Our first year of marriage, I had a big problem: a grocery shopping problem. I headed to the grocery store and haphazardly bought things that I thought we would use. Inevitably, they went bad. The leftovers we had also went bad. I was a bad, bad wife and homemaker! The economy at large probably got a nice boost from me buying zucchini three times when I could have only bought it once, but the small economy of our home was just crying out for reform. The helpless whimpers of our bruised and battered grocery budget finally got to me. “Oh-KAY!” I yelled “I get it! I was never cut out to be a spontaneous food shopper anyway, gosh! I hereby repent of all my food squandering and will turn a new and glorious leaf!” And then I composed a small operetta which I promptly sang to celebrate the changing of my ways for the better.
So as you can see, I worked through my problems, and I am happy to report that I’m now perfect.
It’s a happy place, perfection. Except for the part where you keep messing up and have to conceal it from all your friends and loved ones–that’s really the only drawback.
Just kidding! I’ll do an in-depth review of all my flaws shortly, starting with the one that makes me obsessively pick at my scabs, blemishes, and hangnails even when my mama told me to leave them alone. I can’t help myself, mama! Sounds like one of them genetic hoobedihabbidy things again. In fact, I just now ripped off a hangnail with my teeth, though it seems to still be deciding whether or not to bleed.
Have I succeeded in making you cringe? It’s a goal of mine, at least once per day, to horrify someone out there with a shockingly unexpected comment. Normally this “someone” is my husband . . . but today I’m passing the baton to you. He’s been lambasted with so many ridiculous comments from me over the past few days that I thought he deserved a rest.
Getting back to the grocery shopping problem, I soon learned that I work best with a plan. After year #1 of marriage, aka the Year of Waste and Figuring Out this Whole Running a Household thing, I found my rhythm and now plan out meals for the whole week so that I only purchase groceries that are on the ingredient list–I talked about my obsessive planning strategies in this post a little over a week ago. That way I know what I have, I only buy what I need, and I can arrange the meals so that if there’s an ingredient that I know won’t stay fresh long (like basil), that recipe gets made early in the week. This system has helped me reduce our waste, conserve our national resources, and probably save the whales too. But there is another device that we have been using since that fateful first year of marriage that I would like to bring to the forefront: please welcome The Leftovers Tracking Device.
Here’s how it all went down: we purchased a small dry-erase board and stuck it on the fridge. The person who puts the leftovers away after a meal is responsible for writing that item on the board along with the date it was made. That way, we not only know what there is to eat at a glance, but we can easily see if the leftovers in question are past their expiration date—no more wondering “What day did we cook this stinky pile of cabbage? Was it last weekend or the one before?” or “Is this pot of Chicken Cacciatore really a year old, do you think? Should I take a bite and see if it’s still good?” The board will tell us what we need to know! When somebody does their household duty and finishes up a container of leftovers, they simply erase the item from the board.
Our board is getting kind of old and the marker isn’t wiping off as well, but a douse of our friendly reserve of rubbing alcohol, applied with a cotton ball, makes it at least legible.
Moral of the story: if you have problems remembering the contents of that container at the back of your fridge that has something brownish-greenish in it (that could either be old bell peppers or a pile of scrapings from the bottom of your neighborhood pond), buy a dry erase board! It’s a worthwhile investment in your future and the future generations.
And with that, I wish you all a happy, caffeinated Monday morning.