A Brief Visual History of Bob’s Trip to the Grocery Store

This one time, in early 2004, as an unusually strong winter storm threatened high snow accumulation throughout the D.C. metro area, I sent Bob to the grocery store. We needed to procure supplies in case we were stranded by weather. Bob was gone for a good bit, stuck in long lines, but eventually returned with frozen turkey meatballs and one (1) container of Gatorade. That was it. Nothing else. Just the turkey meatballs and the Gatorade.

I haven’t sent Bob to the grocery store since.

Now, for a ridiculous number of reasons, the past few weeks around our house have been absolutely frenetic. There have just simply not been enough hours in the day and more than a few times I have bemoaned the lack of even a hot second to sit down. So, when Bob asked me, while I was headed out the door to work – AGAIN – this past weekend, if I wanted him to do the grocery shopping, I immediately thought to myself, “No. No, I do not want him to do the grocery shopping. Ever.” But, I’m really exhausted, see? So, what I actually said was, “That would be great. That would be so great.”

Friends, it was totally not great.IMG_0862Despite decades of successful half and half use, for inexplicable reasons, Bob brought home dairy free coconut milk creamer. To no one’s surprise (but Bob’s – Bob was surprised), this dairy free coconut milk creamer was absolutely awful and Bob had to start completely over with another cup of coffee. When I asked him why in the world he purchased it to begin with he said he had, “read an article that said that cow’s milk will kill ‘ya.”

IMG_0861I’m going to take a wild guess and say that the fact that Bob shopped with the kids played a role in this ill-advised purchase. Also, and as an aside, chocolate does not improve this product in any way, General Mills. Even the kids reluctantly agreed.

IMG_0864Despite being fully aware of my lifetime of hate directed towards food makers that automatically combine cinnamon with raisins (WHY ARE THEY CONSIDERED SO INSEPARABLE), Bob purchased cinnamon raisin bread. What Bob did not buy: regular bread. Of any kind. None bread. But! He bought deli turkey so insert that one “confused face” emoji here.

IMG_0868There are 18 fish sticks in this package. Eighteen tiny fish sticks for a family of five. Go ahead and do the math on that.

IMG_0866I know what you’re thinking! This might make up for the fish sticks only… Bob didn’t buy any hot dog buns. Again, just the hot dogs. No buns.

IMG_0863I would never in a million years buy this mostly because I will just eat the cookie dough right from the package and do not even pretend that you are better than me because you would do the exact same thing. “DO NOT CONSUME RAW COOKIE DOUGH” Don’t tell me how to live my life, Nestle.

IMG_0867I mean, WHAT EVEN. Who buys Neapolitan ice cream? There are three flavors in this package and only one is going to get consumed. The only thing remaining between vanilla and strawberry will be the echo of regret. Incredulous, I picked this up from the freezer, looked at Bob and asked, “What is this, 1972?” He basically agreed that the last time he had had Neapolitan ice cream was when his mom had bought it for him.

IMG_0869An inexplicably large number of fresh lemons. Like, this is only a representative sample of the amount of lemons he purchased. So, sure. Why not.

What Bob did not buy at the grocery store that we actually needed: milk, REAL half and half, aforementioned bread products, cereal fit for consumption by anyone three years of age or older, orange juice, peanut butter, chips or crackers, pasta, fresh vegetables, fresh fruit, cheese, glorious cheese. But, there’s no need to worry. I went grocery shopping at 8:00 last night after doing all of the other things so that was super convenient.

Want to come over for strawberry ice cream? Maybe some lemonade? Can I interest you in a single fish stick?

How to Not Stay Married

Step 1: Have a long and rich history of purchasing unnecessary pieces of furniture and assorted decor for your home.

Step 2: Purchase a salvaged fireplace mantel from an antique store. Make sure you do not consult in any way with your husband prior to purchasing your new antique fireplace mantel.

Pretend not to notice your husband rolling his eyes when you arrive home from shopping and giddily tell him about your new antique fireplace mantel.

Also, make sure that the home that you live in at the time has a perfectly lovely brick fireplace surround that would not even accommodate your new antique fireplace mantel thus ensuring that no one, not even you, can justify the purchase of a new, antique fireplace mantel.

Step 3: Ask your husband to return to the antique store with you the next day to help you haul your new fireplace mantel from the bowels of the warehouse-like building to your minivan.

Ignore the deep sigh that emanates from his general direction.

Step 4: Retrieve new mantel from antique store and attempt to fit it into the back of your minivan. Be unsuccessful at this. Witness your husband’s complete exasperation. Witness your positive attitude making everything worse. Jerry-rig the mantel with improvised ties in such a way that makes it impossible to close the back hatch of the minivan so the entire 30 minute drive home, the BEEP-BEEP-BEEP-BEEP of the car’s there-is-a-door-open warning system is blaring.

Assure yourself that the noise is probably why your husband is no longer talking to you.

Step 5: Arrive home with your new antique fireplace mantel and have absolutely no logical place to put it. Ask husband to carry mantel to the third floor storage room while you “figure out a plan.”

Step 6: Devise brilliant plan! Decide to create one of those fake fireplace vignettes in your dining room. Something like this:

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Request husband retrieve mantel from third-floor attic so you can get to work!

Step 7: Do not get to work.

Step 8: Look at mantel leaning precariously against dining room wall for several months, hoping it doesn’t accidentally fall on one of the kids. Eventually, put some candles on the top that also lean precariously.

Step 9: Decide to move. When husband asks if the mantel should, logically, be left behind, react with shock and horror at such a suggestion. Explain in earnest that if you’re moving, the mantel’s moving, too.

Place mantel in basement of new home, leaning precariously against a wall. Hope it doesn’t accidentally fall on one of the kids.

Step 10: Wait three years.

Step 11: Clear out the entire contents of your basement in advance of construction work. Carry load after load of items to the garage, both you and your husband working diligently to ignore the antique mantel leaning precariously against the wall until it is the only item that remains.

Wordlessly and while making no eye contact, move the antique mantel to a dark corner of the basement.

Step 12: Bravely suggest to your husband that the super talented contractor working on the basement could maybe, possibly, perhaps also look into replacing your current fireplace mantel with the new antique mantel?

Watch as your husband rolls his eyes while simultaneously sighing deeply and reluctantly agreeing.

Step 13: Wait until your husband has worked an 11 hour day after rising at 4:30 a.m. and THEN ask him to help you bring the mantel up from the corner of the basement so the contractor can take some measurements and provide an estimate.

Ignore your husband when he exclaims, “FINE. BUT IT’S NOT GOING BACK DOWN THERE.” Wave your hands in a sarcastic, dismissive manner when he threatens to chop the antique mantel into many, many pieces and throw it into the fire pit. Do not, under any circumstances, suggest this might be ill-advised since, “it’s probably covered in lead paint anyway.”

Step 14: Get a response from your contractor that indicates the mantel installation is doable but that provides no indication of a work start date.

With great enthusiasm, relay this information to your husband. Watch him have much less enthusiasm.

Step 15: Pretend, along with your husband, that the new antique mantel isn’t currently sitting in the middle of your living room, leaning precariously against a buffet, like a ticking time bomb. Like an elephant in the room that is almost the actual size of a small elephant.

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Convince yourself that the old newspaper and small kindling your husband is gathering is for an entirely unrelated project.

Making Memories

Nothing signals the arrival of that most magical time of year quite like me yelling at my kids to stop messing with the Christmas tree.

Millie and I decorated the entire tree this year while the boys were at school. We saved a few of Henry and Charlie’s favorite ornaments for them to hang when they arrived home. Which was a fun process for all of approximately four minutes before all three of them started rearranging ornaments (NOPE) and then started dropping things through the branches of the tree for fun (SUPER NOPE). Ornaments were falling, kids were fighting, my patience was quickly evaporating. So, naturally, I hollered at them to CUT! IT! OUT! with the tree (I might not have used such judicious language).

Then, like some kind of rookie, I wrapped all of the presents super early. I was really proud that I was winning my Christmas to-do list but my eagerness was rewarded with the kids digging into the pile of precariously stacked presents under the tree, searching for names and shaking boxes (“DEFINITELY LEGOS!”). Some of the wrapping paper on the oddly-shaped presents started to rip and, listen up, I certainly didn’t spend three afternoons locked in my bedroom watching The Good Wife reruns just to have my kids destroy all of my hard wrapping work. So, naturally, I hollered at them to STOP! TOUCHING! THE PRESENTS! (I might not have used such judicious language).

I’m so happy my kids will have such charming memories of a warm and loving holiday season to reflect back upon when they are grown.

There is glitter wrapping paper mixed in there and let it be known that glitter wrapping paper is always, always a bad idea.

There is glitter wrapping paper mixed in there and let it be known that glitter wrapping paper is always, always a bad idea.

I spent a lot of time this year carefully selecting presents for the kids that I thought they’d really enjoy (as opposed to just grabbing random things from the clearance endcaps at Target). Some were requested (LEGO! always, until the end of time), some will be a surprise (Snap Circuits!), some are throwbacks (Rubix Cube! Twister!) but there’s an awful lot of thoughtfulness and love and time and effort and money underneath that tree. I mean, I learned how to replace the ribbon in an antique typewriter for Charlie this year. They better appreciate it, is my point here, because I took my gift game up several notches. If any of my children look even REMOTELY disappointed with their presents on Christmas morning, I swear I will do a Real Housewives table flip, walk out the front door and find another family to celebrate with.

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I don’t want to brag or anything but Bob casually mentioned he was going to take the kids to the Walmart in West Virginia on Saturday so they could pick out a few things to wrap and place under the tree for me. You can probably guess my delight. Obviously, Bob and the kids are taking just as great care in selecting my presents as I took in selecting theirs. I can’t wait to unwrap my new spatula!

ALSO, Bob turns 57 years old today! Happy birthday, husband! Hope you treat yourself to a little something extra special from the cafeteria at work because I’m pretty tuckered out after all of the tree policing, present wrapping and kid hollering.

Having two December birthdays in our family, one five days before Christmas and one five days after Christmas, I can definitively state that pre-Christmas birthdays are rough. Everyone is in stressed out, frantic, pre-holiday mode. By the time Henry’s birthday rolls around on December 30, the holiday work is all over and we’re in more of a celebratory mood. Bob explains every year that he was never supposed to be a December baby and was actually born five weeks early. He also claims that he was dropped on his head as an infant by his sister and, coupled with his premature birth, offers it all up as an excuse whenever I question some of his purchasing decisions (the BB gun, the bow and arrows, the slingshot, shopping at a West Virginia Walmart on Christmas Eve). Anyway, every year I try to make Bob feel special on his special day. I’m not sure if I always succeed but I’m pretty sure he should just be grateful that he didn’t have to plan for, budget for, shop for or gift wrap any of the presents underneath the tree.

In other news, our basement renovation is scheduled to begin the first week of January. That means, we need to have everything currently located in our basement located somewhere else entirely within the next two weeks. We’ve been planning this project for a solid year so you’d think that we would be on top of the basement clean and clear but you would be wrong. Procrastination is my superpower which means we’ll be spending Christmas Day hauling things up and out of the basement and placing it all… somewhere else. I just assume we will chuck things in every available corner of the house, which means I’ll have to step over a camp stove and seven empty suitcases just to crawl into my bed at night. The boys are really going to enjoy the loveseat and ottoman we’re adding to their room!

To summarize, EVERYTHING IS HAPPENING ALL AT ONCE.

Also, you cannot watch this without smiling and dancing a little in your chair. You can try to resist but it’s futile. CHRISTMAS, LET’S DO THIS.