The Humbling of a Packer Extraordinaire

Few people know that I have a talent for packing and loading.   It reflects years of experience in moving household goods.  Four times I coordinated our family’s move from one home to another, countless times I moved my five children to and from college, and numerous times I moved my adult children into and out of their apartments.  Et cetera, Et cetera, Et cetera.

As a parent and a spouse, I had discovered that every man needs to be adept at handling household moves.  I have a self-proclaimed aptitude for efficient organization — a well-earned reputation for being a three-dimensional stacking Wizard, the King of capacity management, and the Master of space utilization.  What else would you expect from a logical-minded, linear-thinking, engineering major, and sometimes obsessive organizer?

Yes, I am a packer extraordinaire.  There are no empty spaces on my moving trucks.

I have translated that expertise into other areas.  My wife is more than happy to allow me to demonstrate said proficiency in loading the dishwasher, all while expressing her gratitude and admiration for a surprising skill she was unaware of during our pre-marital dating years.

I told her I was a man of many talents, but she apparently needed more proof before she would acknowledge the expertise of her jack-of-all-trades husband.  Therefore I provided such proof — a daily demonstration of my dishwasher loading skills.

From my perspective, I have always been impressed with my wife’s penny-pinching habits.  She can squeeze a penny so tight, as the saying goes, it would make Lincoln squeal. She knows more ways to save a nickel than President-elect Biden has gaffes.  One such technique she employs is her approach to loading a dishwasher.  Or should I say overloading a dishwasher?  This woman must have been a sardine can packer in a previous life.  

While I consider the loading of a dishwasher (or a moving truck) more of an art than a science, my bride sees it as a way to save a few pennies as she seeks to minimize the number of times she has to run the dishwasher.

See where I am going?  A kitchen confrontation was inevitable.

I seek to fully load a dishwasher in a way that maximizes its cleaning functionality.  She seeks to pack it full to minimize cost.  Yes, these two different approaches were bound to collide.  Sure enough, it wasn’t long before I politely observed that her loading technique might require some dishes to repeat the cleaning cycle once more.  She politely responded that she was trying to save us money.

This week, it happened again.  I thought I’d surprise her by unloading the dishwasher.  Yes, husbands, you can unload a dishwasher too.  It’s not against the law.  Such an act doesn’t undermine your masculinity.  Helping in the kitchen is the gentlemanly thing to do.  So there I was, doing what I thought was a good deed when I noticed a few dishes had not been thoroughly cleaned.  I thought to myself, “Patrice, you have done it again!  Overloaded the dishwasher and reduced its effectiveness.”

Still shaking my head at her willful overloading persistence, I was halfway through unloading when it occurred to me…none of these dishes were clean.  Oops, the dishwasher had not yet been through a cleaning cycle.  My haughty attitude had blinded me to a true assessment of the situation.

Moments later, my beloved walked into the kitchen.  I sheepishly confessed my sin and apologized for jumping to conclusions.  She didn’t have to say a word.  Her pleasing smile said it all.  “You get to load AND unload the dishwasher for the foreseeable future, Mr. Packer Extraordinaire!

When you jump to conclusions, you usually land in the Sea of Regret, the River of Disappointment, and on the Island of Embarrassment.  In my case, I discovered yet another route to the Basement of Humility.  

Come to think of it, I recall my wife telling me I could run the household.  Now I am finally comprehending her meaning — run the dishwasher, run the vacuum, run to the grocery store.   Et cetera, Et cetera, Et cetera.

Now, if you will excuse me, I need to find those multi-colored thingamabobs, aka dishwasher detergent pods.

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  1. Richard Willits


    Boy, did you ever hit close to home with this one… I wasn’t long into by 40 years in the trucking business before trailer ‘cube utilization’ was impressed upon me. With both top and bottom line revenue and profit responsibility solely mine as a TM (terminal manager) at a cost of $1.00 mile back then 40+% of which was linehaul to run an 18 wheeler coast to coast, not a whole lot else mattered than cube utilization. If one cud reduce 10 loads in a day to 9 by adding 4,000 to each trailer (40,000 lb. lds) with an average length of haul of 1500 miles and a $1500 cost reduction by eliminating one trip you cud start selling trucks, trailers and laying off drivers… not rocket science…so pay attention to Patrice, She knows what She is doing.

    During my transportation career we moved from Fargo to Minneapolis, back to Fargo to Moline, Chicago, Charlotte, Atlanta, Columbus, OH Camden, SC Lakeland, FL Cincinnati, back to Atlanta and many inner-city moves from home to home…the company moved me most of the time but others we were on our own…

    With respect to the dishwasher…Please know this; once dinner is over, Patty doesn’t look back, not once…cleaning the kitchen in total is my responsibility and packing the dishwasher is as you say definitely an art and I spend a lot of time coming behind Patty reloading after She will casually put a couple items on board and screws the whole load up…once I finish, you would be proud…We have been doing this for years. She cooks, I clean.



    1. Buddy McElhannon

      She has trained you well.


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