Blog Post

Getting compliments from Sweetums is like finding sweet tea on a New York menu

In our house, Sweetums does all the cooking. In fact, I’m not really welcome in the kitchen unless it’s to do my share of meal-making, which means doing the dishes, or to attach a magnet collected on our travels to the front of the fridge. So on Saturday, when I needed to make my dad’s famous baked beans to take to a high school reunion picnic, I was a little lost in there. Sweetums had to remind me how to set the oven (It’s not like I can’t turn a knob, y’all. Our oven has weird, newfangled push-button controls. They confused me, that’s all.)

I got the oven preset and moved on to opening the cans because the secret recipe didn’t involve actually baking the beans, but adding ingredients to Bush’s already baked beans, which, as you probably know, come in cans. Don’t expect miracles, okay? I already said I’m not a cook. The problem was, Sweetums had purchased a new can opener and I had only tried to use it that one time when he forgot to get pop-tab soup cans (And, yes, warming soup in the microwave counts as cooking. Don’t begrudge me the little victories).

The can opener was some kind of one-armed gadget that had to be set in some magical position on the top before it would click into place and begin cutting. I couldn’t get it to click, so I just sat there cutting air for several rotations, dreading the moment I would have to call Sweetums to the kitchen and admit I couldn’t use the can opener. Realizing the beans would never make it into the dish without removing the top, and that I couldn’t serve air at the picnic, I finally gave in.

Me: “Sweetums, can you come show me how to use the can opener?”

Sweetums: “I already showed you once.”

Me: “I know but it’s not working. I think it’s broken.”

Sweetums: ***heavy sigh***

He came into the kitchen and demonstrated, very slowly, how to make the little guider-thingy click into place.

Sweetums: “You can feel it grab. You try it.”

The offending one-armed appliance.

I followed his instructions and, sure enough, the blade “grabbed” the lid and I began to turn. And, sure enough, that top popped right off.

Sweetums: What would you have done if I hadn’t been here?

Me: “Stabbed the can with a knife.”

Sweetums: ***heavy sigh***

I put the beans in the oven and they were a hit at the picnic. As we drove home from the park, I was telling Sweetums how he should be proud of the fact that I had cooked … and for the third time this year. It was becoming, like, a sorta-kinda regular activity. He acted as if adding – you thought I was going to slip and tell you the secret ingredients, didn’t you? – to canned beans is no big deal.

I told him it was a big deal and added: “And you could give me kudos for figuring out how to use the can opener.”

Sweetums, shaking his head and giving a loud and rather insulting guffaw: “No. Absolutely not. You are not getting kudos for using a can opener.”

Me, huffily: “Sometimes getting compliments from you is like finding sweet tea on a New York menu.”

Sweetums: ***heavy, heavy, heavy sigh***

Me: “You really need to see a doctor about those breathing issues.”

5 thoughts on “Getting compliments from Sweetums is like finding sweet tea on a New York menu”

  1. I fee your pain. I got remarried after 44 years with my wife version 1.44 who died of cancer. So wife 2.0 comes with a new can opener. OK I a masters degree in engineering, so I can figure stuff out! I can’t make the can opener work. She laughs and say “it is simple”, Ok when she showed me it was simple but I have never seen a can opener work that way.


  2. Okay, trying not to take sides. Except to say that some of those can openers have had me whipped. I have very little arm strength these days, in spite of going to the gym—lifting Eric in and out of the wheelchair seems to have given me permanent bursitis—and can openers can be torture for me. So do consider the other person’s lack of affinity for can-opener use.


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