Monday, January 18, 2010

Put a Lid On It

The old saw about socks getting lost in the dryer seems to elicit universal laughs and nods of assent. Not from me, though.

Socks and dryers pose no problem for me, personally. I take precautions; I wash my own socks, thankyouverymuch. I know how many I put in, I take the same number out, and match them up as they exit the dryer. I don’t believe in the mythical “sixth dimension” that takes a sock from a pair into a parallel universe. Hokum and hogwash.

The problem I have found around our house is the one with storage containers, specifically the kind that we used to refer to as “Tupperware”. Of course, back in this geezer’s formative years, the procedure for the aforementioned socks: use it, wash it, store it, was the enforced standard for plastic storage containers. Tupperware was expensive stuff, and not to be treated casually; someone in the house had to go to a Tupperware Party and endure silly games and sales pitches to procure the gear. It wasn’t something you’d take to the back yard to wash the dog or dig a hole. Nope. The product was so good, so effective and so “everywhere”, the name has become synonymous with “resealable plastic containers”. Like Kleenex, Formica and Coke.

Which brings us to the present day. Now Glad and Ziploc, Rubbermaid and worthless knockoffs have three for three dollars in a pack, in just about any size you want. We have tons of them. Making salsa, dragging it to work, bringing extra food back from holiday feasts. Buying them specifically because we always need more. Heck, we also have the yogurt tubs, sour cream containers and sherbet receptacles.

And why would we need more? When nearly every lunchmeat package purchased has a free container around it? Of course, there is the inevitable explanation (that would never fly with real Tupperware) of leaving it at work after a successful lunch or two. Or that it just disappears somewhere. I have seen them with paint in them, out in the backyard with dirt in them, under beds in the girls’ rooms, and used as emergency travel food dishes for the puffy dogs.

Yet every time one of us ventures into the chamber of horrors that is the “tupperware” cabinet, there is a disparity between the number of containers and the number of lids. There are several brands and sizes, none of which are interchangeable. There are two brands, however, that are similar in size, and the lid from one can be forced upon the container of the other. Don’t try this at home, kids. The seal is unreliable at best, and dangerously flawed when bringing tortilla soup to a remote location. Chances are, the soup will end up on the floorboard of your car. I just know this stuff. Names and soups have been changed to protect the innocent.

No matter how many we have, the lid/box ratio is always unequal. When it is time to put the leftovers away, the unlucky person, usually me, gets to drop to their (my) knees, stand on their (my) head, and go through the process of dredging, matching and testing various vessels and lids for the magic combination. Usually the frustration and pain in their (my) knees drives them (me) to their (my) feet for another solution.

Fortunately, there is always a lid to be found for the resourceful. The ubiquitous roll of aluminum foil is the go-to hero of the food putter-upper. I like it because of the way you can roll it up really tight under the lip of the carton for a pretty good seal. And if you crimp it really tight, you can even stack them in the fridge. And when the enclosed food turns to fur, you can form the foil into interesting animal shapes to sell at garage sales.

Short of the old chain-the-pen-to-the-desk approach of attaching the lid to the container, I can only count on the classic “use, wash, store” line of attack to keep the equipment intact. But there are three other people in the house. And nobody has the commitment that the old Tupperware inspired for a geezer-in-training.


innominatus said...

You've touched a nerve! My wife keeps every flimsy, cheesy, useless plastic container. But the lids are so flimsy, "ethereal" even, that they blow around the inside of the dishwasher and end up all over the place. Sometimes they slip through and cause the little spinney arm thing to not spin freely, so only half the load gets washed. Other times the lids slip through and melt onto the heating element. GAH! Then after I chip the goo off the heating element and toss the ruined lid, wifey-poo keeps the tub. Allow this to go on for a while, and next thing ya know there is a cupboard full of flimsy plastic tubs but hardly any intact lids. Out comes the foil or saran wrap, which, oh, by the way, clings way better to the REAL ceramic bowls that should've been in use to begin with!

Howlsatmoon said...

In my house there's this light switch that doesn't do anything. Every so often
I would flick it on and off just to check. Yesterday, I got a call from a
woman in Madagascar. She said, "Cut it out."

Same goes for the Containers and Lids, I suppose.

I'll send you your lids, you send me my containers.

Anonymous said...

You guys are crazy.

DammitWomann said...

Wollf - look in the bed of your pickup for the containers. That is where you generally toss them (for safe keeping I'm sure).

Artistic Expressions Photography said...

So funny and so true - I can remember as a kid my dad getting all bent out of shape because we never had matching containers and lids and I always thought "what's the big deal?". Usually because I was the guilty party, using the containers for some makeshift toy. WELL... now I'm the mom and believe me, finding my containers being used as "barbie swimming pools" is not so endearing! :) Thanks for sharing! Made me laugh.