Monday, November 30, 2009

Quiche me, you fool

In 2001 when I started graduate school in North Carolina my fiance and I had $4 in the bank the day he was hired at the medical device firm where he worked for the two years I was in school. We had been in Chapel Hill about two months and student loan checks were delayed somewhere and we had just spent all of our savings (all of $5000 each) to travel around the world for nine months. The situation was kind of grim. In fact I told my husband to negotiate a $1000 starting bonus and take $1000 less in salary because I had just learned the time value of money in my Introduction to Finance class and understood well that money now was more valuable than money later. Indeed.

Not two weeks later I am at BJs (a wholesale store like Costco) with my newest grad school buddies and I can hardly believe all the fabulous stuff and how cheap it all is (per ounce) and I start filling my super-sized basket with what I am certain is deal after deal of the century. You see I just spent the last year living in a tent with my boyfriend and trekking through Nepal and India and for the four years before that I lived in the Middle East and bought most things at this market:

So BJs was the tiniest bit overwhelming. And exhilarating. And as I'm leaving with my piles of stuff and my $200 bill which at this point is about half of our total savings, the pit in my stomach starts to grow. And I get that heavy thing in my chest like good lord what have I done. But my friends, who are also poor and their husbands don't yet have jobs, are fine and dandy, it seems to me anyway. I am silent on the way home.

They drop me off and help me cart my stuff up to our apartment. I can't even remember all of it but here are some highlights:

A rattan hamper that has two smaller hampers inside it
Ten cans of corn
Ten cans of diced tomatoes
A jar of capers the size of a car battery

And then my fiance comes home and I just burst into tears. He assures me that it's fine and not to worry, until he sees all the corn. And the capers. And he gives me this look, like, well, if you think we need a ten gallon jug of capers than maybe we do. I guess. He's a gem. Ten minutes later I'm driving back to BJs with everything I bought and I return it all. Including my three hour old membership. I can't be trusted in this store.

Turns out neither can my husband. Now it's 2003 and we are living in a small apartment in Mountain View, where we live now, and my husband has found a job but I'm still looking for one. Yahoo and Sun have just laid off about 10,000 people. The economy is trash (or so we thought. until it got a whole lot trashier). This time we live about a stone's throw from Costco and we need some large items like a vacuum. So we join. And on my husband's first visit he comes home with a jar of three bean salad that could feed a company picnic. It doesn't even fit in our fridge. And he looks right at me with a straight face and says, I thought this looked tasty. And five seconds later we are laughing hysterically because we're having flashbacks of the caper jar and all those cans of corn and the matryoshka hampers. But he's already opened the jar and had a serving (so now there are only 754 servings left) and we can't return it. It gets thrown out several months later when the vinegar has turned to rubbing alcohol.

So when my husband takes the kids to Costco on Saturday evening and comes home with 60 mini quiches, I just roll my eyes. And then the next day when I notice that 30 of them are with bacon (he doesn't eat pork) and that he's apparently wrapped his chewing gum in the receipt, he winks and says maybe we can trade these in for a gallon of capers?


Everything's Rosie said...

That Micha man
That Micha man
I think I love
That Micha man.

Could he would he
In a can
Eat the quiche
With one part ham?

Maybe I might
Have a plan:
Serve him quiche
With lamb and nan.

You might even
Add some jam
He'll think he's
Just like Sam I Am!

Susie Lubell said...

you've outdone yourself ma.

Everything's Rosie said...

tank yer

Bella Sinclair said...

Awwww, that's love for you. I love that you guys can laugh it off. My man did not need Costco or Sam's or BJs to buy in bulk. He bought in bulk wherever he went. I asked him to buy some strawberries once, and he came back with about seven packs. Seven.

Susie Lubell said...

It always just seems like a good idea at the time...Maybe he was planning to dehydrate them? With the dehydrator he bought at costco. because that seemed like a good idea too...? ;)

aimee said...

your mother is fabulous! so are you and so is your husband.

aimee said...

this is exactly why i won't join costco. we'd go bankrupt!

Lori said...

That was a whole stand up routine- SO funny. My favorite part is "I thought they looked tasty." BAAAhahahahah

Aris said...

You are such an engaging writer! I love coming here!!!