On food storage and homemade breast pumps
I’m not the easiest person to live with. I have lots of good intentions, which I often push too far. Some people might call me downright peculiar—even for a Mormon.
I abhor waste. In the summer I collect all the unwanted produce from everyone I know. Yes, including the zucchinis. I grate them and freeze them and cook with them all year.
In the name of frugality, I went several winters in Salt Lake City without heat.
And preparedness? Sometimes even I wonder if I am pushing the food storage thing too far. A few months ago my four-year-old was watching me nurse our newborn when she asked, “Is the baby drinking powdered milk?”
Thankfully, I have a husband who understands. Don supports my zucchini habit. He doesn’t complain about eating beans night after night. And when it comes to thrift, sometimes he even one-ups me.
Don has a history of bringing home strange things from work. One time he called me from the college and said, “Ang? I found some meat. I’m bringing it home.”
“You found it?”
“In the freezer. Here in the biology department.”
Even I have limits. Really, is there any compelling reason to eat a mysterious piece of flesh found in the life-science department freezer?
Then there was the lovely flower arrangement and scented candle that he brought me on February 15th. The day after Valentine’s Day. I was confused at first. I mean, I remembered the childhood stories Don told me about Santa coming late to his house because payday wasn’t until the thirtieth. But he didn’t get paid on the fifteenth, so what gives?
Re-gifting. The flowers were leftovers from a student who owns a flower shop. The candle was passed on by that lab tech who always wants Don to massage her shoulders. I’m not sure if her idea was to annoy me or to enhance our marriage.
Interestingly enough, it did a little of each. Yes, I appreciate new, on-time gifts once in a while. But knowing that I may be the only woman on the block getting day-old gifts also makes me feel special. It reminds me of all the eccentricities I love about Don. And all of the ones he loves in me. You might say that for us, being cheap is a mark of affection.
When we married fourteen years ago, I thought Don loved me. But when I see him working twelve-hour days to single-handedly roof our house, I start to understand how much. Sure, he could always call a contractor (and phone the florist while he’s at it), but I think his style shows a lot of creativity—and commitment.
His creative approach has taken several turns. A few days ago I noticed a strange imperfection on one of my teeth. “Do you think this is a cavity?” I asked Don.
“No,” he said knowingly. “That’s definitely a chip in the enamel. You don’t need a dentist for that. I can fix it for you. All it takes is a little epoxy.”
Did I mention that this is the man who, when I was preparing to give birth to our first child, offered to build me an electric breast pump from our old aquarium equipment?
I turned him down then too.
(from the Fall 2006 issue of Segullah)