Angela Huston Column

AngelaHuston@zoominternet.net

Posted prominently on my refrigerator is a lovely, but very specific sign titled "Kitchen Rules," compliments of my daughter. It is a gentle, simple, but definite reminder to people of how I want my kitchen to function:

If you empty it, fill it.

If you get it dirty, clean it.

If you open it, close it.

If you spill it, wipe it up.

If you cook it, share it.

While I am not completely governed by rules, I do believe most of them were developed for a good reason, do serve a valid purpose, and should be respected. Also, if they are delivered in just a few clever but direct, "un-bossy-sounding" words, they actually have a way of simplifying many things.

While they are not written and posted, the kitchen is not the only place in the house where there are rules I would expect to be observed, but it is definitely one of the most important. Some other things there and in other areas of the house include:

If you finish the last of any food, let me know; do not return an empty cereal box to the cupboard.

If you drink the cold water in the 'fridge, refill the pitcher.

If you use the last of the toilet tissue, start a new roll; please do not leave one square.

If you open any container, close it and put it away when you are done with it.

If you turn on a light, turn it off when you leave the room.

If you fill the wastebasket, take it out to the trash and put a new liner in the basket.

If perchance someone somehow neglects to follow any of them from time to time, the world does not come to a screeching halt, we do continue to function with only little inconvenience, and eventually someone will pick up the need to perform the proper action to keep things flowing; there is no tribunal waiting to deliver an ugly punishment.

Most of these rules/requests are just plain common sense, courtesies that make the daily routine run a little smoother. Our kids grew up with them and if I were to guess, they have incorporated some of them, written or not, into their own homes.

However, recently we have discovered the need to add another, somewhat unusual rule/suggestion/word of caution to the list:

If you use the bathroom facilities, whether you are family, friend, or a passing visitor, please do not leave the bathroom until the water in the toilet tank has definitely, completely, absolutely, positively stopped running. If you suspect it is running for an inordinate length of time, tell me.

Believe me when I say I am doing you a favor by giving you a heads-up on this rule, this advice, this precaution, this request - whatever you want to call it - which, out of necessity, has just recently been moved up permanently to the position of top priority in importance on the list and will be followed faithfully from now on!

This advice is my free PSA to you. Someday it could save you an extended period of disarray, turmoil, disruption, inconvenience, and construction-related dirt clinging to everything in your house, to say nothing of an enormous plumbing repair bill.

You're welcome!