Monday, October 22, 2012
After thirty years of marriage, there are few things left for Cupcake and I to fight about. The vast majority of minor rough spots have been smoothed out from decades of constant friction. The only issues in dispute that remain are the deeply philosophical disagreements that lack any common ground for us to meet on. One example of this is Tupperware storage.
Tupperware, of course, is that amazing line of plastic containers founded by Canadian Prime Minister Charles Tupper in 1896. Originally designed to keep his tobacco moist and his powder dry, the first containers Tupper produced were made of buffalo leather and had draw strings instead of snap lids. Although Tupperware is probably the best known name in their industry, the field is also populated with such bright lights as Rubbermaid, the Glad garbage bag folks and whoever supplies the cheapie knock-offs at Dollarama. No matter who the manufacturer is, however, they all have the same fatal flaw; trying to find a lid to match the container in hand is harder than finding true love on eHarmony.
Scientists have theorized how this phenomenon occurs. Some studies suggest lids are designed to shrink after washing so they will no longer fit their container, so new ones will continually need to be purchased. Other expert hypotheses point the finger at the same supernatural presence that steals individual socks from laundry appliances everywhere. These evil entities snatch all the lids from the Tupperware cupboard and swap them out for lids from neighbors who buy different brands than you. Yet other researchers suggest food particles change the molecular structure of the containers; warping them just enough the lid only fits the first time it’s used.
Cupcake doubts the experts. Knowledge and information have never cluttered her opinions to date and this issue is no different. She misguidedly believes that, with proper attention and diligence, our Tupperware cupboard can be organized to make container and lid storage a breeze. She has a mental map showing where everything ought to be, with special areas for round lids, square lids, oval lids and even miscellaneous lids. There are also corresponding spots for each container, sorted into the various aforementioned shape configurations. These are further subdivided into make, manufacturer and microwavability. It is an impressive organizational triumph.
Unfortunately, however, Cupcake is not usually the person responsible for cleaning up after supper when the containers are required, nor is she responsible for putting them away when emptying the dishwasher. I don’t mind this arrangement except for one small, practically insignificant problem; she is the one with the map. When I put the Tupperware away, I invariably toss it in the cupboard wherever it looks like it might fit and then slam the door to keep it all in. Out of sight, out of mind has lasted so long as a motto because it actually works… for a while, anyway.
This strategy breaks down when one of two eventualities occur; either; a) I need to find a container and lid combination in a hurry and end up trying every single container and lid combination in the cupboard or b) Cupcake opens the cupboard and takes note of our contrasting styles of storage. When it’s an “a” situation, it’s a problem but when it’s a “b” condition, it’s a crisis.
“How can you not follow a simple plan to keep these containers straight?” Cupcake will fume as she starts throwing our entire collection of mismatched plastic into a heap in the middle of the kitchen. “I’m sure even a two-year old could figure it out.”
“Maybe if the two year-old had previously engaged in a Vulcan mind-meld to know your secret storage plan,” I reacted defensively, although possibly unwisely. “I mean it’s a great idea in theory but it’s much more difficult in practice; sort of like that whole ‘living happily ever after’ concept. It’s like if I had a set idea where you should put all the crap you keep in your sewing tote, but don’t tell you where I had decided it all should be, then get mad at you because it isn’t how I want it.”
“This has nothing to do with sewing and everything to do with taking pride in the house we share,” Cupcake shot back, totally ignoring the great point I had just made. I suddenly felt a strange kinship with Tom Mulcair when talking to Stephen Harper.
“I am proud of our house but the Tupperware in it, not so much,” I shrugged. “Look, even if we find a match for every container and lid we own and toss all the oddballs, it won’t change anything. Within a week, we will be in the exact same position as we are now.”
“I will not tolerate this sort of disorder!” she stated sternly, her Germanic roots showing through the Newfoundland dye job. “Every time I see the state of this cupboard, I can’t help it. I get angry.”
“Okay,” I responded agreeably. “so the problem isn’t the state of the cupboard, it’s your reaction to seeing it?”
“Well, of course,” she looked at me suspiciously. “What are you driving at?”
“Here’s the solution, then,” I put in quickly before she had too much time to think about it. “Stop looking in the cupboard. If you need any kind of container, just leave it to me.”
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” she grunted.
“If you don’t open the door, you have no reason to get mad,” I prodded. “Just pretend that cupboard is where I keep my, oh, I don’t know… my mouse pelts.”
“Fine,” she sighed in resignation. “We’ll try it your way.”
So far, so good!
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