Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Where does it come from?

Now that the deadline for filing taxes is looming the questions are starting to come in. My husband does the taxes but he does not do any of the other household admin, including filing all the various bills, receipts, statements and so on. As a result, we have conversations that go something like this:
Him: Honey, where are the donation receipts for 2010?
Me: In the 2010 donation receipt file folder.
Him: And where would I find that?
Me: In the file drawer.
Him: We have a file drawer?

At this point it occurs to me if I were to suddenly disappear, say to a witness protection program, they would be totally screwed. I'm not talking about the obvious stuff such as making school lunches, doing the laundry, making dinner and other such menial tasks. My husband would very quickly outsource those tasks and things would keep rolling.

Instead I am talking about the information that is stored up in my brain, otherwise known as the *household hard drive*. My institutional knowledge is invaluable. Not only can I recall when our gutters were cleaned last (too long ago) I can tell you who did it, how much it cost and the overall rating of their job. My husband, if pressed to recall this information, would reply that it was some guys from somewhere who came sometime and we paid them something.

One of the biggest problems facing my family would be that they have no idea where things come from. Luckily they seem to realize that food comes from either the grocery store or by going to a restaurant, so they wouldn't starve. It is the other things that would stump them. For instance, where does toilet paper come from, and how does a new roll magically appear on the spool when the old one runs out? Another thing that may flummox them - where do the paper towels come from, and if we did have some in the house, where would they be stored (other than on the paper towel holder)? How does the dishwasher get loaded, and where is the button to start it? What do you put in the washing machine in order to get the clothes clean? Better yet, where is the washing machine located? There is a long list of items that they believe are delivered to our home by elves. Printer paper, tape, staples, soap, toothpaste, napkins, Advil, kleenex tissue, ziploc bags, socks, shampoo, band aids - just to name a few.

Another potential pitfall is that no one has a clue about the schedule, despite the fact that I post it on a white board calendar in the kitchen. Every morning I must run down the agenda for the day. School? They look at me in shock and disbelief - you mean we have to go *again*? For the most part our weekday schedule is fairly consistent and yet it surprises them that here it is Monday and my daughter has soccer practice. And my husband isn't much better. In fact, a few months ago I sent him two emails and verbally reminded him about his dental appointment. Which he forgot. But its all good because he can recall in vivid detail the scores of all the Final Four games for the past two decades. After all, why should he waste brain space remembering a dental visit when the household hard drive can do that for him?

So if you hear about my sudden disappearance you may want to drive over to my house and drop off some paper goods. Don't bother to update the white board calendar because no one reads it but me. And tell my children that yes, they have school *again* today, and by the way, here are their lunches.


  1. my husband and i had a conversation last week about this - i was frustrate that instead of looking for his stuff (where he put it) he stands in the middle of the living room with a perplexed look and asks me "where's my peninsula map?" and i tell him, of course, "in your map drawer." or he'll ask "where's my thumb drive" and i'll say "it was somewhere weird... check the bathroom counter" and then i asked him why he asks me for stuff instead of looking, and told him it's really frustrating to have to keep track of his stuff. he told me that if i didn't always know where everything was, he wouldn't ask me. he said i am keeping him from keeping track of his own stuff. my mental acrobatics is allowing him to not waste brain space remembering where he left his underwear (in his underwear drawer). dammit.

  2. I do the taxes at my house. I ask the same questions but have to answer them myself. So I just look like a crazy lady yelling about missing papers and the IRS' inability to write a sentence that makes any sense. I feel your pain.

  3. We also have convenient little elves. Our elves our mostly known for changing the cat box. From time to time, the helpful elves will wash all the dishes in the sink, do several loads of laundry and put it all away, or maybe even put 1000 photos in albums. Those elves! Gotta love 'em!
    ps--the dark side is: the elves have a chocolate fetish. They eat anything with a Godiva logo.... ok, I won't lie, they'll eat anything with a Hershey logo too.