Reasons why Fran never returns parcels

My husband wandered through the house to find me this morning. He often does this, leaning against the door jamb of the room as if about to make a life-shattering statement such as, 'I've come to say we have no money in the bank' or 'The landlord says we have to move house.' or 'We have rats in the kitchen the size of small dogs.'

These moments are, thankfully, rare. What he usually has to say is more trivial. But he adopts the same stance, and the same serious intonation, whatever the announcement: 'We could have carrots or peas - which do you prefer?' or 'I've replaced the bag in the vacuum cleaner.' Sometimes he's there to deliver the latest shock-horror headlines about his job as a gardener: 'I'm not sure I've grown the right variety of runner bean this year.' or 'My secateurs are blunt.'

This morning's intoned declaration was, 'There's something in the freezer that could be ready-made polenta or it could be pastry.'

I said, 'Are you sure it's not a body part, the way you're talking? Perhaps a leg, or a head?'

I followed him into the kitchen, knowing I would get no peace unless I went to look. We both stared glumly at the package which was wrapped in plastic but unlabelled.

I knew it would be unlabelled. The packages in our freezer never are labelled. Even though this is the case, I still felt I had to comment. 'It's not labelled. Why didn't you label it?'

My husband is in charge of the freezer and its contents. There's a reason why, and it's the same reason he is generally in charge of any space in our house which has a door and storage capacity. He is the Dark Lord of Packing, able to get more items into a space - by arranging, and re-arranging, and fitting together - than I ever could. He's also good at jigsaws, and those tiny little wooden puzzles one gets in a Christmas cracker.


If he's thinking of a career move ...... 


When our online shopping delivery arrives on a Friday evening, it'd be worth your popping over just to witness the masterclass as he slots cans of beans, packets of pasta and herbs and spices onto the shelves like someone creating a mosaic.

When we're going on holiday, I sometimes offer to pack the suitcases. He laughs, in an evil Bluebeard fashion, at this. The most I am allowed to do is to pile my clothes and toiletries and shoes on a bed, ready for him to pack properly.

I am one of those people who receives an item in the post - let's say, a new mobile phone - and takes it out of its packaging, praying that it will be in perfect working order and won't need to be re-packaged and sent back. I don't know how I do it, but once the item is unwrapped, suddenly the polystyrene packing materials grow to double their original size, or morph from rectangular to square. The little dip in which the headphones went disappears. Or perhaps I can fit the phone back into the box, but not the instructions. Sometimes it'll be the other way round.

For all his packaging skills, though, he will not be taught - and I've been trying for 37 years now - to label what goes in the freezer. Many times we have eaten pork when we expected beef, leftover shepherds pie when we anticipated meatballs, and cheese scones when we'd bought jam and cream for a cream tea.

I have bought him labels.

I have bought him a labelling pen.

I have put these things in the kitchen drawer where he can easily find them.

It makes no difference. 'I'll know what it is,' he claims. 'I'll remember.'

In the same way, he makes jams and jellies each year, stashing away the unlabelled jars in the mistaken belief that he'll know which is blackberry jam and which is redcurrant jelly. There are jam jar labels in a drawer in the hall but they don't make it on to the jars unless I do it for him.

You win some, you lose some. If packing a freezer became an Olympic sport, he'd win a medal, and I certainly couldn't do it the way he does. But the fact remains that we have a package that could be pastry or could be polenta, and the only way to find out is to defrost it then adjust the menu accordingly.

'If you ever decide to murder and dismember me,' I'm going to ask him, 'and keep me in the freezer, can you promise me you'll use the labels? It would be a comfort to me. I'd hate to be mistaken for a leg of lamb.'

He'll probably point out that he wouldn't be able to fit my whole body in the freezer.

But, with his skills, I'm not so sure.


Just like our cupboards. A lottery. 







Comments

  1. Your freezer experience sounds like living adventurously to me: "Let's have this unlabelled frozen package for tea and enjoy discovering the mystery!" And when we go on holiday, I am the only one who can possibly pack all my family's luggage into the car. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hm .. there's mystery and there's mystery!

      Delete
  2. I feel ya, Fran. I am the same, no spatial awareness whatsoever, yet my husband with no qualifications can pack twice as much into a freezer or suitcase as I can. Sigh. x

    ReplyDelete
  3. Haha! I lolled out loud at this. One of my favourite parts is the bit where he delivers 'shock horror headlines from the gardening world' 😂 Such a funny post. We never label anything that goes into the freezer either although we regularly threaten to...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know. I daily fear those shock horror gardening headlines as they can leave me shaken for days ;)

      Delete
  4. You've highlighted one of life's major mysteries, in my opinion: why does everything look exactly the same once it's frozen? Also, I am waiting for someone to invent labels that will stick to a container even when frozen, yet wash off quickly and easily afterward. *scowls at the memory of label-less containers of mystery product because the label fell off* *scowls again at the memory of label glue stuck forever to containers*

    Like I said, life's MAJOR mysteries :)

    Yes, get your husband trained BEFORE he turns into a

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, I meant to delete that last bit, because "before he turns into an axe-murderer" sounded very bad so I typed in the sentence above it and forgot to delete that and . . . never mind, I'll show myself out . . .

      Delete
    2. I'm now in anticipation of the day he leans on the door jamb and intones, 'I have decided to become an axe murderer, dear,' but I'll ignore him, thinking he's on about his runner beans again.

      Delete
    3. I use peel-off-the-roll-stick-on paper labels that come in a variety of sizes, in boxes at the newsagent. The trick with the glue is to stick the label on before freezing, then peel off the label as soon as you bring something out of the freezer to thaw. Once condensation sets in the paper part of the label becomes soggy and separates from the glue layer.

      Delete
    4. Oh, thank you, River - I'll give that a try.

      Delete
  5. He doesn't label???? Oh Dear God! People have divorced for less....

    In my small freezer everything is not only labelled it is also dated and if there are several small items such as ready-made burgers or cooked sausages, the number in the container is written on the label and adjusted each time I eat a burger or a sausage or schnitzel etc.

    My daughter's freezer is filled with largely unlabelled stuff along with things that come in boxes, like fish fingers etc, but she is hopeless at packing and the door has to be opened really carefully because things are liable to jump out at you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. River, you are an example to us all! The other thing I want to ask is, what does that phrase mean, 'A sausage'? You mean, it's possible to eat only one?

      Delete
    2. Yes. One cooked sausage, cut into thin slices and added to a hotpot sauce then served over rice. Or one sausage in bread with onions and sauce ala sausage sizzle style. You may not know what a sausage sizzle is... it's a barbecue positioned most often at a hardware store or any other place where people congregate, hundreds of sausages are barbecued along with dozens of sliced onions, and on the side there are packets of sliced bread, squeeze bottles of tomato sauce. People will pay whatever the going price is for a slice of bread with a sausage placed diagonally, topped with fried onions and a squirt of sauce. Money raised in this way goes to whichever charity the barbecuers are supporting that week.

      Delete
    3. I really do like the idea of the sausage sizzle. What a great event!

      Delete
  6. This is classic sitcom Fran - have you considered submitting a script idea to the BBC? Otherwise it reminds me of Diary of a Nobody - Paul would be a perfect character for that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, SC! No, I've only ever submitted a sitcom idea to a producer who makes radio comedy. He was very kind but said the first page didn't make him laugh, so he hadn't really read any further. Fair enough!! I did re-work that but I never had the courage to re-submit it and it would need re-writing now as it would be dated. It was called 'Receptionists' and was set in a GP surgery.

      Delete
  7. Labels? In the freezer? My mum and I did this for a while in the early days of freezers, ie the sixties. But the urge to do this wore off very quickly. I mostly know what things are, and if I don't, well, it's food.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are so chilled! And, yes, that was a deliberate (bad) pun.

      Delete

Post a comment

Popular posts from this blog

Reasons why Fran always carries a rolled-up newspaper

Reasons to check everyone in the classroom has a pen

Evidence that 'shaying nosthing at all' could even be good advice for Fran