No, You Cannot Has Nice Things
The Treble With Clef

The Cider Fridge Rules

Camera status: saved! A dry micro-shammy thing that was probably purchased off an infomercial many moons ago, back when I used to stumble home from bars and watch infomercials 'til morning -- damn, what a wild, crazy diamond I was back then -- lifted the crayon off the screen in about two minutes flat. The viewfinder was a tad more difficult, since Noah managed to really mash the crayon in there, but with a little help from a revolutionary new product (order now and get DOUBLE YOUR ORDER!) called a Q-tip, I was able to clean that up as well.

I possibly should have tried this, or you know, ANYTHING AT ALL before turning to the Internet, but...well, problem-solving is not my forte. I am not an Everyday Household Products As Practical Solutions Viking. I prefer to 1) panic, and 2) leave the problem for someone else to solve, lest I grab the Goof Off and allow it to leak into some tiny yet highly-sensitive electronic crevice and have the whole camera blow up in my hands like the Death Star, faster than you can bullseye a womprat.

Case in point: the rising levels of apple cider in our basement.

OK, so let me back up and explain that Jason and I operate our household firmly on a "smelt it/dealt it" system. You use the last of something, be it toilet paper or soap or whatever = you replace or refill it, right then and there. You toss a paper towel into the trash and it slides off the towering mound of garbage that's a good three inches past the brim of the can = put your shoes on; it's your turn to take it outside.

It's a fair system, but easily manipulated. Mostly by me. I will happily wander off to toss my paper towels into the powder room wastebasket for days on end if I suspect the kitchen trash is getting especially full and/or smelly. I will never admit that I actually don't understand how the under-the-sink soap-dispenser works and will wash my hands with dish detergent instead, I will then dry my hands on the ass of my jeans rather than retrieve a fresh hand towel from the dryer, and when confronted with a leaking gallon of apple cider in the basement refrigerator door I will just straight up ignore that shit until someone else figures out how to sponge up the three inches' worth of apple cider that has pooled into the shelf because seriously, that seems like it's going to take a LOT of paper towels.

OK, so let me back up some more. I did not buy the apple cider. I did not put the apple cider in the door of the basement refrigerator. I don't know why we had a gallon of apple cider in the door of the basement refrigerator and why it had sat there unused for six solid months. Thus, I ignored it. Jason likes to buy odd ingredients for recipes he finds online that he will never actually cook, but I am usually forbidden from finding an alternative use for them because NOOOO I WAS GONNA MAKE THAT TOMORROW I MEAN IT THIS TIME I SWEAR, even though I know he'll come home tomorrow and order a pizza instead.

(10 years of marriage this August, folks. We really should hit the how-to self-help circuit, since I'm sure we could be a real inspiration to dozens.)

Sooooo, our fridge tends to be littered with stray stalks of lemongrass and four distinct kinds of kale and smelly cheeses and the last time I looked closely in the freezer I spotted something that still seemed to have its head and neck and possibly an eyeball. Thus, I IGNORE THINGS. YOU CANNOT BLAME ME TOO MUCH.

And I ignored the cider at first. And then one day, about two months ago, when I opened the door to retrieve some bottled water, I realized that it was leaking. The rogue liquid was contained by a mercifully solid plastic shelf, but it was enough to pose a bit of a logistical problem, at least to me. Should I bail the shelf out, like with a cup? Would I need some sort of bucket? And what happened if I picked up the actual container of cider, only to discover that the shelf itself was stemming a total gush of the contents and it went everywhere? I have a lot of important piles of dirty laundry in that immediate area!

So I came up with my stop-gap solution: close the fridge door and go back upstairs, and then hope that Jason needed a bottle of water soon.

But then a problem arose -- Jason made trips to the basement fridge and said nothing about the cider, and the cider problem remained solidly un-taken-care-of. So I assumed we'd moved on to Phase Two of Operation Smelt It/Dealt It, which is a two-way battle of wills to see who can ignore a problem the longest. I tend to win these battles, especially when they are about clutter or dog poop or general squalor.

(I tend to lose the battles that involve insects inside the house and anything that requires the use of a power tool, because those are things JASON IS SUPPOSED TO DO FOR ME, AM GIRL, and he gets a tremendous kick out of watching me slowly wig out, yellow-wallpaper style, over a crooked curtain rod or OMFG THAT SPIDER OVER THERE DO SOMETHING DOOOOOO SOMETHING.)

(10 years! I believe the traditional gift is tin!)

Ahem. So. Cider. Rising. Leaking. Three inches of liquid slowly turned to four, and then last weekend I opened the door and a small amount of cider splashed up and over the side of the shelf and dripped on the floor, narrowly missing my pile of sweaters that have been waiting for the Dryel bag since...hmm...some of them are kind of cropped so I'm gonna have to guess mid-2004-ish.

I went upstairs and announced to Jason that I was Crying Uncle, it was time to break down and do something about the cider.

"What cider?" he asked.

I stared at him. "Please. You are not saying that you simply have not NOTICED the rising levels of apple cider in the refrigerator door? That has been there for TWO MONTHS?"

He stared back. "'re saying that there has been some kind of leaking liquid in our fridge for two months, and you've...just...IGNORED it?"

"I...uh...I thought you were ignoring it too. Isn't that the rule?"

"WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? WHAT RULE? JESUS CHRIST." And then he stormed down the basement steps while I stammered excuses about not knowing what to do and I figured he would because he's the engineer and I didn't know what towels to use because what if I used his good shop towels and the shelf/pressure/dam theory I had and I kind of thought maybe I could vacuum it up but that's probably not good for the vacuum, right? Right? Baby? You love me, baby, right?

Jason opened the refrigerator and looked at the cider. He gently picked up the half-empty container and swiftly placed it in the utility sink. Which is about two feet away from the refrigerator.

"OH!" I said.

And then he gently detached the entire shelf from the door and dumped the contents down the drain.

"OHHH!" I said again.

He rinsed the shelf out and snapped it back into place. He stared at me for a few seconds while I pulled a Lucille Ball face and sensed the years of feminist progress washing down that utility sink drain, and then he kissed me very sweetly and went back upstairs without another word.


The scene of my dark shame. Somebody should really carry that out to the recycle bin, don't you think?



This was GREAT!
Thanks for the laughs!


I wish I could ignore such inevitable catastrophes in the vain hope that my husband would pick them up, but I fear I would lose a kid in the carnage.


That was hilarious!


I'm not the least bit surprised he didn't notice the tidal wave of apple cider. Five years of marriage in July, and I have finally learned that my husband sees nothing non-alcoholic in the refrigerator. Especially when he's looking for it.


Oh, he saw it! That is totally something my husband would do too and I promise you... he isn't that blind either. So very glad about your camera though.


Oh, Amy. You make me laugh!! And my husband totally would not have noticed the cider either.


I think you handled this EXACTLY right. Jason had to deal with the gross-ness and you didn't have to touch gross apple cider-y part of fridge. Perfect!! (This is definitely the strategy I would have used, although I'm not sure my own husband would have been quite as nice about it as yours).


Oh this so could have happened at our house. We aim for the same sort of "smelt it/dealt it" rule around here, and I am definitely always the one getting out of actually fulfilling my end of the deal. If left to my own devices I would be wiping my ass on our white towels and eating straight out of a can because walking to the basement to refill the tp would be too much for me.


I like the "smelt it/dealt it" rule. But in our house I just say, "Hon, there's some rotting food in the fridge. Can you get rid of it because you know it will make me gag." It doesn't really make me gag and I have a much stronger stomach than I used to. But I have opted not to tell him that so I don't have to deal with the gross stuff.

Glad about the camera, too!


Hmmm...We seem to follow this same rule...


Wait? Other people have the smelt it/dealt it rule? I thought it was just us, our romantic vows we made at our wedding.

However, I would have turned the tables and said that because the apple cider had been there so long you were hoping it had turned to apple cider vinegar and everyone knows apple cider vinegar is a Heloise-approved fridge cleaner.


Ha...that sounds pretty much exactly like my household. Except that I would sullenly give in and fix the problem myself after 2 months even thought my hubby probably never knew it was a problem.


We share the same soul. I would do the exact same thing (clutter? dog poop? general squalor? I laugh in yo face), including the lame excuses.


Oh that was a great story! And seriously, that's one awesome hubby you have there!


I cannot believe cropped sweaters are out. I am sorry for what you had to go through with the cider and all...that is truly traumatic. But more importantly, let's focus on me...cropped is out? Shit.


I am all too familiar with that look and the sweet kiss and the patient sigh... I hear/see it on a daily basis. It's why we marry engineers.


Man, I tried that rule too, but I'm the only grownup in my house so it backfires. LOL

This was so funny from the yellow wallpaper reference (hate that short story), to the very end including picture of shame. Thank you for making my day.


You know what I got this from very long post? Someone else doesn't dryel in a quick fashion either. There is a pile of clothes waiting to be dryeled that is going to eat me soon.


love that last caption. hahahaha


I'm just in awe of the fact that you have a basement fridge. If that doesn't scream suburban living, then I don't know what does. (Am jealous of your basement fridge).


That is hilarious. I too have detoured to another garbage can in order to avoid having to take out the trash.


I love the irony of you claiming not to be a problem-solver, and yet your Advice Smackdown column is one of my favorite problem-solving reads!!!
House of Jules


See? You need a Jen.
Jen is our new cleaner person. She just called me (cheerfully!) to say she was cleaning out the fridge. Hallelujah, s'all I have to say.
Thank you for the laugh. In my house I would SO have had to deal with that while my husband hovered around trying to see how I cleaned it so he could "learn for next time." HA!


I hope you get paid lots of money for writing because you are a genius with words. :)


I love that Jason had no idea there was any rule. Totally sounds like my marriage.


I just had to say:
"wig out, yellow-wallpaper style" is metaphor gold. You're a genius!

Tootsie Farklepants

He didn't say anything because OBVIOUSLY he's going to save this to use against you in future arguments. That's a rule in marriage.


I love all your posts, but I am particularly partial to the ones about you and Jason. You two just make me smile. And sometimes laugh.


hysterical as always

we play that game with the litter box, i got way too comfortable NOT changing that thing while I was pregnant and then i convinced my husband that I wasn't supposed to change it while I was breastfeeding either. I still maintain that it's his cat that uses it so why should I have to do it anyway but I suppose I'll have to get pregnant again if I really want to be rid of that chore for a while.


Um. I love you guys. Mostly because that's exactly how our household runs. Except for the nummy-delicous babies. Anyway. Love. And you make me smile. Thank you.


Oh my...the part about Jason not knowing the rule was so funny it me snort...I'm married (17 years!) to a man like that too.


Speaking of household problem-solving, did you ever replace the eyeball in your living room? I'd be glad to come over from the Eastern Shore and take care of it for you guys.


These type of posts are my absolute favourite. You guys are hilarious.


We TOTALLY play this game at our house and I ALWAYS win! Well, except for poopy diapers because dear hubby doesn't have a sense of smell. YES- he seriously doesn't have a sense of smell, I verified this with his parents prior to accusing him of pulling a prank on me so that he never has to claim the fart.

Back to my point- did I have a point? YES- Girl Power!


lovely, you left me laughing like an idiot.


Oh, but anyone who can throw in a reference to Charlotte Perkins and The Yellow Wallpaper is a mad genius, so who cares about the rules and who is aware of them? Perfect!


good thing you've got that baby in the belly...or else I suspect he might not've been so sweet. Or may he would've...I don't know him! But that would totally blow my theory.

BTW, we do the battle of the wills, too...I think it's mandatory when you get married.

the mamanatrix



Dude, you did the exact right thing. That stuff would have been...sticky. Sticky and smelly and old. Definitely a "boy" problem. What if there had been a spider in the sticky smelly oldness? Think of the children!


My son and I talk all the time about starting a handyman company for these kinds of household problems. The name of our supposed company? "Can't somebody else do that?"


I wish I could ignore such things. I can't because it always ends up being my job.

I'm also guilty of buying random ingredients and then not using them.


Yellow wallpaper.

That damn short story has haunted me since I read it in the 7th grade. Hate.

Kate F

This slayed me. My husband and I have a similar unspoken rule except that he is much more vocal about the "Did you not notice that..." because I can let things slide for days while he is incredibly anal. Two things that should make you feel better:

-I have had apple cider come very close to exploding in the fridge in recent memory
-Last night B returned home from a two-day trip, came into the dining room, looked at the white pumpkins that I bought last fall, and which have been on the windowsill ever since (he's asked me to send them away for a few months now) and noticed that one of them had finally given way and there was a puddle of slime under it and *running down the wall*. Oops.


That's a great example of the "two brains are better than one" part of marriage. When I can't figure out a solution Husband does, or vice versa.

When our 3 months old vacuum suddenly wouldn't turn on I had a fit of "OMG we'll have to call the repair company, but I didn't fill out the warranty or keep the receipt (he makes me hand over all my receipts now) so now we'll have to buy a new one and it't too much money and the carpet is dirty NOW, whaaaa!"

Meanwhile, he calmly called Walmart and inquired if they would exchange the broken vacuum. They would, even without the receipt. I ended up with a new, better model for only $30. Two brains, people. Definitely an advantage to marriage.


Oh my GOD! I love waking up with a cup of coffee and good laugh. Thanks Amy. Glad to know I'm not the ONLY one who has the ignoring-it gene!


I love it! Very funny.

And as a total aside, I have always loved The Yellow Wallpaper.

Barbara B

I love you.

Really, in a total girl on girl both girls been married for years kind of way.

And in my marriage I am the one buying weird things that I am totally going to use to make a wonderful dish but never get around to.

There is a jar full of salt water and 5 year old pig intestines down there right now because I really am going to make my own sausage.

Any day now.


I employ the same ignore tactics with various disgusting household tasks. But ask me how well it's working with my husband deployed...
He's gonna have a lot of work to do after being gone for 7 months, that's all I'VE got to say!

Fluffy Windover

Oh my god, this reminds me so much of me and my husband. My ability to "ignore" or "not notice" things is tremendous. I will avoid entire rooms for a whole day just so that my husband is the one who happens upon the dog puke first.


I think this may be the most entertaining entry of yours I've yet to read.

(And I don't know why I said yet, I've read them all.)

Little Dutch Girl

too funny, and to familiar.
Thanks for the laughs!


Hmmm... this is why we marry engineers? (@PaintingChef) Then someone needs to come to my house and kick my engineer husband inna fork. Because that Lucille Ball gig? NEVER EVER works around here.


First, congrats on saving the swag. That post was heartbreaking.

Second, that apple cider story made me laugh HARD.

Third, you just reminded me to check my basement fridge for random ickiness.


Men are born with blinders. They never see clutter until it hits wig-out phase. Ha!


My wife keeps her nail polish in the fridge.


There is a really hysterical Everybody Loves Raymond episode called "Baggage" about this type of thing. They have a suitcase that neither one will put away. Ray puts a piece of stinky cheese in it and then he goes away for a weekend.

Fave quote: Don't let a suitcase filled with cheese be your big fork and spoon!


OMG - hilarious. I have the same-ish rule that I play by... I don't think he knows about it and would say the exact same thing "WHAT RULE?!?" if I mentioned it and then proceed to tell me about how often I don't follow my own rule and that if I'm going to call him on it, I'd better follow it...


I subscribe to avoiding work by sneakiness myself! You are very, very sneaky.


I just genuinely laughed out loud, for awhile, at work. You are awesome. Also I have pulled both the Lucille Ball look and the YOU DO IT YOU DO IT, AM GIRL act. I am very, VERY familiar with the AM GIRL act. Marriage means never having to kill a bug again.


You can and should totally pull the "I'm pregnant and I thought it'd make me puke" rule. I didn't clean the refrigerator for at least nine months based on that one (twice).


So, basically, you got him to do it anyway. You won. Nice! (And all it took was a small tantrum and a look or two, impressive!)


I was having kind of yuck day and this totally cracked me up! Thanks for the laughs!!!


So many things are awesome about this post, from the title, to the quips about your tenth anniversary (tin?), to his kissing you sweetly at the end. And there wasn't even any Noah in this post! You ROCK.


too funny! my huz and I have the same "ignoring" standoff



I got a diamond anniversary band for ours this past October.
Go for the diamonds!! Tin is reeeeaaalllyyy overrated.

kim at allconsuming

GOD now I know what it was that made me keep coming back.

It was a familiarity that I just couldn't place.

This fixed it.

(We were married 10 years last October - yes, it's tin. My husband gave me the ring-pull from a softdrink can.)


We left a watermelon in the basement fridge too long and now we have fermented watermelon juice that has become a very sticky semi liquid. My husband acts as though it doesn't exist and so do I :) I love the unspoken rules married folk have...

Sally Cornwell

Dear Amalah,
I have been reading your blogs since before Noah and remember all the breast feeding trauma and unhelpful guilt trips people placed on you.I just wanted to tell you that myself and my 2 older sisters were never breast fed, not even once..(apparently my Mum's nurses told her not to as formula was healthier for the baby!! so you see how advice swings through the generations! Anyway we are not freaks of nature! shock! We are not withered and pale and ill! In fact we all have degrees and good jobs and are tall and fit and sporty and happy and healthy! In fact we hardly ever even get colds! And we have 1 filling between the 3 of us!!!And we certainly don't resent my mother for choosing not to breast feed why? because she is a great Mum and was just doing what she thought was right at the time. So there you go- breast feeding not the be all and end all- non breast fed humans perfectly fine. Good luck! xx


The "staring at you, then walking away" thing is SO my husband.


You quoted Pink Floyd and Star Wars in the same paragraph and your laundry style is the same as mine.

I think I'm in love.

Well...the cider thing kinda kills it for me so let's just be friends.


My husband has never filled the handsoap dispensers in any bathroom or kitchen. ever. I asked him about it once and he said he just goes to a different sink when it's empty.

(The man is otherwise a GD superhero at home, cooking, laundry, etc., this is just one little quirk.)

Loved this post.


Oh my! That is totally how my husband would react! Great story!


I kept thinking of LOST: "he changed the rules"! Great story -- I totally relate, except for the part about the spiders. Hubby won't touch em -- I scoop them up in a cup and toss them outside. Did the same with a MOUSE recently!!! :)


Ah ha ha! I've definitely had those "OH! I should have done that!" moments in my marriage and man, are they embarrassing...

Oh, and I like the "Yellow Wallpaper" reference! Yay for short fiction about female insanity! :)


That is SO Dirk Gently and his housekeeper, circa "The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul."

We TOTALLY do the same thing with the household trash, dishes in the sink, etc. But when it comes to unintentional science experiments in the fridge, that is apparently MY territory exclusively. How did I get so lucky?


too much laughing, had to stop reading after this: "..and he gets a tremendous kick out of watching me slowly wig out, yellow-wallpaper style..." has your husband been talking to mine?


too funny! sounds kinda like my house, sorta. different details, but yes, like my house.


WOW. John Irving and Charlotte Perkins Gilman in the same post. Being kind of slow, I probably missed a few other literary references. That's why you're the best!!

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