Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Cooler of DOOM

Well, it's after midnight now, so I can officially announce that I am declaring myself WIFE OF THE YEAR. But only for today. It's not something I'd want to hang onto - who needs that kind of stress?

Here's what happened...

The chicklets and I rolled out of bed yesterday morning and headed for the kitchen to rustle up some breakfast. The kitchen was, of course, trashed, since my darling Gene had been forced yet again to assemble his own lunch that morning before heading to work. Bread on the stove, twist ties hither and yon, crumbs everywhere, you get the picture. (Just so you know...there was a time, many moons ago and certainly before children, when I used to make his lunch for him before I went to bed at night. I'd even leave a sweet note inside, or at least a random household item - a Cabbage Patch Kid figurine comes to mind - just to make him wonder what on earth I had been thinking. But he was nicer to me back then, and so now he largely fends for himself.) Sitting on the counter beside the sink was the blue cooler that he's been using as a lunchbox of late. Hmm, I thought...that's a little strange. Wonder why he didn't take the cooler today? But he's a big boy now and I assumed that he had his reasons, so I moved the cooler out of the way and promptly forgot about it.

Flash forward to later that evening. Schoolwork was finished, laundry washed (but not folded - never folded!), dinner cooked and eaten, half of the family churched in attempt to keep us from killing each other for another few days. And he asks me, "Did you happen to wash my cooler today?"

Well, no, I did not. I was unaware that the cooler was in need of washing. I mean, he generally throws in a few food items, all individually wrapped, and an ice pack...why would it need washing? How dirty could a little lunchbox cooler be? So I asked him. "Why does it need washing?"

He averted his gaze. He shuffled his feet. And he admitted that he had left a banana inside the cooler.

Now, this ordinarily would not be cause for alarm. Had he packed a banana for his lunch on Tuesday, failed to eat it, and discovered it there on Wednesday morning...well, no big deal. But oh no...this was not the case at all. You see, he hadn't worked in a week. A week. (No no, he's okay...just a combination of the weekend, Labor Day, and his boss being, in my humble opinion, the biggest jerk ever to (dis)grace the planet.) But the fact remains that this banana had been lingering inside the lunchbox-cooler for a week...undoubtedly dying a slow, horrible, lingering banana-y death by suffocation. And after it died, it still sat there for a while longer, just stewing in its own dead banananess.

And we all know how lovely dead things smell. Especially warm, dead, left-in-a-cooler-for-a-week food.

No wonder he had neglected to pack his lunch in the cooler after what must have been a marvelous early-morning discovery. No wonder he left it on the counter in hopes that his poor, unassuming wife would come across it, pop it open and promptly die from inhalation of dead banana fumes. (I'm just glad one of the children didn't open it!)

So he asked me...would I please wash his cooler for him? Pretty please?!

And I said...NO!

Here's the thing...anyone who knows me at all, even just a little bit, knows that I just can't handle stink. No stink! I don't do well with trash stink, with car fume stink, with musty house stink, with foot (or worse body part) stink, even with laundry stink, and certainly not with dog stink, which leads to a rather love-hate relationship with our gargantuan four-month-old Lab pup. The only stink I can tolerate in the least is stink emanating from a cute little diaper covering a cute little tushy attached to a cute little person who has recently cohabited my own body. That's it. (That's why I'm a Scentsy consultant, folks - I don't do stink, and I'll gladly help annihilate it wherever possible.)

So, would I like to wash his stinky cooler for him? HAH. No way, Jose.

He stopped asking and resorted to pleading. Then to bribery - which usually works so well for him, as I'm easily bought if one offers to cook dinner or take the children away for a little while. When even those efforts failed, he resorted to reverse psychology. "I know you'll do the right thing," he commented on his way to bed (as I washed all of the other dishes that he had been busily overlooking.) "You're such a good, sweet wife - I just know you'll help me out."

We've been married for nearly nine and a half years now - he should know better than that!

Only...he was kind of right, because I did take pity on the big lug and, once all the other dishes were done, I reached for the cooler of doom.

I put the whole thing in the sink and, with the bottle of dish detergent at the ready, took a deep breath and opened the lid. I didn't exhale until the cooler was half full of hot, soapy water, but still...holy cow. The stench made my eyes water. I started to gag a little, and had to walk away to compose myself. All in all, it took five scrubbings and rinsings before the smell was diminished, and another two before I was happy enough with the result to actually allow the beast to stay in my kitchen overnight. Dead banana, how I loathe you. I popped the sponge head of my little dish scrubby wand straight into the trash and fled the scene of the crime.

"I've learned my lesson," he had told me earlier (during the reverse psychology ploy.) But he hadn't, not really, so I helped reinforce it by popping him a couple of times with my dish towel. (Hey, he was under a thick comforter; I'm sure he barely felt it at all. The fact that it woke him up is beside the point.) Now maybe - just maybe - he's learned his lesson.

I've certainly learned mine. The next time he asks me to wash anything that's recently held food and been in his possession and out of my sight...I'm going to say no and mean it.

But for today, I'm declaring myself WIFE OF THE YEAR, and maybe claiming a few other little awards throughout the day as I think of them. Something for bravery, definitely. Selflessly risking my own gag reflex in service to others.

Someone else is welcome to the title tomorrow...and if you claim it, I'd love to hear your reason.


  1. Oh Kristin.... if he didn't wash it himself, I probably would have thrown the cooler out and just bought him a new one! You definitely get Wife of the Year!

  2. You are hysterical girl! I bet you are a good pouter too, dont know if its a word, but I am the BOMB at pouting, I can just about get away with anything with Jeff, lol.

  3. Or, you could have put a clothespin on your nose and washed his cooler. :)
    Just kidding!

  4. You're such a man, Dad. ;)

    And I didn't think of the clothespin, or I probably would have grabbed one!

  5. hey! You won an award on my blog. You can read it here...