And when my husband came home I made him listen to a short presentation on the new world order, freezer-wise, which went something like this:
“Drawer 1 is now home to frozen vegetarian meats and green veg. We’ve got loads of the bastards – if you ever see me trying to buy broccoli again, please confiscate my credit card.
Drawer 2 is where we keep fun goods – Mars ice creams are in here (no, you can’t have one until after dinner) as well as these two Mini Milks I’d forgotten ALL about. I know, right, what a way to end the week! And breads are here too. I know they’re not really ‘fun goods’ but I had already named the drawer before I put them in.
Drawer 3 is where this unnecessarily large bag of cauliflower now lives, as well as all our frozen herbs and the ice tray. Not a classic combination but I’m sure they will find a way to get along.
And drawer 4 is where we keep all fish goods. The cost of frozen prawns really is getting out of hand, don’t you think?” (He didn’t respond. I think I lost him at ‘Mars’.)
Your concept of what qualifies as an achievement expands as you get older. In addition to your work and your relationships, there are now extra smaller scale things which, if achieved, can secretly make you feel that you’re really winning at life. Here are four more to keep ‘Freezer Gate’ company:
1. Sorting out your underwear drawer
In an ideal world your knickers would live on one side of a drawer, your bras on the other, grouped by tone and genre (e.g. day wear/special occasion /misguidedly garish /that one you never wear because you don’t have any knickers to match), and your socks would never dare to cross paths with anybody except their identical twin. But we don’t live in a perfect world. Take your eye off them for just a few days and you’ll have pants buddying up with bras with whom they have nothing in common, socks flying solo, and forgotten thongs jumping to the top of the pile in the hope of an outing (I’ve considered using one to wrap up an open bag of peas before but I’m not sure that counts). So when you do find the time to get everything in its correct place (which in the thongs’ case is either the bin or the freezer) it is an achievement deserving of a lengthy lie down.
I might have given myself a little too much credit with that title. What I actually mean is ‘very basic gardening that only done when we’re about to be overwhelmed by a Jumanji-style vine monster’. But when I do get round to doing it which, for the record, has only happened once (I prefer to be more of a back seat gardener, shouting orders from the lounge whilst eating crisps), my word do I feel proud of myself. People have been given medals for less, I’m sure of it.
3. Giving the dishwasher a bath
It’s only when the dishwasher starts refusing to wash all the grated cheese and cheese puff residue off my crockery that I realise it’s time to give it a clean. Popping a bottle of dishwasher cleaner into the machine I love more than pretty much anything else in the world (aside from the fridge, of course), and seeing it come up all shiny and new, ready to make all my crisp crumbs disappear makes me understand what all those love songs are really about.
4. Preventing post-mageddon
I love post – who doesn’t? But not post that asks me for money or that thinks my name is Mr Charlotte Buxton. But it keeps coming and so finds itself in our filing system – AKA the giant pile of paper on the desk which, if left alone, will eventually collapse on top of me and paper-cut me to death. I decided to tackle it just last week and after two hours of envelope opening, recycling and the unexpected discovery of a cheque made out to my husband which I definitely didn’t consider using to buy that ASOS dress I want, I was overwhelmed by my sense of accomplishment. A desk I could see! An in-tray that didn’t collapse when I sneezed! It was like Christmas but BETTER.
If you don’t show your veg, your weeds, your mail and your smalls who’s boss then nobody will so you might as well take as much joy from it as you can. Otherwise you’re just some idiot who’s spending a hard-earned Friday night attempting to decide which part of your freezer would best suit four bags of half-eaten broccoli without so much as a smile on your face.
And that would just be foolish.