A Loco Viewpoint
Cupcake likes them big; the bigger, the better. Not that she won’t use a small one in places, but the ones that are enormous, really get her excited. Unheard of when I was growing up, these plastic wonders are now a mainstay for organization-minded women everywhere. I mean those plastic storage units they call ‘totes’ and they get Cupcake’s woohoo-meter red-lining every time.
“Oh, look!” she’ll gush during shopping trips to the big city (where the big totes are). “This store has totes!”
She says it like she’s surprised the huge Mecca of consumerism, Wal-Mart would carry such a rare product. Her surprise is most perplexing given she sees totes here every time we come to the city. Still, since logic doesn’t enter into Cupcake’s yearning for plastic storage bins, I don’t say anything. I remember only too well what happened the time I did. She bought extra totes. I feared it was to help move all my stuff, though the threat was unspoken. (She wasn’t talking to me.) Remember, fellas, in a happy home, here’s Rule Number One; don’t come between a woman and her totes.
She even buys little totes, about the size of Tupperware, only shaped like, well, totes. She likes them since she can cram them with stuff and then put them in bigger totes, which end up in successively bigger totes. They become like those wooden Russian doll thingies with ever increasingly smaller dolls contained within each larger one. (Hey, kids! Look how lame our toys were!)
The fatal flaw of this plan is that if you are ever looking for any of the things she has carefully sealed in their little plastic sarcophagi, you may as well be on needle patrol, in charge of the haystack section. Eventually, after a frustrating hour of emptying increasingly smaller and smaller totes looking for a specific item, I inevitably decide it’s cheaper and easier to just buy another whatever-it-was at the hardware store. This means I end up with more stuff and Cupcake is then “forced” as she claims, to buy more totes. It is a more vicious cycle than a pit-bull on a Harley.
Another problem with Cupcake’s treasured tote collection is it has the same issue as her aforementioned Tupperware array; lids never fit. Once a top gets separated from the bottom, it’s game over. Any other lid is either the wrong size or the wrong shape and eventually you end up with mounds of expensive molded plastic that doesn’t fit anything. So they go in a tote.
Someday, she plans to open the totes containing mismatched plastic-ware so we can re-unite them with their mates, with the rest sentenced to in the recycling bin. At least that’s what she claims, although she has yet to be able to bring herself to do it. I chalk it up to separation anxiety and don’t push the issue.
What really irks me about Cupcake’s tote dependency is that all these totes she accumulates and fills; all have to go somewhere. That’s where I come in with my sketchy construction ability. In order to house all these stupid totes, I’ve built more shelving units than an Ikea addict. We have so many out-buildings in our yard, Old MacDonald’s jealous. (The farmer, not my neighbor.)
“You have a choice,” Cupcake announced after filling yet another storage bin. “You can either build a new shed, (she then paused for dramatic effect, or, possibly, to let the threat sink into my thick skull) or you can clean out the garage and chuck the stuff we never use.
“How do I define ‘stuff we never use’?” I asked.
“Well, obviously,” she shrugged, “whatever isn’t in a tote.”
“Can I assume all your stuff is in totes?” I asked, already knowing the answer.
“Of course,” She looked at me as if I’d asked if she was female. “Anyway, if you throw out all your junk from the garage, there’ll be enough room for all the totes in the gardening shed and bike shed to go in. It will become Tote Central. This means our shed will then be able to accommodate the new totes I bought.”
“Oh no! What for?” I almost was afraid to ask.
“I plan to find all the tools you have spread out all over the house,” she informed me. “I will then separate all your tools into various types and put them in these nifty tiny totes. You’ll have screwdrivers in one, drill bits in another, a tote for those clampy wrenches and such. I have bigger totes for your bigger tools and they should all fit in one single, handy super-tote.”
When she said the word “super-tote” I swear her eyes glazed over momentarily, overwhelmed by the concept.
“So you’re going to put all those steel tools in a great big plastic tote and expect somebody to lift it?” I snorted. “And you wonder why I have never wanted to move to a different house in thirty-plus years. I know how you’d pack books.”
“You can use the dolly we bought to move the tote,” she suggested firmly.
“It won’t fit through the door thanks to Mr. Super-Tote,” I pointed out. “Besides, in the middle of winter when something breaks, do you intend for me to search for tools in the shed in the totes within totes in the freezing weather? Or do you plan to buy me a sleigh to haul the super-tote to the house to search for tools since the dolly will be useless in snow?”
“That will be your problem,” she said. “I’m not worried.”
Neither was I. By the time she gets around to finding all my tools from everywhere they’ve been put, the shed will probably be full of other totes.
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