"Is this stale?" my husband asked as he held up a sack of grated cheese he had just pulled from the deli drawer in our refrigerator.
"Nope," I answered.
"How do you know?" he accused.
"Because it was already fermented when I bought it!" I replied with a slightly sarcastic tone.
He picked up the lunch meat sack and stared at the date on the label. "This says ‘Buy by … oh my gosh … TWO DAYS AGO!’" He clutched his throat and grew paler by the minute. "I ate some of this on my sandwich just yesterday! I remember thinking the bread was musty, but maybe it was the meat!" He opened the sack, sniffed, and grimaced. "It definitely smells old. Should I call Poison Control?"
You’re probably wondering why I’m so annoyed with his behavior. Hello, my name is Vicky and my husband is stale-challenged.
If there is less than a cup of milk left in the carton, he opens a new carton and refuses to drink the remainder of the milk in the other carton.
If there are five slices of bread or less in the bread bag, he opens a new bag and leaves the "old" bread for some other poor soul in our house who obviously doesn’t care if he eats from a supposedly dry loaf.
There must be at least one-fourth of a container of margarine left and it also must be "crumbless" or he won’t spread it on his toast, baked potato, or buns. He’ll open a new container instead.
Over the years, I’ve grown used to his unconventional views about food and as a result, I’ve learned how to deal with his quirky behavior. I just sneak around a lot more. I scrape the "crumby" butter into a new butter carton and stir it around when he’s not looking. I say, "Quick, look out the window in the backyard! That squirrel is dressed in drag!" and then while he’s distracted, I quickly pour the sour milk into a new carton. I ask him nicely if I can make him toast in the morning and then I slyly stuff a piece of the old dry bread down the toaster while he’s busy checking the expiration date on the jelly jar.
I’m not the first wife to realize that I’ll never be able to change the outlandish behavior of my husband. A wise friend once told me, "You must not try to change your husband, but instead, change the way you react." I’m still working on that, but in the meantime, I’m just really glad he never figured out that the last time he thought he had the flu, he really didn’t. I should have double-checked the expiration date on the lunchmeat I secretly sneaked into his stale sandwich bread.