I love my mother-in-law.
But after all, she is my mother in law.
In any case, she moved into our household a few years ago and it's been a good thing for all of us in our family.
However, she has made her presence known here in our spacious home.
This is especially true when perusing our refrigerator.
See, my mother-in-law, a widow, has a very active social life as she makes the rounds going out for lunch and the occasional dinner with her friends.
Many of them are widows also and it seems that the most popular social activity for these ladies is grabbing a bite to eat at the many hundreds of restaurants throughout Northeast Ohio.
In any case, she and her friends rarely finish the enormous portions that seem typical for eating establishments here in the USA these days.
Here's the point. Despite her very healthy appetite, my mother-in-law just can't finish these wonderful meals served up to her and her grandma friends, eating their way across the landscape as their way of keeping in touch with one another.
That means she is constantly bringing home leftovers.
Italian, Chinese, Outback, Mama Roberto's, Chipotle, Petie's Restaurant, American diner style, etc.
And the containers.
I never realized how many varieties of styrofoam and plastic containers existed in the world.
So throughout my refrigerator, space is at a premium.
Because my wife's mother can't finish a restaurant meal and her calendar keeps filling up with new dates with new opportunities to bring home a doggie bag, the contents of which she doesn't have time or opportunity to consume.
Let's be blunt about this.
We really don't have a refrigerator at our home.
It's more like a Smithsonian Institute Museum display, making record of the eating habits of the modern American socially mobile grandmother.
And now I can't find anything.
My favorite soda pop is sandwiched somewhere between Tuesday's leftover spaghetti and Wednesday's leftover burrito.
I'm trying to find the cottage cheese.
Unfortunately, it's hidden behind a stack of containers.
Three containers holding Friday's leftover fish, some type of lemon cheesecake, and the remains of a chicken salad that originally resembled Mount Vesuvius in size and shape.
If she is ever accused of murder, the police could easily re-create her whereabouts by stacking up all the containers and tracing them back to the restaurant of origin and the corresponding gray hair gatherings that became the excuse for another meal served away from home.
God bless her and all her pals reminiscing about the good old days and exchanging stories about their grandchildren.
The thing is though, I'd like to get my Frigidaire back.
With all the kids out of the house, I long for wide-open spaces where bottles of water can be chilled and maybe even some bubbly can sit there waiting for some magic moment where it can be accessory to a celebration.
So eat on m' lady and enjoy this great life that you have so richly earned.
Just stop bringing home so much dad-blasted food with your name written on the container with a sharpie.
My pride and my dignity cry out for a little space at 36 degrees Fahrenheit.
Is that too much to ask?