Whenever my wife has some little task that she wants me to perform, such as taking a garbage bag out to the end of the driveway or take a box downstairs, she will leave that box or bag laying in the middle of the entry-way between our dining room and living room. On the object will be a sticky note with the objects destination written on it, like “basement” or “end of driveway”. I have even come home from work to find my oldest daughter sitting in a chair with a note stuck to her forehead that read “girl scouts”.
I find it terribly annoying.
It’s not so much that I am annoyed at doing these little jobs for my wife, It’s more in the way she just leaves the object in a place where I have no choice but to do something with it. And the little notes, she could at least ask me face-to-face . . . . or even add a “please” or a “thank you” to the note. . . . I would even accept a smiley face.
One particular day, I came home from work to find four large boxes blocking my path to the dining room. On each box was a note with its intended destination written on it.
I was angry.
I decided at that very moment that I was putting a stop to this sort of spousal labor oppression. I was not going to move a single box.
When my wife came home from her errands, she looked at the boxes and then at me sitting on the couch.
“Didn’t you see the boxes?” She asked.
“Oh, I saw them alright,” I replied in a tone that I hoped would relay my protest.
With a piercing look that was a little frightening, she let out a “grrrrr,” and stomped off. The boxes were not mentioned for the rest of the night, so I figured that I must have won the battle.
The next day when I got home, the boxes were still sitting in the entryway, only now, there was also a shoe rack that had a sticky note on it that said “shed”. Now I was really angry. The battle of wills was on, and I had no intention of losing. So once again, I ignored the shoe rack and boxes.
For a week, the silent battle raged on. Everyday there was a new object sitting in entryway with a new sticky note attached; so many object that it soon became impossible to walk from the living room to the dining room. The entire entryway had boxes, bags, shoe racks and even my collection of Star trek memorabilia (just to make me angry) all stacked nearly to the ceiling.
For a person to go from the living room/bedroom half of the house to the kitchen/dining room/bathroom half, you had to walk out the front door and around to the back door that entered into the kitchen.
Days went by with neither my wife, nor I giving in. I had begun to get used to our new divided house. At first, I would always go around the north side of the house when traveling from the living room to the kitchen because it was seven steps shorter than going around the south side. But then I realized that I could further make the trip easier by leaving my car parked in the front yard. That way I could simply walk out the front door get in my car and drive to the back door.
This was working great until my whiny neighbor, Robert, complained about the fact that my one set of tires was rolling through his flower bed in order for me to fit my car around the corner of my house. I, not willing to give up so easily, realized that if I removed a small section of fence, it would allow me to drive around the other side of the house and into the back yard, leaving Robert’s precious flowers unhurt.
I could tell that my wife was getting closer and closer to either giving in or killing me. I had an unfair advantage in that, if I had to go to the bathroom while watching TV in the living room, I could simply step out the front door and pee behind our large rose bush (being very mindful of the thorns). She, on the other hand, had to make the entire journey from front door to back door in order to get to the bathroom. I could see her anger mounting with each trip to the bathroom or kitchen.
And then one day it finally happened. I was sitting in the living room watching TV when I heard my wife behind the wall of boxes in the dining room. Looking through a small gap in the clutter, I could see her setting the table for dinner. Putting my mouth up to the small hole, I politely asked, “Could you get me a glass of iced tea? My car is low on gas and I don’t want to chance running out on the trip to the back yard.”
Like a flash, my wife’s eyes appeared in the hole in the wall, piercing me like lasers. She began to scream at me, putting her mouth up to the gap when she was yelling, and then switching back to her angry eyes peeking through to give me dirty looks in between sentences. For ten minutes the fight raged on, followed by the both of us walking out and slamming our respective doors. I went to my shed and I heard my wife get in her car and leave with squealing tires.
Several hours later, I walked back in the front door and into the living room. To my amazement, the pile was completely gone.
“HA! I won!” I exclaimed, somewhat amazed.
At that very moment, my wife came in the back door. She paused for a second, and then said, “I won!”
We were both very confused.
Just then, our two teenage daughters entered the dining room with their arms crossed and very serious looks on their faces. Apparently they had gotten sick of the wall dividing our house and had (for the first time ever) voluntarily taken care of each and every object that made up the wall. They then sat my wife and I down, and lectured us both on getting along and resolving our conflicts peacefully and fairly, sometimes quoting some of my own lectures that I had given them.
In the end, it was decided that my wife could leave things with notes on them if she included the word “please” and I would take care of them. But I also had to replace the section of fence, fix the tire tracks in the lawn and stop peeing on the rose bush. I guess you can’t have everything.