Friday, March 18, 2011

toothpaste wars

The other morning I listened to a woman give advice about marriage--"It's not the big things, it's the little things that wreck your marriage." She went on to describe the nit-picky things that couple fight about over time, daily skirmishes over toothpaste tubes and toilet paper rolls and laundry on the floor. It made me laugh because I'm pretty anal-retentive, neat-freakish. Mr. D? Notsomuch. But we're smarter than the average couple.

Here's our secret to Happily Ever After: we each have our own tube of toothpaste. That's right. We don't share! He squeezes his from the bottom, I squeeze mine from the middle. He keeps his tube in one bathroom drawer, I keep mine in another. Nary the twain shall meet (except when we both happen to brush our teeth at the same time--which brings me to another secret of our happy marriage: separate bathroom sinks!)
It's not expensive (the separate tubes of toothpaste, that is, the separate sinks cost a bit more, but far less than counseling) and it's not difficult. If it's true that the little things matter that much, why not eliminate them from the equation? It's all about perspective, right? Disagree about how to set up the toilet paper? Install another toilet paper holder. No. Big. Whup. Ornery about how your spouse leaves his laundry on the floor? Kick it into a corner where you don't see it--set up a screen or switch sides of the room so you don't have to look at it. Irritated by a spouse who won't hang up his coat? Install hooks instead of using coat hangers. I've got a friend whose husband cannot shut cupboard doors. I think she should install springs on all of them so they automatically swing shut as soon as you let go of the door handle.

The Toothpaste Wars used to be worse between me and my kids. This Christmas Santa brought them the coveted Touch 'n Brush--guaranteed to keep the bathroom countertop cleaner. Team Testosterone saw it on TV and lobbied hard for it for months. I'm skeptical of "As seen on TV" gadgets, but bought it to convince them that the Jolly Old Elf was Real. Plus I was getting carpal tunnel from chipping away with a paint scraper at the hardened globs of toothpaste all over the upstairs bathroom. People, it actually works! The only things caked solid with dried toothpaste are the Touch 'n Brush unit and the sink--the countertop is the cleanest it's ever been.


Spill it, reader. What little thing have you eliminated from an equation?

23 comments:

  1. I can't think of one little thing that would be that big of a deal to us---he does weird things that annoy me, I in return have my own quirks. Much easier to just keep my mouth shut. Now, that toothpaste holder is something I'm going to have to look into!!! My 3 boys never can remember to put the cap back on and of course, someone always accidentally leans on it while looking in the mirror, squirting it Everywhere!

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  2. I guess me and my hubby are both slobs ;)

    No really, I never thought much about it. But...we both have our own toothpaste - I like kid tasting tubes - he doesn't. I have hooks installed all around my bedroom. I rarely use hangers - hate the waste of time. We use down comforters - we each have our own - too little time in life to spend it arguing.

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  3. those little things i'm pretty much ok with. although i recently had a rant about the clothes not making it to the hamper for 18 years.

    he said it was because i'm always in bed and it's dark when he changes.

    hmmm.

    of course i caught him dumping his clothes on the floor NEXT TO THE HAMPER at 3 in the afternoon just days later.

    but really, it's a joke between us.

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  4. We have our own bathrooms even. So that Touch N Brush works good? My boys share a bathroom and tooth paste and one squirts it out, leaves some hanging and then smears the cap on. The other one thinks that's so gross. Maybe I need to get them a Touch N Brush.

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  5. This post is pure genius for marriage intervention. You need to send it to Martha Stewart or Dr. Phil or somebody! Dang! Love the suggestion about the springs on the cabinet doors!!

    If I were to have a pet Man right now...I'd have to start off giving him the upstairs suite, and he could have his own everything for a while, until we got used to eachother's habits.

    * : )

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  6. Checking up on Middle Child when she's out in the neighborhood with her friends is so last week. Now SHE checks in with me via text or phone to update on location and who she is with, or she loses the privilege of going out and about for the next day. It's resulted in a serious reduction in my nagging.

    We have separate sinks and toothpaste tubes for the mister and I. We also have separate sinks and toothpaste tubes for the daughters. Because the small stuff matters.

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  7. I like the look of that Touch And Brush. My boys' bathroom sink is pretty coated too.

    I'm not sure I've eliminated anything from an equation. But I have worn my husband down on a few items (he's worn me down on a few too!)

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  8. You know what drives me batty? Every once in a while he'll get up at like 3 am and brush his teeth. Seriously, what gives? ARG!

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  9. So SO true! We joke that we have "girls and boys" bathrooms at our house. Not really, but since Da Guys use the same shampoos and Da Girls are more picky, it makes sense for the shower sharing to go that way.

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  10. We have our own: Toothpaste. Bedcovers (comforter vs down blanket). Computer. Food. Favorite utensil. Freezer. (we do share the fridge.) Eat schedule. Sleep schedule. Transportation. Reading material.

    Twenty-five years and still happy with our relationship and each other. We think of these accommodations as the lubricant that keeps the small differences well oiled and not a problem.

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  11. I have wondered for YEARS why people don't just buy two tubes of toothpaste.

    I tolerate his working out all the time by appreciating his not gaining 100 pounds like his brothers did.

    He tolerates the mess around my sewing machine by appreciating that my daughter is wearing a skirt that covers her butt.

    It's an attitude thing.

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  12. Now I want the touch and brush.

    Here's what we do: there's a boy's bathroom and a girl's bathroom in our house. The boys don't seem to mind crusted toothpaste and pee on the toilet. And I don't have to see any of it ;)

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  13. We share a toothpaste tub, but I patiently fix it before I use it. I have trained him to get his underwear in the laundry basket.

    I seem to be the only one in my house that realizes how EASY and what a timesaver it is to rinse out the sink (bathroom or kitchen) after each use.

    I did hooks for towels in the kids' bathroom and it is a huge help.

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  14. I wish I had known about the Touch N Brush about 10 years ago. But it's too late for us. Not only do my husband and I have separate toothpastes, but each of my KIDS has their own toothpaste. (They still all need spitting lessons so that they don't miss the sink.)

    And in our house I am the messy one. My husband wins the prize for being tolerant of my messiness. The prize is that he gets to watch old episodes of Hercules and Xena Warrior Princess.

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  15. i used to have the hardest time with ron and his clothes. he said he couldn't get his clothes in the hamper because it was in the closet. i moved it out. then he couldn't do it because the hamper had a lid. i removed the lid. it was 50/50 after that. lol. now he has a true excuse... the wheelchair.

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  16. I like my laundry to be done apart from everyone else's. I bought a hamper with different sections so I don't have to sort my clothes from my husband's.
    We also have our own toothpaste.

    My take on marriage has always been that it's 90% compromise and 10% getting your own way.

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  17. The husband and I have separate toothpastes, shampoos, and a few other odds and ends. Makes a huge difference, because I'm picky about the toothpaste and can't stand it when he squeezes from the middle.

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  18. You've got it down! There are some serious systems going on in your household. Nice work. ;)

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  19. My husband and I had our own bathrooms. It was relationship-saving. Mine was all cheerfully decorated for each season... his was gray with his favorite washed out lt. blue towels. He loved his... I loved mine!

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  20. The separate toothpastes is an awesome idea. I wish that was one of the things my husband and I fight about.

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  21. We used to fight over the electric blanket, until we got one with separate controls (now my side is HOT and his side is warm). We also have two sets of pillows ... one that is the weird, curvy, good-for-your-neck kind, and the traditional kind. Every night, we each throw one on the floor and sleep with the other (it looked weird when the bed was made to have different pillows. So we each have one of our own, and one of the other person's kind).

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  22. OMG -- the cupboards! Rick does that too and I know he does it to make me crazy. There's one particular door that just won't shut.

    LOL @ the toothpaste deal. We both have our own tubes, too, but that's because we like different ones.

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  23. We do the separate toothpaste thing too - more because we don't like the same flavors. And then the kid has her own, so there's three tubes floating around...

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Spill it, reader.