I’ve always been good about stretching the dollar. When times got tough, I got tougher! (My kids grew up telling me I was cheap but I prefer the word frugal.) I knew how to get as many meals out of $40 as I possibly could, which is about all we seemed to have each payday when my kids were small. In fact, that $40 had to stretch for 2 weeks! Sometimes, after bills were paid, that’s all we had. Having 2 kids, I had to make sure I had food in the house even if it meant a bill didn’t get paid. That’s just how it was. I’m not going to make a $40 credit card payment (that belonged to CP) if we had no food. I had to feed my kids!
Food on my grocery list included milk and cereal, hot dogs, bread, peanut butter, ramen noodles, sliced cheese, chicken, and anything on sale. Back then our grocery store usually had chicken quarters for .29 cents a pound and they were packaged in 10-pound bags. That was a good deal! Sometimes they had beef on sale that couldn’t be passed up. I knew how to stretch a dollar so we could all eat!
One weekend, my Dad was coming down for a visit. He worked in San Fransisco at the time and he liked to come see his grandkids when he was off. He would be there about dinner time but all I had in the house was rice, 3 thin steaks, and frozen broccoli. I made a big bowl of seasoned rice, with thin-sliced steak strips and broccoli. It was the only way to stretch the steaks for 5 people. It was like stir-fry but not as good. There was more than enough for everyone, including CP, and he was a huge PIG.
We sat down to eat and all was going well until Dad reached for the bowl for seconds. CP had seconds, and the kids were still eating their first serving. CP watched my Dad serve himself another helping and CP got this look on his face which I recognized and knew all too well. He had something stuck up his ass and I couldn’t figure out what the hell it was! Then it dawned on me. Dad doesn’t care much for rice, so he was trying to get a little more meat and broccoli without too much more rice. I just knew in my gut that CP had a problem with this.
He was still in a pissy mood later so I asked him what the hell was wrong because I noticed his attitude change during dinner. Sure enough! He said he didn’t like how my Dad was picking through the dish for meat and broccoli. He said, “Someone else might want more and he was picking all the meat out.” I explained to him how Dad doesn’t care much for rice. I also told him, “You already had seconds and you were done eating. You were just finishing your beer. You were DONE. I was DONE. The kids weren’t going to eat anymore. I DON’T SEE A FUCKING PROBLEM!” He changed his tune. He knew he was being an asshole, plain and simple.
What irritated me the most I think, was the fact that Dad always helped us with groceries when he came down and he helped with other things, too. Dad even brought the beer that CP was guzzling at dinner and afterward, so for him to have such an attitude just made me want to smack him with a cast-iron skillet. It’s probably a good thing I didn’t have one back then!