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Cheryl Hughes: Flat Surface

You know those little strips with spikes on them that the police use to puncture tires of fleeing criminals, I need some of those.  Actually, I need a bunch of those.  I’m not interested in puncturing anybody’s tires.  I want to place them on all the flat surfaces in my house as a deterrent to the piles of stuff that always end up there.


                A flat surface in my house is an open invitation.  It’s like a sign saying, “Don’t put that where it belongs.  Leave it here on this flat surface.”   So I do.  When I come home from work, whatever is in my arms—the mail, my water bottle, my purse, my jacket—goes onto the kitchen table.  The kitchen counter doesn’t fare much better.  It catches the overflow like empty jars, tin cans that won’t fit into the crammed-full recycle basket, and small appliances like the mixer and crock pot that live in cabinets under the counter, but remain on top of the counter, because I haven’t gotten around to putting them where they belong after I’ve used them.

                I moved a small utility table out of my BBC room to make room for my granddaughter’s Monster High School.  The table made it as far as the kitchen where I stopped with it on my way to the sunroom.  Before I realized what was happening, it was home to a roll of shelf paper, a ruler and scissors, and was being utilized in a craft project.  I really don’t know how it happened.

                The Christmas holidays are the only times my dining room table isn’t piled down with miscellaneous stuff.  That’s because I’ve devised a plan to keep that from happening.  About two weeks into November, I get out my Christmas dishes and I set the table as if we are going to eat a meal there on that very day.  I keep the table like that until New Years.  It works so well, I’m thinking about buying a set of dishes for every season.  It might be worth the investment. 

 I’ve noticed Mother Nature faces the same challenges I do.  Weeds take over vacant lots, water rushes onto sand and forms slot canyons, abandoned fields sprout quick-growing poplar and sycamore trees.  Nature’s flat surfaces stay clutter-free just slightly longer than mine do, except for the deserts.  Those flat surfaces haven’t been taken over by clutter, but that’s only because I don’t live there.

                If I use my spike strip idea, I will have to go with a new decorating scheme.  The Navajo pictures in the living room will have to come down, as well as the bird and flower pictures in my dining room.  I’ll have to go with a cops and robbers theme.  The kitchen could still work.  It’s done in a coffee diner look, the kind that cops tend to hang out in, at least in cop shows they do.  I could keep a plate of donuts on the counter at all times—I’m willing to make sacrifices where I have to.

                I’ve noticed you can buy spike strips online—the authentic ones go for between 250 and 800 dollars—and YouTube shows you how to make your own, which begs the question why are there so many people out there who want to puncture other peoples’ tires?  Or maybe they don’t want to puncture other peoples’ tires.  Maybe they’re like me, and they just want a clear spot on the table where they can sit down and enjoy a nice meal.





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