My wife, Judy, likes to watch "The Curse of Oak Island." It's a reality show in which a bunch of guys, in search of a lost treasure, turn the island upside down over and over again in trying to find the riches. Each week, they make concerted efforts to reorganize, reassess, rearrange, recalibrate or redo everything on the island in the hopes of finding that proverbial pot at the end of the rainbow. But they never seem to finish the search. Though Judy tells me after each episode that they are really, really close this week.
In the midst of our current social isolation, I have now realized that I am living in a similar reality world--the Curse of Oak Condo! You would think that given that our place is only 2000 square feet, that there would be some end to the number of chores, tasks and cleaning-up initiatives that might be required. Not so. In the search for the perfectly arranged apartment, our home projects have increased, I am facing the daily never-ending review, reengineering and continually sorting and reassembling of things around us without ever reaching an end of them. Yesterday, I reassessed my set of drawers. They looked a bit disheveled. She wondered how they could get that way. I told her, "I hunt for what I need and after I use it I put it back wherever I can." "Ah," she said. 'Wouldn't it be nice if it looked neat again?" I took up the challenge. I carefully folded each tee-shirt, rolled up pajamas, laid out my walking shorts so that the creases lined up. I even matched up all my socks. And I put everything in crisp, clean order. My wife told me I did a good job. "That," I pointed out, "is actually the most amazing, spectacular, incredible arrangement of drawers in the history of the human race. It is just beautiful, sooooo beautiful. No one has ever done or even thought about doing a set of drawers like this! Only I could have fixed all these drawers in such awesome condition. Everyone says it is fantastic. Everyone says I'm a phenomenal drawer arranger. Soooo beautiful." The other day, it was baseball cards. Judy has kept every baseball card from our two sons since they went through their baseball card phase 30 years ago. I brought up from our storage unit several boxes of cards, which total about 4 million. Judy whipped through those in about a day and a half. She is a machine at sorting and evaluating them. She held up a picture of Johnny Bench. "What do you think it's worth?" I told her 2 kazillion dollars. She frowned. She soon realized I really don't have the slightest idea of their worth. So, instead, she checked the potential value of some on eBay, went to on-line sites to find accurate information, talked to baseball card experts on the phone, and then made some informed decisions based on useful, truthful facts. How novel. (Secretly, I hope she finds that $100,000 card somewhere in the piles.) Other needed projects are underway. She has been rearranging our bedroom closet. She calls out to me, "Ray, do you really want to keep this blue stripped shirt with the yellow lines?" I know the shirt. I wore it once about a year ago. There is a 1% chance that I will wear it in the next year or so. "Yes, Keep up the good work," I say, so that I don't have to get up and go get it. "No, you won't. Come and take it away." She is not easily fooled, knows false praise when she hears it, and takes responsibility for whatever she is doing. Kind of like a Tom Brady would. There are plans to redo the pantry, go through all the old photo albums, rearrange the dishes and pans, clean up the laundry room, straighten up the storage unit (and, I'm sure redo my drawers when they get messy again)--whew--this is the Curse of Oak Condo. I'm not sure how long it will take to get everything right. Maybe, come November. But for the moment, I wouldn't have it any other way. Judy knows how to get things done, how to prioritize projects, how to effectively involve others (me), and how to do it all with good spirit and a sense of humor. She has been doing this for and with me going on nearly 51 years, and hopefully many more. Gotta go. Need to clean up my tool box. (Yes, I have one, though I try never to use it.) Good Health and Good Luck Ray