The Portugal Chronicles – The First Spat: Mexican Standoff

Newlyweds can go along for some time on that delightful cloud of perfect bliss. This is especially true if one is adjusting to not just marriage but a whole new culture and life. But, inevitably, there comes a day when perfect bliss becomes, “What? How can you disagree with me on (fill in the blank)?

It might be that one of the pair cooked a meal…say beef tongue… (not smoked) and the other half finds this rare tidbit inedible. The proper way to hang the roll of toilet paper, or the placement of the toilet seat are causes for concern in some families. Should the tube of toothpaste be squeezed in the middle of the tube or from the bottom? It’s shocking, really, the discoveries that newlyweds make. Sooner or later these preferences lead to some intense fellowship. And so we come to the bed sheets.

We were given many pretty sheets for shower and wedding gifts. I enjoyed changing them weekly. Harry was seldom around when these changes took place. One day, however, he happened to be home and offered to help me make the bed. I shook the sheet out with the flowers facing the bottom sheet and noticed that Harry was trying to turn the sheet over. He told me I was doing it wrong.

I informed him that my mother had always put the sheets on print side down. Harry replied that his mother had done it print side up. I told him that  you could see the prints with the flowers facing down when you open the bed. We glared at one another across the bed. Neither of us firstborns was giving an inch. Finally I said, “If you want the sheets to be print side up the way your mother did it, you can have it if you make the bed yourself.”

A couple of years later we were in the states for my sister-in-law’s wedding. While we were there, I happened upon a Dear Abby column. I had had no idea that it was serious enough to write to Abby about it.  Apparently, we were both right. Abby said, “The print side goes up when there are no blankets to cover the print; the print side goes down when the sheet is covered by a blanket.” I was so glad to be able to put that issue to bed.

So, what do you think? Did Harry care enough about it to start making the bed himself?