- Any woman who lives with a grown male knows there must be a real emergency before you can send them to the shops
- Many women laugh aloud about the folly of sending husbands to shop for home supplies
As election fever peaked last week, I was reminded of how long I waited in line to cast my vote in 2013. I stood in the queue for so long that I started chatting with the two women in front of me.
And I was not alone – all around in different lines, strangers became friends and talked about the usual stuff – business, money, family and so on.
The woman directly in front of me must have mentioned something about needing to make it to the shop to buy bread before it closed because the next thing I knew, she, the woman in front of her and I were laughing aloud about the folly of sending husbands to shop for home supplies.
The joke is told about a woman who says to her husband, "Could you please go shopping for me and buy one carton of milk, and if they have avocados, get six.
"A short time later the husband comes back with six cartons of milk. The wife asks him, "Why did you buy six cartons of milk?" He replies, "They had avocados."
The woman in the queue told us how she once sent her husband to buy bread. He returned home with just one loaf of a very fancy braided variety.
When she asked him why he would buy just one loaf, and a very expensive one at that, he responded: "Did you want bread or not?" When she said yes she did, he asked: "Is this not bread?"
End of bread conversation. But I then understood why she wanted to go and buy bread herself and not send anyone.
Any woman who lives with a grown male – whether husband or father or brother – knows there must be a real emergency before you can send them to the shops.
Granted, there are those men who shop regularly and comfortably for their families, but I don't know that many.
While I don't send the hubby often, once in a while he will enter the supermarket and pick stuff that we don't usually buy.
It's an exciting chance for us to enjoy some of the delicacies the shops have to offer – such as tinned fruits in syrup, canned fish, exotic breads (yes, including the braided kind) and various bread spreads...
It's all about balance. Even two cops on patrol are not the same – there's the good one and the tough one. So I – and I'm sure many wives/mothers – am the tough shopper who sticks to the list while the hubby is a lot more flexible with his wallet.
When I enter the supermarket with my list (that is often cast in stone), I don't even see the "nice" stuff until the young ones point it out in the hope that perhaps this one time, I will concede.
And it goes beyond the home supplies. Many are the times when the kids and I have contemplated our simple menu of ugali and sukuma wiki while secretly hoping the hubby will come home with a kilo of 'choma' from his local up the road.
Eventually, one of them will express the thought on everyone's mind: "Do you think Dad might be inspired to come home with roast today?" and everyone will go: "I hope so; it would go so well with the ugali!"
Seven times out of 10, the hubby will walk in carrying the now familiar black plastic paper bag inside which is foil paper, inside which is the perfect accompaniment to our dinner.
Even on Sundays, which is usually a slow day in terms of cooking in our house, and when I have given instructions that they should eat leftovers and/or eggs, they will wait for me to leave for work and then start hinting loudly, knowing their dad – when he can – will readily pull out his wallet so they can order pizza.
The other night, the youngest called me at work and asked: "Mum, can we buy pizza?" To which I responded, "Of course!" Her next question was, "Will you pay?" and my answer: "Nope."
It's simple - if it wasn't on the shopping list and it's not on the menu, then it's not coming out of my pocket.
Now the young ones have money – and often lots of it (sometimes I even borrow from them!) but that is kept safe for hanging out with their friends.
When they want to indulge in impromptu pizza or ice cream, then Mum or Dad can empty their pockets, why not? I must say they are optimistic if, after all these years, they still think they have a chance with me.
But someone once said that hope springs eternal and I guess they really believe that one day, even if it's in the far future, I will learn to be as easy going as their dad and stop holding so tightly onto my shopping lists and wallet.
Time will tell...