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Are you a list maker or list hater? How about hubby?

Are you a list maker or list hater? How about hubby?

While there are all kinds of people in the world, they can probably be separated into two basic groups – list makers and those who don’t like lists.

I happen to be a list maker. I like to make lists of things I have to do, should do, want to do, will never do. I like to type the list of things I need to get done for the next week on Sunday nights when the week ahead is full of possibilities. Then I print it off and put little boxes beside each thing so that I can fill in the box as I get it done. I take pride in carefully filling in the box each night like I’m taking a college entrance exam. Any box that is left untouched at the end of the day is worrisome. Of course there are always boxes not filled in at the end of the day. Who can bring about world peace and make a rhubarb pie on the same day, anyway?

My friend Linda makes lists for her husband. She says he asks for them. Either she is a really good fibber or he is in need of therapy of some type. He is a unicorn in the world of husbands, it seems.

My friends Lana and Carol are soulmates when it comes to making lists. They are even willing to make a list for their husbands because they have derived so much pleasure from their own lists.

“How does that work for you? Do your husbands appreciate your offer of lists, because mine definitely doesn’t,” I asked recently when we were together.

“Well,” Lana began, “when I’m in the zone of making my list and it is giving me so much pleasure, I often offer to make my husband a list too.”

“Does he take you up on it?” (I’m thinking that I will try her technique and maybe I can get it to work for me, too.)

“Sometimes.”

“Does he do the stuff on the list?” (I hate it that I’m such a skeptic, but life has taught me many hard lessons.)

“Well, not always. Well, not usually. Well, maybe not ever, but sometimes he says ‘yes’ to having me make a list.”

Carol ventured in with her list experiences with her spouse. “I’ve tried different ways of making reminder lists, some are more successful than others. I used to make a list and then put it in his shirt pocket before he headed to the field in the morning, but that didn’t work so well.”

“Did he take it with him to the field and then, when he found he needed some paper and there was nothing else around as nature called, he crumpled it until it was soft and then ended up leaving it in the shelterbelt?”

“Uhm ... no ... not that I know of,” she said thoughtfully.

Maybe I am the only one who has personally had that experience.

Carol revealed that she has found her lists in the laundry – having been totally forgotten and then washed. She continued, “I started to send him his lists in text messages. I find if I repeat them often and then take one item off the list until only about two items remain, he might remember one of them.”

That was an interesting concept, to keep lowering your expectations and resort to constant nagging. An idea so revolutionary and profound it should be in the marriage vows.

I’m kind of thinking of making a test list and not asking ahead of time if my spouse wants a list. I might just hand it to him to see if he will even read it and if he will do anything on the list. It will have things on it like, “get a foot massage from me, eat the rest of the ice cream in the freezer, and hold the remote control in your hand the entire night.”

Maybe if I can get him used to consulting a piece of paper and following the directions, I can slip a few real items in there and trick him into liking and following lists. The possibilities could be limitless.

I think I’ll put “make a fake list for my husband” on my list of things to do for next week, just to get the ball rolling.

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Doreen Rosevold is a humorist/columnist from Mayville, ND.

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