They say you should write about what you know. With that in mind, I’m starting something new.
Am I a perfectionist?
I believe in choosing the right path over the easy path; I love it when something is properly centered and aligned; I’m addicted to tweaking things that are just fine to make them a bit better; I find pleasure in spending inordinate amounts of time on details nobody will ever see.
On the down side: my wife will be the first to tell you I’m too critical; the ends hardly ever justify the means (for example, just about anyone I know can paint a wall faster than I can, and you probably can’t tell the difference); given the choice between doing a slapdash job now and a proper one later, I’ll usually choose later — and I have a lazy side, too, which means later never comes.
If you look at all the papers strewn across my desk, “perfectionist” would be the last word that comes to mind.
I guess you could say I’m an ASPIRING perfectionist. Perhaps more accurately, you could say I’m a perfectionist at heart living an imperfect reality. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a happy person. I think it’s possible to believe that anything can always be done better while harboring no regrets with the way it is now.
Where the hell was I going with this? Oh, right, blogging about what you know. I’m not sure if all perfectionists are like this, but I take particular delight in finding tiny ways to improve perfectly normal everyday things.
“Things” could be physical items that work just fine but could be better, e.g. rewiring the basement utility room lights so that ALL are on the entry way switch instead of two on the switch and two with pull chains.
“Things” could also be processes, e.g. when I back my car into its parking spot at work (yes, I always use the same parking spot) when the ground is covered in snow it will be correctly parked between the angled yellow lines (yes, I do scrape the snow away with my foot to check after I’m done) because I use landmarks to guide myself.
So what does all this add up to? (Blogging about what you know) + (obsessively tweaking perfectly normal things) = A new series of blog entries wherein I describe some of these silly tweaks of mine.
Tweak 1: Making Ice Cubes
Making ice cubes is easy, right? Put water in an ice cube tray. Put it in the freezer. Done.
On the other hand, being the way I am I have collected the following tweaks to the process of making ice:
(*) Rinse the empty ice cube tray out with hot water first, or leave it out to dry, before refilling it.
WHY: Rinsing clears any broken bits of ice cubes stuck to the bottom. They make the new ice cubes harder to pop free. Rinsing the trays also clears out any impurities left behind from the last batch. This one makes almost no difference but I do it anyways.
(*) Don’t overfill!
WHY: The big secret to making good ice cubes is to be sure that the water level stays below the walls between cubes. If you fill them too full, they don’t break out of the trays very well after they form. This one actually does make a pretty big difference.
(*) Don’t stack them. When you put the trays in the freezer, spread them out horizontally if you can.
WHY: If stacked, the ones underneath tend to be harder to break out of the trays. I don’t know why this is but I think it’s because the outer ones freeze faster. Why is faster freezing better? Dunno. BUT I WILL FIND OUT I TELL YOU! (unless Wikipedia doesn’t know, then I’ll probably give up because I’m lazy)
This one doesn’t matter to anyone except ice snobs.
(*) Don’t disturb them while they’re freezing. Put your new ice cubes in the freezer just before you go to bed.
WHY: Something about jostling the trays while the water is freezing makes them harder to break out of the trays. Using half-frozen ice cubes in desperation is a cardinal ice-cube sin.
I doubt this matters if you disturb them just a little, e.g. shaking the fridge by opening the door. On the other hand, moving half-frozen trays around to get the bag of frozen veggies out will make a difference. Popping a half-frozen cube out will pretty much ruin the rest and earn you a week in a special level of Mount Purgatory where it hails and rains in half-frozen ice.