How To Stay Married Despite Your Husband’s Trip To The Grocery Store

We have no toilet paper in the house. We don’t even have tissues. I’m a staircase and two rooms away from a paper towel. And I can’t quite make myself use one of the towels hanging nearby.

This would all be fine were I not currently sitting on the toilet, post pee. Pre pee would have been a better time to realize I’m out of paper, but here I am caught with my pants down so to speak. With no alternative I do a little shake, hope for a quick drip dry, get up and go on about my day. It’s not my proudest moment, but since at some point in my parenting career I’ve caught my son’s shit with my own hands and received his pee in my own mouth, this will not be the grossest thing that’s ever happened to me.

The problem is I’m the errand person in our family and I don’t have any time today for an errand. I clearly didn’t have time yesterday either or we wouldn’t be in this little peedicament. I think about my options. I could order enough groceries from Amazon Fresh to meet the minuimum grocery delivery requirement, but I just went grocery shopping yesterday so that seems sort of wasteful. Plus, Amazon Fresh is a grocery delivery service, not a booty call. They’re not coming right over no matter how hard you beg.

I could ask a neighbor to borrow a few rolls, but I wouldn’t say my relationship to my neighbors is toilet paper civil.

Or I could ask my husband.

I’ve long since marveled at the species known as: husband in grocery store.   While no one ever sat me down and said, “This is how a grocery store works. You come with a list. You buy the things on your list. You go home,” somehow I figured out that’s what you do. This, without the assistance of any college courses in advance grocery shopping or an online tutorial.

But send a married guy to the grocery store for milk and eggs and he’ll return home with licorice and a teaspoon of honey. When asked why he didn’t get anything on the list, he’ll confess to having forgotten the list despite his wife or girlfriend having text’d it to him, emailied it to his phone, written it down on real live paper, and recorded it into a book on tape which he could listen to in the car.

Now before you go thinking I’m somehow saying that men are morons, I am. Not all the time, just at home.  A man with two Ivy League degrees and a head for business somehow can’t tell the difference between whole milk vs. non fat milk as though he’s had a domestic lobotomy. The non fat, if you don’t know, is the one with the label that reads, “Non fat.” The whole milk is the one that tastes good and doesn’t look like water. It’s also the one that will help your one-year-old sleep through the night.

For a long time I assumed Justin was doing errands terribly as a way to get out of them. That may have been true at times, but overall I can’t give him that much credit. He, and many men, seem baffled by errands. Send a man to Costco for cleaning supplies, he’ll return home with a big screen TV and spare tires for a car he doesn’t have. Criticize his process and he’ll give some sort of pouty response like, “You’re just always so critical.”  If he were at work and just totally ignored his boss’ instructions, he’d be fired. But at home, he’s just “doing it his way.”

So when I send Justin the email for the simple request of toilet paper, I’m fairy certain he will return home with a fishing pole and a Philips head screwdriver. So in effort to make the errand as painless and easy as possible, I give specific instructions as if he’s going to disarm a bomb instead of purchase toilet paper. “2-ply, unscented, Cottenelle or Charmin,  please.” Then I erase everything but “Can you please buy toilet paper on your way home?” for fear of being called a nag or being accused of thinking he might not know how to buy toilet paper without a schematic and a seeing eye dog.

But since I’m the errand person and it’s my fault we don’t have any toilet paper, I’ll take what I can get. I’ll even be grateful despite the potential for the fishing pole and screwdriver.

Kindly, Justin doesn’t point out the “it’s my fault” portion of the errand and responds, “No problem.” Later he does return home with a 12-pack of toilet paper. I can see from the label that it’s 1-ply, which means my toddler will need a whole roll to wipe a dime-size drop of pee. Years back, I’d have been furious that a simple errand couldn’t be done correctly. But today I know better and I just say “thank you” while making a mental note to buy more the next day.  Truth be told, I know Justin is one bowel movement away from figuring out why I buy 2-ply. And chances are,  this means he’s one bowel movement away from never doing an errand poorly again.

Sure enough, I see Justin head into the bathroom. A few minutes later he returns and says, “That toilet paper sucks. It’s like wiping your ass with a third world country.”

“That’s why I buy 2-ply” I say.

“I wish you had told me,” he says before getting into bed.

I just did, silly. You just weren’t listening.

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6 thoughts on “How To Stay Married Despite Your Husband’s Trip To The Grocery Store

  1. Hah! I feel ya’ . . . however, I am fortunate to have a hubby who actually loves to grocery shop. No wait – not fortunate, it’s part of the reason I married him, actually!! He had to be self sufficient from the age of 18 on, so he taught himself to cook, shop, etc. On the other hand, I admit that I was pretty spoiled growing up and didn’t learn much besides boiling water and making Tollhouse cookies. The main problem now is that he no longer has time to grocery shop, but when he does, it’s an event. He and my teenage daughter will set out on a Saturday morning and spend several hours going store to store to get the various items that they prefer from all over the area. They usually ask if I want to go and I’m like HELL NO!! So by “I feel ya'” I mean that I feel the difference two-ply toilet paper makes because I was the one who previously only bought 1-ply until my family rebelled. My ass is much happier.

  2. Ha, love this! So, I have to admit that my husband and I LIVE by And if you order $50 of stuff, there’s free shipping. Even if I really just need one thing, I can ALWAYS think of more stuff to add to the order to get the free shipping… and husband even likes going on there to do the ordering himself. (However, I’ve also come up with a new way to show him what I need from the grocery store — the little pictures of the food on Instacart. Even if you’re not using the service, you can go on there and pull up the items and say, “see this? This is the seaweed in the ORANGE PACKET.” The visual really helps.

  3. It’s got to be biological. Not only is it several degrees wrong, it’s always the economy size so you’ll have wrong on your hands forever.

  4. My ex could manage 3 items. He even told me “if you keep it to three items, I can remember”. So he’d get the three items, but they would be the wrong brand, size or flavor. *sigh*

    Fortunately, my new man is amazing with this. He gets it right every time. Even remembers things I have forgotten to put on the list. I may have to marry him for that reason alone.

  5. Hahahaha! This is totally my life. I love the, “You’re just always so critical,” when you tell them and the “Why didn’t you tell me,” when you don’t. Good times.

  6. Omg, this is so true. I have thought, for years, that my husband would be fired if he performed at work the way he performs at home. He has no clue where anything is, even though we’ve lived here for 14 years. I’ll give him a list–complete with sizes and brands–and he’ll bring home different brands, sizes, etc, thinking he’s done it better. Then, as we use his choices, he finds out why I choose the ones I do. ugh. I swear he leaves his brain at work so it doesn’t wear out.

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