I don't know how he does it.
But he does.
The proof is in the finger prints.
The problem didn't start until a few years into our marriage. Probably because when we first got married we were dirt poor and didn't have the money to spend on extras. But as our financial situation strengthened, I started experimenting.
One day while grocery shopping I decided to try something bold. I bought my husband a bottle of chocolate milk. Now, before you start saying, "Big deal? Who hasn't tried chocolate milk?", I'll tell you who hadn't tried chocolate milk - my husband.
You see, Barry, (my husband) didn't grow up in the US. He is from South Africa and thus arrived in America with a completely different set of taste buds and food wants. It took quite a bit of convincing for him to try anything new - including chocolate milk.
I now look back on those simple days and think, "What kind of a monster have I created?"
It's an addiction that he must feed.
I've seen him go out in a torrential rain storm just to buy the stuff -- and I'm not just talking about little bottles, I'm talking gallons.
According to the Mayo Clinic, an addiction is, "An illness in which a person seeks and consumes a substance, such as alcohol, tobacco, chocolate milk or a drug, despite the fact that it causes harm."
Ok, I added the chocolate milk part, but not the harm.
"What's the harm in drinking chocolate milk?" I'll tell you the harm. It's stinking everywhere. If smoke gets in your eyes, then chocolate milk gets on everything else.
I have never seen anything like it.
If we use his truck to go someplace, I have to stand back when I open the door. Like Fibber McGee's closet, when you open the truck door a torrent of little plastic chocolate milk bottles comes flooding out towards you.
I can spend hours cleaning the kitchen, come back 5 minutes later, and there it is. On every surface, handle and knob. He's like a junkie who needs a fix so bad that he leaves the needle in his arm after he shoots up.
I find huge chocolate milk hand prints on the refrigerator's handle; pools of chocolate milk puddles on the floor; rivers of chocolate milk running down the front of cabinets.
We always have to have a bottle of Hershey's chocolate syrup in the house as an emergency back-up source. (This way if we run out of chocolate milk, he can improvise and make his own.)
One day after cleaning a big, sticky, chocolate mess off the counter, I rolled my neck backwards in an effort to stretch it. In doing so my eyes focused on the kitchen ceiling and my mouth dropped open in shock. Was that actually chocolate syrup on the ceiling?
I walked over and stood under the dark brown streaks of chocolate. How was this even possible?
I started walking, following the long brown lines all the way across the kitchen ceiling and down the far dining room wall. This was not a short distance. We have a very big kitchen. I was following 20 feet of chocolate stripes across my kitchen ceiling and down my dining room wall!
When pressed for an explanation, my husband confessed that in his urgency to make a glass of chocolate milk, he didn't notice the cap was not secure on the Hershey's syrup and that the bottle had felt quite empty. In an effort to force the remaining chocolate sauce from the bottom of the bottle to the top, he had held the container by the bottom and flung it as hard as he could in a big sweeping motion from over his head down towards the floor.
"I cleaned it up off the floor," he sheepishly offered. "I guess I didn't think to look at the ceiling."
Where are the Oompa Loompas when you need them?
I handed him a sponge and walked away.
Maureen Valdes Marsh is an author and former newspaper reporter. She currently writes a semi-punctual weekly column on her website called, "Musings of Vintage Grace." She is the author of the upcoming book for Collectors Press, '70s Fashion Fiascos - a polyester romp through '70s fashions", set for release Fall '06. You can read more of Maureen's writing on her website, Vintage Grace by visiting http://www.vintagegrace.com.