Jewish World Review Jan. 23, 2004 / 29 Teves, 5764
Lots of labels in this union
When my husband pulled the new electronic label maker out of the
box, I felt a wave of panic. We had a label maker years ago, and let's just
say it was not pretty.
My husband acquired his first label maker in college. It was a
little gun-shaped gizmo where you dialed in words letter by letter,
squeezed hard and then cranked out a strip of plastic red tape with raised
white letters. Our first apartment had a strange ambiance as there were
name labels on his alarm clock, radio, television, assorted household goods
and shaving bag.
I suggested that it was strange seeing his name on our community
property as newlyweds. He agreed and handed me the label maker.
The label maker made sense once I took a closer look at his
childhood home. His parents owned a blue label maker. They had labeled
fuses in the fuse box, light switches and the tabs on house and car keys.
Label makers were a family tradition. The Kennedys passed on high
cheekbones and good looks. The Rockefellers passed on piles of money and I
married into a family that passed on label makers.
I made peace with the label maker. There was an efficiency to
having a little red L on the bottom of one high heel and a little red R on
the other. It was reassuring having my phone number stuck to the inside of
my purse. I did put my foot down after the birth of our first child when I
saw the better half, label maker in hand, heading toward the box of
We made a cross-country move and the label maker was lost in the
shuffle. It was a tragedy that could have been averted, had someone only
had the foresight to label the label maker.
We adjusted to life without a label maker. Then, the new Dymo
LabelManager 100+ arrived. This sleek electronic label maker made that old
red label maker look like a squeeze toy for dinosaurs. The new label maker
had an entire keyboard, seven function buttons and a "getting started"
instruction booklet written in four different languages. The better half
would be in label maker's paradise.
I didn't know what to scoop up and hide first. The luggage, the
clock radio in the bedroom or the piano.
Hubby labeled videos, photo albums, storage tubs, shoe boxes and
my Rubbermaid cake taker. Then he lost interest. For a day the label maker
sat idly on the coffee table. It looked so forlorn sitting there with the
digital display window completely dark.
Next thing I knew, the kids were playing with it and morphed into
label maniacs. They labeled their CD players, MP3s, camping gear and a
friend in grad school. (They slapped a label on his jacket that said Dr.
Dave, hence expediting the Ph.D. process by one thesis and two years.)
There was a label on my husband's back that said "Needs a nap."
One of the girls had a label on her coat that said, "Ask me about my
boyfriend." When I passed a mirror, I saw a label on my shoulder that said,
"Feed me chocolate." When the oldest slept late the morning we agreed to
clean the garage, he awoke to a label on his bedroom door that said, "Not a
I thought the label making gone too far when I saw a label on
Grandpa's cane that had his name, phone number, and in all caps, "PARTY
ON." He smiled approvingly.
The tradition continues.
Enjoy this writer's work? Why not sign-up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
© 2001, Lori Borgman
JWR contributor Lori Borgman is the author of I Was a Better Mother Before I Had Kids. To comment, please click here. To visit her website click here.
01/16/04: Cheap eats in college? Use your noodle
01/02/04: 2003 boasted a cast of colorful characters
12/19/03: Hours at the stove, moments at the table
12/12/03: The way they dress, "boxers or briefs?" isn't a question
12/05/03: Hey, hey, we're the monkeys (or close enough)
11/26/03: Hardship? We don't know the meaning
11/21/03: Good kids! Wonder who raised them
11/14/03: Safety first, even when danger has passed
10/24/03: NFL fan learns to handle heightened sensations
10/03/03: Chipping away at misunderstood lists
09/26/03: Boundaries disappear, society pays the price
09/19/03: Easy (bike) rider
09/12/03: Got Mom?
09/05/03: S'Mores Maker threatens all we hold dear (and gooey)
07/25/03: Private journals, public records
07/25/03: Star appears bright-eyed, bushy-tailed
07/18/03: Girls pool talents for commercial success
07/11/03: Summer; the living is easy
07/03/03: Terrible twos make terrific workout
06/27/03: Emergency a matter of definition
06/13/03: A Father's Day roast for Mother Goose
06/05/03: Good examples of bad parenting
05/23/03: Faulty equations on the love calculator
05/16/03: Busted for Oreos!
05/09/03: Mom plus shipping equals excitement
05/02/03: Mom shudders at thought of the m-a-l-l
04/21/03: Mother Confessions
04/11/03: Husband snoring: Hit or mist
04/04/03: Flip flops hashed at the lunch table
03/28/03: Bare facts on protesters
03/21/03: Madonna: Like an Author
03/17/03: Mom develops rapport with son's answering machine
03/07/03: The call for courage
02/28/03: My relationship with Mister Rogers
01/31/03: Mom pushes memories out the door
01/24/03: Picture this! Human 'beans'
01/10/03: Password, please!
12/31/02: Who it was a good year for
12/06/02: Radio show guarantees family-size audience
12/02/02: High-seas adventure would enlist few takers today
11/15/02: Frozen turkey makes cook chicken out
11/15/02: What's going on with "going out?"
11/01/02: The crazy mind of middle-age
10/25/02: Relationship rooted in willow talk
10/18/02: The challenge of being spontaneous
10/11/02: No wheels, no keys, no problem?
10/04/02: Lessons of a childhood survivor --- my children's
09/20/02: "Cutting the Cord" to the Tube
09/13/02: Over there
08/30/02: The Last One Left
08/23/02: Rare sighting made on the patio
08/16/02: Kids get reality paycheck
08/08/02: We look like this . . . no, Kidman!
08/02/02: We should be a nation of 'nuts'!
07/26/02: Hold your applause --- please!
07/19/02: Greed and Mints on the Pillows
07/12/02: Remodeling: Blueprint for Disaster
07/08/02: The Botox wrinkle
06/28/02: One perfect day
06/21/02: Flush with excitement
06/14/02: The Ways a Father Says "I Love You"
06/07/02: Garage Sale Treasures
05/31/02: No Pudgy Hour at the gym
05/19/02: Ozzy, if you come for dinner, bring change
05/19/02: Instant Messaging and LOL
05/10/02: Some mothers get something more
05/03/02: I Nudge, Therefore I Am
04/25/02: Motherhood is seasonal work
04/19/02: Paper trail to college
04/12/02: What to cook or not to cook
03/31/02: Mom and Dad Break Curfew
03/22/02: Introducing P.P.M. (Partners Per Month)
03/15/02: Birth of a Pothole
03/08/02: When Enron Momma gets mad
03/01/02: Little hope for bookaholic
02/22/02: Wrestling with prejudice
02/15/02: Say What?
02/08/02: Kitchen intelligence
02/01/02: Age-old words
01/25/02: Abortion: Switching Sides
01/18/02: Kids, take note
01/11/02: The heart-stopper e-mail
01/04/02: The slightly sunny side of 2001
12/28/01: The Way Things Work
11/30/01: The Leftover Shuffle begins
11/27/01: Glasses bring age into focus
11/16/01: A different portion of Thanks
11/09/01: The Next Stage of Parenting
11/01/01: Of boys and patriotism
10/26/01: College Son the Invisible Man
10/19/01: Out of the closet ... and into the school
10/12/01: A Parent's Guide to Dating
10/05/01: "Taking Care of You"
09/28/01: Time indivisible
09/24/01: Refueling capitalism
09/14/01: A time to mourn
09/07/01: Lack of modesty stirs the troops
08/31/01: Scholarship search an education
08/24/01: The test for parents
08/17/01: Immodest proposals
08/10/01: Trying to R-r-r-re-re-relax
08/03/01: It may be shabby and chic, but it ain't cheap
07/20/01: Bride showered with sage advice
07/13/01: Baby Bear Finds Driving "Just Right"
07/06/01: Pale at the Thought of Bronze
06/29/01: A Dog's Best Friend
06/22/01: Rethinking fatherhood
06/14/01 Don't forget to lock the door
06/07/01 How grandma punishes her kids
06/01/01 Hearing voices
05/25/01 Cyborgs for Better or Worse
05/18/01 The death of Common Sense