Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Kitchen Towel Wars

Jamey and I get along very well. We occasionally have little disagreements, but we air our different perspectives and move on pretty quickly. Once in a while we have a doozy of a disagreement.

Now, let me define disagreement for you. Disagreement can mean that two people think differently on a subject. It can also mean, as it does here, that one person disagrees with how another person does something. Is that still a disagreement? Let's just say that it is.

Jamey is the easiest person to live with. I haven't lived with that many people, but that's beside the point. I can't imagine anyone would be easier to live with and get along with. Me on the other hand, I can be kind-of difficult occasionally. It's important for me to have certain things a certain way at times. I've let go of a lot over the years (thank you, Jesus). I used to be much more particular. But, even though I've learned to relax quite a bit there are still some things that I need just so and I am holding on to these last few things with white knuckles.

Just ask Jamey.

For example...one of the things I happen to be pretty particular about (still) are our kitchen towels. Go figure. It is my belief that two towels should hang on the oven door. One to dry hands. One to dry dishes. The one to dry hands with should be kept closest to the sink and should be thicker. The one for dishes should be a thinner towel and be farther from the sink. Simple. Makes perfect sense...to me.

So, over the years, I've tried to convey this need of mine for order (and let's face it, probably control) to my dear husband. He has made a valiant effort, I must say, to please me. The problem is, he often forgets my logic and therefore gets confused when he has to make a decision about the kitchen towels. I am sure visions of me sputtering and fussing come to mind every time he looks at or touches a kitchen towel. No wonder he sometimes confuses my logic and gets it wrong.

The other day, the issue came up again and I just about lost it. I felt bad for him, bad for me, stumped as to why we couldn't (in all our 12 years of tackling all sorts of marital issues and coming out together on top every time) put this issue to rest.

A list!

Why did I not think of this before? It's how all problems should be solved. Jamey just laughed (probably out of disbelief) as I ran to the living room to look up online how to spell 'etiquette' and start my list of kitchen towel guidelines. Here's what I was thinking. If Jamey is in doubt, he can open the cupboard near the oven (where the guidelines would be taped inside) and check to see what he should do.

Do you think I'm terrible? Do you think I am the worst wife and person ever? I promise...this is about the worst thing I EVER do to him.

Here's me writing frantically. He took my picture and I said, "What are you doing that for?" He replied that he wasn't sure but something about how he could use the photo to commiserate with the other in-laws in my family.

And here's the list.

Think what you will about me (and Jamey for putting up with me). I feel so much better. Now this issue will never ever come up again.

Right? Pin It


  1. Hmmmmm. This is very interesting. My mother-in-law has the exact same philosophy about two towels. However ONE time I accidentally used the wrong one and have not forgotten it (or her yelling at me), although I'm sure she has. What I am saying is, even though this is all very clear, remember the word "grace."

  2. If this is the worst of your issues, then you are a stellar couple. Actually, even if you had worse issues, you would still be a stellar couple ... you wouldn't be able to help it because you are BOTH stellar people.

    Okay, I'll stop saying "stellar" now.

    He will definitely NEVER get confused again because of that thoughtful list.

    We used to have a list for who gave Yo-Yo a bath on which days...and a counselor had to help us figure out THAT one.

    I'm impressed that Jamey thought to snap a photo. Smart man.

    You have very nice handwriting. Classy.

    P.S. I like your new header. The picture of the quiches is spectacular.

  3. Bed pillows. At our house, it's bed pillows.

  4. Oh goodness, I just read your little thing about not using your name when posting comments and I realize I've used your name before and I am SO sorry! I just figured that because you used the other names.... My lips are sealed (or my fingers are cramped---whatever).

    Oh, and if anyone steals a jar of your pickled beets because of my carelessness, let me know and I'll give you all my pint jars of pickly goodness.

  5. Bec, Duly noted :-).

    JJ, Thank you and no worries. But if someone breaks into my pantry because of you, instead of your pickled goodies, can I please have fresh-baked sourdough bread weekly? For, like, a year?

    Amy, I can just imagine...and can feel your pain (or is it his?):-).

  6. we 'disagree' about how to roll toothpaste, (I am too careless) and how to dry handwashed dishes(I airdry on the stove where I will use them the next day anyway/dh will stack them right where I get up next morning to stir my coffee)where to hang bath towels(he over door, me over shower bar--we need a new towel bar) so many things, ... I think I need a list! for Him! hahaha, btw, hand towels at the sink is also one (he uses far less discretion about towels, & I just throw them in the laundry when there is a 'question'),,,, my downfall will be that the boy's will follow his lead!

  7. Have you ever thought to buy white flour sack towels? (for the dish drying?)

    1. They are white.
    2. Thin...not thick or plush
    3. Could easily have "dish towel" embroidered on them.
    4. Someone like me...who cannot see very well might mistakenly "touch" the wrong towel and not know that I touched the wrong towel because it looked too much like the other one...

  8. this made me laugh! that is too funny. I'm very particular about certain things, too...I can't think of any right now. But when I do...you'll be the first to know!

    Thank you for the quilting advice. Great ideas. And I have to say...the reason I'm considering a couple of them is that one is patchwork and the other uses large squares of fabric and then a simple trim fabric. Straight lines. No patterns. No tricky shapes. Just lines. I am hoping I can handle it...we'll see! But I think you're right in that maybe I should start with, like, a lap quilt!!

  9. Can you start a husband vs. wife hand towel poll to see who the real crazies are?

  10. FAM, I thought you might have a comment about this:-). I'm thinking Jamey was thinking of you when he took the picture of me...because you might understand...or maybe for mental health advice.

  11. It makes perfect sense to me. I love the towel rule.

  12. literally laughing out loud and trying to think of all the things i need to say about this post. :)

    jamey certainly has many people (4 to be exact) to sympathize with.

    However, that being said, we don't have a towel rule in our house. i know! i bring shame to the family. for that, i apologize.

    we don't often actually dry our dishes. we don't have a dishwasher, but usually the drying rack works just fine. if it is over flowing, or there is a large pot of a sort that needs drying, we choose the thinnest driest towel and use that.

    to my husbands point...if we had happened to use that same towel earlier in the day to dry our hands, it was only after we washed our hands clean, and dried them, therefore drying a clean pot with that same towel really is ok. right?

    so i suppose we are the only house without the towel rule in the family. i'm willing to accept that. and so is my other half :)

  13. My parents have separate sponges for doing dishes vs wiping the counters, etc. Now THAT'S confusing!
    You could have a 'solid color towels are for drying hands and plaids/stripes are for drying dishes' rule....if it looks like a towel from the bathset...he can dry his hands on it.

  14. Susan, Funny you should mention sponges...I could write a whole other post:-).

  15. who would have thought that a towel "post" would get more comments than ever before!?!

    Enjoy your writing as always!!

  16. I realize this is an older post, but cannot help adding my two cents. Using a fabric paint type marker, why don't you trace your kids hands onto the "hand towels"...a great momento and obvious visual use ;-)

    And this is not a topic we disagree about in my house...darling hubby has trained me well to suck it up and just wash whatever he has used for whatever job it was ;-)

    Thanks for the laugh!

  17. I can relate to this. I don't have special towels for special purposes. I have let go of a lot of my special needs for some things to be just so. Todd didn't know the extent of my Just So-ness until a few months into dating when he returned an aspirin bottle to the linen closet and GASP....the arrows were not lined up. There were no kids around at the time, so why should the lid be turned? At all? Why make it harder for the next time aspirin is needed? Why make it necessary to turn on a light in the middle of the night just to line up arrows?

    I have now gotten over my need to have arrows lined up on bottles. But there will be words if my cooking scissors are used to cut wrapping paper.

  18. ever thought of writing "hands" and "dishes" on the appropriate towel? either fabric marker, stamped, or embroidered. should cut down on some confusion. my problem is not distinguishing between towels, but having my husband use them instead of our paper towels

  19. Bed pillows. At our house, it's bed pillows.

  20. I solved my problem by buying a small rack that fits nicely over the door to the sink. It only holds one towel and it is right there by the sink. the other one is on the stove for drying thoes things that need drying right away. :}

  21. LOL!! My system used to be, I got a clean towel out to dry dishes, thereafter it was the hand towel which I always hung over the coffee maker because it dried quickly there. Hubby always griped about that. Then, last year, I had a heart attack. Nothing too scary, a blocked artery that was fixed, but it changed my outlook. One thing I decided was that all the beautiful handworked linens I had inherited and collected over the years, and periodically took out of storage to pet and gaze upon, well, they deserved to be used and openly appreciated. So, I hung a vintage swing-arm kitchen towel holder over the sink, and announced the towel on the left (clean dish) side of the sink was only for dishes, and the obviously different towel on the right (dirty dish) side of the sink was for hands. Simple, right? Evidently not. I'm thinking of electrifying the dish towel side. Zapping those miscreants. I should have known better anyway, since after 15 years in this house the concept of keeping the left side of the sink clean still hasn't sunk in. But, I do so enjoy drying dishes with towels generations of women before me have embroidered and embellished with their love and talent.


Just a friendly reminder, if you know me personally please try to refrain from using my name. There are those who may try to locate me, break into my pantry and steal my pickled beets. Thanks:-).

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