Monday, June 27, 2011

Is There A Gadget for That?

I am married. I am married to Joe. Joe is fantastic. And Joe has a couple of unique qualities. He likes to shop online, a lot. We have frequent deliveries from his ongoing internet purchases and therefore a substantial supply of cardboard boxes in the basement. He always finds a good deal and prides himself on never paying full price. God, the man loves a bargain. And the best bargain is the kitchen or electronic gadget bargain.  Photography gadgets, wood working gadgets, technology gadgets, things to speed up or improve a process, change a staid everyday task into a stylish and smooth undertaking. These gadgets, from mango slicers to a tripod ball head, these gadgets get Joe closer to his goal. Because Joe is just steps away from being a perfectionist. He's actually more of a detailist. He focuses so completely on the task at hand and ensuring that it turns out as close to perfect as possible. The best example is the story his mother loves to tell.

She asked him to clean the bathroom when he was a kid. But instead of cleaning the bathroom, he cleaned the bathroom faucet so precisely that he took the thing apart. He took the faucet apart! Joe has a deep desire to make sure things are executed precisely and skillfully. Everything has a process. Photos are being framed. He sketches out mat cuts in Autocad and lays everything out on the floor before hanging, then measures, checks with a level and measures again.

He'll take 25 photos of the same scene to get the perfect shot. Thank god for digital. This would be why we have 3,000 photos to sift through from our San Francisco trip. 3,000! I might post them by Christmas.


Spaghetti dinner is being cooked. He perfectly measures the spaghetti, going to the trouble of opening two separate packages and measuring out the ideal portions, down to the strand. One package doesn't have just the right amount. 1/2 is too little and a whole package is too much. So 1/3 of two packages is just right, precise and skillful.

Watching him enjoy ribs or a lobster is a process unlike any other person that I've seen. He prepares each bite, does all of the work of removing the meat before eating any of it. So while I'm using wet wipes to clean off my saucy hands, he is just digging into a delicious meal. I blame this on growing up one of three brothers and really enjoying the feeling of being the last one finished so you can taunt your brothers with that fact. You took your sweet time to eat dinner, they devoured theirs and now they have to watch you eat that Totino's party pizza, slowly and cruelly. He can slow down, delay gratification and then savor every bite. I love that about him, and I'm always done eating first, always.

This is part of the reason that Joe and I work so well together and occasionally want to strangle each other. He has the details and the precision. I have the big picture, move it along, let's get to the next step mentality. He can get stuck and I can go too fast. We balance each other out. I want to push and he makes me slow down. If I were in charge alone all of our pictures on the wall would be crooked. And if he were in charge alone his kitchen faucet would be spotless, but the sink would be filled with dirty dishes. But somehow, together, it works.


bethany actually said...

Wow. I thought I knew Joe pretty well after 20 years, but...he opens two packages of spaghetti to get the perfect amount for a meal? Really? :-)

jastereo said...

I should explain... We had a big pack of like 8 small pkg's of spaghetti from costco. Like she said, 1/2 a pkg was not enough to use all of the sauce up (we like leftovers of spaghetti - great for lunches). A full pkg is just way too much for a correct sauce/noodle ratio and who wants to just throw it away? Solution: take 2 pkg's, combine the spaghetti and divide it all by 3 = perfect amount (for now and the next 2 times we eat spaghetti).

I should add that we have a special container that seals to hold & keep spaghetti fresh.

On second thought, maybe I should have just left that one out there... :)

Katrina said...

Joe- you crack me up!!

You two make such a great team!! I am blessed to know the both of you!! :)

lanie@ plumb tuckered said...

I love this post. LOVE it.

Kristendom said...

I really can't say too much, as my idea of cleaning our kitchen generally turns to emptying out the entire refrigerator b/c i just noticed that we REALLY need to clean the inside. Never mind that we're having people over in a half hour and there is now food all over the kitchen that I was supposed to be cleaning.
I feel your pain, Joe. At least part of it. That spaghetti thing is just crazy.