I’ve been reading a book which totally fascinates me. Granted, you always need to read with the Scriptures in mind and with your intellect intact—in other words, don’t believe everything you hear or read at face value. Nonetheless, I’m captivated by the basic ideas in the book, “Captivating” by John and Stasi Eldredge and its companion book “Wild at Heart” which explains the same concept in relation to men (same authors).
And I saw it in action, within myself—and my childish, if femininely justified–actions this afternoon.
We need pots and pans. We REALLY need them. The ones we have are worn out, the lifetime non-stick coating has way outlived its lifetime, the lids don’t fit tightly anymore, in fact, some of the lids have no pots, and vice versa. I’ve put off the purchase for 8 years, it just seems like a lot to spend on me.
I did my thing, which is researching in depth online and by interviewing my friends and reading dozens of reviews regarding this pan and that. I finally narrowed it down to the ones I wanted–and discovered some really NASTY reviews, that made me back out. So I started over, repeated the same process with new information and came to a new conclusion. THESE (Emeril’s hard anodized set) had many things going for them, and although they also had a few really vicious reviews, for the most part I was satisfied that I’d done my thorough investigation to the ultimate. I was choosing the best set. So I ordered them.
The part of the story you don’t know is that Vernon (my longsuffering husband) saw a set of very nice pans previously that were on sale, and suggested them. I’d read about them, did a bit of research, and ordered them. He was in on the operation, he approved, and he was fine with that.
So the very next day when I discovered the failings of the original set and eventually found the Emeril set at $50 cheaper, I told him that I switched, and he seemed satisfied with that. I did tell him. Ok, ok, so he was reading a novel, he wasn’t listening with “both ears”. But we had already decided on the purchase, this was both a savings and a switch to a better brand, so how could he complain?
A day or two later the UPS truck went down the street and I said something like, “I hope that’s my pans, they should be getting here any day now,” to which he replied, WHAT PANS? I thought you canceled them!!
What? You mean that little, ‘oh, we can’t really afford these, we should just cancel them and buy a cheap little skillet and a cheap little pan and let it go’ speech? You took me seriously, you silly boy? I overreacted and insisted that 1) he had approved the first purchase, 2) this was less money and 3) he never heard me say I had cancelled the purchase. He insisted he heard and knew nothing, until we were barely speaking. I was hot but fortunately not hot enough to cancel the purchase.
A few days went by and we forgot the whole thing, it seemed. We were both looking forward to the pans’ arrival. Vernon went to the door this afternoon as he said, “That’s UPS, I guess your pans are here,” and went out to retrieve them.
I’m female. Hormones, idiosyncracies and all, the old “mysterious nature ” and all that. I plead “female” as my defense. But if you’re either female or you’ve been married to one for years you totally know where this is heading.
He came back inside the front door with the huge box when I said, “Just set it down right there” meaning the recliner that’s just inside the front door. That way it would be at waist level when I opened it and I could get the pans out okay. Did he do this? No he did not.
He marched straight into the combination kitchen/dining room and put the box squarely on the dining table out of my line of sight. Disturbing? Yes. I’d just have to go get them and bring them back in the living room so I could open them. THEN he proceeded to OPEN the box, and take out each pot and each pan, exclaiming over them. I was livid. How could he open my pans?
Ever seen a little girl of 3 or 4 playing dress-up, or all dressed up in her Sunday best, and climbing onto the coffee table to twirl and whirl, and have her Daddy tell her how beautiful she is? That’s just natural, isn’t it? That’s the way each of us is made. We want to be unique; we want to stand out; we want to shine and bask in our Father’s approval. Many of the typical passages in life for a woman are momentous in her mind, in her heart. Her first pair of high heels; her first real date; her first purchase of a sofa or dining table, those material things that show she is a woman with taste and individuality—simply a grown-up version of the little girl saying, “See? Aren’t I pretty?” “Didn’t I do well?” (This is the jist of the book “Captivating”).
And here was this….this boy getting into my things. Opening what it so happens is only the second set of pots and pans I have ever actually picked out by myself. He OPENED them! He took all the wrappings off, even read the instructions out loud to me…(I was good, I didn’t cover my ears and go yeayeayeayeayea the whole time).
Now I could have been the grown-up, mature woman I’m supposed to be at 59 years of age and said, Sweetheart, I really wanna open those all by myself. Leave them for me, please? And he might have done so. Most men would. Most. But I just didn’t believe that he would have stopped what he was doing. But like I said, I could have done the adult thing.
You’re waiting for the punch line, aren’t you?
I jumped up, ran to the guest room and proceeded to make up the bed while seething, little rivulets of smoke coming out of both ears. He came down the hall behind me and asked me something. (this reminded me of that poor little goat they lowered over the raptors’ fence in Jurassic Park, victim waiting to be devoured) I don’t remember what he asked, something like, “What are you looking for?” and I snapped at him. I kept making the bed (funny it didn’t need making before, it’s now 5:30 p.m. of course we had to make it right now) and then saw the vacuum, so I grabbed and proceeded to vacuum THE ENTIRE HOUSE. He knew something was wrong. He HAD to. But did he stop me? Did he apologize? Did he ask me what he had done wrong? Or what he could do to help me? No. He just kept out of my way. (Big mistake, guys. Jump in and take your punishment, get it over with).
When I vacuumed our bedroom I saw a basket of laundry that I had folded earlier and set on the bed. I dumped it and proceeded to hang up and put away the clothing there. He brought a load from the dryer into the bedroom and to his credit, began to fold his own clothes, although he lost points for tossing towels and my things out of his way and ignoring them. I oh, so virtuously folded them, too, before he had a chance.
I wish you’d had a bird’s eye view of this, the two of us standing on opposite sides of the king bed, folding clothes and not speaking. In retrospect it’s hilarious. The toy maltese and chihuahua were cringing, peeking from under the edge of the bed. Smart dogs.
Now I said I could have (and should have) chosen the adult behavior. But I’m sorry, he’s a 55-year-old man, he’s been married for years (before me) and should know better than to usurp a woman’s pleasure in opening her new tools. Would I have run to the garage and opened and set up his new drill? His new thingy to fix the truck engine? I know better, that’s his thing.
So, this little girl has lost the chance to open her treasure. To ooh and ahh and carry on about how pretty they were, and how delighted I am that we finally were able to purchase them. They’re sitting on the dining table still, waiting for me. Yuck. I told him he needs to put “his” pans away somewhere. And so it continues.
I even thought of something to use them for and went to the kitchen and chopped an entire onion in preparation for making French onion soup, my favorite (which takes 3-4 hours to simmer). Yet then I realized I’d been making my snotty remarks about “he” should put away “his” pans now that “he” had opened all of them himself.
If I chose the large saucepan, pre-washed it, dried it, and used it, it would water down the whole big hissy fit that I put so much energy into. Wouldn’t it?
So although I’m starving, and the soup sounded SO good, I just got out a zip lock bag and quietly put the onion slices away, washed the cutting board and utensils, and left the kitchen.
Some days, you just can’t win.
Maybe I’ll make soup tomorrow. But not until he uses a pan first.