From Dr. Jane's Notebook

Dishes Rule the Universe!

I. Dishes Control the Universe. Now that the kids are out of school and summer has really taken charge, it's amazing to see just how messy a house can become. Earlier this week, I found myself face-to-face with the growing reality of piled up dishes in the sink. No longer did my careful stacking disguise the abundance of cups, saucers, and flatware.

So I decided to bite the bullet and brillo, empty the dishwasher, and clear the deck. This major reshuffling wasn't so bad. Put the clean stuff away, put the dirty stuff in the dishwasher, load it with soap... and away we go. Except that I had neglected to call out the forces and check various other rooms for their glassware. In comes a whole new flock of slightly used cups. But I can handle that. There's now plenty of room to stack dishes in the recently cleaned out side of sink. But Oh hurry...there's a child on his way up the stairs and he's asking for something to drink..... helllllllllllp! Dishes are taking over the's Manifest Stoneware! This might just be the time to redistribute labor in the family...or...who says children and husbands can't do dishes?

II. The Purchase of Guilt. As we all know, guilt and blame are nasty items when it comes to relationships. They lack the courtesy of being time-bound...they can show up at any time and reappear as quickly as a thought. Commonly in my practice, I hear resentment about the airing of old angers about "the time when he did this" or "the day when she did that."

It is very important for couples to have tools with which to resolve these old pieces of "unfinished business." One couple, I know, found a very clever solution to the problem. It seems that she had dropped a filing cabinet on his foot, while the two of them were carrying it down the stairs...and he insisted on periodically "throwing it up in her face" until that evening when he really wanted a backrub. What was it worth to him for her to massage his back?...that he never bring up the filing cabinet incident again. Who says you can't buy back guilt and blame!!!

III. Slowing Down the Tempo. It seems that the first three months of summer, I am usually quite torn about the matter of relaxing! It seemed so difficult during the year to keep the momentum hard to get up at the crack of dawn each day...but slowing down is no simple job either. Even when you know that the rest of the world is vacationing, it's hard not feeling guilty about wearing shorts during the work day.

But then... I think ahead to September and the blood drains from my head. This might be my last chance to relax. If I really work hard at it, maybe its okay to have fun!


Still a Hopeless Workaholic

ęCopyright 1995, Jane R. Rosen-Grandon. All rights reserved.

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Last Updated August 30, 1998 by Gary M. Grandon, Ph.D.