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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Fridge of my heart

Based on the adage, “The messier the fridge door, the happier the family”, my kids ought to be ecstatic – blissful even. My house should be full of grinning cherubs doing little happy dances.

My gramma Ruby subscribed to this thought - always telling me to “leave it be, and things will fix themselves", but she never sat foot in our kitchen nor was she ever sucked-in by the black abyss that is my fridge.

And this was after a good cleaning
I do want my family to be content, but I would like them to be so with all their good grades and school notices in a three ring binder under their own tabs. I would like all the outstanding bills to be folded and subtly placed on my desk rather than on the freezer door under the world’s largest cow magnet that reads “Did You Forget To Do This?”.

The kids stuff from their school art class is lovely. I would be happy to find some old photography frames that we could hang in the basement stairway instead of duct taped to the fridge.

I would like my prescriptions caution notes to be tossed into the trash can or somewhere private, but, no. They are on the family announcement board so that my mother-in law has something to talk to me about.

“So, Davison, She says pushing her teeth back in, “ I see that you are taking Fluoxetineifluxzac. What a wonderful conglomeration of chemicals it has turned out to be for me, and it has been keeping me up and running for years now so if you have any questions you be sure to ask…Did you know that Davison was taking Fluoxetineifluxzac (she says to Aunt Ruth) for his…constipa-nation or something...what was it you were taking it for again…?"

It’s been a real ice breaker.

I left my tithing envelop out one day by the coupons for "Relax-lax" and now the neighbors
know how much money I don’t make a year.

I came home yesterday and found the neighbor kids reading our fridge like a bulletin board at church.

I have tried to clean off the fridge and peel off all the layers of tape. And put everything into its place with a notebook and three subtle bins. Everything is back within a week. All new stuff but the same old things.

I want my family to be happy. I really do. I love it that the kids bring home macaroni art home from school. I would love to feature each piece in a tasteful black frame under some directional light on a specific wall in the basement somewhere where they could walk past it every so often and say, “I created the salad…art…thing”.

I have read a few suggestions that are supposed to organize the fridge space and remain on speaking terms with my kids and wife. These helpful hints at first I thought were silly, but have helped a bit – like getting a few bins for storage. I gotta say, the fridge has greatly improved over the last week. Last week I went for broke. I brought the fridge door up in family meeting, a tradition that goes from my family back to my grandfathers to the pioneers and on back to Noah who created it because there was a dearth of good programming after the flood. In my family meeting I asked the family to take a good look at the refrigerator for several minutes and to then tell me what they thought.

My son said he thought we should buy a bigger fridge with a bigger freezer so that he could store his homework assignment. I am not sure what his homework assignment actually entails, but I think I am going to pretend I didn’t hear anything and leave this one to his mother, who, by the way, has a stronger stomach and who owes me as I won the last rock-off. My wife said that she would like to use next year’s tax money to go Alaska and see the northern lights. Of course she says that whenever I ask her an open-ended question.

I asked the same question to my daughter, Annie. She smiled shyly and said “I think that my Dad must think that I am a good artist because he keeps so much of my stuff displayed on the fridge to show off to all the relatives. And then she wiped a tear and gave me a hug.

The stuff stays on the refrigerator: the invitations, the taxes, the recipes, the “Congratulations Cousin Topher for Graduating College with Honors in Golf” card, the next door neighbors wedding announcement, grades, blood tests, the world’s ugliest photos of grand kids, and Annie’s Art.

A good dad "leaves some things be".