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5 Communication Lessons for Couples

A pile of melted plastic cups - the result of a communication breakdown at our home last night

We’re a busy family. Between karate classes, violin and piano lessons, PTA, girl scouts, church volunteering and marathon training – our family has a lot going on.

To enable us to maximize the time we have together, we’re blessed to have a bi-weekly housekeeping service that helps curb and control the nearly universal tendency towards entropy as far as home upkeep.

Yesterday was housekeeping day, and one of the things that we do as a family is straighten up the place before the cleaning folks arrive.

I know it seems kind of silly – almost like trimming your bangs before visiting the salon or pre-drilling a cavity before heading to the dentist – but that’s what we do.

We mainly clear the clutter from floors, tables and counters to allow the maximum cleaning for those surfaces. One of the “tricks” I do before I leave for work on housekeeping day, is that if the dishwasher is full and I’m in a rush, rather than swapping out the clean and dirty dishes – I’ll put the dirty sink dishes in the oven.

My wife is aware that I do this (and truth be told, she may have done this once or twice herself)  – however, she tells me when she does it.

Yesterday, I didn’t tell her that I had filled the oven with assorted plastic dishware nor did I leave her a note to that effect and soon forgot about it altogether.

When I got home from work we discussed quick dinner options because we had a family commitment later that evening that we had to rush to. The de facto dinner choice was a delicious DiGiorno pizza – a family favorite that’s fast and easy.

So I ran upstairs to change and my wife turned on the oven. Unfortunately, I didn’t remember to tell her it was loaded with petroleum-based plastics nor did she check. The photo insert was the result.

The lessons of this story are as layered as a pile of melted plastic products:

  1. Communication is a bi-directional activity.
  2. Humans sometimes forget important details.
  3. plastic + high heat = toxic smelling mess
  4. Haste and busyness hurt meaningful communications.
  5. I wonder if our homeowner’s association will let me put dirty dishes on the back porch during cleaning days?

Question: Have you every had a communication breakdown?

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  1. I don’t think we’d be human if we hadn’t had some sort of communication breakdown! However, the fact that I can’t remember one right at this moment means I really must not have had one ever! YAY! I’m SUPER HUMAN!

    Great story and wonderful tips!

  2. This is definitely a fear of mine.. putting dishes in the oven is sometimes a necessary evil, but as you mentioned can have some real consequences. I have teen aged children as well, but thankfully they usually stick to the microwave or the toaster oven :D

    • TorConstantino says:

      Excellent comment Angela – know I’m thinking of other dirty dish hiding places (e.g. refrigerator???, washing machine???, bullet blender???)

  3. Answering your question, YES! But I must know what alerted you. Smoke? Smell? Divine intervention?

    • TorConstantino says:

      Interesting question. My wife is a former French teacher with a VERY acute sense of smell – so much so that her nickname is Le Nez (the nose). So even though she was in our rec room with our daughters while the oven pre-heated – it was her awesome nasal capacity that averted danger!

  4. Great post! And a great lesson, to boot!

    I’ve plenty of issues, but don’t this one would necessarily befall me. But only because my oven is already full. Of clean dishes!

  5. We had an almost identical issue on Christmas Eve. Only it was bread cubes for the stuffing the next day. And they were on the top rack when we turned on the broiler.

    My husband managed to run the flaming tray of fire out to the backyard without additional collateral damage, but it was a HOT Christmas Eve for us.

    And this is exactly why I can’t hide dishes in the oven.

    • TorConstantino says:

      I empathize with you – hopefully ultra-toasted bread cubes weren’t tool nauseating a smell. Burning plastic is nasty….

  6. Tip: when you elect to do crazy things like this- put a note on the oven door!
    My mom used the oven for storage for years- mostly because she never really cooked in it. Then, one day, she prepared to make a dinner for some “special guests” and started a fire with the bakery goods and paper in the oven. That WAS a special night.

    • TorConstantino says:

      That’s a great story Roy! You’re absolutely write I should have put a not or message on the oven – oh well, live and burn…um, er, I mean live and learn ;-)

  7. Anonymous says:

    This is such a great example of the importance of communicating. My wife and I are working on how we communicate to each other, this is because so many time conflict happens because of not communication melt down(Punt intended). Great post.

  8. With this inspiration, the next step is to write a “Blissters” episode. ;-)

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