“Thin nylon BB on LHS on C 3rd D,” the note in my handwriting said, “tshirt/m-drawer/sleeveless.”
I scribbled it a few weeks earlier while talking with Sabra on the telephone. She called from work because she forgot to take a change of clothes with her for our volleyball game at J&A Tap in North Liberty.
Actually, I still call the tavern Bob’s Place, because that’s what it was for many years. I consider the old owner, Bob, a friend and liked his tavern. When we lived in our last house a little outside of North Liberty, Buzz and I occasionally walked the two miles into town for a beer for me, and a visit with the other canines who hung out with their masters at the bar for Buzz. Sometimes Sabra would come along, riding Dan, the one-eyed mule. Mules weren’t allowed inside but a hitching post was provided out back. We almost got a ticket for riding a mule on city streets on one visit, but the policeman double-checked and found that there wasn’t a law against operating mules on city streets after all. We were warned not to operate him after dark, however, as Dan did not have lights.
But I digress.
The note told me what to bring and where to find it and left very little room for error. I wasn’t to bring just any shorts or tee but the thin nylon basketball shorts and the sleeveless tee; and I could find them in her closet, left hand shelf, center of the third one down and the middle drawer.
This totally amazes me as Sabra has one of the worst memories around when it comes to certain things like remembering movies we’ve seen and what they were about. When I first met her I used to spend a lot of money and effort getting DVD rentals for our date nights but now I just get one from the library and renew it for a month. We are currently on our third viewing of “The Notebook” for June, and Sabra cries at the ending every time. (To fully appreciate the irony of this you have to see “The Notebook,” an excellent movie starring James Garner and Gena Rowlands. It’s about a woman who loses her memory.)
But when it comes to remembering what goes where, Sabra is world-class, and I am the one that is constantly forgetting keys, wallet, glasses, cell phone, etc. Over the years I’ve tried to compensate for this in many ways.
Back when I ran the newspaper, for example, I set the office up with a system of pulleys and counterweights hung from the ceiling with a string tied to all the important tools of the trade. When I’d let go of the X-Acto, it would reel up and dangle in the air just to the right of my paste up table. The scissors would go up to the left and the pica pole in the middle. Thus I could perform paste up (that’s how newspapers were laid out ages ago before the advent of computers) with minimal time searching for my tools.
In my apartment I used a different strategy as the ceiling was made of tin relief and I didn’t want to punch holes in it. I’m conscientious that way. Instead, I took the doors off of all the cabinets and cupboards in the house. Maybe everything wouldn’t be in its place, but at least it wouldn’t be hiding.
But after a dozen years of wedded bliss, a new system has gradually taken over. I set things down and Sabra puts them away. This usually works pretty well. I rarely look for my keys, for example, because Sabra always returns them to the designated drawer in the kitchen. Occasionally, problems do arise simply because she’s so efficient at putting things back.
I’m not a big handyman, but occasionally I’ll tackle small projects around the house. When I do, I have to post a note in the work area reminding her not to put things away until I am finished or I’ll reach for the screwdriver only to find it’s been put back.
Got to go, “The Notebook” is starting.