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Whiskers on the Sink

I was stressed. And anxious. And trying to get work done. Problems kept popping up.

I went to the bathroom sink to get a drink of water. The first thing I noticed was how wet the front of the sink was. Then I saw all those whisker clippings. Lots of them.

My mind went right where it loves to go: what is wrong with my husband that he left this mess?! He's a grown man! Can't he do better? Do I need this on a day when I'm dealing with so much stress?

Done with the usual suspects, I quickly ran down my other list.

Assume Love: why might someone who loves me leave such a mess here today? If the point were to annoy me, he's not nearly as creative as usual. Probably has nothing to do with me. Maybe he was in a hurry. Or distracted.

Expect Love: is it reasonable to expect he'll show me love by cleaning the sink every single time he shaves? Nope. He's oblivious to sink messes, here and in the kitchen, so it doesn't take much to distract him from cleaning up. Maybe he's as stressed as I am today. How would I know? I've been focused on the online messes I've been making and cleaning up.

Find Third Alternatives: what would I want from a better option? A clean sink? Not really. Encountering that messy sink might have raised my stress level, but finding it clean and dry would not have lowered it. I want less stress. Should I ask what he wants?

And then I grabbed a paper towel, wiped the sink, and tossed it into the wastebasket right next to the sink. Took me maybe 3 and half seconds, far less time than discussing a Third Alternative to his choice to leave the whiskers here. Better yet, I felt a bit more powerful. I had made a problem go away. On this day of problems, that felt good.

I filled my glass with water and went back to my desk happier. And perhaps a bit less stressed.

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Patty Newbold is a widow who got it right the second time...

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