Jack Sprat And His OCD Wife

 

jackspratcoffeecreamer

Jack Sprat could eat no fat.
His wife could eat no lean.
And so between them both, you see,
They licked the platter clean.

Say hello to Mrs. Sprat.

I’m not referring to our eating habits, though I love me some fatty foods.  But I don’t want to talk about that.  My husband Bill and I are Mr. and Mrs. Sprat because of our polar opposite attitudes about using up the last of something. Anything.

I get a tiny tingle of anticipation when I see that I am getting to the end of a roll of toilet paper or a tube of toothpaste because I’m looking forward to the satisfaction of using up every, last bit.

This could be evidence that I’m my thrifty Dad’s daughter and don’t like anything to be wasted. It could also mean that I have some sort of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. The fact remains that I get just a wee bit anxious if we don’t finish up with the NOW before breaking into the NEW.

Here’s how I roll.

  • We’re running low on coffee creamer at the office so a co-worker bought 3 more bottles. She already opened a new one, despite the fact that there’s still a bit left in the old bottle.  It isn’t even a full serving, yet I won’t be able to bring myself to touch the new bottle until the old one is empty.   It’s 4 in the afternoon, I am all coffeed-out for the day, there’s ½ cup of sludge left in the bottom of the cold coffee pot and I am seriously considering nuking it, grounds and all, so I can use up the last smidge of creamer and lay the bottle to rest.
  • I’m on the mailing list of almost every charity in the U.S. and they periodically send sheets of return address labels preprinted with various wrong spellings of our name.  They want to guilt us into donating.  I use them when I mail bills and such.  Once I’m down to a couple of labels on a sheet, I want to use them up and throw out that sheet.  I’m practically looking for things to mail. That gets me closer to finishing all the labels from that charity, which gets me closer to using up the mile-high stack of labels stuffed in my desk drawer, which will never go down because new ones arrive weekly. I’m the mailing label Sisyphus.  (Interesting side note: I mentioned this habit to one of my sisters and found she does the exact same thing!  Nature?  Nurture? Not sure.)
  • Wouldn’t any thinking person agree that Dorothy should have started her journey to see the Wizard closer to the edge of town since she was already standing over there? Never mind that it would have messed up the song and dance number. But I have always secretly understood the absolute rightness of her starting at the tiny, pointy tip that marked the very beginning of the yellow brick road.

It’s a bit weird.

OK, it’s more than a bit weird; it’s uber weird. The most interesting thing, though, is how my weirdness is being answered by my husband’s growing counter-weirdness.

I’ve noticed, just in the last year or so, that he doesn’t like to finish up the last of things.

I give you recently noted Exhibits A through E:

  • 3 pickle jars in the fridge. 2 have a couple of lonely specimens floating in a sea of brine, while a 3rd brand, spanking new jar had already been opened.
  • 2 liter bottles of soda, each with one swallow of flat backwash in the bottom. These bottles sat in our refrigerator for a month until I threw them out.
  • 3 identical bags of rye bread, each with only 1 or 2 pieces in it.
  • A sliver of soap in the shower with a fresh, new bar sitting on top of it.
  • 2 jars of Jiff in the pantry. One with a scant tablespoon practically unreachable on the bottom, the second jar… you guessed it, with a fresh knife trail breaking through its smooth, creamy top.

I would like to point out that I don’t eat rye bread, don’t drink the soda brands in question, have my own jar of organic peanut butter, and rarely eat pickles. I do, however, use soap. I use it and use it until the sliver becomes a soap tissue, and then I laminate it on to a new bar.

Now that this pattern has penetrated my consciousness, I see evidence of it all around me. I’ve pointed it out to Bill a couple of times, and asked him why he doesn’t finish something off and toss it before opening another one. He says I’m crazy. He can’t or won’t admit that he does this.

Neither of us used to have these bizarre hang-ups – they’ve shown up as we’ve gotten older. One thing that has become crystal clear to me through the years is that whatever you are, you become more of as you age. Happy Hannahs get more smiley, Negative Nellies turn downright crotchety, and our cute little quirks turn into hard-and-fast rules of behavior that can annoy the hell out of everybody else.

I guess the good thing with me and Bill is that our weirdnesses cancel one another out. As long as both of us can continue to resist the temptation to bash the other in the head with the soap dish, we’ll continue to get along just fine.

 

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About pegoleg

R-A-M-B-L-I-N-G-S, Ram...Blin!
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75 Responses to Jack Sprat And His OCD Wife

  1. At our house, when a toilet paper roll gets down to the last third or so, my husband takes it off the holder and sets it on the shelf next to the toilet, and then puts a new roll on the holder. Currently, we have one new roll on the holder and three mostly-used rolls on the shelf. Makes no sense to me. It’s not like someone would run out of TP while atop the throne because I always keep a new, unwrapped roll within easy reach. My husband does the same thing with paper towels, even though we’re well stocked up. I can’t figure it out – he’s only started doing this the last couple of years – and it’s not as if we’re so poor that we can’t buy more if we ever do run out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mine does this too! And it makes me CRAZY! So I take off the new roll and put the old one back. Every…last…square, guys!

      Liked by 1 person

      • pegoleg says:

        The other women do that at my office. I think it’s meant to be a polite thing – “I’ll take care of changing that roll for y’all” – but they put the remnant roll on top of the new one. I don’t get it.

        Like

        • Right – because then you have to either unwind the paper from the roll without the benefit of the roller, or figure out where else to put it, preferably *without* dropping it on the floor. And if you use it rather than wasting it, how do you know someone else hasn’t dropped it on the floor? Just put the spare roll on the back of the toilet where I can get it if I need it, for crying out loud!

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I know, right? Can’t wait for our new bathrooms to be functioning. Maybe hubster can use a different one and then I won’t have to stem and stew about the water on the floor and remnants in the sink after washing. Eww…..Can’t bitch about it all the time, right? Pick your battles, right? Me, OCD? Well, er, um, yes. (PS – feeling better, cautiously optimistic!)

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Wanting things neat and tidy isn’t OCD, Tar. Insisting on the toothpaste tube always pointing due north, however, is. 😉

      So happy you’re feeling better – yeah! Here’s to 2 more bathrooms in your glorious future.

      Like

  3. dorannrule says:

    Bwahahaha! This is one hilarious/accurate look at marriage or is it just the differences in people? Dad used to say there are only two types of people – introverts and extroverts. I see now that is not true. There are the use-to-the-enders and then there are the use-when-newers. Great post!

    Like

  4. Blogdramedy says:

    Well, you’ve opened the door to the personal peccadilloes of your marriage. It’s fair game now. So we want to know about the tooth paste tube. Who’s the squeezer and who’s the roller? *grin*

    Liked by 1 person

    • pegoleg says:

      Me middle squeezer, him meticulous roller. That’s why he no longer uses the communal tube and invested in his own. He keeps it squirreled away in another bathroom so it will be safe from unapproved squeezage.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. susielindau says:

    I would say that I’m thrifty, but lazy about that last squeeze and totally inconsistent. Upstairs lurking in our master bathroom lies a tube of toothpaste, so flattened, dented and deformed it couldn’t possibly hold any paste and yet it will probably last a few more days before its battered body finds the trash can.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. dmswriter says:

    Oh, man, Peg! This is so much like my husband and me that it’s almost creepy.
    I get twitchy when the last of whatever comes along, because it makes me feel, thrifty half-Hollander that I am, like I’ve successfully used the item to its fullest.
    Hubby? Not so much.
    He’ll toss perfectly good food without a backward glance or chuck an envelope full of mailing labels because we already have six or seven sheets in the drawer.
    And I think the kids deliberately leave two gulps of milk in the container, simply because they know it’ll set off my radar.
    Sigh…good to know I’m not alone in this struggle. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • pegoleg says:

      It’s like we were separated at birth! My hubby isn’t that much of a tosser, though. In fact, I think that’s why he leaves stuff with just a little left – he doesn’t want to throw it out. I think – I’m not sure, since this is all in my head according to him. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I can identify with your husband. I can’t make myself drink the last mouthful of water in the bottom of the bottle. I find it dirty. Don’t ask me why. Psychological probably that originated from my youth (where else?) when we had to drink water from a giant clay pot and whenever we clean that thing, I noticed a whole community living at the bottom of the leftover water. They look like mosquitoes or tadpoles to me. Yuck!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. M.Winter says:

    The scenarios are much like mine too. My husband and I always say we’re like yin and yang. Though I seem to sense a pattern in us – I’m always the finisher, he’s the beginner. Then he says I’m just a martyr. I may as well give my mom a run for it. Yup, guess it runs in the blood.

    Like

  9. Carrie Rubin says:

    Oh Peg, I’m just like you. I like to finish up the old first. In fact, I remember as a child, I needed to completely fill one coloring book before I’d start a new one, even if I liked the new one better. Yikes. Luckily, I’ve become more laid-back over the years. Kids do that to you. But that little girl in me still wants to finish everything up until the last drop or spot!

    Like

  10. Because I live in Lagos Nigeria and shopping is a trial by ordeal, we use everything! You can put dried up skivers of soap in the end old pair of tights and use in the bath for the kids.

    Like

  11. List of X says:

    I’m the same way as you are, and my wife is like your husband. So any leftover food is my territory, and I can rely on her to start the new jar/bottle/package. Because of that, the food tends to linger longest in the stage between “new” and “leftover”, so the question whether the glass half-fully or half-empty has a practical significance.

    Like

  12. Dana says:

    Doesn’t your husband know that there are starving kids in China, who don’t have any pickles?

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Lynn says:

    This is so funny! I think many of us can relate to seeing “Mr. & Mrs. Spratt” in ourselves! Additional ones that drive me bonkers:

    Milk that goes back in the fridge with not enough in the bag to fill an eye dropper
    Cheese Whiz back in the fridge with enough to serve a flea
    Things that get put on the stairs to go upstairs, that are apparently not visible to my husband
    Chip bags put back in the cupboard with only salt remnants in the bottom of them.
    Gah….I could go on forever!

    Lastly, the look on my husband’s face when I draw attention to these things.

    Liked by 1 person

    • pegoleg says:

      Can you describe that look? Is it, “Jeez, honey, it never occurred to me that I was making more work for you. I’m sorry. I’m going to make a concerted effort not to do that again.”
      Or is it this one,”What you talkin bout, Willis?” (sure wish I knew how to embed photos.)

      Like

  14. franhunne4u says:

    Peg you sound like you have found the secret to a good marriage – it is not about being alike, it is about being complimentary!

    Like

  15. I leave two swallows of Gatorade in the fridge and My Bride has a conniption. I’m not a bad man. I swear.

    What happens when you step into the shower and see a sliver of soap left? Do your eyes screw up into your head and do you begin to quiver?

    Like

  16. Maybe subconsciously your husband is worried that once the pickles and rye are used up, your need for his services will be finished. That one spoonful of peanut butter could be all that’s keeping him from being replaced with Husband 2.0. (P.S. I’m not really a marriage counselor.)

    Like

  17. Argh! That soap thing drives me batty! I will use that tiny scrap of soap until it disintegrates into dust while he just opens a new one, the nerve! I’ve also been known to put the practically empty ketchup bottle upside down to let that last bit drain out. I guess I can’t bear to see things go to waste. I think it has something to do with being raised by my mother and my grandmother who both were alive during the Depression.

    But I do admit to leaving the heels in the bread bag. I mean, I can’t be expected to eat that, right?

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      I can’t believe you leave the heels! My mom used to put margarine on them, then sprinkle with garlic salt, pop them under the broiler and, voila, garlic bread! That’s as close to Italian cooking as you come when you’re Irish.

      I do that thing with the ketchup. I’ll line up the caps exactly on the new and old bottles, then leave both on the counter for an hour until all the dribbles in the old bottle run into the new. Same with syrup, etc.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. “I use it and use it until the sliver becomes a soap tissue, and then I laminate it on to a new bar.” Oh, Peg. The descriptions you use are classic! 🙂

    I’m with your hubby in that I do not like to have the last anything. In my defense, I do try to use up the toothpaste until the very end but if it requires too much squeezing and it hurts my hands, I chuck it! My son’s “OCD” has us all believing that everything is rotten and past its expiration even though it is fine! When anything comes into question and doubt, we chuck that as well. I don’t even want to think about the $$$ we are throwing away! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • pegoleg says:

      But think of all the $$ you’re saving in emergency room bills because you are NOT getting food poisoning from eating iffy food. You’re really being practical, when you stop to think about it.

      Like

  19. MELewis says:

    *Our weirdnesses cancel each other out*. If ever there were a recipe for a happy marriage, it is that. 🙂

    Like

  20. I too will graft the last sliver of soap onto the new bar. I take it as a personal challenge to do such a thorough job that the two meld into a previously unknown hybrid of Irish Spring with a hint of Dove. You should have employed the same strategy with the creamers at work, and blended the last of the Hazelnut Mocha with the new container of Caramel Dreams.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Why didn’t I think of that? Duh! I bow down to the maestro. Unlike soaps, which do have abrasively strong scents that might clash, fake creamers all taste the same anyway – like broken coffee promises.

      Like

  21. Oh my goodness the address labels! You too? I could start a bonfire of them, but I won’t because I feel the need to use…them…all! I’ll probably move to a new house before that happens. And all those little labels with pictures of Ziggys and elephants will be wasted. (Nah, in that case, I’d probably cross out the old address and write in the new one. It’s a sickness.)

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      You don’t know what a comfort it is to know I’m not alone in this. But the little labels with the animals and flowers that come with the address labels I don’t use to seal the envelopes. I toss them and I don’t even feel bad about it. So maybe that means there’s hope for me?

      Like

  22. lexiemom says:

    This is SO me & my husband! It drives me crazy: the ALMOST drunk soda, the new jar of peanut butter open when there is a smidge left of the old one, the two rolls of paper towels…aaaahhhh!!! I’ve started stacking the old jars on top (or in front) of the new ones to try to get the hint across: use up the old before opening the new!!!! He’s also a middle of the tube squeezer which is why I buy him his own tube. (Then when he’s out of the house, I go to his bathroom cabinet & flaten & roll out the tube.) OCD, or just a logical, organized person? You decide.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Oh you sweet, innocent fool (shakes head ruefully.) What, are you newlyweds? You think a hint that subtle is going to make any impression??? He’ll just reach over and around the now-abandoned jar and not even notice it in his quest for the new and shiny.

      Since we are going to end up using that last smidge of peanut butter…because we will…maybe the better question to ask is why we feel that WE deserve nothing better than PBJ sandwiches whose primary ingredient is slightly stale, partially hardened peanut butter embedded with bits of 5 different jellies, remnants of sandwiches from days gone by?

      Like

  23. I also love that Dorothy starts her journey at the true origin of the Yellow Brick Road. There’s something satisfying about starting a journey at the true beginning.

    Like

  24. I hate wastage too, I have to drink my tea and coffee down to the last drop and don’t like to see when people leave an inch in the bottom of the cup. I’m not so much about wanting to use up the last bit like you with things, I just don’t want the last bit wasted (actually, I think it’s the same thing…is it?). Anyway, I was delighted about 3 years ago when they announced in our area that they would now be collecting food waste as part of the recycling collections, and then they use it…for something, composting or whatever. So we all a little caddy bin, and we can scrape uneaten bits from our plates, or things we find lurking in the back of the fridge in there, and they come and collect it each week. Makes me happy.

    Like

  25. Al says:

    At the risk of losing my standing as a man among men, I confess that I too, am a “finisher.” Example: I want to brew 6 cups of coffee. I put six cups of water in the coffeemaker. I dip out the measured 6 spoonfuls of coffee. I notice there are a few granules of coffee at the bottom of the can. Do I throw them out? No. Do I add their aged molecules to the new can? No. I add just enough water to the reservoir to account for their lonely selves and thus they become an integral part of the morning’s refreshment. Don’t even ask about the last vestiges of the toilet roll. It isn’t pretty.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      I am the same way with the coffee. The problem is that the new cans have a lip around them so you can’t get the last grounds to come out. I could have harvested and dried a tree-full of coffee beans in the time I spend tipping the can, twirling it back and forth and thumping on the bottom in a futile effort to get those last grounds to come out the center opening,

      I don’t think it’s a manly man issue so much as a you’re-born-one way-or-the-other thing, Al, so don’t worry. You’re still muy macho in my book.

      Like

  26. Sandy Sue says:

    I dare you to try it Bill’s way once. Open up something new this very minute. Wait til I get my popcorn, though. I want to watch your head explode.

    Like

  27. Lee Manale says:

    OMG, thank you! I’m not the only one after all!

    Like

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