96: Cupboard Space

96: Cupboard Space

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Home Sweet Home

Cupboard Space

The only difference between men and boys is the cost of their toys.

~Author Unknown

I believe my kitchen has the standard amount of cupboards. Not banks and banks of them like those dream kitchens featured on HGTV, but definitely a normal amount. As a matter of fact, I’m positive that I’d have ample storage space if it weren’t for a certain husband I live with, a certain husband named Mark who can’t seem to breathe quite right if there isn’t a pair of pliers or a flashlight within his reach at all times.

It doesn’t matter that there’s a workroom in the basement, mere steps away from the kitchen, loaded with saws and hammers, levels and files. Nor does it seem to matter that said workroom is all his. I haven’t tried to use his workbench or decorate the basement windows with cute curtains or do anything to impinge on his man space. His workroom is as macho as he is, with a concrete floor and cinder block walls, and that’s just how Mark likes it. I’ve given up any claim on his workroom. I wish I could say the same about my kitchen.

“I just need one drawer in the kitchen to store a few of my tools,” he told me shortly after we’d moved in.

“Why do you need to store tools in the kitchen?” I asked.

Looking at me as if I’d asked him why it was necessary to drink water, Mark replied, “It makes sense to keep duplicates of tools I use all the time upstairs so I don’t have to run down to the basement whenever I need a hammer or a nail.”

“One drawer,” I conceded. “This is the first kitchen we’ve ever had where I won’t have to keep the Bundt pan on top of the refrigerator. I need all the cupboards for storage.”

“One drawer,” he promised.

Knowing I should know better, I reluctantly agreed. Quickly, Mark filled his allotted drawer to the very brim with vital things like sandpaper, screwdrivers, and roll after roll of duct tape. I stepped in as he tried to jam a cordless drill on top.

“One drawer,” I reminded him.

“I know.” Mark flashed me his familiar smile, the same smile that got me to agree to paint the bedroom my least favorite color and go on vacation to Arkansas in August. “One drawer is all I need.” Pause. “Well, maybe two drawers would be a better idea. Then I could definitely store my new flashlight charger in here. The kitchen is a good place to keep a flashlight charger.”

And so it went. Before I could say “Hot Springs National Park,” my mixer was sharing a shelf with boxes of bolts. My dishcloths nestled next to tubes of caulk. And my poor Bundt pan was relegated to an empty spot in the laundry room. I got used to looking for the blender and finding a staple gun. It seemed normal to stow the cereal boxes beside paintbrushes. And, in a warped way, it did make sense for Mark to store everything upstairs, saving himself from that long trek down the basement.

Then came the day when I opened a skinny cupboard wedged between the dishwasher and the refrigerator and discovered that it was empty. That particular cupboard had somehow escaped our notice. Staring in delight, I tried to decide just what might fit in the small, awkward space. Aluminum foil? Waxed paper? Perhaps the Bundt pan if I stood it on its side?

Mark strolled into the kitchen, interrupting my reverie. “Hey,” he commented, “I didn’t realize that cupboard was empty. It’s the perfect spot for my new airless — ”

I slammed the door shut. I had had enough. “This cupboard is taken,” I informed him. “The only fingerprints I want to see on it are mine and Betty Crocker’s.”

Seeing that I meant business, Mark backed down. “You keep it,” he told me generously. “After all, this is your kitchen.”

I’m thinking of having husband-proof locks installed. And I know just who to hire to install them.

~Nell Musolf

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