With a new refrigerator sitting empty in the kitchen (the result of my old refrigerator having had the nerve to die the very week I was leaving my job) my daughter and I made a trip to the grocery store. I had intentionally waited to grocery shop with Amy instead of shopping with my husband on Saturday. For the last decade or so, I’ve worked my full-time job and John has done most of the cooking and grocery shopping. It’s been nice to come home to a meal every night or to reach in the cupboard and find something without having to worry about how it got there. On the other hand, John shops a little too well. I’m nearly convinced that he must have starved to death in a past life because he seems so determined not to starve in this one. As soon as I knew I was going to quit my job, I vowed to put an end to all the extra food that came into the house, only to end up in the compost pile. We were going to eat cheaper and the groundhogs and deer were going to have to find lunch elsewhere.
As Amy unpacked grocery bags, I started to arrange things in my bright new, no-longer-empty fridge. John heard the kitchen commotion and came in to investigate.
“What kind of fish did you buy?” he asked.
“I didn’t buy any fish,” I answered.
He looked concerned. For the past ten years or so, he’s always cooked fish on shopping day.
“What did you buy?” he demanded.
“I bought round steak.”
Now he looked panicked. John has never cooked a round steak in his life. He opened the refrigerator and peered inside at the package of unfamiliar meat.
“What am I going to do with that?!” he growled.
“You’re not going to do anything with it,” I said. He didn’t seem to hear me.
“But I was planning on cooking salmon! What is the beef for?”
“Get out of the kitchen,” I said.
He looked at me.
“You don’t have to cook the round steak,” I explained. “I’m going to cook dinner.”
I watched the light bulb turn on. His eyes got wide and a huge grin slowly crossed his face.
“You’re not going to work.”
“No, I’m not.”
“You’re going to cook. I don’t have to cook anymore.” He turned and wandered back to his football game.
“Well I wouldn’t go that far,” I shouted after him.