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Little Spouse On The Prairie: Leftovers

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Valerie discusses the ups and downs of her food storage system, and her husband's habit of saving morsels.

Joel either eats or saves every morsel of leftover food. And, though I much prefer that he simply pops the last three tater tots in his mouth as we carry the dishes to the kitchen, if for some odd reason, there is even one crumb left, Joel will keep it. I try to surreptitiously throw away the two shrimp and three macaronis left in the dish before Joel preserves with the idealistic dream that someone will eat these items for lunch tomorrow.

In six months, wondering what happened to all of my refrigerator storage dishes, I will go out and buy an assortment of new containers. I’m not going to lie and say I don’t enjoy this. I get a thrill from items that nest, and stack, and layer, and fit together just so. I’ve been known to get the shakes over a new 68-piece “Ultimate Storage Solution Deluxe Kit.” For the record, I do think that it’s ridiculous that manufacturers count the lids separately when labeling the number of pieces in these sets. I mean, come on! That’s like buying a six-pack of socks and getting three pairs.

Even before I go to the store on my heady mission, I will campaign to mobilize fridge-cleaning volunteers. The first step is to drop subtle hints.

“Hey, Honey,” I’ll say. “Did you, perchance, buy some Limburger cheese, mix it with garlic and sardines, pat it under your arms after a workout, and place it in the fridge?”

Upon bringing home my new “Ultimate Storage Solution Deluxe Kit,” I will clean out the cupboard where I keep leftover containers. I will most likely throw away several mismatched pieces from a previous set while doing so. How is it possible that we have four lids and six tubs in that cupboard, none of which match?
Meanwhile, my campaign to get someone else to clean the fridge will be ongoing.

“Hey, Millie. You want to make a cool five hundred bucks? All you have to do is sterilize the fridge.”
When she looks at me with horror and comments something about botulism, I’ll move on to Dash.
“Hey, Buddy! I hid some cash in the fridge! If you clean it out, it’s all yours.”

He’ll typically respond with a pathetic excuse about maintaining mold-free lungs for practicing the saxophone. Good grief. His asthma hasn’t acted up for two weeks – and then it was just a quick run to the ER. We were back at home within a couple of hours. Geesh.

Because I’m so excited to use the new containers, and because I don’t want to defile what I call organizational art, I will take a deep breath, fortify my resolve, pull together all of my strength, and try Joel one more time.

“Hey, Joelly. I know I talk a good game about being a feminist, but truth be told, I like having such a big, strong, muscular guy around. I get myself pretty worked up when I see you in a pair of rubber gloves, leaning into the fridge, lifting out heavy containers. The way you grip a sponge . . . why I just get breathless.”

Ultimately, I will concede. After putting on a mask, protective gloves, and goggles, I will gather some hazardous waste bags, seal off the kitchen, and yell, “I’m goin’ in.” By that point, no one is within a mile radius, so the shout is just for my personal inspiration.

During what I have come to call Operation Ice Box Detox, I will find all 68 pieces of my last “Ultimate Storage Solution Deluxe Kit.” Despite the gas mask, I won’t be able to bring myself to open any of these containers. They will go into the hazardous waste bags and I will carry them out of the house, undergoing a decontamination procedure similar to the set up around Elliot’s house in E.T.

After a day or two of ecstasy each time I open the fridge (even more of an adrenaline hit than usual, I mean), the cycle will begin again, which is actually okay. I hear they are coming out with a 92-piece, stacking, nesting, kit extraordinaire in six months – just in time for the next Operation Ice Box Detox.