Code Phrases And Cauliflower

Before I begin, I’d like to note that I generally don’t criticize a man who’s washing dishes. I believe the correct response to a dishcloth-wielding male is a sincere ‘thank you’, possibly combined with hugs, kisses, ear-nibbling, and/or some friendly groping. (An aside to my dinner guests: This is why we turn down your offers to help with the dishes. It’s just one more little way we ensure we’ll still be friends when the evening’s over.)

But there are exceptions to every rule. (Okay, not to every rule. There are no exceptions to the “Don’t grope the guests” rule. It’s safe to visit us, I promise.)


A few evenings ago I watched the dishwater turn orange while Hubby scrubbed a pot with a steel-wool pad so rusty it looked like Ronald McDonald’s hair, and this conversation took place:

Me: “Maybe it’s time to either pull off the rusty part or throw the whole thing away.”

Hubby: “It looks okay to me.”

Me: “Let me put this another way: Don’t use that thing on my pots!”

And that got me thinking about the subtle little code phrases that develop in marriages. For example:

Me: “Do you want some of this (food item)?”

Hubby: “I’ll have some later.” Translation: “I will never eat that. I will continue to say I’ll eat it ‘later’ until it grows legs and walks itself to the garbage.”


Me: “Were you using the (whatever tool I’m currently looking for)? Do you know where it might be?” Translation: “Goddammit, I can’t find the goddamn tool that I know I put away the last time I used it! Stop stealing my goddamn tools, goddammit!” (Yes, I’m a writer. You can tell by my extensive vocabulary.)


Either of us: “What’s that smell?” Translation: “Did you fart, or is it time to search the fridge for rotting cauliflower again?”

Yes, there’s a story behind that.

One day Hubby and I were in the kitchen making lunch, and I smelled something.  Something vile.  Something remarkably reminiscent of gasses better released in other, more private areas of the house where food is not being prepared.

But I didn’t say anything. I mean, sooner or later we all let one slip, right?

But it happened again. Then again.  At last I demanded, “Did you fart?”

Hubby denied it. He thought I’d been dropping silent-but-deadlies the whole time.

We agreed that something must be rotting in the fridge, but we both dug through it and found nothing that should be emitting that stink. So I tore the fridge apart, washed the shelves and crisper drawers, and checked the drain pan underneath to make sure nothing hideous was growing in there.

Nada. But the smell persisted.

After several days of futile searching, Hubby finally traced the offending vapours to a glass container containing raw cauliflower. It had a locked-tight lid with a silicone seal and the cauliflower looked fine inside, which was why we’d missed it in our previous purges. But the stench was so fearsome it had come right through the sealed lid. Yikes.

The whole episode reminded me of a long-ago friend’s father when he encountered his wife’s er… effluvium. He sucked in a deep breath and then boomed in the heartiest of tones, “Well, hello, cabbage-ass!”

Yep, he was a master of subtle code.

Any code phrases or tales of festering cruciferae in your household?

* * *

P.S. Cool news:  I did a promo with Bookbub over the weekend, and Never Say Spy hit #1 on the Kindle Free Bestsellers list.  For a short time it was the best-selling book in the entire Kindle free store, fiction or non-fiction.  Of course, it was only my fifteen minutes of fame and it had dropped by the next day, but it’s still #1 in Women Sleuths. The best it had ever done before was #9, so I’m pumped!  Woohoo!  😀

NSS #1 in all Kindle ebooks

My fifteen minutes of fame


44 thoughts on “Code Phrases And Cauliflower

  1. Pingback: Are Sea-Monkeys Better Than Your Extended Family? | idiotprufs

  2. I’ve been chuckling throughout the time it has taken me to read this post and related comments. Thanks Diane for the laughs, you can’t have too many fart posts, since nothing is funnier.
    My parents tried to pretend that farts didn’t happen at all; the auditory style left uncommented upon, sans apology or accusations. We had no pets to cast blame upon and it would be years before any of us were to learn about barking spiders. When my younger sister was a grade school kid, she managed to somehow convince our youngest brother that “Girls don’t fart.”
    There was plenty of evidence to the contrary due to a bit of post-supper torture we were subjected to entitled, Family Devotions. This involved a reading of a chapter from the Bible, a brief one-sided “discussion” of the chapter, and then we all got on our knees supporting our upper torsos on the seats of our chairs. This pose allowed a re-experience of older odors drifting up out of the upholstery along with the opposing pressures of the big meal fighting against the added pressure on the lower abdomen. The results were far from silent. When the inevitable occurred to either gender, eventually someone would explode from the effort of containing their giggles. Add to this the embarrassment of the faces of your friends squashed against the windows checking out the bazaar ritual taking place within, along with their hopes that their silent presence might bring a swifter conclusion to the affair and allow us to all enjoy a few more minutes of playtime outdoors.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve been LMAO all the way through this post and through all the comments. Farts ARE the funniest things. In my family they weren’t acknowledged, commented on, apologized for, nor accused over. We had no pets to blame and it was years later that I learned about barking spiders. My younger sister somehow managed to convince our baby brother that, contrary to all evidence, “girls don’t fart”. Mind you, every night after dinner we were subjected to a special torture entitled “Family Devotions.” This included a reading of a chapter of the Bible, and possibly a brief one-sided “discussion” of the chapter, and worst of all, we were forced to kneel on the dining room floor, our upper torsos supported by the seat of our chairs while we all had our turn at praying aloud. This position allowed re-experiences of past farts trapped in the upholstery, as well as compression of the lower abdomen forcing very audible results from both genders present. It was so funny. Our friends would have their noses squashed to the windows checking out our rituals hoping to spur a shortening of the process so we could join them outdoors for the last bit of play for the day. One of our elders would release a trumpet blast and the youngest kids would eventually explode from trying to keep from laughing.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ah. The rotting vegetable smell. Unique. Yet fart-like at the same time. I had to dispose of some decomposed carrots once; so decomposed in fact they’d turned to water in parts. Pungent carrot juice dripped everywhere, and the smell lingered for days. Gah!
    Great news on getting the number one spot, Diane! That’s something to boast about, no matter how long you’re there for!


          • I’ve always been told, by “experts” no less, that those veggies are good for you. Really? I do happen to like Broccoli, covered with cheese and lots of spices. Cabbage can only be done to my satisfaction, one way. Broken up, nuked to oblivion, steamed out, mashed with lots of spices, a little cream, butter, olive oil, a dash or two of red pepper and placed on the table. After the meal it gets wrapped in sufficient paper to hide it and placed in a plastic bag and then into the garbage can, away from the house. I’ve even seen a possum sniffing around the can and then backing away! Yay! No one eats it but I can at least say I tried.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Makes perfect sense. My dad only quit two things in his whole life. Smoking and trying to make me eat boiled broccoli. The second time I blew chunks on the supper table finally did it for him. I was probably five or six at the time. Thirty or so years later, I found I actually like raw cauliflower and broccoli in salads and such. But the merest whiff of either while cooked or cooking, and I’m outta here. Eww. That stuff is just NASTY.

            Liked by 1 person

            • You’ve gotta respect a vegetable that will even drive off a possum. I actually like all of the cruciferae family, but I’m pretty sure I’m alone in that. Even my father, who would eat just about anything and (I thought) would never stoop to vulgarity, secretly observed to my stepmom that “cauliflower is only good for farts”. She didn’t tell me until years after he died, and we still laugh about it to this day.

              Liked by 1 person

  5. Woo-hoo! Congrats on your fifteen minutes! And thank goodness for screenshots, so really it’s forever. 🙂

    As for cruciferous emissions … the dog and cats are long gone, so we have no one to blame but ourselves. Fortunately, we tend to find farts hilarious. (Well, privately. We try to hold back the, um, comedy in public.

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL! Yes, it’s amazing how many people fail to see the humour, although it would be fun if everybody took their filters off for a day. We’d probably find a lot of people snickering behind their disapproving facades. At least I’d like to think so… 😉

      Liked by 2 people

  6. P.S. Congrats on the Kindle ranking! I don’t want to take ALL the credit for it as you sort of helped (you know, by actually writing it), but people watch what I read and they know if I read it it has to be awesome. You can thank me at your leisure. Remember your marketing plan. The first one is free and sucks ’em in like an octopus. You got me that way. 🙂
    Seriously, Congrats! That is so well deserved!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. WooHoo indeed for that ranking on the Kindle list!

    We found – the hard way – that Brussel sprouts also leave an unpleasant refrigerator smell even when bagged. Which brings me to the concern that many of your posts are centered around farts or farting or farting smells. Of course this comes from someone whose number one search term to find his blog was ‘sex with animals’ so let’s forget that I brought up the subject.

    …and, no, that wasn’t me who left the unpleasant mystery smell in your refrigerator.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Uh-huh. That’s what they all say. And you’re right, I do seem to have been leaning heavily toward fart themes lately. Hmmm. Maybe I should make a change and follow your example – I haven’t written any blog posts referring to sex with animals… yet… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    • Um, I dunno… define “safe”. 😉 glbryant is a guy, and he still seems relatively undamaged by the experience. Actually, lots of guys read my books. They seem under-represented here on the website, but if the proportion of private email I get is any indication, I’d say probably 25% to 30% of my readers are male. But I still don’t guarantee your safety.

      Liked by 1 person

    • A word to the wise. Approach Diane’s work with caution. Sneak up on it carefully. Then scream like a banshee, and do an atomic belly flop right into the middle of it. Then read till your eyeballs explode, cuz you won’t be able to put it down.

      Go ahead. Just pile right on in. You won’t regret it.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I can top that, cauliflower-wise! we put a bowl of cauliflower in the microwave to re-heat it, then forgot it was there, and then went on vacation for a couple of weeks. When we came back — you can figure out how the house smelled. My uber-clean neighbor had been bringing in the mail for us, and I can only imagine what she must have been thinking about our housekeeping!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thanks for the mid-day laugh!! I think my husband and I have the same codes, especially about missing tools! However, since we’ve been married 20 years something must be going right so I guess it works!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. You are hilarious! Yes marraige has its hidden lines. We’ve got somesentences down to one word and the other knows the rest of the sentence. Next we will eveolve to grunting.
    Congrats again on the book’s popularity!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Been there with the refrigerator smells. Use the same subtle codes. Learned that the hard way during the early years. That’s why there have been later years.

    That’s good news indeed about being Number One. (We, of course, already knew this. Duh.) The sudden gust of downloads means another bunch of folks who will read NEVER SAY SPY and go, “Great Perforated Bovines! What have I been missing?”

    And then they’ll search and find books two through nine, keel over from sheer delight, regain consciousness, and hit the ‘buy with one click’ button eight times in a row while congratulating themselves on the bargain they’ve just scored. Your work is ‘way under-priced, by the way.

    Trust me. I know these things. What do you think brought me to your blog after, I think, Book 5?

    That’s my story, and its sticking to me. Er, whatever. 🙂


  12. The fact you could smell the cauliflower from inside a tightly closed jar makes me wonder just what exactly it’s doing inside our intestines…

    Congrats again on the book ranking. That’s awfully sweet. Much sweeter than that cauliflower!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Excellent post. Still laughing over the “cabbage” in the air tight container. I have those and have gone through the same thing. I guess it proves that it really isn’t truly “air” tight after all.
    Hubby and I haven’t had the problem with the mystery smells. LOL We absolutely know who is at fault. It’s always the dog.
    I swear it is.
    And the #1 for Never Say Spy! You have totally earned that one. You should have #1 for many of your books, free or otherwise.
    Congrats big time.

    Liked by 1 person

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.