A few days ago *h came home to find 8 large bottles of water on our front porch. This was quite concerning to him, since, being from a small island nation (England), he gets the heebie jeebies whenever he sees food packaged in large quantities.
Yes, after all these years of me buying in bulk, *h still hasn’t fully embraced the idea that to feed and care for a big family takes mucho stuff. It’s not that he doesn’t try, bless his heart, but he still thinks that a 5 pound bag of flour sounds like a lot (we buy the 50 pound bags). If I don’t specify how many of something I want at the grocery store, *h will sometimes buy 1, rather than calling home and asking me how many he should get. This is because he knows his fears will be realized and I will likely ask him to buy about a dozen. Poor guy.
He also got very stressed out that we have “too much” cereal downstairs. Now, in my mind “too much” of something like cereal means that either we don’t have space for it, or that there is so much that it will go stale before we can finish it. In his mind “too much” means we have more than a few, or more than we need for our next meal, or more than he remembers having in his house when he grew up (one at a time maybe?). Currently we have about 20 boxes. When I told him that, in the event of a crisis, that would not even last us a week he was mortified. Apparently he didn’t realize that we have two teenage boys in the house. And I won’t tell you how quickly we go through 20 boxes…
So this got us talking about exactly what is in our pantry and what quantities of each thing item we have on hand. *h feels overwhelmed by the stock and I feel vastly underprepared. Since I can recite the foods and the counts off the top of my head at any given time, I usually have a pretty good idea of the state of affairs of the Bass family situation. This is how I broke it down for *h:
I don’t come to your job and tell you that you have too many files or too many computer windows open or too many staplers on your desk. I don’t try to rearrange your things in your briefcase or micromanage your meeting schedule, so PLEASE do not try to manage my job either.
Basically, I am the CEO of the Bass family.
*h can be the CFO and we can work together to run the company, but I was really feeling like there were too many chiefs and not enough indians. I don’t think it is unreasonable since I do the shopping (or at least some of the shopping- and the menu planning and list making) and the cooking that I should also be in charge of inventory control. We are not in debt because of food-hoarding, nor or we struggling to find space in cramped quarters because I have jam-packed our house with food and supplies (although in my dreams I would). It’s not like we have a zillion cans of cat food and no cat because I impulse-buy things we don’t need, and I certainly don’t buy even half the amount I think I should buy to store up for a true emergency (this is something I think needs to be negotiated with the CFO and not done behind his back…). So I truly don’t understand the buttons this pushes in him- except that this is not how he grew up.
The first time I went to England and realized that people had no basements and very little storage in their homes, I got a little bit of insight into the buy-only-what-you-can-use thing. Their fridges are tiny compared to ours, but their stores (the shops! or shoppes?) are like a few blocks away at all times. So everyone is constantly walking on over to the shops to get about 10 minutes worth of groceries which they then carry home and cook. What culture shock it must have been for my in-laws the first time they came here and saw a gallon jar of mayonnaise in my fridge! hahahahahahaha…
I remember the first time I brought home a 5 gallon bucket of laundry detergent from Costco. *h came home from work and was absolutely incredulous. I think he thought I was pranking him or something. He really thought we would never use it up. Ha! The next time I went to Costco I brought him with and his eyes were wide with astonishment- I guess that pretty much sums up America in a nutshell. We like to do everything big and excessive. But if you have a large family, buying in bulk is awesome.
Over the years I have found cheaper ways to buy in bulk than Costco, but I still get lots of things in mass quantity. *h has reconciled to the idea that his wife is somewhat eccentric, and I guess he just chalks it up to that. But I truly save the family buckets of money.
And if there is ever a problem, we can always eat cereal.
At least for a few days😉