Garbage In, Garbage Out

This column was published originally April 12, 2006.

Let me make one thing perfectly clear before I begin my weekly rant. That thing is that my wife is an extremely neat and clean person. She works very hard at keeping our household pristine and applies that discipline to everything she does.

Now, she and I have completely different styles of cleanliness. I received my training from my father, who was hardcore Army. That meant cleaning up every step of the way so that you didn’t end up with a huge task at the finish of whatever you were doing.

Use it, put it away immediately. In cooking, wash dirty utensils and pots right away. Throw garbage away as soon as you make it, i.e. eggshells, used tissue, product wrappers, etc. My wife, on the other hand, is like a mini tornado.

You know when she’s doing something because the evidence is laying all around the creation.

Of course, as soon as she’s finished with what she’s doing, she cleans it up immaculately.

I don’t have the patience for that, so I am always throwing things away for her.

That tends to cramp her style, and I’ve been chided for being too quick on the draw and throwing things away that she still needs.

It’s a running joke in our house that if something is missing, it’s probably because I’ve thrown it away.

The other week I was sorting through our collection of magazines.

I took it upon myself to evaluate the usefulness of my wife’s periodicals and threw out an old issue of a cooking magazine by the Food Channel.

She was angry, saying that she was saving a recipe for a dish that happened to be one of my favorites.

I marched straight out to our City & County green trash can and literally dove in head first.

I retrieved the magazine and it was a good thing, because someone had actually thrown away my slightly broken and never used but perfectly good fishing reel.