What do the following things have in common: a witch on a broomstick, a smiling carrot, a pig wearing a chef's hat, Tweety Bird, a vase of violets, a clam with googly eyes, a genie, Mr. Peanut, and a butterfly with plastic wings? No, they're not the names on the roster of some crazy baseball team. They're all magnets on the trusty Teasdale refrigerator!

I don't know how novelty magnets originally came about, but let's just say that I'm very attracted to them! Not only do magnets have healing properties, but they hold things to metal objects, as well. And let's not underestimate their ability to beautify. Our fridge would look pretty boring without them. For a sensitive person who likes to surround herself with the things she loves, an unadorned fridge is a major bummer (unless there's a chocolate cake lurking inside!).

I'm very particular about how I use my fridge magnets. For example, when I put up dessert recipes, I secure them with chocolate-kiss magnets. If I'm displaying Thanksgiving recipes, I use my little plastic cornucopia. A clipping from a women's magazine that points out how one size does not fit all is held up with a high-heeled shoe. And the Claritin magnet I got from my doctor is the only one I'll use for medical appointment cards and prescriptions—no exceptions!

I have more magnets than I have things to put up, though, so most of my magnets rarely see active duty. But that doesn't mean I don't have fun with them! I've divided the fridge's surface into several distinct zones, each based on a general theme. The area by the freezer handle has a nautical motif, with magnets shaped like Noah's Ark, a life preserver, and a whale. The top-left corner of the main door has a North Woods theme: a black bear, a canoe, a rainbow, and a Minnesota Golden Gopher. And the left side of the fridge is a shelter for the 16 kitty magnets I've collected—but these little cuties will never be put to sleep! (That handicapped girl in the play I read in high school had her glass menagerie; I have my magnet menagerie!)

Then there's hubby Rick's lone contribution to the collection: a boring black two-inch rectangle labeled "Haines Tire Center" that he brought home from work. It's so drab and ugly that it clashes with my other magnets. Couldn't someone have made it in the shape of a tire, or a cute little jalopy? Even though I hate it, Rick insists on keeping it up so the fridge doesn't look so "fruity."

Maybe I shouldn't even bother telling you about Rick's boring tire-center magnet, because you readers will probably side with him anyway. Judging from my mail, Rick's a real scene-stealer. (Hmph! More of a fly in the ointment, if you ask me!) In a previous column, I made the mistake of describing how Rick threw a geode at our TV set. (He did it after some Sunday-afternoon sports show prematurely cut away from a Winston Cup race to the Dinah Shore Golf Classic.) I received more letters about that stupid geode story than I've received for anything else I've ever written. Almost everyone demanded that Rick take over my column. Now, wait a second, people! I'm not even sure Rick can write! Besides, destroying a television is hardly admirable behavior—it was rent-to-own, and we still had eight payments left!

I've never understood the sway Rick has over my readers. When I offered to mail my heavenly recipe for Chocolate-Caramel-Raspberry-Peach-Mint Trifle With Whipped-Cream Garnish to anyone who sent me a SASE, I got zero takers. Yet people still stop me on the street to ask if Rick is okay after falling off his buddy Craig's pontoon boat. Folks, it happened way back on the Fourth of July, 1999, and he suffered only a hairline fracture to his left shin. He only fell three feet, and it was onto solid ground, because the boat was still on the trailer. He was so looped on Old Milwaukee when it happened, he didn't even notice that he was hurt until the next day!

I don't get it. Rick's a far bigger screw-up than I am, but he's the one who has the love and respect of total strangers! He's about as sensitive to people's problems as a wood chipper, yet he's the one invited to be the first to drive his pickup through WSTR-FM's Morning Zoo Kroo Charity Bikini Car Wash For Muscular Dystrophy! Then there's the monthly "Rick Teasdale 2-for-1 Taps Nite" at Tacky's Tavern. The only things consistently named after me are the tickets I get for parking on the wrong side of the road on street-cleaning days!

Anyway, decorating with magnets is one of life's simple pleasures. You can't stop and smell the magnetic roses, but they can brighten a drab day—like when your hubby goes hunting with his drinking buddies, and you wake up to find a dead, half-plucked pheasant in your sink! (And, no, Oswego Ice-Fishing Club, Rick is not available for speaking engagements!)