The Morning Call (Sunday)

Husband’s left-behinds make yummy salad

- ASK AMY By Amy Dickinson askamy@amydickins­ Twitter@askingamy Dear Not His Mother: — A Retired Clergy — Worried Copyright 2023 by Amy Dickinson Distribute­d by Tribune Content Agency

I have a wonderful marriage of several decades with “Lance.”

In many ways, Lance holds up his end of the roommate bargain that comes with long-term partnershi­p. He cooks half the time, helps me in the garden (even though it’s my interest and not his), does his own laundry, etc.

All that said, he’s a terrible slob in the kitchen, and in ways that cause problems. He chops fruit for his breakfast and leaves the peels and rinds on the juice-soaked cutting board, slices pieces from the loaf of bread then leaves it out on the counter amid piles of crumbs, and leaves his meal leftovers in the sink.

I have tried everything, from reprimandi­ng him to cleaning up after him like he’s a toddler and I’m his mother, to ignoring it hoping he’ll see how bad it gets.

However I travel for work and am often gone for a few nights at a time — during which time the kitchen becomes a disaster.

Now we have fruit flies, house flies and mice. As I swept away the chopped nuts and dried fruit that didn’t make it into his oatmeal, a mouse dashed out from behind the fruit bowl, ran across the counter, then leapt behind the refrigerat­or.

I feel like I’m dealing with a messy, privileged toddler. I can’t afford a daily housekeepe­r, and I can’t seem to convince him that this is important, even as the mice leave trails of droppings behind them.

How do I get him to clean up after himself in the kitchen?

— Not His Mother

I admit to being a bit stumped for offering surefire solutions to this problem. I assume that readers will weigh in with their own suggestion­s.

My own idea is somewhat out there.

I suggest that you, yet again, describe this problem and outline both the health and hygiene issues, as well as the unfair burden this places on you. Tell your husband, “You’re so great about other things. I just don’t understand why this is such a block for you. Can you try harder to clean up after yourself in the kitchen?”

Listen for his explanatio­n and (hopefully) reassuranc­e. And then deliver your own consequenc­e. Tell him, “I’m so frustrated by this. The next time I find food waste festering on the counter and sink, I’m going to serve it to you as a salad.”

And then — when this happens again, scoop up all of the peelings, the leavings, the mouse dirt, put it all into a container (with a lid), and leave it on his plate. Draw a heart on a Post-it note and stick it on the lid. Nom nom!

Dear Amy: I’ve been retired from active clergy work for a few years now. When I entered parochial work, I looked forward to being a pastoral presence during the surroundin­g events. I had a very good reputation in this area.

However, as I look back, I am so very glad not to have to deal with the behind-the-scenes fights occurring at funerals.

For my very first funeral service, I stood in for a colleague who was out on an extended vacation.

At the gravesite, a health care provider suddenly let loose on the elderly widower, degrading him about his lack of caring for his wife. Fortunatel­y, my prior naval career (I am a combat vet) had provided experience in dealing with difficult people.

Afterward, I called the doctor who employed this person. A few days later, both I and the widower received an apology.

After more than 21 years of ministry I can say, sadly, that I can count on one hand the number of “good funerals.” After reading one of your latest columns, I realized how relieved I am not to have to “gear up” for what should be celebratio­ns of life.

Dear Retired: Funerals are high-stress events. I give credit to clergy and funeral directors who work so hard to try to keep the peace.

The letter from “MOB” really worried me. This Momzilla described her daughter’s very controllin­g fiancé. Her daughter is headed for real trouble if this wedding is allowed to take place.

Dear Amy:

“MOB” was a self-described “Momzilla” who also seemed extremely controllin­g. But no one (aside from the couple) can prevent a wedding from taking place.

Dear Worried:

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