Sentinel Progress

You too can survive alone

Why on earth would anyone bother to make the bed when his wife is out of town?

My wife Amy is on a birthday trip to Paris – and my gift to her is that I’m not tagging along to complain as she visits at least two museums, five boutiques and one opera house each day.

I’m home with our Shih Tzu Dorothy, who is savvy enough to understand that when Amy’s away the routine is a bit different. For instance, the coffee I’m drinking as I write this was brewed yesterday and reheated this morning in the microwave. That’s eight minutes saved right there.

When Amy is home we abide by the Emergency Room Rule, which states that you must always wear clean underwear in case you are stricken and paramedics have to cut off your clothes to save you. I, on the other hand, believe in the FedEx Delivery Rule, which essentially says that if you’re watching TV while wearing torn Jockey shorts, the FedEx guy will ring the bell once, maybe twice, and then leave the package and go away without ever seeing you.

Functioning on your own requires managing your piles. You have your Partially-Read Newspaper Pile and your Unread Magazine Pile. You have your Dirty-Laundry Pile alongside your Slightly-Soiled Clothing Pile. You have your Unopened Mail Pile. And, of course, your Dirty Dishes Pile.

I have a rule of thumb about dirty dishes that is similar to the well known Five Second Rule for dropped food (food can safely be eaten off the floor if picked up within five seconds). My dishes have a One Hour Rule: If rinsed within an hour of use they need not be washed.

I’ve heard that some guys stock up on such things as beer, chips and various sweets when their wives are away. I have a friend who collects pizza coupons for months in anticipation of such opportunities.

I, on the other hand, prefer a little game I call Kitchen Survivor – which, in addition to being challenging, requires no shopping. Basically, you see how long you can exist with what was in the house the day your wife left.

We usually have enough leftovers in the fridge to cover the first two days. After that it becomes more difficult, especially for people like me who are good at “heating” but not necessarily “cooking.”

Peanut butter and jelly are essential, at least until the Bread Supply runs out. (Pro tip: dump the jelly into the peanut butter jar, stir with a fork until well blended, and sandwiches practically make themselves!)

On Day Seven of Amy’s trip I noticed that almost every item I used since her departure had found its way to our kitchen counter. My keys, wallet, cell phone, Dorothy’s leash, empty bottles to be recycled, unpaid bills, pots that had only been used for boiling things, golf balls, three boxes from Amazon, receipts from the gas station, iPad, iPad charger, electric shaver, and five of our seven TV remotes – all right there where apparently someone left them.

Amy is due back tomorrow so serious reorganizing will be necessary. I’ll have to remember two bulbs that blew, the stain on the living-room carpet, un-watered plants (it may be too late to save them) and what I’m guessing are about 15 un-played messages on our answering machine.

Also, I should probably shave.

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By Peter Funt

Contributing columnist

Peter Funt is a writer and speaker. His book, “Cautiously Optimistic,” is available at Amazon.com and CandidCamera.com. Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not necessarily represent those of the newspaper.