Allie glanced at me in the bedroom mirror. It was the minor husband infraction glance.
We’d been married for three weeks and I was getting better at deciphering these glances. If I figured it out on my own, I could prevent the glance from becoming a glare. I looked around the room and ran through my five point Happy Wife checklist. Toilet seat down. No clothes on the floor. No stubble in the sink after shaving. Shower towel hung up. Hadn’t farted recently.
“Allie, I’m five for five this morning. What’s wrong?”
“Nothing really …” Allie shrugged, meaning exactly the opposite.
I smiled. The delayed start confirmed it was just a minor husband infraction. For moderate infractions, she tells me immediately. For major infractions, Allie walks me over to the crime scene to illustrate her point.
“It’s just …” Allie finally began. “I always know what you’ve been doing in the morning.”
“Discovering that I shower, shave and brush my teeth takes a lot of sleuthing.”
“No … I mean I know exactly where you’ve been. I can follow your exact path through the house each day.”
“Did you put up hidden cameras? Or stick a GPS up my ass?” I might draw the line at hidden cameras.
“Marshall …” Allie sighed. “You know what I mean.”
“If I knew what you meant,” I explained logically, “I wouldn’t have this absolutely no clue what you mean expression on my face.”
Allie glared. She wasn’t a fan of logic.
“What I meant to say,” I tried again, “is your subtle communication borders on subliminal. Let’s pretend I’m not telepathic and your hair has too much product for me to look through and read your mind. Can you just tell me directly in simple words what’s bothering you?”
“You leave the drawers open,” Allie said flatly. “Always.”
I looked down at the bathroom drawer where the toothpaste lives. It was indeed open, and I may or may not have been the perpetrator.
“I just finished brushing my teeth,” I shrugged.
“And earlier you finished getting your underwear and socks,” Allie said. “Those dresser drawers are still open. You also got something out of your desk this morning; the middle drawer is pulled out. You already ate breakfast. If I go downstairs now, I’ll find the pantry door wide open, the dishes cabinet door wide open, and the silverware drawer pulled all the way out.”
“Are you sure?” I asked. I’d check for hidden cameras today after work.
“Of course I’m sure! I find them open every morning. Who do you think closes them all the time?”
“Gravity? Door fairies? Drawer rights advocates?”
Allie chuckled and gave me a kiss.
“It’s not a big deal,” Allie said, “but it is annoying and it’s a simple fix. Can you please close the cabinet drawers and doors after you open them and get what you need?”
“Sure,” I replied. I wanted a new mountain bike and this seemed like a fair trade.
Allie grabbed her purse and headed out to work. I’d bring up the mountain bike later.
“Bye Marshall!” Allie laughed on her way out. “Don’t do anything else annoying while I’m gone. I have a lifetime satisfaction guarantee on this marriage and I’m not afraid to trade you in for a less defective model!”
In spite of her overdeveloped sense of responsibility and adult tendencies, Allie is a lot of fun at her core. She just needs a good laugh now and again to remind her to see the humor in life. So… I pulled out every drawer on her desk and mine. Same with the drawers and doors in every bathroom. I opened every dresser and end table in our room and the guest rooms. I opened every kitchen cabinet door and pulled every drawer out to its fullest. I opened all closet and pantry doors. I found every little drawer and door on random furniture, including a curio cabinet that had curiously appeared after our honeymoon. I even opened the doors to the washer and dryer.
The house looked like we’d been robbed.
Late afternoon while I was still at work, I received a string of laughing emojis from Allie. Joke well received, wife happy, everything right in the world.
When I got home, Allie had already gone to the gym. She had walked through the house and closed everything. Or door fairies really exist. I opened the cupboard to grab a snack.
It was stuck.
I yanked harder — the door didn’t budge. I slowly inspected the entire door for nail holes or new screws ... nothing. I pulled again and it didn’t move. There had to be nails somewhere. I decided to sacrifice to the cabinet door in pursuit of this scientific discovery. Plus there were Doritos trapped inside, and they wouldn’t eat themselves.
I grabbed the little cupboard door withboth hands, planted a foot against the counter, and yanked hard.The door sprung open with a loud pop.
The inside was lined with thick white strips that I hadn’t seen since hanging posters on my college dorm walls. Allie had lined it with museum putty. I peeled off a golfball-sized mass and wondered how many museum putty packages she’d used for this joke.
That’s an easy discovery. I opened the lid to the kitchen trash can — it was stuck. Solidly not moving stuck. So was every other drawer and door in the house. Allie had even puttied my personal laptop closed. It took me over an hour to pry all the museum putty off and I ended up with two basketball-sized mounds of it.
“Hi sweetie!” Allie smiled as she strolled in with her gym bag. “Are you sticking around tonight?”
“Not funny …” I said, though I was already laughing.
Now fourteen years later, I’m still laughing about it. And I close my drawers a little more often.
If you like my Bad Dad humor, I have a lot more like this on Medium and a new one comes out every week. Here’s last week’s story: I told my daughter to shut up, and she did.
I also read and respond to all comments, so keep them coming!