right there in the parking lot and with a lot of grunting, cursing and 'be carefuls' barely managed to fit the television in the back seat. I drove home while hubby knelt on the floor holding the TV to prevent it from falling into the seats or windows. As I struggled to navigate the mean streets without the benefit of being able to actually see anything in my rearview mirror, I heard him murmuring to the newest member of our household. "What are you doing?" I asked. "I'm telling Gladys that everything will be okay," he replied. (And he thinks I'm the one who's crazy?)
At any rate, since he had Gladys, I named the new dishwasher Antoine. However, though Antoine does dishes, he is not a superhero. He cannot remove stuck on food, and if no pre-wash is performed, he spits plates and utensils back out still carrying remnants of the prior evening's meal. Just last week, my husband asked if I had unloaded and rinsed off the dirty dishes in Antoine because he recalled them having a lot more residue on them. "Aha!" I attempted to use this as an opportunity to reiterate the importance of dish-scraping, but I think the message was lost in his insistence that I am insane for sneaking around behind his back to rinse and reorder the dishwasher.
Because of course there is a set pattern for loading Antoine in the most efficient manner possible. Unfortunately, I have been unable to properly convey these rules to my husband. For the most part, I simply wait for him to leave the room to reconfigure the load pattern. Never, ever disrupt a man when he is loading the dishwasher. This might discourage him and result in an even worse condition ... dishes left in the sink.
4 - Recycling On a serious note, recycling is very important to me. I am afraid that our abuse of the environment is stealing the future from the next generation.
As such, I have tried various techniques to enforce recycling in my home. I set up a composter, which I really liked until I realized that my dogs would always know that the composted material was originally food as evidenced by their tendency to eat the dirt.
I try to limit the number of paper products we use, however convincing my husband that it shouldn't take 15 paper towels to drain the grease and oil from chicken cutlets has proved to be an insurmountable obstacle.
Our town collects a lot of material in its recycling efforts, and I've tried to keep my husband updated on the latest changes, but his memory program must need updating because he keeps reverting back to Recycling version 1.0 in which only minimal amounts of material are collected. This means I actually have to REMOVE items from the garbage in order to redistribute them to the appropriate recycling container. This is not - I repeat NOT - a task that I am fond of.
5 - An Easy Retrievable Inventory Plan I have OCD. I admit it. I'm not ashamed (most of the time), but that's only because few people actually see the extent of my madness, which only becomes visible when one opens a cabinet and sees 20 plus cans of tuna. This would be less problematic if I were a Doomsday Prepper, but I'm not.
|My madness revealed|
Now, in keeping with my FIFO standard, the cans are stacked in order of best by date, but that's still a whole lot of tuna. (On a side note, I have resisted the temptation to further organize them by brand name, unlike my aging CD collection, which is still stored in Genre/Artist/Date of release order.)
And that's just one example. I currently have 31 rolls of paper towels and 42 rolls of toilet paper, yet somehow I managed to run out of tissues at the height of allergy season. And that's because of improper Inventory Storage. My husband believes that if you're able to close the freezer/cabinet door or the shelf doesn't collapse under the weight of its massive supplies then all is well. However, as you can see, not only does this violate my FIFO principle, but it makes it very difficult to tell when you are running low on something. Now, my husband believes this wasn't a problem because we have enough toilet paper to see us through the decade and that can be used in a pinch as a substitute, but TP is a poor substitute for tissues, especially when your trees are dropping enough pollen to make your car seem as though it is glowing with nuclear waste.
The quest for an easy inventory management system continues.
I suppose some people will read this and conclude that I am either insane or an alien as my husband insists, but I believe order in the kitchen to be one of the keys to personal happiness and marital bliss.