Nathan was in a crabby-ass mood this morning. He claims it was due to various aches and pains but I’m pretty sure it’s because it’s the end of the week, our groceries are low and I’ve put the kibosh on his use of his cafe card.
The cafe card is like a credit card of sorts for the various eateries where Nathan works. It’s used in lieu of cash and whatever purchases you make with it are deducted from your paycheck every week. It’s pretty handy and I suggested he get it because I imagined his purchases with the card would be easier to track than the multiple withdrawals of cash I noticed on our bank account statements.
I think he’s had the card for a few years now, and I’ve come to find it rather shocking how much he spends on food while at work. Most of the time he doesn’t want to hear my complaints, and up until he started a new job where he’s running from plant to plant all day, his purchases weren’t extremely exorbitant; twenty to thirty dollars for a two week period. Still more than what I spend on food stuffs at work but not enough to cause me to make plans to file Chapter 13.
The weekend before last it all came to a head when I decided to work on balancing the checkbook. When it came time for me to enter the stats for his most recent paycheck into our computer program, I scanned the miscellaneous deductions category and screamed, “Forty-seven dollars for food service?!” Now whenever I scream out a number like that to him he’s all in denial about how much he actually spent, and this time was no exception. “No way,” he said, but I handed him the copy of his pay stub and pointed out the glaring truth with a look that just dared him to explain this away.
“It’s mostly for breakfast,” he said. “We never have anything for me to eat.”
Huh. Last time I checked, eggs, bread, bacon and milk were all breakfast staples and all things we frequently have in the house. When I asked him how I managed to find things to make for breakfast every morning and he did not, he retorted with a question of his own.
“You make breakfast every morning, but why don’t you ever make me breakfast?”
Ah, so there’s the rub. It’s not that he didn’t want to eat what we had in the house, he didn’t want to have to make anything with what we had in the house. He wanted to be served, much like Autumn and I are every evening when he makes dinner, which was part of his argument. He’s the cook and just once in awhile he wants someone to cook for him, especially if it allows him a few more minutes of “me time” in the morning.
Our argument got kind of heated, with me explaining that I have enough trouble getting my own ass out the door on time every morning without having to worry about his breakfast and why doesn’t he just spend less time in front of his computer before work and more time in front of a frying pan?
The argument ended with his vow to cancel the card, especially since he learned he spent just over $100 with the cafe card for the month of August alone. The two of us together have been really bad with the food expenditures. We’re talking non-grocery items like breakfasts, lunches, snacks and any other meal when we’re too lazy to cook. From May to August we spent about a thousand dollars on stuff like that. That’s on top of our weekly grocery bill. No wonder we’re so broke sometimes.
So there he was this morning, cranky, hungry and spreading peanut butter over Aunt Millie’s light 5-grain bread. I wanted to take pity on him and say it would be ok to use the card today, but I imagined that would be akin to giving an alcoholic a bottle of vodka and suggesting one sip wouldn’t hurt. Before you know it we’d be citing “excessive use of cafe card” and “breakfast neglect” as reasons for our legal separation.
Ah well, maybe his mood will improve tomorrow. I usually do make him breakfast on the weekend.
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