Discovering Inspiration in What Drives Us Nuts!


By Kirk MCCarley

Kirk Mccarley

A few days ago, I shared a drink and some sandwiches with a couple of work mates at an airport eatery, killing time before our respective flights back home departed.  As guys are often wont to do, our conversation drifted into a Seinfeldian discussion of observations and subsequent questions.  Given we were eating perhaps all three of us sensed a subliminal urging into a culinary-oriented discourse of food, food preparation, and kitchen appliances.

Which brought us to the plight of the automatic dishwasher.

All of us married, we quickly reached universal agreement that rinsing and then loading the dishwasher was not such a disdainful chore, but rather it was the unloading that was loathsome.  We evaluated the source of our contempt and concluded two factors were of influence.  One, there seems to be a higher degree of thought that goes into the emptying process.  Where do the utensils go and how should they be configured?  When unloading, does other cookware need to first be moved to accommodate those most recently cleansed?  Have bowls or glasses been overturned in the cleaning process and accumulated that dingy “graywater,” that requires a manual re-rinsing?

The second consideration was the manner in that the kitchenware may have been loaded initially.  Had larger items such as colanders or large measuring cups occupied significant space, when they might have been hand washed at the outset, thus deferring the automatic washing process and subsequent unloading for at least 12 more hours?

No remedy was reached for our dilemma, except for feeling a bit more lightened through discovering mutual comradeship and “misery” by talking it through.

What is your peeve?  Is it the toilet paper positioned up or down?   The driver’s seat moved too far forward, or back?  The tube of toothpaste squeezed from the middle, or front?

Enough of these annoyances piled on top of one another can result in aggravation, anger, and even lashing out at an unaware loved one or bystander.

Discovering Inspiration

Why do these seemingly inconsequential things annoy us?

An article in “Psychology Today” examined our reactions.  It revealed that though there can be physical and mental factors contributing:  sleep deprivation, stress, illness, financial concerns, oftentimes, the fundamental issue is more a sense of our “space” having been invaded, reflecting a need to “reset.”  What are ways to step back and discipline ourselves to rethink?  The article shared five examples:

  1. Set a limit.  Someone asks you an irksome question that you really don’t want to answer.  One approach can be to respond with “I’m not prepared to discuss that now.”  Another can be “That is really difficult for me to talk about at this time.”
  2. A need to protect your time.  Little intrusions matter.  Even the five minutes it takes to unload the dishwasher is time to take care of another chore, or “check in” with a loved one.
  3. Identify another approach.  Will waking up 15 minutes earlier help?  Can tasks be broken up into diverse increments such as take out the trash, watch a 30-minute show, then unload the dishes?
  4. Resentment and anger.  Speak out.  Don’t stuff it.  “I feel I’m doing a great share of the chores.  I really could use help.”
  5. Finally, it may be us that suffers from perfectionism.  You get mad at yourself for falling short of your own expectations.  You’re human, give yourself a break.  Likewise, if another person fails to live up to your standards, either express your hopes, or try to see things from a different perspective.  Better yet, is it worth hanging onto or should it be let go?


Rethink, reframe, refocus.  My Mother-In-Law had a saying posted in her house—“Thank God for dirty dishes, they have a tale to tell; while other folks go hungry, we’re eating very well.”

Time to unload.

A graduate of the University of North Texas, Kirk McCarley is a Certified Professional Coach as well as a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and SHRM-CP Certified. He also is a Production Assistant for both college football and basketball for ESPN and leads group cycling classes as a Certified Spinning instructor. Contact,, or call  314-677-8779.

SWal Life
Author: SWal Life