After listening to Russ bemoan the fact that lids used to come off jars significantly easier when he was in his twenties, I finally said, “Well, don’t complain until you’ve walked a mile in the moccasins of a man who has no feet.”
It was a wise and pithy saying, but my hubby's face reflected confusion. Or maybe it was contortion. Yup, that was it, contorted with laughter.
After a few minutes, while his chuckles still echoed through the kitchen and Corky Porky Pie checked him out under the suspicion that food was involved, Russ wiped the tears from his eyes and took a deep breath. “Doesn’t that strike you as a little incongruous? Why would a man with no feet own a pair of moccasins?”
“I don’t know. I don’t make up the sayings, I just quote them.”
“More like misquote them,” Russ said, scratching Corky Porky Pie behind the ears.
It’s a good thing my eyebrows were attached, or they would’ve flown off my face and hit the ceiling with a splat. “Misquote? Since when?”
The corners of Russ’s mouth twitched, a look I would have found very appealing if it hadn't meant he was trying not to laugh out loud. He said, “How about … since when not?”
I put my hands on my hips and tapped the toe of my shoe. “Name one other thing that I’ve misquoted.”
Russ scratched the spot on his head that used to have hair. “Well, give me a minute, and I’m sure I’ll remember a thing or two.”
“Ah-ha! You’re just stalling for time so you can make something up. Well, I’ll tell you this … when you can’t think of anything, don’t go using me as your whipping goat.”
A sound that seemed like a cross between a laugh and a choke escaped his lips. “I think you mean either a whipping boy or a scapegoat,” he said, clearing his throat. “There’s no such thing as a whipping goat. And you really need to get your sayings straightened out because you have them all mixed up. Why don’t you check out Poor Richard?”
I cocked my head—which always helped when pondering something—and tried to figure out what he meant, but really it made no sense. Besides, I’d learned long ago that dogs and men had similar thought processes, and they were undecipherable to the female mind. Unless food was involved.
I finally gave in. “Why would I want to consult about famous sayings with that homeless dude down the street? I guess he could be an English professor who’s fallen on rocky roads, but I doubt it.”
My hubby shook his head. “No, not the homeless guy down the street; I’m talking about Poor Richard’s Almanac. Ben Franklin and his proverbs. And besides, I think you meant, ‘Fallen on hard times’ because no one falls on a rocky road … that’s a type of ice cream.” Russ opened the freezer and started looking around, presumably for a container of the frozen confection by the same name.
Stepping closer, I looked over his shoulder. “Hey, don’t rearrange the food. There’s an order to it.”
He looked dubiously at the crinkled tinfoil packages and plastic containers of various shapes and sizes. “There’s a system here? I don’t see any dates on the food. And nothing seems to be sorted alphabetically.”
I knew better than to take the bait. Who ever heard of putting food in the freezer alphabetically? My tried and true method of stuff-it-in-where-ever-it-fits had worked for years, and no amount of bizarre male logic would convince me another system was better.
Russ hauled out a mangled carton of ice cream, and popped it open, ice crystals flying off the lid and through the air. “Exactly how long has this been in the freezer?”
Taking it in my hands, I turned it over and squinted. “Umm, the carton says it expires in October, so, it’s still good.” I grabbed a spoon, scraped out the ice cream at the bottom of the carton, plopped it in a dish and threw the container in the trash. Then, I wiped my hands on a paper towel and threw it on top of the ice cream carton. Strategically on top.
Russ’s eyebrows crinkled together as he looked at the trash and then back at me. “You threw that paper towel in there with great haste.” He walked over, took off the paper towel and pulled the carton out. “October, 1978” he read aloud.
“Uh-oh, foiled again,” I said, as brightly as possible for a woman who’d just been caught with last century’s ice cream still in her freezer.
Russ gave his “I’m being very patient” smile. “Would you like me to organize the freezer for you, as a Mother’s Day gift?”
I gasped and put my hand over my heart. “No! Never! Er … I mean … no, thank you. You keep your kingdom organized in whatever guy-type way you like and I’ll keep my freezer in my way." I took the carton from Russ and gave it to Corky Porky Pie to lick. "Besides, as everybody knows, faint heart never won fair pork chop."
Russ pulled a baking sheet out of the cabinet and said, "Okay, I give up. You win. Let’s bake some cookies and take them to poor Richard, who’s undoubtedly sitting down at the corner he calls home, and surfing the Net on his laptop."
Ever wanted to kill your spouse because he/she keeps interrupting something you're trying to do? If so, you'll get a charge out of Cindy's latest published story, "Texting on Ice" in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Hooked on Hockey.