Face the facts ladies. Did your husband recently forget your anniversary, birthday, holiday?

I felt I could live a fulfilled life if every holiday, etc. were recognized with at least a gift.

My husband has convinced me you do not stop breathing without one.  No one knows what a husband’s life expectancy is, however I have a feeling they get shorter with each holiday

The pressure of gift-giving releases such anxiety that some husbands produce crummy 50-cent card or perfume with the price tag still stuck on the bottom handed to you in the drug store sack.

It would be near tolerable if they would not display such a contrary opinion about the whole thing. When I declared war because he forgot to give me a gift on Mother’s Day, he quickly snapped I wasn’t his mother.

When that one time birthday came around and I desperately needed a turbo-charged sports coupe convertible, he had my wedding band enlarged.

My eyes welled with self-pity when I remembered our first Christmas together.  My stocking filled from top to bottom with white votive candles?  Huh?  The one gift under the tree was a pair of slippers size 14.  I  wear an eight.

Obviously, this man needed training in the school of gift giving to wives.  Inasmuch as I’ve tried, I have been unsuccessful, so I decided to address this issue at my all-women’s health spa.

There is a group of us that walk in the door and right past the stair steppers, bikes, weight machines (anything that makes you sweat) and into the swimming pool.

It is here that we float around on our backs in the swimming pool and count the cracks on the ceiling while we contemplate single life.

Candy, who wears a swim cap (can’t let that chlorine touch the expensive color in her hair)spoke first.  “In my house I have eased off the pressure, right before a holiday, I shop for myself and get myself a treat.”

“That is so lame,” said Sarah (the only one among us who didn’t wear a one-piece suit) “You do not command any respect that way.”

“C’mon,” I laughed. “I spend weeks shopping for holidays, preparing feasts and dropping hints.” I looked over the crowd and shrugged my shoulders.

“Hear, hear!” shouted Gail (she still wore her maternity swimsuit, her youngest is 12). “Well, I was so incensed at my husband insensitivity that I have finally done something about it.” There were laughter and much splashing from the crowd. “I made him take a compatible test in a magazine to see why we see things so differently.”

“Was that last month’s Redbook?” Jenny yelled from across the pool. She was trying to do a lap. “Hey, did you see those great recipes for soup? Talk about instant gratification, soup is like a hug for yourself.”

“Making soup is too much work!” said Candy. “I don’t like the mess of making stock.”

“No way you guys it is so easy believe me,”  I said. “Start with a base of stock or broth usually from chicken or beef. I purchase wings or backs at pennies a pound to add to the chicken scraps leftover from cutting up a whole chicken then throw these in the freezer until I have enough for stock.  Then take a large stock pot, fill it half- way with water add the frozen chicken parts.  Throw in a large onion (if you don’t peel it adds color and more onion flavor) a couple of peeled garlic cloves, the top of celery leaves and throw in carrots, a few potatoes.  I boil all of the above and reduce the heat cover the lid and simmer for an hour or so till flavors have mingled.  I let it cook then pour it through a strainer.”

“I refrigerate the strained broth until the fat hardens enough for easy removal. Then you have several cups of broth that you can freeze — an easy base for a light or rich cream soup. You know another really quick soup that kids love is to take pot roast or round steak, about the size of a saucer, cut it into bite-size pieces (easier to cut if partially frozen) put it in a pot with a little water and cook the meat.  Then to the meat add one large chopped onion, let it cook till it is soft.  Add a cup of water and bring to a boil.  Add to the boiling water one large peeled carrot and three peeled small potatoes chopped into small square shapes. When the potato is fork tender (doesn’t take too long) add one can of beef broth to the vegetables and meat and maybe a little more water; simmer for the flavors to mingle.  Serve with a salad, buttered roll makes a great lunch or supper.”

“I have a great Clam Chowder recipe,” Sarah said excitedly. “You take one or two slices of bacon cut in small bits (kitchen scissors work great) fry in a large pot.  Chop and peel a medium size onion and add to the bacon in the pot cook till soft. Drain the bacon fat. Peel and dice two medium potatoes add to the onion and bacon in the pot add two cups of water.  When potatoes are done, turn off the heat and let cool.  Pour entire mixture into a blender.  Add canned clams and clam juice and blend.  This makes a thick creamy soup with no heavy cream calories.  Return blended mixture to the pot, add two cups of milk and a cup of small baby shrimp (in a can) Heat till almost boil, but do not boil, add salt and white pepper to taste.

‘What were we talking about? That’s right, husbands…!”

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