I have to admit that I lucked out with my wife and kids. They are fun to be with and somehow manage to put up with me. That having been said, I must admit that there are five words, usually uttered by Lydia or Sylvia, which fill me with instant dread. I know that once these words are said, and then acted upon, the consequences will be mine to deal with. It may not be immediate, it may be weeks later, but the time will come when the results of these words will have to be faced.
On their own, and out of context, they are pretty innocuous. However, knowing what I know, they are harbingers of unspeakable horror. What are these terrible words? They are: I'll save it for later.
Sylvia and Lydia say this a few times a week after a meal. They mean well, not wanting to waste any food, but I know better.
The other day Sylvia insisted on saving potato wedges in one of the thousands of re-sealable plastic bowls which fill the cupboard over the sink. These bowls are pretty pesky on their own even without leftovers. Despite attempts to keep them perfectly stacked together by shape and size the containers always end up in a confused mess. They then erupt forth and rain down upon whoever is unfortunate enough to have opened the cupboard.
"I'll save it for later," she insisted, stuffing the wedges into a bowl a couple of sizes too small.
"Like the rice?" I asked.
I directed her to the fridge and took her on an archaeological dig through the shelves. Starting from the top, the most recent layer, we discovered some apple sauce. Then we moved down a level. Here was the rice which was consigned to the fridge two days earlier, a tuna and mayonnaise mixture, and peas from the previous week.
"Now we move on to the depths," I said. The bottom shelf was the land of the forgotten leftovers. The plastic bowls were gradually pushed from the front to the back of the fridge and hidden by assorted bottles, bricks of cheese, and eggs cartons. Whatever the bowls had contained was now academic. I think one might have been cranberries since it was red and sloshed about. At least that was my hope!
Nobody, unless they were a contestant on Fear Factor, would risk sampling the contents of the bottom shelf. More than once, recalling a piece of trivia about how smell is connected to our taste buds, I have been tempted to toss the entire container into the garbage to avoid cracking open the lid.
"No, really, I'll eat it," Sylvia promised.
"Fine," I sighed. The old containers were emptied to make way for the new with the knowledge that I would pay later for what was saved today.
Kevin Toal is a freelance writer and part-time fridgeologist.