For years, grocery shopping has been one of the Venomous Hubby’s chores. The reason is simple: the military commissary has the best prices in town and he’s already on post for his job, whereas it’s a 15-minute drive and a major pain in the ass for me to get on post.
He doesn’t have a lot of other chores: mow the lawn, take out the trash, and put the dinner dishes in the dishwasher (not a hard thing, since I make a point to clean up while I’m cooking). He is also the Head Bug Squasher but, for reasons unknown to me, bugs usually only appear during his work hours so I wind up doing most of the squashing.
Although VH has never once complained about doing the grocery shopping, it’s nevertheless served as a major source of bickering in our household. First, it was because he had problems finding things in the store using my old method of listing needed items under headings like Produce, Canned Goods, Boxed Goods, Meats, Dairy.
That, you see, would require READING the list not just once but twice: before he entered the store, and as he was going. And VH would rather gouge his eyes out than read anything not work-related. Seriously. This is, after all, a man who — and, cross my heart, this is true — went for over 2 years with his own first name misspelled on his driver’s license because he hadn’t read what the License Bureau lady had typed into the computer. Nor had he read his license. And, in fact, he probably would NEVER have known about the spelling error if I hadn’t noticed it one day when I was sneaking money out of his wallet. But that’s another story altogether.)
So. I can’t tell you how many times he’d come home swearing up and down to me that he didn’t forget to get chicken, the store was simply out of it. All of it. Every form of chicken whatsoever. Which really meant that he hadn’t seen that chicken was on the list.
After having to change my dinner menu at the last minute countless times, I finally made the grocery list shopping as simple as possible for him by breaking the sections down aisle-by-aisle. This was made possible because VH — who complains that grocery shopping takes too long — took the time to hunt down the store manager and ask for a map to the store.
Fine. I started listing things aisle-by-aisle and duly noting whether there’s a coupon (attached to the list in an envelope) and, if so, what brand, size and quantities we need. I’ve even gone so far as to add thumbnail pictures of new items because — as I believe I mentioned earlier — I know damn well VH will NOT read labels.
Yet, even that wasn’t good enough because, you see, sometimes he’d get to the condiments aisle and I’ve had written:
- Ketchup (Organic, Heinz, 6 oz, coupon)
- White distilled vinegar (1 gal.)
- Dill pickles
- Green olives.
(Those olives are for the martinis which all of this additional stupid-proofing work leads me to drink.)
But VH didn’t like that list, either, because the items on each aisle weren’t listed in order, which meant that he’d walk past the dill pickles while going for the vinegar and then had to backtrack. THE HORROR.
Yesterday when VH came home from the grocery store he plopped down a stack of papers on the kitchen counter, then shuffled off to change clothes while I put everything away. (I’m not complaining about that; as the only person in the house who cooks I’m really picky about where things go on the shelves to the point where I’ve labeled them. And, no, I’m not interested in getting therapy, thanks.)
So, finally, I got everything put away and reached for this stack of papers thinking that it must be the mail, or some flier about an office party or something. But no, it was the last six grocery lists I’d sent him to the store with and HE’D TAKEN TIME TO MAKE NOTES ABOUT THE ORDER OF EVERYTHING ON THE STORE SHELVES.
That’s right: the man who complains that grocery shopping takes too long had stood there, for six weeks in a row, drawing little arrows and numbering items on my grocery lists to let me know that dill pickles come before the white vinegar, and toilet paper is after the kitchen trash bags but before the cat litter.
As I stood there looking at those little corrections, my eyes started bugging out of my head while my pulse started playing hip hop in my left temple, and right about then VH sauntered into the kitchen with a cat-who-ate-the-canary grin on his face.
“Cool, huh?” he asked. “Now you can save me some time by making the lists in the right order so I don’t have to backtrack.”
I swear to God, Internet, I didn’t kill him.
But if VH noticed that those six weeks of grocery lists disappeared, or if he noticed a little extra fiber in his massive plate of spaghetti with meatballs (while I sat there grinning over my plate of steamed veggies) and he finds himself seriously constipated today, what can I say?