Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Marriage Ref - Splenda Daddy and M-Cat style

You might have heard about this show?  The Marriage Ref?

I haven't seen a ton of episodes but the ones I have watched are amusing.  Couples submit an argument or problem that they are having.  (not crisis - but small tiff's), a celebrity panel discusses and takes sides.  Then the ref votes in favor of one or the other.

Splenda and I should prolly go on the show.  But since that ain't gonna happen, I am appealing to you.  All three of you that really read this blog and don't just click 'mark as read'

Let me preface.  Splenda Daddy and I have been married 25 1/2 years.  That's forever in this day and age.  He is my ULTIMATE BFF.  And I his.  At least I like to think I'm his BFF.  He doesn't hang around with anyone more than me.  Or talk to anyone more than me, so yeah, I think I got being his BFF sealed.

Early in our marriage, it was obvious that I don't know how to cook.  And even beyond that, I.don't.LIKE.to.cook.  I also don't know very much about good grocery shopping, but - I'm getting ahead of myself.

With both of us working, we easily shared the chores or tasks at home.  Once the kids came along and started school, I was the one to get them out the door.  Fed, washed, and ready for school.  I refused to join any car pools, so I also was their transportation.  In exchange, Splenda Daddy became in charge of dinner.  Worked out well since I suck at cooking.  Splenda is good.  Oh the bliss of never having to answer the question - "What's for dinner?"  I would always say, "ask your Dad".  Bliss indeed.

Worked well for many, many years.  And as another plus in Splenda's column, he has been very strict about everyone sitting down at the table and eating dinner together.  Didn't matter if you weren't hungry, you came, you sat, you interacted with the family.  That is also when we have our daily family prayer.  Again, it's really the only time we have everyone together.  He has remained fast and true to this rule.  A side note - we also fed whoever happened to be at the house any given evening.  And if you were a friend hanging out, you came upstairs, you sat, you ate, you interacted.  AFTER offering the prayer.  The guest ALWAYS,  was asked to pray.  And they did.  There may or may not have been many nights of giggling (GB) but prayers there were.  And oh.....how I digress.......

So, the above plan worked well for lo these many past years.  Until recently.  Recently, we've faced some serious trials in the dinner department.  See, here's the thing.  Maybe this would work better if I give you my side first:
I prefer one large meal a day.  I've kind of always been like that.  And I prefer that my large meal of the day be at lunch.  Usually OUT somewhere.  But even if I eat in or at the cafeteria at the office or at my desk, I like it to be my big meal, and then no dinner.  I'll snack a little in the evening or have a treat, but I'd rather skip dinner.  It works well for my body. I prefer having eaten most of my calories early in the day but not so early that I'm starving again by dinner.  Get it?  There is a method to my madness, and I like it.  So, in effect, I prefer to NOT eat dinner.  Unless we go out.  Then I prefer it very much.  And if I know ahead of time, I save my calories for the day.

Next point:  The boys (who are all now over the age of 18) are on a very different eating schedule than we are.  Both tend to eat later in the day or have been grazing all day long and are usually not interested in dinner.  Unless we go out.

Next point:  None of us really like the same things.  You all know my aversion to cheese.  But I also don't particularly care for chicken (has to be a VERY subflavor).  Not a fan of pork chops.  Ground beef has to be browned into such small pieces that only I am allowed to brown it.  Yes.  I have food issues.  Whereas Splenda sees food as a necessary thing to survive.  Not necessarily to enjoy, but you eat so that you aren't hungry.  Therefore, he is NOT picky.  Not to say that he doesn't appreciate excellent food - he DOES. But his idea of a decent meal, and my idea of a decent meal are often worlds apart.  The boys, well they are a whole OTHER set of food things.  Luka is less picky than he was before his mission, and Tuffy is more like me.  If it ain't worth the calories, then bag it.  All three of us are more of snack(ers) than we are make a meal (ers).  Thus, the poor grocery shopping on my part.  Usually not allowed to go by myself.  We end up with chips, poptarts, cookies, pudding, grab and go stuff. 
Oh look what's happened, I've gotten off track again.

So you see, we have our Dad who wants nothing more than his beloved family surrounding him at the dinner table enjoying a meal and talking about our day.  We have the boys who either aren't hungry.  could care less about gathering, don't like what Daddy is fixing, or, most of the time, aren't even home.  And then you have me who would rather skip the whole dinner thing (unless we are going out), and just have a light snack and call it good.

So wherein lies the contention?  Splenda Daddy gets upset when he comes home and I tell him I'm not eating dinner, the boys tell him they are not eating dinner and he is starving and wants us all to sit down to a meal.  He gets mad.  He gets cranky.  There may sometimes be some pot banging.  Maybe.

I've tried to go his route.  Skipping lunch to have dinner.  But I find that by the time I get home, I am so starving that I do nothing but shovel food of ANY kind in my piehole.  No good.  I'm up 5 ellbees.  This is not a good path.
I've tried to just go ahead and eat some dinner regardless if I ate already that day, just to keep the peace, but then again, there are those 5 ellbees.  Danger.
I've tried to like what he wants to make.  But we end up having to customize our dinners.  (Enchiladas with nothing but the tortilla and sauce.  Lasagne with nothing but the noodles and sauce) that I end up feeling bad and want to just avoid the whole thing.  (He really is a saint isn't he?)

In Splenda's defense.  How many husbands and fathers would
1.  Willingly cook dinner
2.  Desires to be surrounded by his family and talk?
Not many.  So I feel like his points are valid and worthwhile.  On the other hand, I desire no dinner.  Noone getting mad about either.  Just no dinner.

So, what's the happy medium? What's the solution?  What's the compromise?

So go ahead you Marriage Ref's you! -
Give it to us straight - what's your answer?


Scrappy Girl said...

Um I know that you read my blog regularly so you know that I do not like to cook and have a terrible relationship with food and elbees...therefore I think you should move in next door and let Splenda cook dinner for us! LOL

Jillybean said...

It sounds like you should just go out for dinner every night.


Wonder Woman said...

Love Scrappy's answer!

What about snacks at dinner for those not wanting to partake in a full meal? Few chips with salsa, and a cold drink?

Good luck!

i (is undefined) said...

Here's what I would do: from personal experience, I have found that life and eating is much easier if I don't eat a full meal three times a day. Instead, I would eat probably a quarter to a third of what I normally would eat at a meal, but I would eat it six times a day instead.
That way, you'll be hungry enough to eat a little bit of food, but you won't have to force down something you don't love. Let SplendaDaddy make what he wants, and pick out what you don't want. I know how hard it is to compensate in a recipe for certain ingredients.

In our family, we have a rule: if you are home, you come to dinner. If you aren't home, but you can come home without being rude, you are home for dinner. You may not want to eat what we're having. You can have leftovers from the day before, or you can have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. But you have to be home for dinner.

I'll admit: we're not the best at FHE. But at least twice a week, we make sure that we're together for family dinner. This may be your best bet: offer whatever you want to for dinner, with options for other foods, but nothing that will make the cook have to go out of his way.

Okay. I'm kind of rambling now. Apologies.

Dinner twice a week as a family, with what we're eating, or peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Eat small portions more often and it's easier to make it through the day when you have more in your tummy more often.

Denise @ Sunflowers, Chocolate and Little Boys said...

You DONT LIKE CHEESE?!?!? I can't even begin to comprehend that. Cheese is only second to chocolate and aside from chocolate EVERYTHING tastes better with cheese. I LOVE cheese!

oops....I got distracted. I think that you should have a lighter lunch so you arent famished and then enjoy a small dinner with Splenda. Tell the boys they have to at least sit down and have a glass of water or something. I truly believe in a sit down family meal every day. With my Hubbys work schedule sometimes we do that at lunchtime, but it still happens.

Now Im going to go eat a piece of cheese.....because Im sad for you disliking cheese. Very sad.

Heather said...

I don't really have a solution, but I think I tend to lean toward ya'll giving Splenda a break. I guess I don't understand why it always worked before, and why if it was always a rule in the past it is now suddenly a problem? What changed?

Anyway, I guess you guys could skip dinner, just eating the snack you'd have in place of dinner at the table with Splenda. Maybe if you guys were sitting with him and honoring the time together, he could get over the fact that you aren't eating He could just learn to deal with the fact that you guys aren't eating the same dinner as him. And maybe he'd like not having to fix dinner for everyone else? Man, I'm not making any sense so I'll end it here. Good luck. :)

Omgirl said...

Option A) Everyone gathers, sits and talks, just like you said it has always been, even if you're not eating. That way family time still exists.

B) Take turns cooking dinner so that a couple of times a week you can custom make your weirdo dinners exactly how you want them. (hehehe no offense!)

C) If option B is an absolute no-go for you, Splenda might have to compromise in order to get his family together by cooking things more to your/the kids' liking.

D) What about eating earlier so that everyone hasn't already snacked themselves full? Is that an option?

E) Maybe he should just make a snack or dessert and have manditory attendence for that. Maybe people would enjoy it more to have to show up for a big bowl of popcorn or a plate of nachos or a pan of brownies?

I guess it depends on what the real issue is here. Is he mad that he's making food no one eats? Is he sad that his family no longer sits together? Is he irritated by your food issues? Whatever the real issue is here, that's where things need to find compromise.

Keep us posted on how things go!

Omgirl said...

p.s. YOu should live in Europe. In Europe, at least Germany and France, they eat bread for breakfast (with cold cuts, jam, cheese, whatever), a big warm satisfying lunch, then bread w/ whatever for dinner again. It sounds just your style!

Mrs. Organic said...

I see two options:

Family Breakfast (although the young adults might be absent)

or....Family Dessert time (you could just have fruit and the dudes could have icecream or sweets) and everybody still hangs and chats about their day. I have one friend whose family has icecream time every night at 9 pm and that's when they do scriptures.

Loralee and the gang... said...

This is so funny - I'm only halfway thru your post, but I already have to say that, on this topic, I am just like your husband, and you are just like mine. And the picky person should do the cooking (to get everything just right) and my husband grocery shops just like you do...
(now I will finish reading...)
But, if you cooking is not gonna happen (and I don't blame you one bit - if my hubby'd do dinner every day I'd never want to complain, either!) then can you eat one item that he prepares? Say, he makes a salad to go with the lasagna, and you eat only the salad. Or, eat the asparagus or whatever veggie that goes with the enchilladas, I don't know. But, you'd be there, participating with the family, enjoying (some of) the meal he prepared, and then all of the boys (including Splenda) can eat the leftovers for breakfast if they want to! Double duty dinners, yay!

Hope something in this crazy rambling of mine helps....

Cherie said...

There were two talks in Conference that specifically pointed out the high Value of eating Dinner together as a family at the end of the day - So points to Splenda Daddy! (Sorry)
I DO understand your dilemma though. We have always been pretty adamant about eating dinner together - I like to cook and enjoyed planning meals for the fam but when everyone gets to any age where they are gone, or eating somewhere else, it gets a little pointless.
So I still try and have mandatory dinner on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday but the rest of the days can be hit and miss. It's hard.
I think you have to do what fits your family at different stages in life!

MommyJ said...

I really, really wish I could help... but I just can't imagine a world where cheese is a bad thing.

Catmando said...

Your solution is Frito dinners. We have them camping all of the time. For the snackers they can have just the fritos. For those wanting a little more you can add chili. At this point you have your choice of carbs, legumes, meat. You can optionally add lettuce and tomatoes and cheese and you have a complete meal.

As a bonus after the 180th day of Frito dinner you'll be begging for that homemade Slendasagna... :-)

Just ME the MOM said...

This is a tough one - and if anyone has a solution with mostly grown working, schooling, colleging kids I'd love to hear it! We sit down for dinner with whoever is home, and frequently it's just two people between 5:30 and 6:30 and call it dinner. From time to time we catch more of us! I always try to keep "good" salad stuff in the fridge cause I figure if I'm trying to be good, how wrong can you go with a plate full of salad?

Anyway - love everyones thoughts


Nancy said...

What about a compromise...you could trade off eating lunch or dinner every other day. You could do a calendar so that the family all knows when dinner will be cooked and when you will just gather for snacks and family prayer. Then you both can feel happy while still having family time. Just a thought.

JennyMac said...

wait, you have been married 25.5 years? that is amazing Melissa!

I have not seen Marriage Ref but you are my idol at 25.5 years. My Aunt and Uncle have been married for 58 years which is amazing. You will be right up there.

JennyMac said...

umm...why did blogger eat my comment? I have been trying to comment for 10 minutes and blogger is giving me some attitude today. LOL.

tammy said...

I'm still stuck on the fact that Splenda does all the cooking. I would pretty much do whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted.

The Marriage Ref has been pretty funny from what I've seen.

about me said...

As you know, my grandmother recently passed away and I would give anything to have her make dinner and to be with her. I think Dave is right on the money and this is not a tradition you should give up.
Just think, if you lost him today . I know you would feel the same -- craving , longing for Dave to cook one meal and for the family to be together at the table. I do not like dinner either but I love to cook for my family, it is what I do and I do it good. Really it does not matter to me if they eat it, I don't keep track but I want to cook for them and I want them to be here. After we moved back into our home I was able to cook again and took food to my grandma, she was so excited to see I was cooking again. This told her I was doing fine. Maybe Dave needs to cook to be fine too.
Cooking seems to have defined his place in the family, I do not think you should take it away from him.
so my advised- melissa-- suck it up and EAT IT

tiburon said...

I can see both sides. How about a compromise. Since Splenda likes to have dinner together perhaps you can all gather at the table and chat - he can cook a couple of meals on Sunday and freeze them - then he will have smaller portions to eat during the week and all he has to do is heat them up rather than go through all the trouble to cook every night.

Or you can eat out every night.

Uptown Girl said...

Can you tell yourself you're going out to dinner every night and act accordingly? Maybe that would be a good compromise- you eat dinner and Splenda makes something you would like?

I'm pretty bad at relationships, but I'm always happy to give advice ;)

Sue said...

The 2 bite rule..You can eat anything you want or must eat in 2 bites, and not gain weight.

Act all excited that you are having dinner together. Put tiny portions on your plate. (2 bites worth)

I have always been a one meal a day person if I want to lose weight or not gain. I have gotten off my path, and it's not fun. those darn pounds add up fast.

Luv the marriage ref show!

Mae Rae said...

Marriage rep? Seriously? Is there a wrong answer to this entire dilemma? I am with Splenda on this one, eat a smaller lunch and plan a great big salad with dinner, but sit as a family regardless.

Tuesday nights is scout night. The older boys are gone before I get home but I always make Butter sit with me while I eat my dinner at the dinner table.

Serene is my name, not my life! said...

If I could eat out every night, I so would.

I say just have a bowl of fruit handy so snack on during dinner.

Or a bowl of ice cream, that would be even better.

Lara said...

I wish I didn't like cheese.

But that's beside the point.

I have the same husband. He does 95% of the cooking in our household, which is wonderful for me, because I hate to do it, am not good at it and it probably wouldn't get done anyway if I were in charge. (We'd eat out.)

I can see how it would be harder when everyone gets older and has crazy schedules, where right now for us, everyone is little and dinner time is important.

I think you should sit down and snack while he eats. He can cook smaller portions. You still get together time, and you don't have to eat stuff you don't like, or too much. I think the together time is the most important thing anyway, right?

Pedaling said...

i have no suggestions, really, but i found the details of your dinner life to be very interesting.

i like how the family was raised on dinners together around the table on a regular basis.
i like that splenda daddy does the cooking....

but, i am wondering why you didn't participate in car pools? i live for car pools.

kado! said...

ok, I think you should move in with me...your whole family. I can be your personal chef. I already make two separate meals almost every night that would work perfect with your eating habits. I DO cook two separate enchiladas. One with chicken and cheese, and a separate on with only veggies and NO cheese. See now I'd have someone to share that pan with! Same as the other night when I ordered Pizza, One pizza was normal the way the boys like it and MY pizza was thin crust, extra sauce and NO cheese...I would have had someone to share it with.

Ok, real answer, just sit down all together and talk while they eat. You could snack on some fresh cut veggies...I've done this before too. But don't give in and eat something you don't like, that is a waste of calories!