Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Can you hear me now?

My husband and I used to share a cell phone.

It was really old, and roughly the size and weight of a breadbox. Old Faithful lived in my purse, since I had the longest commute and was more likely to need it if I had car trouble (you know, like that one time when my car totally broke down and yes, I had the phone, but not a single other damn person seemed to be answering theirs). But theoretically, the phone was supposed to be helpful in situations like that.


So a few months ago we decided to bite the bullet and get TWO new phones, one for each of us. (I had trouble deciding which word to emphasize there, since both TWO and NEW were terribly exciting at the time)

The new phones were so wee and adorable, and suddenly I understood the purpose of all those mysterious, rectangle-shaped pockets in my purses (I thought they were cigarette holders). I now know that those pockets are absolutely vital, for these phones are so teensy that you might lose them forever in the depths of your hobo bag. Of course, if you and your partner each have a phone then you can use his phone to locate your phone (which is usually right there in the cigarette holder, duh).

Having two phones is great, because now we can reach each other anytime we want and most of the time, I love this.

Most of the time.

Did you know that my husband does the grocery shopping on Sundays? This is fabulous, since I hate fighting the weekend crowds at the grocery store. Together we plan the meals for the week, then I make out a detailed list that presents the items in the order in which they appear in the store:

Produce (regular and organic)
Organic frozen and dry goods
Dairy I (milk, eggs, cheese, yogurt)
Canned/dry goods
Baking supplies
Cleaning supplies
Dairy II (coffee creamer, cream cheese, butter)
Frozen foods

If I need any unusual ingredients, or things I know M won’t recognize, I point them out and provide any necessary explanation before he leaves. Like, “I need Japanese eggplant, which will probably be near the regular eggplant, but it’s longer and skinnier.”

Occasionally, despite our planning, he’d hit a grocery dilemma. After hemming and hawing for a while, he’d be forced to make an decision that would turn out to be either brilliant or disastrous. Like the time the store was out of baguette and so he decided to get a loaf of Italian, because bread is bread, right?


Joan Crawford: No Italian bread, EVER!!!!!

Now that we have two cell phones, M is able to call me anytime he encounters anything suspicious, confusing, or noteworthy in the grocery store. Here's a taste of last Sunday's expedition:

Call #1: The blow-by-blow

M: Hi, it’s me!

Liz: Hi!

M: I just wanted to tell you that I just now got to the grocery store.


M: Because I had to go to Petsmart first, and there was a long line.

Liz: Okay, thanks for letting me know.

M: I’m parking… right…. now…

Liz: Well, I’ll let you go, then.

M: I got a good parking space!

Liz: Great! I have to go.

Call #2: I was voted Cabbage Monitor for three consecutive weeks in third grade!

M: Do you really need three pounds of cabbage?

Liz: Is that what I wrote on the list?

M: Yes.

Liz: Then that’s what I really need.

M: Isn’t that a lot of cabbage?

Liz: I could have asked for 10 pounds. By comparison, three pounds isn’t that much.

M: You’re right.

Liz: Thank you.

Call #3: Sweet Potato Watch 2007

M: The sweet potatoes aren’t looking so good.

Liz: Oh?

M: Yeah. They’re downright nasty.

Liz: What a shame.

Call #4: Just pick one.

M: What kind of onions do you want?

Liz: Any kind is fine.

M: Red?

Liz: Anything BUT red.

M: I’m glad I called, then.

Liz: When I need red onions, I always specify RED ONIONS. If I don’t specify, any yellow-type onion is fine.

M: Vidalia, or Yellow?

Liz: Vidalia is fine.

M: There are Spanish onions, too.


Call #5: CSI Cornmeal

M: There’s no cornmeal.

Liz: What?

M: There isn’t any cornmeal.

Liz: Do you mean that you see a place on the shelf that says ‘Cornmeal’, but there isn’t any there? Or you just don’t see cornmeal anywhere?

M: I don’t see it anywhere.

Liz: I’m positive that the store carries cornmeal.

M: Uh…

Liz: Where are you?

M: I’m in front of the breadcrumbs.

Liz: Cornmeal is in the baking aisle.

M: But it’s crumby, like breadcrumbs.

Liz: Yes, but it’s in the baking aisle.

M: We’ll just see about that…



Liz: Are you in the baking aisle yet?

M: Well, I’ll be darned.

Liz: Cornmeal is used for baking. Breadcrumbs are like… filler, or a topping.

M: I have to go now.

Liz: So do I.

Call #6: Either way, we’ll probably have simultaneous heart attacks.

M: Do you want fat-free or regular cream of mushroom soup?

Liz: Do they have reduced sodium?

M: Regular. Or fat-free.

Liz: Yes, but is either of those available in reduced sodium?

M: What’s more important to you, sodium or fat?

Liz: Sodium.

M: Okay, I’ll get the full-fat reduced sodium.


Call #7: Maybe we’ll just have high blood pressure.

M: Wait, there’s no full-fat reduced sodium, only reduced-fat, reduced-sodium.

Liz: Even better.

Call #8: The package isn’t big enough to include every possible descriptor.

M: Is it more important to have sweet corn that’s yellow or white corn of unspecified sweetness?

Liz: I can’t even pretend to understand what you just asked me.

M: You wrote, “Frozen corn—sweet white.”

Liz: Yes, I remember that.

M: They have a bag of yellow corn that says SWEET YELLOW CORN, and there’s a bag of white corn that says nothing about sweetness.

Liz: That’s okay, just get the white.

M: Are you sure? It doesn’t say ‘SWEET’.

Liz: I’m pretty sure it will be fine.

M: Okay, if you're sure.

Liz: Please try not to call again unless you have urgent information about the Pinot Grigio selection.

M: I'll do my best.

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Blogger His suzy said...

That's just funny.

1:24 PM  
Blogger Bearette24 said...

Love the Joan Crawford picture. Do you regret getting 2 cell phones now? Men always need a lot of guidance at the grocery store. Once, I thought I'd be cooking for myself, but D's plans got canceled. So I asked him to get some extra cheese. He came back with this weird, mangy, moldy stuff from a deli.

2:32 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

Actually, it's been great having two phones. I just know to expect several calls while he's at the store. :)

And in fairness to M, while all of the conversations I posted ACTUALLY HAPPENED, M is very capable in the store and the kitchen. I can't really complain, since he does all the shopping while I sit around eating truffles.

Maybe the cheese D bought was just of a very stinky variety? ;)

3:06 PM  
Blogger Bearette24 said...

That's good (that he does the shopping)! I think this cheese was past its prime :) The deli people had wrapped it up in tinfoil before handing it to him, so he missed the mold.

3:23 PM  
Blogger Iamthebookworm said...

What a great post! I wish I had someone to do the grocery shopping for me.

9:12 PM  
Blogger kj said...

oh liz, this is so true! you've got me rolling on the floor.

really, you should be writing a weekly column, liz. i mean it.


11:01 PM  
Blogger Roxanne said...

Does M have a man purse with a cigarette holder in it? If not, it would be a shame if his phone got lost, right?

You're lucky to have a man who is willing and able to do the shopping (and so concerned about getting just the right products :-)

You'll really appreciate this if you ever have children. Believe me.

11:34 PM  
Blogger Frema said...

Oh my gosh, Liz, I love this post. Luke and I continue to share one cell phone, because we only use it if he's out of town for work (like right now) or we're traveling to visit family up north. Plus, we're really trying to keep our expenses down until we're in a house.

I love grocery shopping, but Luke is the one who cooks, so I would be the one making frantic calls about which kind of corn to buy!

(P.S. If you ever decide to start a "Best of the Best" category of your favorite posts, this should definitely be at the top. I love it.)

5:34 AM  
Blogger Liz said...

Bookworm- sounds like you live near me. M can pick some things up for you this weekend. :)

kj- thanks. :) Do you happen to own a magazine company?

Roxanne- no man purse, and he doesn't wear a Bro, either.

Frema- I don't mind weekend shopping if it's a Sunday when the Redskins are playing. If we time it just right, everyone has abandoned the store for their big-screen TVs. Of course, on those days the store will also be sold out of chips and beer, but you can't win 'em all.

8:27 AM  
Blogger BabelBabe said...

see, in my house, IF H goes to the store, I prepare a list with every eventuality and option on it (I used to be a technical writer, I am ace at this). and then he still brings home the wrong thing (yes, sushi rice is DIFFERENT from basmati which is different from Uncle Ben's which is different from....maybe I just need to get over myself and my food snottiness?)

1:56 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

Let's just all eat white long-grain rice. Less confusing that way.

6:40 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

If he called to say "Hey, they don't have any pinot noir but they do have cab and syrah" then that would be ok. But calling RE: cornmeal would drive me insane.

Speaking of insanity, I LOVE grocery shopping. LOVE. But I got between 9:30 and 10:00 AM just to beat the crowds and the screaming toddlers.

9:30 AM  
Blogger Caro said...

I love it.

Thank goodness you didn't need feminine supplies. His head would have been spinning.

9:56 PM  
Blogger R U Serious?? said...

Just hopped over from CL's Tour de Blog! Too funny!! I cell-phone shop for my wife but don't make nearly as many calls for help! Maybe it's just the novelty of the 2-cellphone thing. Might have been easier if you had shopped that day but not nearly as amusing!!


8:24 PM  
Blogger BabelBabe said...

But Heather....screaming toddlers are where it's at : )
Actually, mine don't scream, I stuff them with doughnuts until we leave the store.

and Liz, H HATES long-grain white rice. Sigh. I was perfectly happy with Uncle Ben's until I got married.

8:15 AM  
Blogger Isabel said...

First time visitor. But I have to say that I think I'm in love with you.


1:06 PM  
Blogger Fraulein N said...

The exchange about the corn SLAYED me. This post is so funny, because I could see myself in either role, really.

2:44 PM  

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