Can I Get Extra Plum Sauce?

 

For those of you who are not aware, my wife has become a minimalist. She has decluttered our lives to the point of no return. It seems that mimimalists can never be satisfied with not having less than they need. She buys the only the bare essentials, the necessities, as she likes to refer to it, and nothing more. I have questioned this movement, and after much soul searching, and self examination, do not share the same extreme views. It really makes absolutely no difference, as my wife has taken over control of our spending.

I know that she means well, and I am aware that she is trying to save money for us in the event that there is some sort of emergency somewhere down the road. I, however, would much rather be sitting in a parked car at the side of the road, drinking beer, and eating a burger, than moving down the road, sucking on rice and beans. I informed my wife that I would be starting my own movement, my own philosophy, The maximalists. Our philosophy is quite simply do it now. Buy it now. Enjoy it now. The future may not come. It is in direct contrast to my wife’s philosophical bent, but we manage to coexist.

As I said, she has taken control of the money. I am not really sure how. I don’t remember a coup of any kind, but she has the control. She tells me that I willingly gave it to her, but that is not likely. I just wouldn’t do that. It is more likely than not, she has inflicted upon me one of those Moroccan, voodoo spells, which has allowed her to usurp control of the money, and the power to make financial decisions.

Now, I enjoy take out food. I enjoy it more than home cooked food, unless there is a brisket, or a turkey involved. My wife advised that there will be no more take out food. Everything we eat, must be made at home with food we have in the house at the time. I tried to make it work, I really did, but I just couldn’t figure out what to make with blueberries, chick peas, relish, and potatoes.

“What are you having for dinner?”, she asked me as I came in the door, torn and tattered from the events of the day, and worn and weary from the ensuing minefield I would be forced to maneuver as I entered the conversation we ere about to have.

“I don’t know.”, I replied. “I haven’t really thought about.”

“Well”, she stated, “I’m hungry!”

“Then you should eat.”, I told her.

“But I don’t know what i want.”, she replied.

“Is that now a consideration?”, I asked. “Just make something with the food we have here.”

“There’s nothing good here.”, she said. “I want something good.”

“Like what?”, I asked her.

“I think I want ribs.”, she replied.

“Uh huh.”, I remarked. “So you have decided to become a part time minimalist?”

“No. But I want Chinese food.”, she explained. “Ribs, rice, and 2 egg rolls. Do you want something?”

“From where?”, I inquired.

There’s only 1 place my wife can eat Chinese food at due to all of her food allergies and sensitivities, and I hate it. Really. The food is barely recognizable as food, and they take forever to deliver.

“Can we afford to order in?”, I asked. “What about the future emergency you have been planning for?”

“This is an emergency.”, she informed me. “I’m hungry. Do you want me to get you something?” Oh, those minimalists! $50 worth of Chinese food, and I can’t get $5 for a bagel and coffee at Tim Horton’s!

“I don’t know.”, I answer. “I’d have to look at the menu.”

“We don’t have one. I threw it out when we decided that we weren’t going to order in anymore.”, she told me.

“To be clear”, I reminded her, “we never decided anything. You decided.” My wife informed me that its not important who decided. She said I should remember that we are in this together, and she is only trying to help us save some money for the inevitable, mystery emergency.

“Okay”, she said, “I have the menu online. See what you want so I can order already. I’m hungry.”

I must have read that menu 3 or 4 times, and still nothing appealed to me. “Well?”, she asked, growing more impatient by the nano second.

“Just get me a won ton soup, and a large fresh watermelon bubble tea, no tapioca.”

“I don’t think that’s enough for free delivery.”, she said.

“So pay the delivery charge.”, I told her.

“Are you crazy?”, she asked. “Its $3.50.”

“So you want me to order more food to avoid paying the delivery charge? ”

“Ya.”, she said.

“Okay”, I said as I looked at the menu once again. “The cheapest thing on the menu is $6. You understand that we are now paying $2.50 more than if we just pay the delivery charge?”

“Just get 2 spring rolls or something.”, she said. “They’re $2 each. That will be enough for free delivery.”

“That still costs more than the delivery charge.”, I remind her.

“Yes, but at least you’ll have the food. At least you’re getting something or the money.”

“But I don’t want any spring rolls.”, I told her. “Just soup and a bubble tea. If you want me to get something else, get me another bubble tea.”

“We don’t have money for that.”, she said. “They’re almost $7.”

“Whatever.”, I said. “Just order the food. I’ll pay for the delivery charge.”

“No.”, she stated rather firmly. “Its the principle.”

“Whatever you decide.”, I told her.

About an hour later, there was a knock on the door. I opened it and was surprised to find a Swiss Chalet delivery man standing there. I called my wife and she came to pay the bill.

“What happened to the Chinese food?”, I asked.

“I changed my mind.”, she said. “You were making it too complicated, and I know you don’t like South China’s food, so I just ordered Swiss Chalet.”

“But I was really looking forward to the bubble tea.”, I told her.

“I got you the chicken spring rolls, and the 1/4 chicken, white meat. And, I got you an iced tea.”

These are the moments when I realize that I really don’t care if my wife is a minimalist, or a communist. I’m just glad that she’s my wife.

“Thank you.”, I said. I kissed her on the forehead as I reached for cutlery.

“You’re welcome.”, she replied. “But this is the last time. Starting tomorrow, we eat whatever we can find here.”

I looked at her in disbelief. I had heard the “This is the last time” line many, many times before, and it never really is.

“I mean it.”, she said. “No more ordering in.”

“I understand.”, I told her. “By the way, I have a late meeting at the school board tomorrow. Can I get $5 for coffee at Tim’s?”

“Do you know how much we just spent on dinner?”, she asked.  And there it was, proof positive that a minimalist can fall off the wagon, and get right back up again, faster than you can pick up a knife and fork.

When I woke in the morning, I went out to collect my bags for work. There, on my desk, was a $5 bill, with a note. ‘Have a good day. Good luck with your maximalism. Love you.’

God, how I adore this woman.

 

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Pucked Again….

 

My wife enjoys playing video slot machines. She loves to gamble. She says it is in her Spanish Moroccan blood, coursing through her veins, much like her temperament. It makes her happy, so she says, so we go. She is a VIP, at our local casino. In effect, she has spent more money, win or lose, than the average non Spanish Moroccan , and so is entitled to certain perks and privileges slot1reserved for the most exclusive of guests. She has become a member. She gets a black card now, only for VIP club members, and she carries it proudly among the white card carrying general public. This black card, is the pathway to the perks.

She collects points for every dollar wagered, and these points can, in turn, be converted into meals, event tickets, and VIP members only galas. We have been to no gala, and while we have dined at the facility’s restaurant, the food is far from appealing. “It’s free.”, she says, justifying the garbage we are about to consume.

“Really?”, I ask. “You understand that you are about to eat an overcooked, over seasoned $500 steak, right?”

Interesting that this doesn’t concern my minimalist, frugal wife.

I do not play the slot machines. Often times she will give me $100 or so, and ask me if I want to play. “Of course.”, I tell her, and take the money. I put it in my pocket. Why not? She has questioned me several times about whether I really played or not. “What difference does it make if I put the money in the machine and lose it, or just put it in my pocket? It doesn’t cost you any more.”

slots2So there we were, at the local slot emporium, ready to roll, when I noticed a sign at the VIP room entrance offering a VIP Toronto Maple Leafs event. It seemed that for a significant amount of points, we could get 2 tickets which would gain us access to an executive suite at the Air Canada Centre for an upcoming hockey game. Free food. Free beer. Free Hockey. “We should grab a couple of tickets.”, I told her.

“I don’t know if I have enough points.”, she replied. She checked, and yes she did. More than enough. In fact there were enough points for the tickets, and another culinary adventure in the hall of disappointing dinners. We scooped the tickets. “Happy are you?”, she asked.

“You have no idea.”, I replied.

As she entered the very special room in which you can lose very special money, I wandered off to hockey1watch others enjoy the art of casino gaming, with $100 in my pocket.

On the way home, she suggested that we give the hockey tickets to one of my daughters and her boyfriend. “Are you kidding?”, I asked her.

“No. They never go anywhere. They have no money. It would be nice for them to go somewhere nice.” I thought about this for almost no time at all.

“How about we send them to the movies.”, I suggested.

“I think we should give them the tickets.”, she repeated. “Neither one of us can sit there that long. We can’t eat most of the food, and how much beer can you really drink?”

“But its an executive suite.”, I reminded her.

Practical and logical as ever my wife added that there would be no smoking, and I would not be permitted to cuss or curse.

“I’m not happy about this.”, I told her.

“I know.”, she said. “I know.”

On the day of the game, my daughter and her boyfriend arrived at the house to pick up my tickets. “Are you sure?”, the boyfriend asked, alternately looking at me and the tickets.

hockey2“Not at all.”, I told him, “But you go and have a good time.” The little guy couldn’t thank me enough. I still don’t think he did. After they left, I retired to the bedroom, feeling somewhat dejected. No, pissed off. I was feeling pissed off. I put on my Detroit Red Wings Jersey, and sat on the bed waiting for the game to begin. My wife entered the room. “Here.”, she said. “Help me with this.” I looked up, and she was carrying a 6 pack of beer, an order of wings, and a small, thin crust veggie pizza, with extra olives.

“Much better than the executive box.”, she said as I helped her with the delivery. She got up on the bed, and sat beside me.

“Much better.”, I said.

“Who’s playing?”, she asked.

“It really doesn’t matter, anymore.”, I said.

 

 

 

The Minimalist Wife

My wife does not do well with clutter. She finds having a lot of possessions quite anxiety provoking. It applies to clothes, furniture, appliances, even tableware. It is fascinating  to watch her try to unclutter. My kids and I are quite the opposite, so her uncluttering usually occurs when no one else is home. Everyday, as I  come home from work, I pray that the couch is still in the living room.

She spends an inordinate amount of time going through her belongings, and with much delight, fills boxes and bags with the items she longer needs. She has parted ways with small appliances as well. We no longer own a toaster. She believes that bread can be toasted in the oven, so, the toaster is gone. She has decimated her once spectacular collection of canisters. She says that if she is not using it, then she doesn’t need it. And if she doesn’t need it, she shouldn’t have it.

There have been a few attempts at minimalizing my possessions. “Get away from my stuff!”, I tell freakouther, as she looks at my drawer full of t shirts.

“What is INK FLY?’, she asks, holding up a shirt for me to see.

“Just put it back.” But she goes on and on about how much easier it is to live with less, and how simplifying her life has made her so very happy. I remind her that I don’t do well with simple. I thrive in chaos and emotional crisis. She thinks I am just being difficult.

She had been after me to get rid of the wall unit we have had for 15 years or so. It still works, holds the stereo, the television, and other assorted items we have accumulated over the years. The plan was to mount the television on the wall, eliminate most of the other stuff on the unit, and using a hammer, destroy the wall unit, and take it out to the trash. I have discovered that her passion for minimalism has brought out a very aggressive and violent side of her.  She has removed most of our table ware and cutlery, leaving just enough so that each person living in the house, has 1 full set. She says that is all anyone needs. If it is dirty, you need to wash it.

vwShe reads me items from the minimalist groups and forums she subscribes to in an attempt to convert me. She has told me of a couple who sold everything they own, and travel around in a Volkswagon van, living with very little. I am still trying to figure out where in the Volkswagon van did they put the toilet, and the shower? It seems that they stop at gas stations to use a bathroom, and bathe in rivers. Well, I will not be travelling the world in a Volkswagon van. Ever.

I have always believed that I am a simple man. I don’t want much, and I really don’t need much. I have never had any desire to live in a mansion, or travel the world. I do however, want my stuff. She would like it if I thinned out my clothing. “Just donate the things you haven’t worn in a long time, and the things that don’t fit”, she says.

“I wear it all”, I tell her. She will begin to pull thingd from my closet, “I haven’t seen you wear this since we moved here”, she says, as if to prove a point.

“I’m saving it for a special occasion”, I say.

The battle ensues, but there will be no peaceful outcome, short of complete and total surrender to this wide eyed, minimalist enthusiast. I have tried to talk with her about it. Tried to negotiate a settlement we could both live with. It took some time, and at least 5 years off of my life, but we have agreed. The wall unit will go, the bed will stay on the box spring and frame. We will never move into a Volkswagon van, and I will go through my stuff and try to downsize,

She sits on the edge of the bed, watching me go through my clothes. She says nothing, but I can hear her fidgeting as I slowly, and purposefully begin the uncluttering of my life. It is difficult, but I give up my Ink Fly t-shirt, remembering that it once read Pink Floyd. As the pile continues to grow, she jumps up, gives me a hug, and reminds me that next week we will start minimizing the kitchen. If she even looks at my waffle maker, there will be hell to pay.