In order to keep the marriage machine running at optimum levels, each person needs to pull their own weight. There are certain tasks that each of us need to undertake to help the gears moving.
Early on in our marriage, my wife and I laid out the tasks we thought each of us would excel at doing. My wife is in charge of laundry. I tackle the ironing. I kill spiders. My wife reminds me when I need to get family members birthday cards. My wife balances the checkbook and I handle vomit clean up.
The list goes on and on. More ‘on and on’ for my wife than me but this is the arrangement we’ve agreed upon (we only keep score when we’re fighting). We have even been able to cut down on arguments about whose turn it is to do something. This is not to say we never do anything but what is expected of us, in fact quite the opposite. I don’t mind helping with the laundry once in a while and my wife is well equipped to wield a bottle of Lysol if she needs to (sometimes coming home to a house she doesn’t have to dust is as powerful a statement as a bouquet of roses). I don’t mind helping out when I can except when it comes to one job.
I hate grocery shopping. My wife knows it. My kids know it. I’ve gone so far as to explain how I feel about it to the dog (everyone else stopped listening). It is the one thing I wish my wife would never ask me to do. The way I see it, I don’t ask my wife to cut the grass she shouldn’t ask me to grocery shop. The way she sees it, I am a person to be ignored. So in those rare instances I have been recruited (read: guilted) in to helping at the grocery store, my wife is reminded why she doesn’t ask me to go more often.
Somewhere around the Produce Section of the Grocery Store
“Stop complaining. This will be quick.” I thought she was going to laugh after she said that. She is completely serious.
“You always say that and it never is.” We haven’t even gotten past the carrots and I have already started slumping my shoulders and throwing my head back. It’s a trick I picked up from the kids.
“Oh my god. You’re worse than the kids.”
“Does it get them out of the grocery store any faster when they act like this?”
“No. Now get me a back for the broccoli.”
I mutter some unmentionables under my breath while I get in to a slap fight with the roll of plastic bags.
“I said one bag.”
Whoever made that contraption designed it to be near impossible to find the perforated part of the bags until you’ve pulled out 6 of them.
“I know but I know how much our family likes broccoli so I thought we should stock up on four or five pounds worth.”
She grabs one bag and leaves me with the rest so I start putting everything in the cart into the bags: bananas, salad dressing, and her purse.
“STOP that!” No sense of humor this one.
“I didn’t want to be wasteful.”
“How about not wanting to be an idiot?”
We make our way out of produce and maneuver the cart, with a third of the items wrapped in produce bags, in to the coffee aisle.
“For someone who promised this trip wouldn’t take long, you’re not moving with any sort of urgency.” I thought it was worth noting.
“I suppose you’d like me to sprint down the aisles? Maybe just stick my arm out and get whatever I can?”
“I’m not sure if we would need 17 cans of condensed milk and 8 bags of coffee filters in this aisle but it sure would be fun to try that.”
“Just keep moving.” My wife sighs when she says that because she never expected her 36 year old husband to take such a ridiculous statement seriously. It’s like she doesn’t even know me?
She continues to move with the speed of a 30 pound bowling ball just rolled by a 3 year old.
“Alicia, I’m beginning to grow a five o’clock shadow and we’re only in the juice aisle.” It’s my attempt to drive home my overly exaggerated point.
“Good. You look nice with a beard.” Touché’ my dear. Touché.
“I don’t know why you can’t just help me? Is that so hard?” I can tell by her voice I had better not fan the fire slowly building in my wife. A little voice inside of me tells me to apologize and go grab the loaf of multi-grain bread that’s on our list.
“I just don’t know what is taking so long? Hon, we just got lapped by that little old lady pushing the mini-shopping cart filled with Ensure and Extra-Pulp Orange Juice.” I ignored the little voice.
“You know what; I should have just taken the kids. At least they stop whining when I get them a piece of cheese from the deli.” I make a mental note to remind her of this the next time she asks me to come.
“Have you actually looked at your shopping list? How did you think it wouldn’t take us long?” I’d like to think my wife is an honest soul but looking at that list, I’m beginning question that honesty.
“I think it would go a lot quicker if you would stop complaining and help me instead of whining behind me.” I seriously doubt that.
“Ooh, cheese!” We reach the deli.
Except for getting yelled at for using the shopping cart as a makeshift scooter, I buckle down after I get a piece of cheese. I figure it’s best to stop complaining and start grabbing some of the many items on the grocery list (it cannot be overstated just how many items were on this list) so I can get this over with.
“Go get me a bag of pretzel rods please.” I couldn’t find my way around the grocery store with a GPS. Trying to find pretzel rods is going to be like the scavenger hunt from Midnight Madness.
“Pretzelrodspretzelrodspretzelrodspretzelrods…” I’m wandering aimlessly around the grocery store by the time my wife gets to me.
“Why are you looking for pretzel rods in the freezer section?” No wonder I was getting cold.
“Because I’m an idiot.” I might as well say what we’re all thinking.
“You read my mind. Let’s go. I have 2 more things to get.”
We stuff the last items on the list in to our shopping cart which, by now, is over flowing. We missed the window for the ‘Express Checkout’ by the second aisle. I offer up a suggestion.
“Let’s just do the ‘Self-Checkout’.”
“Ugh. Why? It takes you 5 swipes to get the scanner to check the sticker and you over fill the bags.” Call me crazy but I think my wife’s shoulders just slumped and she just flung her head back.
“No I do not…now what the hell is wrong with his scanner!?”
“I should have come by myself.”