Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Making A List

The other night Chris went grocery shopping.

Let me just throw this out there first: I hate grocery shopping. Almost as much as I hate putting away laundry but not as much as I hate cleaning showers. Usually I avoid grocery shopping until the last possible minute, substituting frozen for fresh and wondering if I can use the excuse of “we are going away next weekend" if I wait long enough into the week.

Sometimes his frustration builds up to the point where he is so hungry and angry that he actually makes a list. You will recall a few months ago I wrote about Chris’ shopping list. It contained important sources of nutrition like ham steak, sauce, lettuce, parmesan cheese and bacon. For awhile I must have been doing better because there were no complaints about groceries. But now that Chris is deep into Ironman Training Mode – you could say that groceries have once again become a touchy thing.

If you’ve trained for Ironman you know how it goes. You are hungry. All of the time. You wake up hungry. You go to bed hungry. Most of the time you are hungry for something but cannot figure out what. When you finally do figure it out you want it here and now. This happened the other day. Chris woke up hungry for pancakes. He started pulling out the items needed for pancakes. Unfortunately he didn’t get far with most of the items because we were out.

First there was disbelief (how could we have no eggs?). Then there was denial (I know we have another box of Bisquick in here). Next there was acceptance (fine I will just eat oatmeal). And last there was unsettled fury (why are there never any groceries?).

Part of me felt bad but the other part was too few cups of coffee into the day to listen to his complaints about groceries. And so my response: if there is something you are looking for, management would prefer you put it on a list and will purchase it when they go to the store on Monday.

And that ignited full on food craving need pancakes now rage.

He pulled out a marker. And a piece of paper. And set about to make his list. When he was done he asked where I would like it.

“Management will review the list on Monday when they return. Put the list on the counter until then.”

He played along and put the list on the counter. Sat down and buried himself in a disgruntled bowl of oatmeal. On Monday, I (management) looked at the list:

First item on the list – that would be Bisquick. Excuse the French spelling of the word – Buiskuik. The second item on the list – that would be Better Attitude. The last item on the list, Syrup. I’m not sure how Better Attitude made it on before Syrup, especially since he wanted pancakes in the first place but I guess the next time I am at the store I will look for a Better Attitude in the aisles between the Bisquick and the Syrup.

So I guess you could say that Chris has been a little on edge about the groceries. Eventually the Bisquick was bought along with the syrup but I never did find a Better Attitude. Future pancake crisis averted but the calm didn’t last long. Because the other day when once again we were out of a few things, well I guess you could say that Chris got fed up. Or, became underfed for so long that he just took matters into his own hands. Or canvas shopping bags.

It’s always interesting when the husband comes back from the grocery store. What he values is quite different from what I value in nutrition. But what I really think it comes down to is that I can distinguish between those foods I want in the house, those foods I need in the house, and those foods that probably should not enter the house unless accompanied by armed guard.

For example, we need milk. We need spinach. We need lentils and rice and eggs. We want things like fizzy pomengranate juice, blueberries, greek yogurt. Sure they cost a little more but they are worth it. But then there are other foods. Foods we don’t need but we do want but are so bad for us that even if we want them that doesn’t mean we need them in the house. Foods like this:

The enemy: Trader Joe’s Peanut Butter Cups

I love peanut butter cups. I will confess it again for the one-hundredth time to the world. I have a serious peanut butter cup problem. You see, I cannot eat just one. I cannot eat just five. I have to eat about twenty and need to eat them my way. My way is eating the top off, scraping the peanut butter out and then tossing the bottom half. I cannot exercise self-control with peanut butter cups. I love to exercise and I have much self-control but for some reason when you throw peanut butter cups into the equation I don’t get it right. I can’t control myself. I don’t see the point. And that is why they cannot be in the house.

Proof of this: you will notice that already half of the container is gone. GONE! In – my – belly where they belong. Belly feeling not so good. But pleasure center in brain – more than satisfied.

It’s not just the peanut butter cups. I will admit I have a problem too with ice cream. So imagine my horror when I pulled this out of a canvas bag:

My eyes! My eyes! This is not good. Trouble for sure. Plus it's the mega big size - not the usual pint. I do my best to tell myself that belongs to Chris because sometimes that helps. But not always. And if I open it up just for a peek, a sniff, a taste…all bets are off. That carton has about 24 hours to get itself out of the house before I completely demolish it.

But listen up. It’s not just me. I know men have their weaknesses too. Enter Exhibit A:

This is a pecan pie. Correction, this is a half eaten pecan pie. The pie entered our home approximately 2 hour before half of it went missing. The suspect in question: Christian Waterstraat. Witnesses say he was observed at the kitchen counter allegedly cutting himself 1/8th of the pie. He then was observed sitting on the couch. Sources say that a short while later he went back to the pie armed with a knife to take another piece. Before long an entire half of the pie was gone.

This happens at least once or twice or three times a year. Usually the victim is a pumpkin pie. But it is so much a typical pattern of behavior that I often suggest to him he cut out the middle man (the plate) and sit down with the pie. Just eat half of it and call it done.

A short while later we went to bed. Chris did not look right. I asked him what was wrong and he said his stomach was upset. I (politely) pointed out that it might be from eating half of a pecan pie. He said he needed the calories because he burned 4000 on the bike today. I said no one needs 1000 calories of pie. He said you’ve got to be shitting me – there are 1000 calories in that pie? I said, no, in half of that pie. Then I asked if he read the nutritional content. He said he didn’t want to look. Later I look to confirm there were 2100 calories in the entire pie. He told me to throw the pie away.


So it happens. Men get just as out of control and feel the only way to regain control of their mouth and body and in turn their life is to dump the M&M’s down the sink, toss half eaten peanut butter cups out the car window, THROW THE PIE AWAY!

This is why you don’t buy these things in the first place. A lesson Chris (and possibly many men?) clearly still need to learn. As a woman I have years of experience in avoiding this whole problem by not putting the forbidden items in my shopping cart. I can do it. But the husband – I’m not sure he’s had enough practice in ignoring temptation. I practice weekly. He practices a few times a year. I’ve got my defense (don’t look, don’t touch), he’s got nothing but raging hunger in his belly after a 120 mile ride. I’ve got years of social training (a moment on your lips, a lifetime on your hips) that prevents me from giving in. He’s got years of “the woman never brings back anything good from the grocery store” in his memory. I’m the grocery gustapo. I put a stop to all things yummy, fun and forbidden in our house. He is like a kid in a giant candy store.

God help our hips.

This is why you cannot have the husband go to the grocery store. Fresh fruit? He forgot that. We have bananas on our counter almost every single day. A bright yellow reminder that we like bananas around here. An entire display of bananas at the store that he walks right past and makes a beeline to….the ice cream aisle, the candy aisle, the chips, the juice, the beer.

So what now? It is safe to say we will spend the next week in a peanut butter cup and ice cream coma. And wash away the next morning’s sugar hangover headache with a beer. Maybe that will teach husband a lesson learned – leave the grocery shopping to the wife. Even though she may not come back with pie and ice cream – no one needs a 1000 calorie bellyache. Nor ham steak.

And if there are complaints about that, put it on a list for management’s review. We’ll get to it on Monday.


TriGirl Kate O said...

Hee hee! My dad was the same way, but would come home with pickled herring and the 12th bottle of horseradish (!?). We have a diabetic in the house, and yet my husband always comes home with at least 2 pints of B&J's ice cream. Hello?!

Kim said...

Well, after coming off a significant binge myself yesterday, this blog seems quite appropriate. I have decided one of the best things about Ironman is that I can eat, whatever I want, with no reprocussions. Please don't fault me, I know I am a dietitian..and I really am trying to do the right things here..fruits, veggies, lean meats, protein shakes.. Yesterday = two pieces of ice cream cake at 3pm & then a huge brownie (well, more like two brownies) and milk, at 9:35pm before bed!! Ahh!! Save me from myself! I'm bad!!

Jenny Garrison said...

I LOVE LOVE the list. Really that is something Bill would write. Except I hate shopping too so he does and and I am the bad person writing on the fridge all week the foods I crave. If I CAN go to the store sans kids then it is heaven. I can get coffee and cruise the isles like it is a solo date. But usually it is a temper tantrum mahem. So I let Bill go. IT is his solo date. And I am the one getting the better attitude and soy ice cream! Thanks for cheering me on at Chicago, I told you we all have bad days. Without the bad we never know the good. Now I am waiting for the good:)

Roo said...

Too funny! I thought of you yesterday when I was checking out at TJ's and they had those stupid peanut butter cups stacked 10 feet high at the check out. Someone had even left their jar of pb and taken the cups instead. I barely made it past. Why can't they do that with broccoli or something?!

kerrie said...

that is a great list! we have ones like that but they quickly deteriorate when everybody, including rain, starts to add suggetions as to 'what we need'. and there are always the questions like "what size of 'nice' do you want?"

Stef said...

You and I are cut from the same cloth on this issue. I hate grocery shopping more than any chore I can think of. Seriously.

Glenn does okay with it but too often he comes home with stuff that say "I was hungry" and we all know what happens when you try to grocery shop hungry.

I'm very good at not bringing bad stuff into the house because working from home + bad stuff = disaster. Occasionally though I will admit to bringing home 1 or 2 (or 4) boxes of mac and cheese and hiding them in the big freezer so Glenn won't know they're there. That's fun for me.

Flatman said...



Love your entire post. So funny and true.

I hate shopping, but with a teenaged son and gymnast daughter, along with my Ironman training, it seems like I'm at the store constantly. YUK!

I do buy some stuff for the kids that I won't eat. It gets easier as you get older, and you realize you can't always keep the temptation out of the house.

Again, a great post. I was laughing so hard, I had tears! Thanks for a chuckle--I needed it so close to IM Louisville!

tri-dogmom said...

I can not stop laughing. Last Saturday my husband actually wrote me an email. The subject "An important notice"

The email:

"Your loving husband would like to respectfully request that you start buying groceries again, as he is starving to death. Thank you,



And I am the one training, not him....

rr said...

I was so proud of myself for leaving IL without hitting TJ's for those exact pb cups. I can do half a pack a day. They are crack.

Love the list. Next time he annoys you, especially if it's in the taper, buy him a pecan pie.

Seeley Gutierrez said...

I was not happy when Manny came home Thursday night with an entire Key Lime pie. Having it in our fridge all weekend while we were in a virtual lock down because of a tropical storm was not the smartest thing in the world. Fortunately, Manny ate the pie so fast, I didn't have a chance to get to it myself!

Wes said...


I think you are denying Chris the love and support he deserves. If you need some training, let me know and we'll work out a reciprocal agreement of some kind ;-)

Alicia Parr said...

Gary does most of the grocery shopping and does a great job, but he had a learning curve. I recall him being hungry and heading to the store one day. That's not a good idea, I suggested, perhaps you should eat a snack first to take the edge off. But no, he claims it will be fine. So he comes back with junk and a day later or so admits that he shouldn't have gone to the store hungry. He's a quick study.

Appleblossom said...

Am I the only one out there who actually LOVES to grocery shop? And HATES when anyone else in the house (i.e., Troy) does it? Just need to find a way to make $ off this untapped skill.

Terri said...

I thought everything from TJs was healthy and low cal?

IronMatron said...

I actually love grocery shopping--under the condition that I have no children with me!
When left to my husband, shopping is not done at the grocery store, but at BJ's wholesale. He buys everything IN BULK. Every time he goes we have no fruit or vegetables, but we do, for example, have 1000 rolls of toilet paper and fifty of the same variety of Clif Bar.

Anonymous said...

Ok, I LOVE LOVE to grocery shop. Honestly, one of my all time favorite things to do - shopping-wise. I LOVE to pour over the food and go to the store and take my time up and down the aisles. I choose to go as much as possible....And, I am good, I really do not buy much junk. I HATE when Jerome goes b/c he never gets anything super duper fun. :) Jen H.

Anonymous said...

I LOVE grocery shopping too!!! Its actually relaxing to me. Elizabeth, I will offer up my services to you! Ha!!! Katie

TRI-ROB said...

Holy CRAP! I didn't know the French HAD Bisquick!!! I'm rarely allowed to do the grocery shopping... not b/c I come home with crap... but b/c we simply can't afford the organic bulgarian rice cakes imported from... where else? Bulgaria. My grocery shopping prowess is the sole reason I can't buy a full-carbon tri bike.