Opinion: Next stop: Bathroom?


“Mary Ellen, where do we keep the soup spoons? Did you move the instant coffee? Where are the salad bowls?”

This is the kind of stuff I have been asking my wife for 25 years. We had the kitchen renovated this past month, so now I have additional questions, like:

“What’s a convection oven?”

“Where did they hide the dishwasher?”

“Am I allowed to put “New Yorker” cartoons on the new fridge?”

Speaking of that fridge, Mary Ellen has taken great pains to ensure that our new stainless steel beauty retains its charm, so she began by explaining to me that there are only three food groups.

“Dick, there are items we both eat: milk, eggs, fruit and cheese, for example. There are the foods only I enjoy, such as Brussels sprouts, sun-dried tomatoes and organic Greek yogurt. Then, there is the third group. That would be stuff only you like: salami, Bud Lite, hot salsa, leftover KFC, and the elephant ears from the State Fair last year that you insisted on freezing.” Mary Ellen explained that the first two food groups would occupy special places in our new fridge, but all the number threes had to go into our old unit, which has been banished to the basement.

When the six-week project was finally completed, I caught my wife gazing at our new room. “What are you doing?” I asked.

“Admiring my new kitchen, of course,” she said.

“Wait a second – you don’t call it your house. Why is it your kitchen?”

“Well, in the first place, Dick, I had to convince you to agree to the renovation. Then I worked with the designers all spring while you played golf, and this week, without your help, I put everything back in the new cabinets. Oh, and I’ll be doing all the cooking for the rest of our lives while you are downstairs playing Words with Friends on the computer.”

“Okay, so it’s your kitchen. What can I do to help?”

“Please don’t print off little labels that say Knives, Cereal or Can Opener, and stick them on the new cabinet doors. And if a drawer seems stuck, do not try to pry it open with a hammer like you did when we first moved here. That’s when you learned what a false door front is. And just for a change, I want you to read the directions for all the new appliances.”

“I can figure it out by trial and error.”

“Like when you cooked the frozen pizza last night and you hit the 30-second express button 16 times?”

Mary Ellen informed me that next month we are going to renovate my bathroom. I say “my bathroom” because Mary Ellen has never set foot in it. It’s my cracked mirror; it’s my stained bathtub and my disgusting shower curtain. I will miss them, but Mary Ellen said to cheer up, that they will look awesome in the basement storeroom next to the fridge.


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