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My Husband: Willing but Not Able

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Hubby is headed out the door for the grocery store, and I am arranging a withdrawal from savings. I should be grateful that he is willing to battle the inevitable crowds at the local grocery store; however, even armed with a list, including detailed instructions where things may be located, he will forget two items, buy two items that are wrong, and come home with three items that do not resemble anything I have written on his list.


This is a common husband malady, perhaps an epidemic. I spoke with a friend recently who sent her husband on a mission to Wal-Mart. He also had a list. Unfortunately, he took a child along. We mothers know how to turn a deaf ear to the pleadings and promises of our young; however, fathers are pushovers when it comes to shopping, and every child knows this. My friend’s brood got together and decided on items they wanted, then sent the most finagling and charming child with Dad to accomplish the “mission.” Sure enough, as she and I spoke on the phone, her husband arrived back from “shopping” with little to nothing being bought from her list, but her children having scored a grand slam. I think the other four were hefting the triumphant spoiler on their shoulders as we hung up the phone.


I have spoken with other friends and coworkers about how often they send their husbands on shopping missions and receive the same groans, snickers, and eye-rolling every time. We all agreed that we would never send our husbands to pick out meat or vegetables. I wonder if men are genetically coded to have no ability in choosing a lean cut of meat or a ripe tomato. I remember vividly when I asked my husband to go to the store and buy three boneless, skinless chicken breasts. He arrived home with three family packs of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, which totaled seventeen whole breasts, and I fried chicken that night for almost two and a half hours. (Hmm, that is his favorite meal. Perhaps I’m underestimating him.) We ate chicken for five days. 


Recently, I sent him for garlic juice. He’d never heard of it. He ended up going to four stores, coming home empty-handed, and swearing up and down that no such thing existed. I only realized later that he was diligently looking on the shelves of canned and bottled fruit juices, and in the cooler where the orange juices reside, for a large container of garlic juice! (Now wouldn’t that be an eye-opener at breakfast!) I found it where I expected to, in the spices aisle. I accept the blame for that one. I learned shopping at my mother’s knee, and some things are so obvious to me that I forget my spouse is shopping-impaired.


He does excel in the hardware store. We recently went together to a rather old-fashioned hardware store, and I was completely fascinated. I was the only woman in the store except for one female at the single cash register. I wandered up and down the aisles staring in wonderment at the infinite collection of nails, screws, nuts, and other small objects whose purpose were a complete enigma to me. There was a whole section devoted to various sizes of chains, “cut to length,” a whole aisle of small things that looked like tiny light bulbs, as well as a row of interesting, outdated kitchen utensils covered in a fine layer of dust. I saw fathers with sons pawing through bins of nails and speaking in numbers, though they seemed to understand one another. My husband was in his element and I was clearly out of mine.


I’ve seen the light: he’s Tarzan, I’m Jane. I won’t send hubby out of his element again.

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