"let your boat of life be light, packed with only
what you need - a homely home and simple pleasures, someone to love and someone to love you,
enough to eat and enough to wear
and a little more than enough to drink:
for thirst is a dangerous thing"

Monday, 15 August 2011

etiquette of a different kind

I have been thinking quite a bit lately about the culture shock that Michael has gone through since he met (and then married) me.  Besides the fact that his previous home was a quiet one containing one ballerina daughter, the now full and noisy house sometimes containing all 3 sporting step-sons and the friends and girlfriends that move with them, is enough of a shock on its own.  However, copes with this in his stride. 

I know that every relationship has it's little "quirks" and "idiosyncrasies" and that couples find their own way of dealing with them.   Maybe we both still find things "quirky" because we are still a month or so short of our 2 year anniversary.  It is the little day to day things that living together brings that continually amuse me and I thought that you would enjoy them as well.

Kitchen etiquette. 

The milk sachets.  When Michael opens the milk it is done with precision - 2 small cuts (with a scissors) of equal size on each corner.  I can also do it the way he does, if I tried (hard).  However, when I cut open the sachet it is usually because I need the milk in a hurry at the hob so the closest implement to the sachet is the bread or carving knife (I must confess as well to, years ago, having to use my teeth as the sauce I was stirring needed extra milk and quickly).  I quickly chop off both corners with a sawing motion and without much thought to whether the sachet is facing in the right direction (subconsciously (and not meanly), I think I may put the sachet into the jug upside down, because it does not really matter (does it?). 

Sandwich making.  Do you know that slices of bread have partners?  All my years of making trays of sandwiches for cricket teas, I was unaware of this fact.  I take the bread out of the packet and butter which ever side comes out first.  When it was pointed out to me how to match your slices of bread, once again it did made sense and neater sandwiches but the question is - What happens to that sandwich when it hits your gullet, does it matter then? 

OMW, decided to Google it and found this:-

"A little difficulty will be experienced in making sandwiches unless care is taken in matching the slices. After being cut, they should be laid out in pairs with corresponding sides together, so that when they are spread two pieces that do not fit will not have to be put together."

Michael was taught well.  (Mom besides sending me to "that school" you also did not teach me that each slice of bread had a partner). 

The salt cellar.  The only superstition that I knew about salt was that if you spilt it you threw it over your left shoulder.  Something I quite enjoy doing and probably because it is the one of the few times you are allowed to throw a foodstuff around.  (I usually make sure someone is behind my left shoulder so that it can hit them full on in the face).  A new one to me is the Kotze superstition.  Do you know that it is unlucky to pass the salt from hand to hand at the table?  You should always put it down on the table for the person requesting the salt?  I am not a believer in superstitions and I love walking under ladders - in fact I will cross a road to walk under a ladder (if it is not too wide a road to cross).  Black cats in the road - I love it (not cats) and actually accelerate so that the cat is forced to make up its mind or slow I down for it to cross in front of me. So the salt cellar at the table is like a red rag to a bull for me.  I test Michael's reflexes all the time and have even pretended to drop the salt to see if he would catch it.  He did. The only bad luck that his quick catching could have brought him was getting married to me, so perhaps there is something in his superstition.  And I think I am one of the luckiest people I know.
The chocolate tin.  How can anyone make a Bar One last for a week?  Michael's look of amazement on a Sunday when the large Cadbury's Whole Nut that he opened the previous Sunday when his mother was here (they ate 6 blocks between them) is not in the tin.  Hello!!!  I think the slab was probably finished by the time he had returned from delivering his mother safely home that first Sunday or the Monday night at the latest.  Open slabs of chocolate do not keep.

Bathroom etiquette.  Lucky (for me) we each have our own bathroom.  I was quick to give up the en-suite off our bedroom for the new bathroom with the totally amazing (but seriously not water wise) showerhead.  The en-suite shower is a tad pokey and dark and I love the new bathroom which has lots of space and light.  If we had to share the Aquafresh toothpaste tube on a daily basis, I could foresee problems.  Can you believe that Michael still has stripes in his tube of toothpaste when the toothpaste gets down to the last couple of squeezes?  Every time I am ready to turf out my "empty" tube he takes it over and manages to use it for another week at least.  He does not mind doing it but is shocked at the state of the tube and, in particular, the lack of stripes.  If he could see Nic attack the toothpaste tube when he stays over he would understand in an instant (and I am not that much better but I do try and neaten it up from time to time).

Wallet etiquette.  Michael's wallet is in perfect order.  His notes are filed all facing the same way.  My purse is a war zone of slips, competitions to enter and notes in every compartment (actually I wish, but when I do have notes they are in every compartment).  There is nothing nicer than finding a R100 note hiding behind your credit cards.  This presents a problem when I am asked for a particular slip and the whole month's worth of slips flutter out.

Heater etiquette.  Here we also differ.  We have those mounted wall heaters which I have been told (by numerous intelligent friends) should be left on for the entire winter.  Michael does not agree and it has become a silent war of wills as to who is switching on and who is switching off the heaters (no-one confesses and the switches never know what has hit them).

Key and nail clipper etiquette.  How can you always remember to put your keys in the same place?  Why do I always end up looking for the car key in the depths of my bag when we have a key holder hook system at the door as we walk in?  A bit the same as the nail clipper which Michael can always lay his hands on in an instant (except if I have been there first).

Sleep etiquette.  Michael falls asleep in the same position as what he wakes up in.  I toss and turn.  Flip my pillow every hour because I like the cold side of the pillowslip on my face.  Even on the coldest nights I enjoy having one leg and arm exposed to the elements.  There is something satisfying in getting quickly warm again, even if it means heating yourself on the furnace (Michael).  I go to the bathroom at least 3 times a night and bounce back into bed.  He never complains and is mostly unaware of the activity going on next to him. (Thank goodness).

Office etiquette.  Gill and I have much fun in our front office.  We share our secrets and a love of sweet things and know that we can usually find something "illegal" in his office when the urge arises.  Half eaten slice of cheese-cake from a birthday a few days ago,  a box of biscuits from a happy client, half a Bar One secured with a rubber band or a pretty stale bran muffin from the week before. 

A problem arose when our favourite client brought in the most beautiful box of Cassis Petit Fours - about 12 little works of art (maybe even 15), beautifully presented as a gift for "all the extra work we do for him".  Michael (sorry for him) was at the Deeds Office.  We did the "you choose one, then I choose one" system of sharing (hoping that the other girls would not catch us in the act but after all, they do not do any "extras" for Mr Whitfield).  Eventually 4 (or 5) of the least favourite ones were left.  We gave each other "the look" and dived into them as well (all before Michael returned from the Deeds Office). 

Just like these but in a beautiful box (maybe a tad smaller as well)
Or maybe not!!!

Both Matthew and I have learned a lot since living with Michael.  Matthew is very much like Mike in many ways (his wallet is always neat, he has a pencil case and puts his CD's immediately back into their covers (and the pens and pencils back in the pencil case)).  Matthew made a comment the other day about the many uses of rubber bands which he has learned from Mike (to keep your bag of peanuts fresh, to open a jar, to keep your slab of chocolate covered by the wrapping (tut-tut) - the list goes on).  He has also learned to use a drill, how to hang your clothes properly on the washing line (to minimize ironing) and to strike a match in the bathroom after abluting to immediately eliminate smells (It works, I promise and I wish I knew that trick when I lived with 3 boys and many weekend boarders and visitors at Albion Road).

Wine etiquette.  Michael buys me a bottle of sauvignon blanc and I rave about it.  Next moment I look he has stocked up on a couple of cases of the stuff.  One bottle later and I am not so sure that it was as good as I first thought.  It goes into storage and is eventually (when stocks are low) recycled, chilled and enjoyed.  (I am the only person I know who actually enjoyed drinking retsina in Greece, so who am I to be fussy about wine).  Chilled correctly, with the right food and company a girl can be versatile.

I must drive him to distraction and I, sincerely hope he finds these things "quirky" as well.  This all makes for a very interesting and entertaining life which I would not change for anything. 

PS.  Michael - I will forgive you for the television being on until 2 this morning (I lost interest after Luke Donald and Phil Mickelson bombed out), if you forgive me for switching on the wall heaters after you had left for work this morning!!!

The life and love we create is the life and love we live.
~ by Leo Buscaglia ~

1 comment:

  1. haha...Mikey just as I remember the darling man....and what about the matching bouncing balls and undies???? By the way, Ian has always refused to handle the salt....also waits for people to put it down...apparently in the Navy one has to "place the salt" too! haha....that was so funny! Love you both to bits. xxxx