My husband is on another weight loss kick.  Do any of you know my husband?  He is tall, thin, and devastatingly handsome.  In fact, when we’re out in public together, I often hear middle-aged women whisper, “Who is that tall, thin, devastatingly handsome man with the frumpy blonde?”  I then have to throw my voice loudly in their direction and say, “Beat it, sister.  Find a devastatingly handsome man of your own.”  But I digress.

So if you know my devastatingly handsome husband, you also know that “slow and steady wins the race” means nothing to him.  Everything Derrick does is a) All or b) Nothing.  Either one is fine, as long as he doesn’t land somewhere in The Middle.  (I, myself, love The Middle.)  Despite my pleas for him to stop tormenting himself with unnecessary diets, he constantly insists that he needs to lose a few pounds–usually for an upcoming climb or to zap his cholesterol–and he has gotten quite creative with the ways he’s going to lose them.  He came home the other night and made an announcement over my lovingly prepared potato soup and homemade bread:

“I’m giving up flour.”

(Sigh) “What do you mean.” (Period intentional.  Really not that curious.)

“I’m not going to eat anything that has flour in it.”

Nothing with flour in it?  No bread, pasta, even tortillas?”

“Nope.  No flour at all.”

“You’ve already given up rice and potatoes.  What am I supposed to make for dinner?”


At this point, the kids began yelling at their father that giving up flour was the stupidest thing they’ve ever heard.  (Our next home evening will be on Honoring Thy Mother and Father.)  I tried to laugh the whole thing off, but was inwardly troubled by what this would do to both my grocery budget and my tri-weekly cookie baking sessions, of which Derrick has always been so supportive.  We’ve been married and making cookies for fifteen years.  What would we have to talk about now?

Derrick quickly reminded me that he has spent the last fifteen years listening to me rant about calories, fat, and the dreaded “points” in food, so couldn’t I at least support him in this?  Yes, I told him apologetically.  Of course I’ll help you subtract the staple of the western world’s diet from your own. So like the dutiful wife I am, I sat down and made a dinner menu for our family based on various red, white, and other-white meats.  I went to the store and shopped accordingly.  That was on Saturday.

Today is Sunday.  I gently asked Derrick if he would mind my making some chocolate-chip cookies for the kids, as I usually freeze them and then pull them out for their lunches throughout the week.  I was surprised when he smiled and said, “That’s fine.  Don’t adjust the family’s diet around mine.” (Right.) So I made a double batch of my trusty oatmeal chocolate chippers.  I left them on the counter to cool.

As of this post, seven of the cookies are absent from said countertop.  Gone.  The kids and I have not had a single one.

The predictable wailfest occurred later this evening as we sat on the couch together while Derrick wallowed in the aftermath of his gluttony.

Why do you do this to meee??”

“You are a grown man.  You are responsible for your own flour intake.”

“But your cookies make it so haaard!  When everyone else is eating them…”

“No one else was eating them.  Just you.”

“Yeah, but…”

“Listen, if your friends jumped off a cliff, and then ate some flour, does that mean you would do it?


“Where is your conviction?”

“In the cookie jar.”

“That is not a good place for it.”

“I know.”

“Where are you going?”

“To get more cookies.”

And thus begins the Nothing phase of Derrick’s All-or-Nothing.  I can’t pretend I’m sorry.  It’s a heckuva lot more fun than his All.

11 thoughts on “It’s like living with Karen Carpenter.

  1. I am laughing out loud right now even though I should be hanging my head in shame since I am Derrick in this scenario. I am constantly telling Jason that it is time to give up pop. He says he supports me and then what does he do? He brings home a 2 liter. When I complain about the temptation he is putting in front of me he confronts me about my lack of will power ( he believes that we can just stick to pop on the weekends…I doubt that theory works for alcoholics). Anyway, it happened again last night…he brought home a 12 pack saying he was preparing for the weekend. Well, it’s only Wednesday. I’m not sure I can make it. I feel for Derrick. We have good intentions, but our support groups suck. Don’t try to bring personal responsiblity into this. We would rather blame our spouses for all of our shortcomings. BTW, I hope you are making lots of those chippers for this weekend…it’s the weekend after all!

  2. For new readers: Derrick is known in my family by his “phases,” meaning his latest all-or-nothing stints. He’s most famous for his photography phase (that never really got started, but included multiple canisters of film sitting in our fridge for a over a year), his “i’m-gonna-build-a-kayak phase” (that never came close to getting started, seeing as we lived in a tiny apt., had no woodshop or tools, and no money), and his “lets-get-a-dog phase “(which we did, and it turned out to be a total disaster.) Jaimy, this is the best comment of all time. Poor Derrick. His life always looks so good in his head.

  3. Jaimy: Cheap shot … now you are stepping on hallowed ground. And it was a kayak btw …

  4. Lovely. Love that he gave in quickly. It could have been pure torture for everyone.

  5. Oh gosh, I love Derrick and his phases. I picture him riding in a canoe, snapping photographs with an obedient dog by his side. It’s tranquil.

  6. I love your writing Jen! You are so talented. Write for a magazine? Write a book?? Your talent should be shared!

  7. Gah! I’m totally all or nothing. My husband is just all. He’s tall and skinny and wants to lose his “belly”. I’m so glad there’s some flesh to throw my arms around! Why should I be the only one who goes all flabby and soft? He can withstand the yummiest goodies when he’s in the zone. I guess I can too, but I’m not in the zone often enough. 🙂

  8. This post has got to be one of my favorites. Tyler and I were both suffering through finals week and I kept toying around with a gluten free brownie recipe. I think he consumed a whole pan in 24 hours. He told me I am not allowed to bake during finals week; because when he is stressed and there is a pan of fresh chocolaty goodness within 5 steps of where he is studying, he has no will power.

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