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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Stuff Married People Fight About: the Butter Bell

Such an innocent little butter bell.

The hubs bought a butter bell a couple of years ago, after we saw one at a friend’s house. It’s a clever little gizmo. You pack a stick of butter inside one cup, then turn that cup upside down in a larger cup that contains a bit of water. The water keeps air out which helps the butter stay fresh longer at room temperature, so you don’t have to hacksaw your way through a refrigerated block of cold, hard Land O’ Lakes, then watch it shred your Wonder Bread as you try in vain to smear it around.
Nifty swifty, right?
And I’m kidding about the Wonder Bread. I buy 27-Grain Whole-Wheat Meta-Fiber Gut-Buster bread, because it’s better for you and it lasts longer. The heel of a loaf I bought in 2004 is still waiting on the top shelf of the fridge for someone to make a sandwich—or a hockey puck—out of it.
But back to the butter.
From time to time when someone lifts the inverted butter bell out of the water cup, the knob of butter slides out into the water.
This is always and ever my fault, because I am the keeper and the replacer of the butter, as I am with all things in the kitchen. Somehow, despite the fact that I don’t like to cook, and I never wanted to be a cook or a nanny or a housekeeper, I have become all three and am living the life of June Cleaver without the pearls or the 1952 Chevy Styleline Deluxe or the children who say “Yes, Ma’am” and mind the first time you tell them something.
“The reason the butter slides out,” Hubs explains, slower and with more precise enunciation each time, “is that it’s not packed in well enough. If there are air pockets between the butter and the wall of the butter bell, it will not work properly.”
(Ah. This must be mansplaining.)
“The reason the butter slid out,” I womansplained the last time it happened, “is because it’s one hundred and two degrees outside with ninety-eight percent humidity.”
“The house is air-conditioned,” he countered.
“Then why am I—a pasty-faced white woman with mildly curly hair—sporting an afro right now?”
“I don’t know. Maybe you need a haircut.”
I gauged the distance between my left hand and the knife block. Buddy, maybe you need a—
Take a breath, girl. Take a breath.
When I wed Prince Charming, I did not expect so many of our conversations to involve physics/chemistry/mathematics assertions and counterarguments. The electrical engineer has an enormous advantage over this English-psychology-education major. And he knows it.
God in Heaven, how did the two of us ever even find each other, much less marry?
“It’s hot!” I argue. “Things—like butter—melt when they are hot!”
“This is not a thermodynamics issue,” he insists.
“I believe it is, however, a coefficient of friction issue.”
He snorts. (He snorts?!?) “No, it isn’t. It’s a vacuum issue. And do you even know the coefficient of friction between butter and ceramic?”
Oh-ho. I know there’s not going to be any “coefficient of friction” between the two of us any time in the foreseeable future, my friend.
We have not yet resolved the ongoing butter-bell contretemps. When the butter slides out now we just look at each other:
Go ahead. Say something. Make my day, punk.
The other night he reached over to turn off the lamp on his nightstand, then took a breath.
“Don’t say ‘butter bell’,” I warned him.
“I’m just saying that if you’d pack the butter in better—”
“I swear on the grave of my grandmother, I will punch you in the throat if you say ‘butter bell’.”
Long silence in the dark.
Hubs breathes in. “I’m just saying.”
“Well, don’t.”
More silence.
Another breath from the hubs.
“Butter bell,” he says.
“I will kill you in your sleep. With the d*** butter bell.”
“I love you.”
“I love you, too.”

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  1. We have this exact same butter bell. No fights or discussions over it. Yet. But we certainly have our own "butter bells" :)) Loved reading this!

  2. I think this is one of your best. Hysterical! I agree with the comment above. Married 52 years and we still have our own "butter bells."