I can honestly say that Alpha Hubby is very good at putting the fun in dysfunctional at our house.  There are so many, many, many, many irritating  precious stories.  I want to tell this story on him because it has the longest running joke going on in our family.

When Alpha Son was 11 or so, and about a year into the marriage, we all went to a meeting in Texas and stayed in a room that came with a refrigerator.  At that time, my son was so in love with chicken strips, he ordered them everywhere we ate. 

One evening, he wasn’t able to finish his strips so he asked for a to-go box.  He lovingly put his box in the refrigerator when we got back to the hotel.  The next morning, he opened the door to the fridge to get his precious strips, and lo and behold, his chicken strips had disappeared.

It is hard to describe the look of agony and betrayal on Alpha Son’s face when he discovered his dad had eaten his chicken strips.  You know how it is, your mouth all set to eat something you wanted and it’s … gone.

Now Alpha Hubby felt badly (at least I THINK he did – that smile has a kind of a “heh heh heh” look about it) because he just didn’t understand the concept of leftovers at the time.  He hates leftovers and he hates taking food home from a restaurant; he’d prefer to just leave it on the plate. 

In eating those chicken strips, well, to his Engineering mind, he’d done nothing wrong.  I know, I know – it IS hard to believe such an intelligent man thought that when dealing with an 11 year old.  What can I say? It was a shocking revelation to me, too, and a sign the honeymoon bubble might be losing its air (it wasn’t).

BUT to save the day he immediately invented the “3-Minute Rule.”  He explained to Alpha Son that the 3-Minute Rule had kicked in.  The rule states that any food left alone for three minutes became the property of anyone who comes across it sitting there.   Alpha Son looked at me.  I looked at the ceiling, the wall, the floor, anywhere but into those innocent eyes.

That rule created a heated discussion and much laughter that day. 

Silly I know, but in that one little moment of brilliance – inventing the 3-Minute Rule – was the basis of much joy and laughter throughout the rest of Alpha Son’s time living at home.  Of course it was also the basis of many loud vocal, “You ate my WHAT?  I wasn’t finished with it yet. I can’t believe you did that.  You KNOW I planned to eat it. I can’t BELIEVE you did that! Don’t EVEN give me that stupid 3-Minute Rule garbage buster!” (That’s my voice there)

Today, years later, Alpha Son STILL talks about those chicken strips.  Over the years he has managed to get even a few times, but never in the food area.  Alpha Hubby is still too wily to be caught out.

What could have just been a few moments of hurt feelings ended up being a memory implant into all of our lives.  And it has taught me to be sneakier about where I store food I want to eat later.

The moment the 3-Minute Rule was invented, a precedence was set in our family that what you don’t laugh at… can get you hurt, badly.  Just wait until I tell you about the time Alpha Hubby told me Jesus ate my cashews.  Yes, he really did have the nerve to tell me that!  But that’s for another time.

Got any dys-funk-tional stories in your family?