Living the Life . . .

Marriage is a sneaky institution. It starts out with romance and roses and you end up cooking and fixing meals for many members of the food chain. Until I got married, food was something you ate when your body started wearing down. An apple, a taco, a quick plate of spaghetti, whatever it took to keep you going. I never felt that a growling stomach was a reason to begin planning meals. Food on my list of priorities was not at the top. I was busy!

I came home from the office, my first day back at work after I got married. I was home early and got this sudden feeling that I should really prepare something to eat and share with my new husband. I had a thirty-minute head start and by the time Carl arrived home, he was met at the door with the aroma of cooking food. I was happy and he was thrilled. This schedule persisted for more than a year.

Then God sent us a blessing along with nine months of all-day morning sickness. The first four months we coped as best we could. I soon realized that unless I wanted the new baby to resemble a French Fry (one of my more notable cravings), I would have to drag myself from the bed and bathroom and cook once more.

Baby born, morning sickness gone, things still did not go back to newly-wed normal as far as meals went. Besides our own meals, this new person demanded certain nutrition that required my presence (if he were nursing) and special little meals he could gum down or spit up, his choice. We had, I assumed, seen it all. However, we just incorporated these little inconveniences into our lives and forged ahead.

We got two dogs. Now they needed feeding and I had to add their needs into the shopping list. I now prepared meals for two grownups, an ungrateful infant and dogs who thought they were human. It couldn’t get any more complicated.

It did. A new baby came along who continued with the nursing and special little gummable meals. The toddler required a more varied menu aimed at his growing needs. And there were still the dogs and my husband.

Between baby number two and three we acquired a cat. The cat only ate the points off the star-shaped cat food. The cat did not like the middle part of the dried food after she had shorn it of it’s points. I put the cat and her demands on my shopping list.

I now had a husband to feed, three children of varying ages, a cat and two dogs. What more could I deal with. The cupboards were stocked with people food, baby food, children’s food, dog food and cat food. Had we reached the peak?

Just after baby number four made his appearance, the first child asked for a pet of his own—fish. How much trouble can it be to feed fish. You dump in a certain amount of stuff from a special can labeled for fish and they eat. No fall out, no crumbs, no problem. The fish required three different types of food. It seemed that ground feeders didn’t feed if the stuff didn’t sink down in the water. We needed sinking pellets among other things. I added my new house mates to the budget.

We now had a household of six people of various likes and dislikes, two dogs, a cat and fish. Was there life after fish?

We acquired two birds. They like certain bird seed and a particular fruit combination. They have a permanent place on my feeding schedule. They are supposed to live for thirty years but I try not to think about it. My cupboards are full. One holds my husband’s necessities for survival, the children have their cereal, etc. shelf, the lower regions of the kitchen house bags of dog food sitting next to boxes and cans of cat food. Fish food shares quarters with boxes of bird seed. And I am the manager, meal planner and server of it all.

I must confess to having daydreams that seem unworthy of my calling. . . I see myself feeding the fish to the birds, in turn dishing up the birds to the cat who is turned over to the dogs that hate her anyway. I get stumped at what to do about the dogs and usually come to my senses at this point. I did almost lose it totally when my husband came home from the store with a bottle of distilled water. It seems we need to keep it on hand for my son’s carnivorous plants. . .

I’m now housing only one child these days . . . who still has particular wants and snacks. I’m coping and she has her own salary to compensate for my lack of variety in shopping. The birds died way short of their 30-year estimate and we finally got the last of the feathers out of our house. Long story but we now share the house with TWO cats and one slightly feral outside cat who only comes into shred important document left unattended for three seconds or less. Don’t have the dogs of bygone years but still have two dogs. We decided, initially, that one dog was enough until a second dog walked into our backyard and stayed. No more fish, hamsters or birds. We did end up with 15 cats at one point but that is a story for another day. We don’t like to dwell on that era too much. Oh, yeah, my husband still wants dinner every night but that’s okay, I like him more than the dogs anyway!

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