Dan”, she screamed. “The tag goes on the inside.” Of course, I know it does because she has told me so a hundred times. It has been a while since I helped my wife put new sheets on the bed. Her reminder came as I stuffed the pillow into the pillowcase in a way that would leave the tag on the pillow in the opening. After 43 years, I should know that is a big no-no.
I would suggest there are not many things left to change after all these years. It feels like all my bad habits have slowly been corrected until I am literally the perfect husband. She would say that we get along because she chooses to ignore all but the most egregious of my errors.
It started shortly after we were married. It was a surprise that she felt like I should pick my own socks up and put them in the laundry basket each day. Prior to marriage, that was probably a once-a-week task. Underwear probably fit into that same category. It took a while, but I gradually gave in to her wishes. That was just the beginning.
The next thing I know, she wanted me to pick up the paper that I read cover to cover each day, leaving the sections strown about wherever I finished. Once again, I acquiesced.
Next, it was to use a napkin instead of paper towel. That is one I still struggle with. Frankly, when she is not at home for a meal, I secretly use paper towels, making sure they are put in the bottom of the trashcan before she returns.
An early debate was one I agreed with quickly. The toilet tissue rolls over the top. That keeps it from hanging against the wall. Not a big deal when it is as clean as our bathrooms are kept at home, but you have seen some of those commercial bathrooms. You know, the ones with the empty hourly checklist on the back of the door. You do not want anything, including the toilet tissue, to touch the walls.
In fairness, I won one of our early battles over the type of peanut butter to purchase. I was raised on peanut butter, which meant smooth peanut butter. Crunchy peanut butter made me feel like the manufacturer had not completed the process. After years of being a two peanut butter family, she finally came over to the smooth side.
After a few decades, new differences arise out of nowhere. The latest thing I became aware of that I was doing wrong was leaving a glass upside down in the sink. I would do that as I went to bed at night so the glass would drain. Then I found out that it would leave a stain in the sink. I thought that is why we had a porcelain sink in the first place, so that it would not stain. This old dog learned that new trick quickly.
There are some things I will never do as well as Mary Lou. Try as I might, I just cannot fold t-shirts with the same crisp lines that she seems to do with little effort. We agreed that it was just easier for her to do it herself.
That is when it hit me. If I occasionally did something wrong, I might not have to do it at all. There is a certain finesse to being successful with this approach. It must never appear you are doing it on purpose, and you must always feign surprise or sorrow at forgetting yet again.
Take pillows. If you occasionally leave the tag out of the opening in the case, you just might find out that you do not have to change the sheets at all for a long time. Who says you cannot teach this old dog a new trick?