June 9, 2014

The Summer Series - Stacey Gustafson

Stacey Gustafson is a humor columnist and blogger. Her short stories have appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul and Not Your Mother’s Books, Midlife Boulevard, Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop, and other publications. She lives in California with her husband and two teenagers that provide an endless supply of inspiration. She writes about parenting and daily frustrations like her dislike of laundry, the DMV, and being middle-aged on her blog, Are You Kidding Me?

When Stacey submitted her blog post, it gave me a good chuckle. The story she relays reminded me of hubby and SB fighting over certain snack and sweet items. I buy two boxes of these items each grocery store visit. She will insist I write her name on one box with a Sharpie, as if that will keep him from touching it. He empties both the boxes throughout the week, late at night while she is sleeping. 

Not to give away too much, but I have a feeling Stacey is giving me a preview of what is to come. Read on to learn about her husband's ongoing dispute with their teens over iced tea...

Tea Party

Blame it all on me. But in my defense, I didn’t anticipate that my family would fight for iced tea.

First thing you need to know: My husband is a patient, reasonable man. He never gets mad over little things.

“What’s for dinner?” he said, sniffing the air for a hint.

“Leftovers,” I said as I turned on the microwave.


And after the meal, he asked, “Do we still have some of that chocolate raspberry truffle cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory?”

“Oops, the kids ate it.”

“No problem.”

But if anyone messes with his iced tea, beware, an all out war brewed to boiling proportions.

There’s a little story behind how it all started.

On my quest for a healthy alternative to soda and sugary drinks, I discovered caffeine free, no calorie Crystal Light Iced Tea. My family fell in love with it, gulping down a gallon a day. Home from school, the kids downed it with their snacks. When the jug got drunk dry, the blame game began.

“How come the tea’s gone? Who forgot to fill it up?” I said and shook my head.

Both kids denied that they had the last drink and refused to refill it. Sometimes the carafe returned to the refrigerator with one-inch left. Other times, it was put back completely drained. A standoff ensued.

After work each night, Big Daddy tossed his sport jacket on the nearest chair and marched to the frig in search of his favorite beverage to guzzle. “You’re got to be kidding,” he said, shaking the container in our face, ready to blow. “Who forgot to refill this?”

Fe, fi, fo, fum.

We compromised. A black line, marked within four inches from the bottom of the container, represented the minimum fill line. Basic rule: if you poured below the mark, you refilled it. This worked for a while.

“Why’s this so weak?” asked Mr. Thirsty. With an outstretched arm he flashed pale-colored tea in the glass pitcher. “Was it you?” he said, looking in my direction.

Me swill tea? My drink of choice —Pepto-Bismol, straight from the bottle.

Outwitted by teenagers again. They had filled it up to the top with water in order to avoid making a fresh batch. When my daughter confessed to the crime, I put a circle with a slash through her name on the pitcher. Banned until further notice.

Next day. I heard the garage door open. Daddy’s home. The teens had chucked a pile of school stuff at the backdoor: backpacks, shoes, sports equipment, and cleats. He stepped over the junk, nudged a soccer ball across the room, but in the kitchen he exploded. “How come the pitcher on the counter is empty? This is ridiculous!”

Take it easy Crazy.

“Calm down. I have an idea,” I said before his head popped off. I grabbed another pitcher and marked on the front in enormous letters, “DAD.”

Total tally, two jugs.

But they couldn’t resist one final swan song. The kids gawked with glee as Dad filled his jug to the tiptop and strolled away with a smug look on his face. As he turned the corner, I stared as the kids emptied the “DAD” jug into their own. Can’t wait until he gets thirsty.

I think I can picture how it all went down. Thank you so much, Stacey, for participating in my Summer Series!

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