WIFED OUT – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Paltry

I opened the freezer. It was empty.

Not completely empty. There’s always some kind of stuff in there. Freezer pouches for our next picnic, should we ever take one. Some frozen French fries. A pouch of frozen clams and a packet of minced beef. Miscellaneous English muffins and a loaf of bread.

The refrigerator is a lot more full. Mostly with drinks. Fruit juice, Powerade, Ginger Ale. Potatoes, onions, mayonnaise, ketchup, eggs. Lunch meat.

Leftovers for the dogs or what we call “the important food.” So even if we weren’t having company tomorrow, we’d have had to shop today because we had none of the makings of what I humorously call “dinner.” I’ve considered switching to the British style for the evening meal and calling it “Tea,” then serving tea with toast. I don’t think that would go over really big.

I used to like grocery shopping or at least like it a lot more than I do now. Probably I liked it more because I liked cooking more. I can hardly remember liking cooking less than I currently do.

Ironically I am a better cook than I was. I’m faster, neater, very sure-handed and I do not make a mess. But when the time comes to extract myself from whatever I’m doing, regardless of how paltry and meaningless the activity is, I don’t want to.

I’m cooked out. Whatever you can make easily for two people from any food you can readily buy at normal prices in Uxbridge, we’ve eaten it too many times. We are suffering from a serious case of diner’s ennui.

A few months back, I subscribed to Martha Stewart’s Cooking newsletter because I thought maybe it might give me a bright and shiny idea for something to make in the kitchen.

I won’t read the newsletter. I see the word “cook” and instantly delete it. Apparently, I do not want to be stimulated to greater creativity in the kitchen. What I really want is to be excused from cooking. Completely. Permanently.

I’ve been making meals for me and a husband, kids, friends, and family for more than 50 years. From now until forever, I could live on sandwiches and air-fried onion rings and be content.

Sad, but true.

I’m all wifed out.

45 thoughts on “WIFED OUT – Marilyn Armstrong”

  1. Hear ya. When hubby was alive, I got to that point. Hadn’t been doing it for fifty years though, the thought overwhelms me. Now, as a solo? It’s even more difficult because although I like to cook, there’s no point. Either I make too much of whatever, and end up wasting 2/3 of it or I get discouraged after buying the ingredients and they end up wasted. With my newly anemic budget (there’s about $13 in the kitty today), that waste business has to stop. And lately I just am not hungry at all.

    Now I realize you’re in the woods and hard to find, but one option that was suggested to me back when I could afford such things was the weekly meal delivery idea…someone else cooks all the meals, they’re frozen and you thaw them and pop them in the microwave and voila! Dinner and lunch and breakfast if you want to spend a few more dollars. You can choose the menu, but that’s the extent of involvement in it.

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    1. That’s a great idea. All we’d need is (a) someone to cook food who knows how to cook (this is not culinary central here) and (b) delivery. No one except UPS and USPS delivers. And we can’t spend a few more dollars. We don’t have a few more dollars. We don’t even have the few dollars we already spend. Good thing we don’t eat a lot.

      That IS one thing I have learned. We waste virtually nothing. I used to cook huge amounts of food because there were huge numbers of people to eat it, but now that there’s just we two, I had to learn how much we actually eat and finally — it took years — and know exactly how much of what we consume. Some things made in bulk — chili and pasta sauce, for example, — you always have a bit remaining. For that, we have dogs. Otherwise, very little gets wasted. I really hate wasting food. Born in that funny generation being told “CHILDREN ARE STARVING IN CHINA. EAT, EAT!!!” I always thought we should just send the food to them because I wasn’t hungry, but no one’s mother bought the idea.

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  2. Great story and pics.
    The dogs have become very picky. They want something more than just kibble for dinner. They stare at me with a “You must be kidding! You expect us to just eat kibble? Do you know who we are?” I DO know who they are. So, we try to mix in yesterday’s leftovers with the kibble. Marilyn instructed me to blend everything in so the kibble is almost hidden. The furry kids love pizza. Warm as the night’s dinner or cold as the next day’s entree with kibble. I am not sure if they approve of anchovies in their pizza. No problem since I have no intention of sharing my anchovies with the dogs. Let them WORK if they don’t like what we put out for dinner. They’re insolent wankers.

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  3. Since it is now only me that does the shopping I decided that I buy and they eat. there are no longer big discussions about what you want, what you like, it is bought and it is eaten. It works quite well actually- No more discussions and surprises at the enterprising delights I conjure up. We eat dinner and tea, mainly because I cannot be bothered to have a cooking session in the evening. During the morning it is no big problem and after dinner I have a nice quiet day until hugging the bed.

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    1. I think about changing the schedule, but I’m too lazy to deal with an earlier main meal and can barely convince myself to get up and on my feet to make anything at dinnertime. If tea were just tea without the rest of the meal, I could do that, no problem.

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      1. A lot has changed at home now. Mr. Swiss is no longer as young as he was. He is OK in himself – no mental problems or anything like that, but physically no longer so good. I have become a carer of sorts and have to help him a lot at home. My MS is luckily manageable. He can no longer go out so well and I am his only communication with the outside world. I deal with a lot of stuff now that we used to do together. Funnily enough I do not mind, it keeps me occupied. I just need my daily routine.

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        1. Marilyn and I were just talking about Marcel and you. How are both of you getting along physically. We understand things are not easy for you. You’re always in our thoughts.

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          1. We are managing with the new situation. Marcel has lost weight, about 25 kilo, but physically there are no serious problems after having intensive examinations, it is his spine and walking can be painful. There is no operation that would help. I am now really glad that I am driving again as he no longer has a permit. The car is important to remain mobile and for me to get the shopping. I can still do the housework but have a cleaning lady to do the bathroom and shower. We also have a gardener now and again. I am the chauffeur for Marcel to the doc. Life has changed a lot over the past year, but I have adapted.

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            1. I’m deeply sympathetic. My spine is a mess too and there is no surgery that will help. Everything hurts — especially sleeping. It’s really hard finding a comfortable position.

              Nobody is sure what’s wrong with my head. Maybe nothing much, or maybe something. the problem is the test they need to run has been deemed too dangerous — as in likely to kill me. So, they’re trying to find other tests that will give them similar, if less precise, information. Meanwhile, though, Garry drives. But we don’t drive much. Grocery and back, hospital and back. Owen helps with repairs and we clean as best we can. We just don’t have the money for a cleaner. They are VERY expensive here. They earn more than I used to when I was working!

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                1. If you don’t have an adjustable bed, this might be the time to consider one. It doesn’t solve all problems, but it is a big help. I don’t know if I’d survive without it. Also, air mattresses that can adjust to your needs. My spine is so encased in arthritis and so broken, I’m looking for any help I can get. If I am careful and don’t have an accident or fall, I can manage. It’s important to keep walking, however little I do.

                  Can Marcel swim? Because water aerobics are very good for damaged spines. The water supports you while you move. For many of us, it offers at least a temporary release from pain. My problem with that is there’s no pool anywhere near us. None at all. When we lived in Boston, I joined a gym just for the pool and it helped. It kept me from becoming completely immobile — AND it improved my swimming! You may also have a problem with available pools since you’re in a small town, but it’s worth checking. Even people who are paralyzed are treated in water.

                  Lacking a pool, Garry wants me to see if I can find a really good yoga teacher who works with arthritic/spine-damaged people just to see if I can find ways to keep from losing my ability to walk. My granddaughter and son have the same problem since this is inherited, though neither of them is as bad as I am — but they didn’t fall off as many horses. On the other hand, both of them were born with club feet, so they have other issues I don’t have.

                  And we ALL have the same heart problems. Isn’t DNA grand?

                  Liked by 1 person

                    1. That’s the problem with small towns. Big towns, there’s a gym on every block, but around here? Nothing. Glad you have fully adjustable beds. They really DO help. I’m going to try yoga for seniors who can’t get do floor work, or as one woman put it “I can get DOWN. I just can’t get back UP.”

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  4. I always make more than needed for dinner. Never throw it away. I portion it and freeze it. For our son’s birthday we had, at his request, Lasagne and I made enough for 16 people. Not everyone showed up so I portioned it and we’re having some for dinner tonight. I also have some curried chicken in the fridge and we’ll probably have that tomorrow night. I like the idea of just heating it up because all the preparation is already done. Those order in meals are here too but they are expensive.
    Leslie

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      1. The restaurants have all sorts of things going – Save the Dishes, Fuel Foods, Rose Reisman’s Personal Gourmet, Plated.com, Blue Apron etc…on and on but they aren’t cheap.

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    1. I’ve thought about this, but our freezer is really small. I have a second freezer (currently disconnected) in the basement, but it costs quite a lot of money to keep it running. I would have to see if I could make enough meals to justify the cost of running the deep freeze.

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  5. Sounds like you need a wife yourself! 🙂 … we have ‘forage days, where we just take care of ourselves, and every so often have a bit of a cooking/baking binge, lots of soups, pastas, that sort of thing, bread, then freeze ’em, and the only kitchen appliance we need to use is the microwave. 🙂

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    1. We don’t eat much of that kind of food anymore. I can’t and Garry just doesn’t much like it. He could live on sandwiches and he would NEVER eat a fresh vegetable in his life. Getting old and staying healthy requires that someone make the effort to make sure that most meals are reasonably healthful. Since Garry doesn’t cook, I suppose that means ME.

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  6. I don’t have a lot of interest in cooking just for myself. I’d got out of the habit as when David stopped working he started to do most of the cooking. Later on, we shared the job and to me, it is a job. If I’m blogging or doing something else I’m interested in I don’t always want to cook. It might work better on days when I don’t have to go out to make the main meal of the day at lunchtime. When Naomi comes to visit we do that so she won’t need to cook after her long drive home. Maybe that will become our retirement routine eventually. I was reading yesterday how Britons may find themselves with food shortages after Brexit. The article mentioned that they would still have plenty of lamb or mutton, peas and potatoes. I admit to thinking “What’s the problem?” I’d be quite happy to eat that several times a week. When I cook I generally freeze the leftovers, they come in handy for shop days when I don’t want to cook and I don’t get bored of eating the same thing.

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    1. I try to find iron-rich stuff because I’m anemic and Garry eats vegetable only when I stare him down. When I met him, he only ate until the drinks arrived. We’ve come a good distance since then, so keeping him healthy means I cook. If there were places to eat out, we might do that sometimes, but our local restaurants are really AWFUL. The few good ones are very expensive, so either I cook or we don’t eat.

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      1. Husbands can be worse than children to feed I think. David would not eat fruit and very few vegetables. When he was cooking I often complained that he did not serve enough veg for me.

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  7. I have a friend down south whose wife retired several years ago and hired a man to come in and weld the oven door shut. Kinda her way of making a statement about cooking. I admire her spirit.

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  8. I got “daughtered” out when I was 37 and realized I’d been making dinner for someone for 30 years. Also the ex never came home when he said he would which made the whole thing frustrating and humiliating.

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    1. When I married Garry, he’d been “eating out” at least 30 years, so he was thrilled to discover the joys of homemade meatloaf whereas I was ready to enjoy the pleasures of eating out. Ultimately, the expense of eating out was ridiculous … and I cooked. I’m a good cook, mind you, but I also worked full-time. Now that we’re both retired, I figure we should do this together and it’s time for him to learn to do more than open a can or boil a hot dog!

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      1. My ex loved to eat and he loved putting things together. I thought, “He should cook” I suggested it based on those two points. He said, “I thought about it and realized it would just be a pain in the ass.” 😀

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        1. Garry basically doesn’t want to cook because his father didn’t cook and no one ever made him cook and he doesn’t see why he should have to do it now. This is going to come to a head sooner or later. Sooner, I suspect. I really am very wifed out.

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        2. I really think he should learn to cook because one day, I might not be here to do it for him. Even if it’s just BASIC stuff. He really should know just a bit more than how to open a can or make a sandwich. On the “up” side, he can also make a salad. I honestly think he’d rather go hungry than do even the most basic cooking. So, I cook. But I would like him to be able to take care of himself better than he does. It worries me.

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  9. Trust you to ALWAYS find yet another topic to take up – this for instance is one I’ve never thought about at all. I’ve (for once) read all the comments and have now a far more in-depth understanding of What you’re talking about…. So many factors are weighing in and the missing money one is a big part of the problem. Hero Husband is absolutely useless in the kitchen but eats everything (and anything) I put in front of him with great pleasure and real joy. BUT as he’s working in Switzerland and is mostly alone all week long while I spend my time still in France where we try to sell our house, so that we can BOTH live together again in our home country, I just realise over and over again that he truly has not the slightest interest at
    -keeping himself healthy
    -cooking anything, and I mean anything…. lately he hasn’t even bothered to make tea in the morning but just goes to work and gets his coffee/tea whatever there
    -never used any of the lovingly prepared suggestions I proposed to him
    IT REALLY REALLY FREAKS ME OUT….
    He’s gained even more weight in just a few weeks (he returns for the weekends and I join HIM for 8 or so days per month in CH – that’s the only time he’s eating well AND healthy) and he has a heavy heart history in his family….
    I do love cooking and I cook for myself even when on my own. I also pay great attention to the fact that it might be a meagre meal, putting aside the once-per-month frozen oven-fries I allow myself, but it’s served beautifully. I use my ‘good’ dishes, have candles, have my glass of wine, because at one of my low points in life I decided that if I wasn’t worth caring for myself, how on earth could I be worth anything to all the others. It was a life defining moment and I’ll never look back.
    I don’t like my microwave and really, really try to cook only fresh and from scratch. But I have bread in the freezer, doughs for tarts and I freeze lots of fruit when in season. I thus have fresh tarts (cheese is always available too, veggies as per what’s in season, fruit from the freezer), I cook large pots of soup when the ingredients are available on the ready and cheap, and we eat soup for months after I’ve made them. I had however to throw out meat several times because I just don’t think of it once I dumped it in the freezer. It IS worth having a freezer and it IS the same work of cooking a really big batch of, let’s say, pumpkin soup with spuds, herbs (season, again!), and then make portions to go to be frozen. I always have tomato purée, in those little cardboard packs, in jars – they go easily with everything and are frequently added to soups too. Some things are even best from frozen like peas and fish (when not living at a sea shore)… as they get frozen fresh from the field & sea.
    I’ll have a word with Garry next time I talk to him – you can tell him …. 😉 This is just not on! But then, see what good it did me with my own HH!!!! I now say: OK go ahead, kill yourself with your uncontrolled, unhealthy stuffing…. and he sighs and thinks he’s got the worst dragon-wife 🙂

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