Who Moved My Cheese? And My Car?

At the retail park the other day I ran into one of those terrifying and brusquely efficient mothers from nursery in whose presence I descend invariably into monosyllabic grunts and/or dribbling inanities. On this occasion I excelled myself by exchanging pleasantries, then (whilst congratulating myself on remembering the name of her son and not having any food or toys stuck in my hair) attempting to unlock her passenger door with my car keys.  Quickly realising – primarily from her all-too-familiar look of surprised contempt – the mistake I’d made, I backed away from the door laughing nervously at whatever she’d quipped (I was too flapped to take it in).  I swung round to open my own driver door, only to find the neighboring parking bay empty.  My car was gone.  Like a dumbfounded Labrador puppy, I looked up at Efficient Mum, as if the answer to my confusion lay in her amused gaze.  It didn’t, so I looked back at the empty bay, then up once again at Efficient Mum and said, intelligently, “Where’s my car?”.

Efficient Mum was kind enough not to point out that since we’d only ever met on foot, she not only had no idea where my car was but couldn’t be much assistance locating it.  It took quite a few painful seconds of blank, Wimbledon-style head bobbing between her car and the empty bay, before the panic in my breast subsided and realisation dawned that I hadn’t been the victim of vehicle theft and my car was in fact parked three bays further back.  Indeed, I had been on my way towards it but had swerved past in order to greet Efficient Mum. Clearly I had forgotten that moment and then simply lost my bearings somewhat.  I bid Efficient Mum a sheepish goodbye and slunk back to my rattly Subaru.  I’m sure it’s an easy mistake to make, but I bet she wouldn’t have made it.

So I may be well on the way to early onset dementia but at least this evening brought confirmation that I’ll be in good company, albeit struggling for a carer.  Earlier on, I watched in utter disbelief as Husband no.1 attempted to open a packet of Cathedral cheese. For those unfamiliar with this brand it comes in a resealable plastic bag (the kind where you press the two plastic strips together, then pull them apart akin to, say, a ludicrously posh crisp packet).  On first use the packaging along the top has to be cut open (hence a ‘Cut here’ symbol along the top corner) and having already decimated most of this block, as is my cheese-guzzling wont, this packet had already been cut open and resealed.  At this point, H no.1 entered the scene and was attempting re-entry into the bag, and finding this a major challenge.  Fingers worrying at the seal, he kept muttering something about “Where’s the zip?” and turning the bag over and over in his hands.  After repeating this action for about two minutes, it came to him that this was in fact not a zip-lock bag, and he started investigating alternative means of access.  He spotted the half-obliterated ‘Cut here’ mark – quite clearly already sliced away – and seemed to have a minor epiphany.  “Aaah”, says he, in happy comprehension, “it needs cut.  Where’re the scissors?”.
At this point he turned to face me and clocked my wide-eyed alarm.  Could he not see the bag had been cut open already?  Was he turning into my dad before my very eyes?  Had I really married a man incapable of opening a resealable storage bag?  My use of Tesco’s version of these bags around the house is both common and varied; for bits of toys, soup going in the freezer, pieces of those cheeses sold with less elaborate packaging than Cathedral, etc, etc.  There’s no way he hasn’t come across this form of storage before. I was therefore quite aghast watching him struggle with his cheese; my shock quickly giving way to hysterical laughter.  What delight I drew from the look of sheer, exasperated incomprehension on H’s face. It reminded me fondly of the first time we handed B a strip of Sellotape as he sat in his high chair.  Break out the popcorn, sit back and enjoy.

You will be pleased to learn that he got there eventually, and like the proverbial lab rat was rewarded with his lump of cheese.

And I saw no need to regale him with my tale of car-jacking Efficient Mum.


p.s. It’s OK because B said tonight, “My dad knows lots about telly”.  What excellent compensatory knowledge to offset any deficiencies pertaining to the accessing of cheese.


18 Responses to Who Moved My Cheese? And My Car?

  1. mrshev says:

    Very funny post!

    My wife has the same inability with cereal packets. I just don’t get it. There are cardboard tabs at the top of the box, yeah? And they slot into each other to re-close, yeah? So, why is it that my wife has to tear open a packet of cereal like she is a raccoon looking for snacks? Our cereal packets are decimated…

    • jinedin says:

      Mmm…I may have to plead the 5th when it comes to cereal packets actually. Mine are decidedly shoddy, tending to be ripped open pre-coffee to the background tune of children wailing.
      You could always attend a tupperware party and buy some of those innovative, Annabel’s party-esque containers designed for decanting your cereal into (’cause we all have time for that sort of nonsense).

      • jinedin says:

        Brilliant: I went to get G some Weetabix this morning and H no. 1 had opened the box…at the wrong end. And by ripping it. He has officially lost the packaging battle.

      • mrshev says:

        I do sometimes gaze at the shelves full of storage containers at IKEA and think: I too can live a pure life, without the gaudiness of cereal packaging; Uncle Ben’s sincere smile or half opened packets of pasta (why – WHY -is pasta packaging the most difficult to open without mucking up the entire packet?!?!?). I can buy a raft of storage jars and live a life like a Scandinavian.

        BUT! We have tried that and now I don’t know how much water to put with 200g of cous-cous…or is it actually quinoa? What is quinoa? Wasn’t he in Deep Space Nine? My pasta is all in one jar and they all cook at different rates and my cereal just looks very unappetizing coming out of a plastic tub.

      • jinedin says:

        Being a Wallander fan (not Wallander; too much Kevin bloody Brannagh standing moodily around in windy corn fields in the UK version), I too long intermittently for Swedish simplicity, lured by the prospect of nights downing high proof spirits followed by brisk dips in the bleak sea each morning. Then I realise how unpleasant getting rat-arsed and then throwing oneself into a freezing, grey sea on a stinking hangover would be, and I reconsider…in spite of their temptingly innovative living style.

  2. How funny we have an efficient mummy at toddler group and she puts us all to shame. She has the perfect child that was toilet trained at one and a half and can form sentences at 2. I have my bludder bus that charges everywhere and is the messiest boy at toddler group. I know which one I love xx

  3. Kerry-Anne says:

    What a great post!
    It made me chuckle to myself as it’s exactly the kind of thing that would happen to me! (car loss/jacking, not opening packets of cheese!!!)

    • jinedin says:

      Glad to hear it – at least there’s safety in numbers. I was going to suggest a club for similarly disfunctional women but I think there already is one, called Mumsnet… 😉

  4. aliasmother says:

    I have a friend who is an Efficient Mum. When we go on outings together, I come armed with a single diaper and a wallet. She’s got: sunscreen, blankets, toys, books, sunglasses, sunhats, snacks, a map of the area, and multiple communication devices. Last weekend we met for a pizza picnic at the park. She had proper plates and scissors (SCISSORS!) to cut the pizza into toddler-sized bites. Meanwhile, I watched my toddler slop an entire slice onto her face and set the remainder down in the grass.

    It’s a lifestyle choice, I think.

  5. whatdidyoudotodaymama says:

    At least you know your man has previously demonstrated competence with releasable bags, If mine gets to the unopened cathedral cheese packet before I do, he just slices into it with a knife… sigh.

  6. Ha! Very entertaining. I’ve done the car thing so many times. Once parked at the airport and Husband and I spent almost TWO HOURS looking for car until realised I had map upside down. Wouldn’t happen to Efficient Mum x

    • jinedin says:

      Ha ha! Yeah, my dad once had the police called for his ‘stolen’ car when he couldn’t find it after work. Must’ve been a hard day at the office, mind, as they found it in the next street along. Mortified. x

  7. dadwhowrites says:

    Ah – cheese packages. Seemingly designed to ensure that you need never buy any cheese ever again. Kind of.

  8. Pedge says:

    Alas, Mrshev (August 24, 2010 at 7:37 am), I have a solution for your “how much water?”, “how long does it cook for?” and “what is this??!” problems. It’s something my grandmother taught me many moons ago….

    Empty the packets into your raft of beautifully matching Scandinavian storage jars, cut/tear the name and cooking instructions from the packet (usually found nearby each other) and drop this into the top of your storage container.

    Bingo – aesthetically pleasing cupboards with food you can use!

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