Advice and helpful suggestions

April 1, 2012

in Personal, Two of us

Domestic life is full of minor problems and inconveniences. And I’m a addicted problem solver. So as soon as something irritates me I start thinking about how to avoid the irritation.

Well, not always quite as soon as – I had clothes hangers all caught up with one another in a totally infuriating tangled heap for years before I thought long enough to decide to make a small rail to hang the empty ones on. But that’s the kind of thing I mean.

However, if I suggest any such problem solution to Charles he is liable to go ballistic. Why? Well, I think it’s because he thinks I’m criticising and controlling him. I innocently thought it would be good to put the cutlery in the dishwasher baskets with all the spoons, knives and forks in separate sections, so I could just pull them out by the handful to put them away.

POW!!! (*draws a curtain over unpleasant scene*)

Advice – it’s advice, isn’t it? – that’s the problem. No-one wants it, no-one uses it. Or at least it’s very very rare that we hoover it up and use it. Though when a friend told me about ecloths I was on to it the same day, so sometimes it’s possible to take advantage of good advice. Confusing.

It helps with Charles that we live at opposite ends of the house, because he accepts my peculiar ways of doing things at my end of the house, mostly. I think that is manners. But I don’t think you’d find him often thinking ‘that’s a good way of doing that’ and imitating one of my idiosyncratic systems.

Suggest better ways of doing things to gardeners and you get – POW! (*more curtain over more unpleasant scenes*)

All this does confuse me. I now try never to offer anyone advice unless they demand it. Beg for it. Lick my boots and cry. I fail a lot. I’ve spent a lot of time working out good systems!

And it does make you wonder how we ever evolved, doesn’t it? ‘Here, if you bash this rock like this you can make a handy meat ripping thing’. ‘Nah, I always just chew it off ..what are your incisors for?’

PS Strange – I think there’s more interest in the dishwasher than in ‘why don’t we welcome advice?’

Anne's sofa copyright Anne Wareham


wildelycreative April 4, 2012 at 2:52 pm

Advice confuses me and frustrates me in equal measure.
After being given advice about something I’ve already been thinking about for a long time my voice goes up by not-quite-an-octave as I ‘patiently’ reply, “Yes, I have thought about that.”
Then there’s the confusing advice. It sounds so convincing to the naive trusting child in me (scratch and see, she’s just there), I believe it to be wholly true and act upon it only to look foolish later.
Plays havoc with my trust issues.

anne April 4, 2012 at 11:59 pm

Hmm – I think perhaps advice is a real offer about 2% of the time? Otherwise we must all try very hard to shut ourselves up.

You didn’t advise me to have a blog, did you…..?!

Thanks for the brilliant revamp, Karen!

wildelycreative April 5, 2012 at 10:00 am

*cough* maybe…
Good advice though, eh?!

anne April 5, 2012 at 10:02 am

heh heh! Hope so!

Lynn Keddie April 2, 2012 at 9:43 am

Really Anne? You think that separating cutlery into boxes pre-wash is a good idea? You think about this stuff?…(visions of a control freak). I would be happy if someone actually loaded the dishwasher occasionally without a prompt from me…The only advice on this subject I give out is, ”This is a dishwasher, it washes dishes for us, it does need to be loaded and unloaded, and dirty plates/cups/etc do need to be carried to the dishwasher not left on the floor/under your bed/in a box (Yes really, plus the sarnie and mould) and then you need to put one of these tablets in it, and put it on. Yes, you do, you need to put it on.
Nuff said x

anne April 2, 2012 at 9:52 am

Fair enough – though our dishwasher has divisions and sections and it’s absolutely impossible to just chuck anything it. We sad people are obliged to put things in with some care, including into a kind of cutlery container. It is a faff. Maybe need a new one….

Seriously – I do treat any minor irritation as a problem to be solved and solve it if I can.

Charles April 1, 2012 at 9:35 pm

PS. And I still like using a cream cleanser on my bathroom basin. I don’t think e clothes do as good a job.

Paul Steer April 1, 2012 at 4:43 pm

Wonderful ! I’m in the advice giving profession, and it is hard going sometimes. I think you are absolutley right…we are hardwired not to take advice…the 10 commandments…..good idea but !

anne April 1, 2012 at 5:15 pm

But we are paying you to perform this useless function!! Well.. why not? You need to eat too.

Charles April 1, 2012 at 9:27 pm

Right, lets get the dishwasher out of the way. Firstly, it is situated in my kitchen. The reason that we both have kitchens (and bathrooms) is to avoid having to deal with each others habits that we may not share. So to start with, suggesting that I do something different is out of order.
Secondly, I have never expressed confusion about my dishwasher regime. Its quite simple. I load it until it is full. Thats means that I am constantly adding cutlery to that basket. The idea or sorting this cutlery out into separate sections rather than just bung it in whatever section of the basket is not full is, frankly, ludicrous. To try and sort it all as I load would be far more time consuming.
The fact is that Anne doesn’t often load the dishawsher. What happens is that I usually come home to find some new deposits of her bowls or plates sitting on the side for me to load. I would not object to her loading this stuff! What she does to from time to time, and I am grateful for this, is to unload the clean contents. I think she does this is she thinks I am a bit “pushed”.
And I think it is then that she finds the mixed cutlery basket a bit irritating. Hence her advice. But the advice is not for my benefit. It is for hers. And as I have explained, I dodn’t want to take it.
I actually asked Anne what she thought I would say in response to her post, wondering if it would occur to her that I did not share her view about the best way to deal with the cutlery. No it didn’t. She thought I would think of her as “controlling”. That is not my issue. I do think, though that she has a teeny weeny problem of thinking that her way of doing things is the best way. This is in effect a kind of “one size fits all” approach to life, whereas in fact, as we know, we all are individuals with different approaches to things. This is long enough. But I am sure that if you ever come to stay and use my kitchen, this will have been very helpful to you.

anne April 2, 2012 at 12:37 am

O, I do so hope that isn’t true – I mean I do hope I can appreciate and respond to differences between people and their needs and approaches to life. Even when it comes to filling dishwashers…

Charles April 3, 2012 at 7:25 pm

It isn’t true to imply that you don’t see people as individuals. You do. So, sorry about that. There is something though, I think, that just comes into play between you and I. So my generalisation about “life” was wrong.

anne April 3, 2012 at 8:21 pm

Thanks – and now to discuss what ‘it’ is? Love the way this blog gets us talking. XXX

Penny WALKER April 5, 2012 at 9:25 pm

Interesting …. “she has a teeny weeny problem of thinking that her way of doing things is the best way”. Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but if Anne were to think that her way of doing things is the only acceptable way of doing them rather than simply the best way, that would be more of an issue? In my world, *that* is a tougher cookie to handle and a ‘problem’ that doesn’t have an easy solution.

anne April 5, 2012 at 10:26 pm

That would be really gross.

Nic April 1, 2012 at 3:07 pm

My father-in-law offers a constant outpouring of advice from the moment he appears until the moment he leaves. Much of it is gardening advice – ‘you need to cut this back hard, you need to cut that back hard’. Externally, I have to nod and agree (do I have to? deference to F-in-law misplaced?) but inside I BOIL because I hate being given gardening advice – unless I have ASKED for it. Until then, let me be. I worry that he and my other (non gardening) half will ‘help’ with the garden when I am out. Then I’ll open a big can of whup-ass.

anne April 1, 2012 at 3:12 pm

Yep – I think there is no doubt that advice can be a form of (well disguised) persecution. It can.

But it isn’t always.

I wouldn’t dare suggest you ask him to stop it…. (!)

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