Nagging, Part 1
Very frankly, two things have nearly wrecked our marriage: a home freezer and the checking account. Now, I know what you're going to say. Right away, you're going to jump to the conclusion that I bought an expensive home freezer without telling my husband and that I abuse the checking account by spending too much money. You are wrong. They are just small things to "nag" about.
For example, we've been arguing about that home freezer for three years now. It's been paid for since a year ago last August. (In fact, I heard there was a Conga line at the credit office that snaked out to the elevator and that the manager treated the staff to cranberry juice out of paper cups, but that could be a rumor.) I insisted we buy the freezer because I couldn't live through another "harvest" without it. I wanted to preserve some of that fresh corn on the cob, green beans, melon balls, peaches, and strawberries. So, my husband agreed to the freezer.
The first week, I snapped and broke thirty pounds of green beans. I blanched them, cooled them, put them into plastic bags, then into boxes where I duly marked the date: June 5. By June 28 we had consumed thirty pounds of green beans. I went the same route with corn and carrots. No matter what quantities I put into the freezer, we had it eaten clean by the end of the week.
In the fall I bought a bushel of apples. I peeled, cored, blanched, cooled, bagged, boxed, and labeled. The yield was eight quarts which someone figured cost me $7.33 a quart, counting labor.
One day my husband decided to check out the freezer. I held my breath. "Well now, what do we have on this shelf?" he asked quizzically.
"Snowballs," I said softly. "The kids made them up when it snowed and then when it's summer, we've got this wonderful, rich supply of snowballs that we couldn't possibly begin to have if we just had the freezing compartment in the refrigerator."
"And what are all those brown paper bags filled with? Steaks? Rump roasts? Chops?"
"You're warm," I said, slamming the door shut.
"How warm?" he asked, opening it again.
"Chicken innards," I said.
"That's right," I explained. "You always said I wasn't to put them into the garbage can until the day of pick-up and I thought I could store them in the freezer until garbage day. I guess I forgot to put a few of them out."
"Is this what I think it is?" he asked tiredly.
"It is, I believe, a transistor battery. Someone said if you put them in a freezer, they'd recharge themselves."
"So, this is what I gave up cigarettes for," he whimpered. "This is why I painted my heels black so no one would know I was wearing socks with holes in them. All for a frozen patch of snowballs, batteries, and chicken necks!"
"Aren't you being a little dramatic?"
I'd like to say I filled the freezer to capacity with a hind quarter of whatever it is you freeze and we lived happily ever after. I'd like to say it, but I can't. I figured if we didn't argue about all those chicken innards, we might argue about something serious.
- Erma Bombeck, At Wit's End, Nelson Doubleday, Inc., 1965