Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Of Place Mats and Tablecloths

The boys (all three) ate without me tonight - I had a late meeting (one agenda item - changing the standard 4-6 pm meeting time to improve work-life balance). Everyone was tired and cranky, but Math Man kept me company at the table (and had nice things to say about the bread I'd baked last night). As I cleared the table after dinner and whisked off the tablecloth covered in crumbs I found myself contemplating the simplicity of the covering.

Math Man and I are agreed to disagree on this point. I think that not having to wipe down individual place mats, which are then left as "visual clutter" all over the kitchen to dry (and as a result occasionally catch fire on the stove), and not having to wipe down the table (except when someone's glass has been knocked over) is a huge time saver. It takes me just a minute to take off the tablecloth, put on a fresh one and toss the dirty one into the hamper at the top of the basement steps. Pop a plant into the middle of the table and I'm done. To him, it seems "too fussy" to use a tablecloth . Why cover more than you use? Last summer, I finally got to the point where the sight of 4 placemats on the table, which would have to be washed, would take up all my counter space while drying AND a table which would have to be wiped down drove me to tears.

I finally realized tonight, it's not the mats versus the cloth - it's that my life is so tightly packed that those extra minutes and that visual clutter were the final straw.

Fewer things, please.


  1. read somewhere that every healthy marriage has several irreconcilable differences. my wife is putting up with the clutter of many books about Wisdom/sophia.. hopefully the paper will be done soon.

  2. for thought :)

  3. I completely get your feelings about visual clutter triggering overwhelm from time shortages.