Evelyn Richardson

Lessons learned from experience serve us well. My problem is not sticking to what I've learned.

Once an item has been stored in the same place in the house for decades, I'd better not move it. If I go ahead, it may be lost for eternity.

You know how we do: We stick something in a drawer, maybe just to get it out of sight temporarily, and that becomes its home, no matter how illogical.

Occasionally my home management principles kick in and I rearrange. I make an effort to put like things together, tools near where they are needed--decisions like that.

I'm proud of the finished project, but there's a repeating inner voice that keeps telling me, "You'll forget where that is!" And what happens? When I need it, I keep going back to the old familiar spot over and over again, thinking I might not be looking thoroughly. A faint remembrance of moving the item never reveals the current site.

I've lived long enough in this consumer world to be suspicious of a label that says "New and Improved." If a product has sold well for decades and continues to move off the shelf in stores, there should be no reasonable reason to tamper with it. My shopping list has carried it for years, so I go on and buy, plus an extra one, since the "Limited Special" gives a dollar off the usual price.

So far I have not liked any new and improved as well as the old and good. Something is missing from the cleaning power, flavor, smell, effectiveness, texture...with which I previously had been totally satisfied. And you can bet the price per ounce is higher and there's less in the carton. I'm unhappily stuck with using it all (remember the double value deal) because I am too frugal to do otherwise.

Painting (things, not art) for me is never more than a small-scale project: flower planter, wrought iron patio stool--objects like that. Yet I know, from experience, that I will get as much paint on me as I would if painting an entire room.

It's a given that I must put on clothes from head to toe that are already discards. I'll drip paint on shoes, rub against a wet surface, get paint on my hands and transfer it to several spots before I notice. Whatever way there is to make a mess, I will do it.

Since I never learn, I'll occasionally lie to myself and promise to be very careful with a little bitty job and not change clothes in order to save time. As soon as I pry the lid off the can and dip in the brush a spatter has ruined a perfectly good shirt. What can I say?