Like many wives, my wife fights a battle every day.
She often feels the struggle is hopeless.
Kenna wants a nice, neat home. The problem is that my possessions interfere.
She knows if she doesn’t pay attention, every flat surface in the house will be covered with papers.
She’s never come right out and said it, but I know she wants to exile me to a small corner of the house.
Her constant fear is that my possessions are spreading. She says they’re threatening to swallow up the house, like primordial ooze.
I don’t like to discard things, because you might need them someday. When you start throwing things away, you’re just asking for trouble.
There’s nothing worse than hasty, ill-advised cleaning. Before you throw away something that might be valuable, you have to give it years of thought.
I am the curator of a great collection. I’m sure someday that a great university will be glad to house my papers. But Kenna uses a mocking tone when she refers to my “precious belongings.”
When Kenna starts cleaning, it makes me nervous.
To give the house an adequate cleaning, she says she’d need a shovel.
Our house has a fireplace. “There’s never a shortage of things to burn around here if the house gets too cold,” she says.
When something goes missing, I sometimes comb through her belongings.
Kenna says, “You can’t pick up your own stuff but you’re always digging in mine.”
I tell people I’m making progress, but that’s mostly a lie. When you have a mess, all you have are good intentions.
Kenna tries to keep my stacks at bay. She has no intention of living in “a pit,” as she calls it.
One day I told her about an actor who is widely considered a slob. I asked if she might be interested in a man who lives in squalor. “Why would I need another one?” she asked.
I finally figured out the jobs of a husband: Stay quiet, stay neat and stay out of the way.
Sometimes, when it all gets to be too much, she says, “I can’t live like this.”
I have grand intentions for retirement. I will sit out in the garage (where I’ll probably be living) and go through my papers.
Not only will I finally bring order to my life, but I’ll find a bunch of stuff I didn’t know I had.
Everybody needs more closet space. So it’s a hopeful sign that our library has a makerspace. If the library has a machine that actually makes space, it would be the solution to all our problems.
I think I have a sheet of paper about the program at home. I’m sure it’ll be easy to find.
Jeff Bahr is a reporter for The Independent. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.