My What Goes Where?

“Put that over there,” my wife says.

I have no idea what she is talking about because I am standing in a room full of thats and theres.

We just finished remodeling our kitchen and are deep in the process of stashing away all of the things that we had stacked in the living and dining room during the project.

Among the stacks are a bewildering array of things that could constitute a that and in the kitchen there are multiple surfaces – any one of which could be a there.

But it is my fault. I was daydreaming and had lost the thread of what was that and where was there. Now it is almost impossible to get back on track.

THAT, she says, counting on her emphasis to clarify the meaning.

“Where?” I ask.

THERE,” she says, jabbing at the air with her finger.

Naturally, I pick up the wrong thing and move it to the wrong place.

“Noooo,” she says, in utter exasperation, “that goes there.”

This time I understand.

“Now,” she says, “take that and…”

But then she realizes that rather than struggling to describe what it is she wants, it would be easier to do it herself.

So she does it herself.

“Do I have to do everything myself?” she asks.

I know the question is rhetorical because there is no way I am going to get out of moving all of the kitchen stuff back into the kitchen. I know my fate well, I am the household equivalent of a forklift – albeit one with a daydreaming operator.

Normally, we do not have this problem. Both she and I usually know what’s that and where’s there, because we understand each other.

Like all teams who have a long history of working together, we not only know what must be done but we anticipate each others moves. It is like dancing or baseball.

And like dancing or baseball, the beauty of it is in the subtle ways the team moves in sync.

It is what inspires awe when a flock of birds or a school of fish – all suddenly pirouette in perfect formation without any apparent cue.

But then there is us today…

“Okay,” she says, standing on a step stool to reach the highest shelf of her new display case. “Hand me that glass water pitcher – and be careful with it.”

“This?” I ask.

“No,” she says, “that’s a decanter.”

“Oh,” I say, “you mean that thing over there.”

She smiles, finally, we are back in sync.

Author: Almost Iowa

www.almostiowa.com

42 thoughts on “My What Goes Where?”

  1. Nice, Greg. Great humor and yet with a lovely reflection on what happens when a relationship grows and is in sync. Enjoy your new kitchen. I hope you can find all the thats in their new theres. 🙂

  2. Greg. Normally I’d throw out a few attempts to add even more wry wit to your stories, but this time, I have to say that this was a beautiful post. Describing the intimacy and cohesion of a wonderful, mature relationship so simply and so immersively. Loved it.

    However, I hope you don’t fond yourself storing some of the kitchen stuff in the basement. We all know how that’ll end up…

  3. Ah, the joy of marriage! It is an intricate dance step, where both partners anticipate the other’s moves and know exactly what steps to take. It’s especially nice for me, because my husband knows to respond to what I mean to say, rather than what actually comes out of my mouth. Saves us a lot of time and trouble!

    1. Knowing what the other means rather than what they say they mean is two edged sword. It goes like this:

      “That is not what I said.”
      “No, but it is what you meant.”
      “No, it wasn’t.”
      “That is for me to decide.”

  4. Sometimes I think English is a little like Chinese. Depending on the intonation in which you use the term “thingy”, the position of the eyebrows, and a small amount of context, “thingy” can be reliably interpreted many different ways. But only if your partner speaks the same dialect.

    1. Don’t know what it is about dancing and advice – but last week I had a cop caution me about dancing while driving my truck. Some people are just so inhibited. 😦

  5. Oh, you guys! My husband will dry dishes and ask ‘where does this go?’ I tell him the same place it has gone for the past 20 years. Always fun to watch and see what he does…… No, I’m not that bitchy all the time. 😀

    1. I tell him the same place it has gone for the past 20 years

      Well then… it is about time for a creative change. I’ve been known to stash platters in the breadbox.

  6. Murmurations are wonderful to see. It does occur to me that a murmuration might also be useful when a full-out oration is out of the question: say, after being asked for the fourteenth time to see if that might not fit better over there.

  7. Excellent post. “Guess who stopped by? Whosy head and dread.” “What for?” “To return the lawn thingamajig.” “Did he?” “Yup in the garage.” “But.” “All clean.”

    1. Yeah – but when I hear that, I know it is not my buddy Stan she is talking about – he never returns anything of mine and what he does return isn’t mine.

  8. Both Poor John and I can relate to this—but on different levels. I think I’m the one on the stepladder. As an aside, we have named our cupboards, so a comment such ‘put that at eye level in Manhattan’ makes sense to everyone in the family.

    1. I like your idea of naming the cupboards but ‘put that at eye level in Manhattan’ might not work in our house…

      “Your eye level or mine?”
      “Mine – but that one is not Manhattan.”
      “What? I thought we named the one with all the lights, Manhattan.”
      “No, we named the one on the island, Manhattan.”

      1. Since dropping off the world’s edge, have been sneakily dipping into bits your stuff (and stuff of others) on occasion, quietly, but my laughter from your comment could probably be heard almost all the way in Iowa.

  9. I hope you get the place back in order. My wife once asked me what I wanted for dinner. I replied: “do you have the stuff you need to make that stuff?” She knew exactly what I wanted.

    1. “do you have the stuff you need to make that stuff?”

      In our house the response would be:

      “What? Are we going to be eating the same old, same old again?”

      “What do you want?”

      “You know.”

  10. “It is what inspires awe when a flock of birds or a school of fish – all suddenly pirouette in perfect formation without any apparent cue.”

    Great image–I instantly saw a starling murmuration!

    1. It reminds me of Gracie Field’s great WWII song, “Thing-Ummy-Bob”

      She’s the girl that makes the thing that drills the hole
      that holds the spring that drives the rod that turns the knob
      that works the thing-ummy-bob.
      She’s the girl that makes the thing that holds the oil
      that oils the ring that takes the shank that moves the crank
      that works the thing-ummy-bob.

      It’s a ticklish sort of job making a thing for a thing-ummy-bob
      Especially when you don’t know what it’s for
      But it’s the girl that makes the thing that drills the hole
      that holds the spring that works the thing-ummy-bob
      that makes the engines roar.
      And it’s the girl that makes the thing that holds the oil
      that oils the ring that works the thing-ummy-bob
      that’s going to win the war.

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