My Family (a long time ago)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Get Out of the Fridge!

It’s just a given that at some point, kids are going to need a snack. When my kids were little we never left the house without some snacks for later because we knew that they were going to get hungry or thirsty before it was time for the next meal. Even now they still need snacks, especially my 15-year old son. I sometimes joke that I need to get a second job to keep him in food. Seeing what he eats, I truly feel for my parents having to deal with 5 boys in the 10-17 year old range at the same time. We were eating machines.

When we got hungry we’d ask Mom if we could have something to eat and most times she’d answer that we could have a piece of fruit. Luckily for me, I’ve always liked fruit – apples, bananas, oranges, grapes, just about anything other than watermelon. Sometimes she said we could have a piece of bread with butter and sugar. Back then we used real butter and real sugar. Now that was a treat! But most of the time it was fruit or some Saltine crackers. It really didn’t matter; we just needed something to hold us over to the next meal, usually dinner.

However, boys being boys, there were also times that fruit, bread or Saltines just wasn’t going to soothe our appetite and we’d open the fridge to see what was in there to eat. Usually within a few seconds of opening the door Mom would say, “Get out of the fridge!” Even if she was in the living room, where she couldn’t even see the refrigerator, she knew we were going in there. We thought she was just hearing the door open, so we tried to open the door as quietly as possible, barely making any noise at all. Still we heard, “Get out of the fridge!” Then we figured she knew we were going into the kitchen so we’d go into our bedroom or the bathroom first, then sneak into the kitchen and ever so discretely open the refrigerator door. The result was the same – “Get out of the fridge!”

According to Mom, she had eyes in the back of her head, so she always knew what we were doing. Now that sounded good, but eyes can’t see through walls. We just couldn’t figure out how the heck she knew when we opened that door. So we started planning our attacks on the fridge. Instead of going in solo, we’d work as a team. One of us would pretend we were going to the bathroom, close the bathroom door and head for the fridge while the other person would talk to Mom as a diversion. One of us would use the bathroom ruse while the other would head toward the kitchen, but before getting there, fake cough or sneeze loudly just as the other quietly opened the fridge door. All the planning was in vain though because we still heard “Get out of the fridge!” How could this be? No matter what we did we couldn’t even get a bite, let alone a snack out of the fridge.

It wasn’t until years later at a family party that Mom’s secret of how she knew we were in the fridge was revealed. It wasn’t the sound of the refrigerator door opening and it wasn’t the sound of items moving in the fridge. It wasn’t that our plans weren’t brilliant and it certainly wasn’t that Mom had eyes in the back of her head that could also see through walls. No, it was actually very simple. For some reason, when the refrigerator door was opened a line would go across the TV. There was some kind of electrical short that made a line across the TV. It just so happened that most of the times we were trying to sneak some food were also the times Mom was watching TV.

There is a lesson here for parents. You don’t need to be the smartest person or the most perceptive, although I like to think that my parents were both smart and perceptive. You don’t need to always be in the same room as your kids or know everything they’re doing, although there were a lot of times they somehow knew what was going on. No, sometimes the key is just being in the right place at the right time. Or better yet, you can use weird electrical issues in your house to your advantage.  

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