Sunday, January 24, 2016

An Interview with Mr. F - Shopping Support

I've actively enlisted the support of my husband in my weight loss quest.  You may be wondering how he can help me lose weight. 

You see, I hate grocery shopping.  It takes me 3 hours to shop.  I've been doing it alone for eons now.  It takes me hours to go through recipes to find some to make for a week.  It takes me a couple more hours to make the list and organize it by shopping isle category for the sake of efficiency (to get the hell out of there faster.)  It takes me another hour to unload it all and put it all away. 

I'm also slow and meticulous--it's just something I can't shake, so I spend a lot of time doing the actual prep and cooking too.

A lot of food gets wasted because food has been deemed my area of expertise so that he is completely unaware of what goes where, of what should be eaten in the fridge that doesn't wind up eaten and instead rotting in the fridge, etc., but when he is assisting me, he notices more. 

He's also helping me more with cooking and cleaning as a team, which gets me out of the kitchen a little faster. He's also learning a thing or two so he won't be completely lost in the event something tragic happens to me. 

I don't like spending all of my "spare" time in the kitchen if even for a diet plan. I will ask him to grab something from the pantry and open it or measure it or to give the pan a stir while I work on chopping all the peppers, onions, garlic, etc.  It is a time saver. 

Don't get me wrong here ladies, this doesn't go off entirely hitch free.  Someone once said to me "Send a man to buy Brillo pads and they come back with Brillo.  Send him to buy SOS pads, and he comes back with SOS."  You see, they take it literally.  Probably to save them some griping about the possibility of having bought the "wrong kind."  Maybe I have thrown out such a comment at some point in the past, "You bought the wrong kind." or "Not THAT kind!"  In the grand scheme of things, none of it is THAT bad.  It's just a learning opportunity fellas, not a fight and definitely nothing personal.  I don't care whether I get the Brillo or SOS brand--buy the cheapest, and in the case of food brands, the cheapest yet tastiest.  I think the key is learning the details of why your dinner tastes so darned good boys. 

Also, I can make my list, divide it into two so that I'm getting all the fruits, veggies, etc. on one end of the store and have him make the run around the store for the other items, and he won't be able to find the items.  He'll come back at least a couple of times to discuss what is on his list and to ask questions about his items.  Sometimes it's funny--other times not so much and maybe a little scary if I'm to be honest here.  That must really grate his nerves when he has to hunt me down for a question.  For example, last week's list had chow mein noodles on it.  He grabbed stir fry chow mein noodles, and I didn't notice it, so later I had to run back up to the store for the right ones.  Keep in mind that not even I really knew if there was a difference between the two, as I had never bought them before, but the fact that it said "stir fry" on it made me pause as I unpacked them.  I would have scanned the isles for an option that didn't say "stir fry" on them and even check the empty shelf spaces by reading the microscopic labels upon them to see if any of them said "chow mein noodles."  If I found that space empty, I would have asked a worker.  Mr. F is just an in-and-out kinda guy be it the mall, the grocery store, or the gas station.  I'm all about the details and he's all about the obvious.

He often says "There weren't any left." or "They are out."  He hates it when I ask him if he asked somebody if there were any more.  He tends to stress, "There WEREN'T any left.  The shelves were EMPTY there." as if I am hard of hearing.  Then I have to explain how a worker can check in back.  He then gets frustrated and annoyed.  He probably feels I'm criticizing him.  I'm trying to teach how shopping is really done. Sometimes I think he'd rather just go to an entirely different store to see if they have it there than to ask a worker if they have any in back. The chow mein noodles were there by the way...just one package left all the way to the back of the shelf that was second from bottom.

I know he would really rather not go, but I asked him to help me, so he is trying.  I really appreciate that about my husband.  He could be like so many other husbands who say, "I worked all day." who sit down to read a paper and watch a game.  This little action shows me he wants to see me succeed despite not wanting to be there any more than I do.  I don't think he realized or even thought about the fact that I hate it as much as he does.  He is simply a shopping novice, much like the one I used to be in my 20s.  I think he'll get the hang of it, just as I did.  I have to say cooking and cleaning up together is actually nice.  It's much nicer than doing it alone.

Now let's see what he has to say about it!

What did you think about me asking you to help me grocery shop (explain that giant groan/sigh thing you did)?  Because I hate frickin' grocery shopping.  I don't like it.  AT.  ALL.

Why did you agree to helping me grocery shop?  Because I know you don't like it and I know you're trying your hardest to buy all that stuff so that you can lose the weight and feed us.  I know you hate it because you wait until night time to do it.  I hate finding that crap too.  Meijer is like a frickin' scavenger hunt every time you go there.  [laughter] True.  I'm always mumbling to myself how I think they take great joy in moving stuff around on me too.

Why do you get annoyed or act like I've criticized you when I ask you whether you have asked someone about the item? Because I'm pretty good at finding stuff.  When you send me to the store, I usually find the stuff.  I hate getting those people involved because they wind up taking you somewhere only to realize it's not there or that they don't 'even know where it's at.  It's like a crap shoot if you're going to come across a nonhelpful person or not because you rarely get that guy who says, "Oh. Yes.  It's right here."

Do you feel criticized when I ask you that though?  Yes.  Why?  I don't know.

Would you rather go to another store to find the item the current store is out of? No.  You saw it last night there.  There were no workers there.  There were boxes and stockists everywhere (not out in isles by the boxes) and when I ask, they just say, "I don't know."

Do you like spending this extra time with me in the kitchen?  I actually don't' mind it.  I actually like doing it with you.  Why?  I don't know.  I mean, I like being out there with you because it seems like it goes quicker and I can clean up as you're cooking.  I like it because it makes me feel better that I'm helping you get it done.  Yes, it keeps me from getting to my things like I want to, like exercising for myself, but that's why you aren't able to do those things too. We get to converse while we do it too.  I hate cooking, but with you directing me, it doesn't bother me at all because I don't have to think about the details.

Are you learning anything about this new experience?  Yes.  I see how hard it is to put all that crap together and you cook awesome food.  I understand why things should go in the fridge in a certain order now (no lettuce/greens up against the walls or in the back because they freeze).  I see how much food gets wasted when you're not paying attention.  

Any other input or advice for other husbands? I don't even have any weight really to lose and I know what I have to do to lose those couple of pounds, so I know what it's going to take for you to lose your weight.  I just want you to be happy and if helping you so that this is as easy on you as possible to keep going with weight loss without burning out on it because of us, then I'm in.  I think it's horrifying to think every single day of something new to make for your family--to be that person must suck.  I never even thought about helping you with it because with us and our opposite working schedules it was either you or I having to do it, even though I cooked very few items from scratch like spaghetti while you were working.  Now that we are both home during the evening we can do it together and it just didn't occur to me.  For other husbands, they should just try it because it doesn't feel like cooking.  It's not as bad as it sounds.  It feels more like hanging out with your wife.  I'm surprised that I'm not just dreading it, but I don't.  And if the perk is getting your happy, healthy, and confident wife back, then what are you waiting for? 




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