my ungrateful heart.

I was holding a gallon-sized ziplock bag of frozen chicken soup, standing in front of my open freezer, looking at a gallon-sized ziplock bag of frozen stroganoff and a gallon-sized bag of frozen vegetable beef stew. On the counter sat a gallon-sized ziplock bag of chili. I was struggling to have a grateful heart and it was not working.

Over Christmas break, we went up to Snowshoe Mountain, where Josh's dad rented a condo for the family. I'm no stranger to tagging along with a boyfriend on holidays. Some of them are uncomfortable, some of them are tense. This one is just pretty awesome. We go out in the morning and ski, and then come in for lunch, where Josh's step-mom has prepared us something delicious and hot and homemade. Then we go out and ski again or maybe just take a mid-afternoon nap. At night, we watch movies and play games and eat more home cooking.

Josh's step-mom, Susan, always cooks too much food. I'm not talking about the way that your Grandmother makes three biscuits for every person at Thanksgiving. I'm talking about making enough food that each person could have five meals a day and still take home a doggie bag. It's Too Much Food. Luckily, she has a strategy for getting rid of all the food that doesn't get eaten. That strategy is to give it to her step-sons.

And that's why I suddenly found myself in possession of multiple ziplock bags of frozen food. Don't get me wrong, I love free food. Don't ever offer me free food if you're only being polite, because I will take you up on it. But there just wasn't enough room for all this genuinely-offered food. I only have the small freezer that comes on top of my fridge, and I use every available inch of that. Opening the freezer is an adventure at my apartment, because not only do you not know what you're going to have to move to find the corn you're looking for, you don't know what's going to fall out the second you open the door. If you're lucky, it's the corn you're looking for. If you are unlucky, it's a whole chicken.

As I was standing, looking at the freezer with all the gallon-sized ziplock bags full of frozen food around me (and a bag of frozen corn on the floor), my grateful heart disappeared. I became angry and resentful that Susan lovingly made all this yummy food and then gave it to me. I was being inconvenienced by her poor planning. I suppose in actuality, she planned very well. She planned to give all the food to us. I began to wonder what the deal was with all the extra food and started to psychoanalyze her need to make Too Much Food. I even complained to Josh, who was not sympathetic and told me that I did not have a grateful heart. I started to resent him, too, even though he had done a good job lobbying to get the mustard (which we were actually almost out of anyway) and making his brother take the light mayonnaise (which I would never, ever use).

So I thawed those bags of food one at a time and then repackaged their contents into quart-sized bags. They fit better in the freezer and would be easy to take out and heat up for one meal for two people. I still did not have a grateful heart, but I stopped complaining and started dealing with it. Actually, I kept complaining, but I did it while I dealt with the food. Once repackaged, it all fit into the freezer, provided I close the door very quickly. I came up with some theories about why someone would feel the need to cook so much food, and I prepared myself to eat a lot of chicken soup in the next couple of months. Then I prepared myself to have to deal with this problem every time I saw Susan.

I did that by looking at freezers on craigslist. And you know, just thinking about getting a freezer made my heart feel much more grateful.

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