February 16, 2014

Ryan's World - The Kids and I will Eat Again

After 17 years of marriage I think I know my wife pretty well. We have endured hard times and we have had a lot of laughs raising our two daughters. For the past seven or eight months I could tell that something was missing in her life. I tried desperately to figure out what it was. We had lengthy discussions (usually two to three minutes at time while the commercials were on). I tried to give her more attention and I snuggled with her to let her know I still love her (but we nearly broke the chair and her head kept getting in the way of the television). I honestly feel I made a genuine effort to give her comfort.

It was through our intimate talks I learned it was partially my fault she no longer had the same passion she once had. She shared with me my sarcasm and wit, as charming as it may seem (my words, not hers), wore her down and she no longer had the same desire she once had. It nearly destroyed our family. That may be a bit of an exaggeration. It came nowhere close to destroying our family, but it did limit our choices for dinners. To those of you who thought I was going to reveal how we overcame a serious hurdle in our marriage I say, “Really? Have you not read any of my columns?” Nooooo… My wife quit couponing about seven or eight months ago and the stash of food in our pantry was dwindling.

Part of the reason she quit couponing was because I may have made fun of her (only a tiny bit) when she bought 40 cans of shaving cream, 60 packs of dental floss, 35 deodorants, etc. Although we are in good shape with personal hygiene products (probably for the next couple of years), we are starting to get low on some of the food items. We are facing a real family crisis. The 80 cans of canned tomatoes have dwindled to a handful and all we have left from the 60 packs of frozen vegetables are peas and broccoli. I’m not sure why she bought peas to begin with. We don’t eat peas. The broccoli is fine, but we have no cheese sauce to go with it – these are desperate times.

I had to swallow my pride (only because there was nothing left in the pantry to swallow) and admit my role in this disastrous situation. I was wrong for mocking her. I was wrong for writing about it in the newspaper with my usual hint of sarcasm. (Editor’s Note: Notice I only admitted to being wrong. I did not apologize. An apology would require me to quit mocking her and using sarcasm when I write about her. That’s not going to happen.)

I’m not the only one to blame in this couponing fiasco. The dagblasted chain supermarkets are also to blame. I’ve already admitted I played a minor role in my wife’s couponing depression, but these chain supermarkets brought her to the brink of needing therapy when they quit doubling coupons. (If we would have had a coupon for therapy – that doubled – we probably would have gotten her help.) How is an extreme couponing family to live if we actually have to pay for our food? Gone are the days of free cookies and gum. Gone are the days of getting 70 bottles of children’s aspirin for free and using the $70 in overages to pay for our milk and meat.

A couple of weeks ago I finally saw a sparkle reappear in her eyes. I began to see subtle signs of her emerging from her coupon depression. She would occasionally glance through the store ads and she started purchasing multiple newspapers to get more coupons. Those signs just made me hopeful. The real clincher – the one that made my heart leap for joy and let me realize I got my wife back – she began dumpster diving again to retrieve unused coupons. There is real joy in the Berry household – 36 jars of spaghetti sauce and 20 bags of our favorite snack (and a few more personal hygiene products). The kids and I will eat again.


Anonymous said...

Loved your story and yes it's a problem for many and this may help them realize it!

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