The last thing you want to hear your dad say when you call is: I really screwed up today. In the flash of a microsecond your brain kicks into high gear and dozens of horrific scenarios play like a crazed video in your head. Then you hear your fake calm voice say: why, dad? What happened?

Then the story unfolds.

Well, I picked your mom up at her exercise class (I’m seeing a trip or fall…) and we decided that we were going to have steak for lunch. (Hmmmm …. okay) and your mom suggested she could make french fries. (Ya …. and?) but I told her I didn’t want the greasy smell in the house. So we drove to Ken’s.

Note: mom and dad eat their main meal at noon; mom exercises from 9:30 am to 10:30 am. So the timing here is around 10:45 am. I’m guessing.

When we got to Kens they were having a problem with the propane. (Ummmm … like they just opened and hadn’t fired the fryer up? Maybe?) So we waited. Then I ordered the fries and they put it in a cup overfilling it. (Oh, the cup tipped and you distractingly had a fender bender …) I gave the cup to mom to hold while I drove. And mom said I should eat the top fries to avoid a spill. So I did. By the time we got home the fries were almost gone. But I polished off the rest with ketchup. They were delicious.

Oh. Great dad. But how did you screw up?? (As I simultaneously breathe a sigh of relief that none of my scenarios was even remotely in the wheel house). Well, he says, by the time I ate the fries I wasn’t hungry anymore. So we skipped lunch. Mom put the steak back in the fridge. Right. So what did mom have for lunch. (Keeping in mind that dads the cook now).

Your mother had some crackers with liverwurst. Did you know Sobeys sells only Brandt now. Pillers is out. Aha! That’s the screw up. My mom didn’t get lunch … she likely complained and nagged the entire afternoon. I can hear the conversation in my mind:

I’m not hungry now because I ate the fries.

That’s ok. We can eat the steak later.

I can make the steak for you.

No. I don’t want that much. I’ll put it back in the fridge.

Ok. But what are you going to eat?

Don’t worry. I’m not that hungry. I’ll have some crackers.

Let me make you something.

No. I’m fine.

Ok. I have to go out to Walmart. I see you later.

**mom stews that dad would ruin their lunch. Dad carries on like the matter is closed **

Do you why I went to Walmart? He asks me. I guess you needed Aquafresh toothpaste? Right on! He says. I can only get my toothpaste at Walmart. Then, excitedly, he tells me about the “cheese aisle”. Did you know they have a whole aisle of only cheese?? I can find any cheese in one place. At Sobeys I have to look in a few places. I might shop at Walmart from now on if they sell Sensations ham. I let him know that Sensations is the Sobeys name brand so Walmart won’t sell it. Oh, he says disappointedly. I really like Walmart.

I guess he’s forgotten how bitterly he used to berate the retail behemoth. Times have changed.

When he gets home from his outing and the glucose rush from the starchy fries has worn off, he’s hungry again. So is mom. Mom has pulled a frozen dinner from the freezer. They heat it in the toaster oven (they push the “toast” button repeatedly until the food is warm since they don’t know how to reset the program).

They have a late dinner of red cabbage, potatoes and chicken. Whew.

Having grown up in Stratford and being addicted to Kens, I know all to well the pitfall. I’ve screwed up a few times myself.

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