My husband has funny habits. Of course, he thinks mine are funnier, but we know better.
He has some kind of phobia of cold, wet sponges. On occasion, finding one that is sopping and full of slimy bacteria as it rests in the kitchen sink, he will make some kind of “heeeeeeeeeeewwwww gross” noise, pull it out with two slender fingers, cringe as he squeezes it dry, and then fling it into the microwave for a good radiation treatment. I asked him once as he was dancing with revulsion at yet another soaked sponge why he could not bear it. “You’re a veteran of war,” I said, “Haven’t you seen grosser stuff?”
He has solved our sponge differences by buying his own set (no kidding), the bulk of which he hides above the fridge so that I can continue to gross out the household by leaving my wet sponge in the bottom of the sink while his sits lean, dry, and haughty on the rim by the sprayer. I did ask his youngest child about this, to which she snorted, “You’re just finding this out?” Periodically, just to make myself smile, I’ll clean the whole kitchen with his sponge.
There are rules and regulations for pots and pans as well. In his previous life, my lovely man had purchased his own pans and housed them on top of the fridge with a cloth towel between each pan. He had tired of coming down into the kitchen to see that one teenager or another had scrambled an egg and left the skillet all fried up and crusty for someone else to scour. Or maybe the kid had scratched it with a metal tool. My first thought when I heard about this was: Your kids scramble their own eggs! Only to be followed by: Really, you had your own set of pans in a married household. But, because I completely respect the idea of caring for things we wish to last, I developed a nice system for storing his pans neatly on their sides in a rack that does not allow them to touch and scratch. The other day, I held one up to the light and deliberated running it through the dishwasher instead of the usual hand washing, but then decided I better to be safe than sorry. I’d hate something to happen to the cast iron skillet that I have babied and kept seasoned and rust free for 15 years. Retribution via dishpan abuse isn’t pretty.
I have also been amused by toilet seat lid policy, which states that lids must be placed closed at all times except, of course, when in use. I had never thought about this. For me, dealing with the lid, the less I have to touch the toilet, the better. So I would leave it up, but doing so really bothered my spouse. One day, finding some kind of Wings of Blue Parachute Team sticker on the bottom of the lid like a warning (if you don’t lower the lid, you’re tandem jumping with me next weekend), I threw out the sticker and threatened to buy a pink fuzzy toilet seat cover for our bathroom. I did wind up acquiescing to lower the seat lid after use, but announced that I would not bother training the children to do this because frankly, I was happy enough that they both peed in the toilet, especially the youngest child. I think the kids have enough to worry about, so let their toilet be, well, their toilet. In the meantime, I focus my energies on true crimes such as wet towels on the floor and blue toothpaste on the ceiling.
It’s funny what newlyweds learn about each other that first married year. For example, I have some kind of problem fastening lids on anything (I did not notice—my spouse did) and dog hair upsets me terribly (the husky sheds twice a year and it’s gross). What’s funnier is the projected future reversal of habits, preferences, and aversions, because this always happens when people are married to each other for a long time. People trade things about themselves. In the first marriage, I broke spaghetti before tossing it in the pot and closed the kitchen cabinet doors after my husband. At the end of that ill-fated marriage, my husband habitually broke spaghetti noodles and ran after me to close the cabinet doors. His jaw would hit the floor to know that I cannot leave the bedroom without making the bed and that I clean my prep dishes as I cook so that the post-supper bust and scrub session is quick. Makes me wonder what I’ll be doing ten years from now… maybe hiding my skillet from the kids and hording sponges.