The Dog And The Bell And The Butler

Beware of smart dogs

House training a puppy is a lot of work. Loki is 11 weeks old. It feels like we are letting him outside constantly, but he still has a couple accidents a day. I know it is going to take time. We’re trying to be consistent as possible. Honestly, we’re just grateful he sleeps from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. without asking to go out. He is a good boy. And so very handsome. Still, I’ve been reading advice online to determine if I can help the house training process along because, as darling as kids are when they are young and energetic and funny as they experience the world through fresh eyes, every parent just wants to stop talking about pee and poop all day long.

In more than one place, I’ve seen it suggested that you attach bells to your doors to house train your dog. When you take them out, you ring the bell and then when they go potty outside you praise them like crazy. Supposedly, this teaches the puppy to associate the bell with needing to potty outside. Eventually, at some point your dog learns to ring the bell when they want to go out. It’s all very Pavlovian.

I haven’t decided how I feel about this. On the one hand, many people have said it works well, so it might be worth trying. On the other hand, I have to say that with a dog as smart as a corgi is (and man…he is smart), I fear Loki will learn that when he rings the bell, I come running. So, maybe he does learn to ring the bell to go outside, and my house training problem is solved. But then he starts ringing the bell all the time, and I become his butler, running in every time he summons me. Then I have a different problem. I’m conditioned. He’s become Pavlov, and I’ve become the dog.

I might just give him a couple more months grace period on this, time for his tiny bladder to grow while I learn to be more consistent taking him outside. That way he can remain the dog in this scenario, and I don’t start running to open a door every time a bell rings.

You Don’t Have To Let Go Of Everything At Once

Are you kidding me, Colorado?

For two decades now, we have gone to the corn maze with our sons before Halloween. It started in 2001, when we took four month old Joe to Anderson Farms. We have been when it was 80 and sunny. We have been when the temperature dropped and we were finishing the maze in the snow. We have been when we had the boys in Baby Bjorn carriers, then in wagons, and then when we raced as teams (boys versus us) to see who would emerge triumphant. It is one of the traditions we made and kept over the years. It was definitely different this year with Joe off at college, but we decided we weren’t ready to let this go.

The map Luke used

It was about 60 degrees at 10:10 a.m. when we entered the maze. The sky was full of cirrus clouds, and the leaves on the cottonwoods were amazing. Luke has a crazy good ability to read maps, so he told us we could finish both sections of the maze in 15 minutes. I told him it would take at least 30. With this challenge, he started leading us through the maze. In five minutes he had us through the smaller section of the maze. I was a little shocked. I knew he was good, but this was a little over the top. I started to suspect that this is why he and his brother have beaten us through the maze three years running. We did get close one year, but not close enough. I thought it was because Steve and I were old and slow. It was actually because Luke was Magellan in his former life.

Luke leading the way

Luke raced us through the second part of the maze. I kept complaining that although there are seven miles of paths in this maze, I was going to get in less than one mile of walking because he was so damn efficient. In the end, I wasn’t half wrong. We reached the exit for the second part of the maze at 10:36. I tried to explain to Luke that corn mazes aren’t about speed, but Luke told me I didn’t raise quitters. He thinks successfully navigating corn mazes it is about efficiency and speed. I tend to disagree. I think corn mazes are meant to be wandered through in awe, with a plan of escaping at some point but not until you’ve sucked every last bit of glory out of fall before dreaded winter arrives. But I was not going to complain about our difference of opinion because any time with our high school senior is a good thing.

I think that when both boys are gone next year, Steve and I will still work to keep this tradition alive, even if it is just the two of us. I can’t see giving this up. At its worst, it’s a cold, wet day in a muddy cornfield. At its best, it’s a beautiful morning walk in nature under a glorious fall sky.

You can’t keep your kids from growing up and leaving you, but you can keep some things in tact so that if they ever return (maybe with their own children) they know where to find you.

Thing Two and I

Playing With The Big Dogs Now

Loki and Teddy – fence friends

Our sweet puppy, Loki, is not-quite-so-little-anymore. He’s 11 weeks old now and has gained almost four pounds since his Fetcha Day four weeks ago. His front paws seem huge, his eyes are darker, and his markings are becoming more pronounced, He has met our neighbor dogs to the south, a golden retriever named Sawyer and his buddy Teddy, a yellow lab. He has zero fear of these dogs who are about 75 pounds heavier than he is. He stands at the fence on his hind legs with his nose to his new friends. He can’t wait to play with them. The neighbor dogs to our north, a Wheaton terrier named Finn and a chocolate-colored schnauzer named Chewie, Loki is not so sure about. They scared him the other day by sneaking up to the fence and barking at him while he was peeing. Loki stopped mid-stream and tore off towards our front door, not looking back but barking complaints the entire way.

Today was Loki’s first opportunity for play time with other dogs. We’d been waiting to take him until we were certain his vaccinations were on track. At his first visit to his new vet on Thursday, he got the necessary shots so we enrolled him in an hour long Playful Pup socialization class in Denver. When we arrived, there was already one dog there, a much larger mixed breed named Vaquita. Not long after we entered, a cattle dog mix named Pablo arrived. There were just three dogs in class today, and six nervous parents hoping their fur babies would play nice. The other dogs dwarfed Loki, but it was obvious from the start that Loki was the least fearful.

Loki and Pablo playing

The dog trainer allowed the two larger, more fearful dogs to meet and figure out their dynamics first, while Loki watched from a safe distance behind a wire gate. Pablo and Vaquita were tense around each other. Their hackles were slightly raised and there was some doggy trash talking and flashing of pearly whites. Steve and I stood there wondering what the hell we had gotten our little guy into. After a while, Pablo and Vaquita began taking breaks from their interactions. The trainer had assessed that Pablo would be a better first meet-up for Loki, so Pablo was allowed into the gated area with Loki. Loki was eager to see what this bigger dog was all about, and Pablo was eager to prove he was the bigger dog. The early doggy tussles had Pablo in the lead, but as the minutes wore on we began to see Loki figuring out how to use his diminutive size to his advantage in play. Pablo and Loki played amicably but vigorously for about 10 minutes until both of them were dog tired. When Vaquita was reintroduced into the mixture, Pablo became protective of Loki. He clearly liked his new playmate and was not keen to share. Loki, for his part, seemed like he could use a nap. Vaquita got a bit aggressive with our tired pup, and Loki did something we hadn’t seen him do before. He scrunched up his puppy nose and bared those piranha teeth to let Vaquita know he was D-O-N-E. The trainer told us Loki had done a great job at his first play date and had earned some rest. So, we said our goodbyes and took our baby home.

Loki don’t play that

I have to hand it to the trainer. She had her hands full today with two larger, more fearful puppies and one tiny, scrappy guy who had been itching for a play opportunity. She didn’t just carefully monitor the puppy language; she also watched the anxious parents who were simultaneously fearful for their babies and fearful their babies might hurt someone else’s baby. She took care of all nine of us without blinking an eye. And I left Loki’s first puppy class feeling both proud of Loki for being a typical, assertive Corgi despite his size and proud of Steve and I for not freaking out when the bigger dogs got a little riled up around our 9 pound boy.

All in all, the day was a great success. We’d started Loki on the path to being a good dog citizen and we’d learned to relax a little about dog interactions ourselves. It’s hard for people who are conflict averse to watch discord, even puppy discord, without feeling uncomfortable. I think we learned as much today as Loki did. And we’re ready to sign him up for another socialization session, which means all three of us grew today and will grow more soon.

Our good boy

Of Geeks, Nerds, And Dorks

Dune by Frank Herbert is Thing Two’s favorite book. And he has read a lot of books. He counts Don Quixote, all 800+ pages of it, another of his favorites. When he saw they were making another movie about Dune, he was excited. He has waited a long time for this. He was worried that the film maker wouldn’t do the book justice. But, he wanted to share his love of this story with us, so in preparation for watching the film he made us a four-page synopsis and outline about the novel, the characters, the major themes, and the family houses. We watched part of the film last night and then finished it tonight, so he had time to pause the movie and tell us what was important to note and to explain things we were confused about. He is a science-fiction geek, who is obsessed with world building, Star Wars, and Legos. He is also a science, history, reading nerd who loves ships.

Some people raise jocks. Some people parent musicians, dancers, and artists. Some people parent popular kids. We reared two sons who are nerdy, geeky, dorks. And we couldn’t be happier about it. They have expanded our world.

Chuck and Beans explain the difference between geeks, nerds, and dorks

Out Of The Ashes, New Growth

It occurred to me today that I have next to no memories of the day I graduated from college. I have a fuzzy recollection of lining up to head into the arena where the ceremony was held. I have another vague memory of sitting with friends, but that memory is based solely around photos I took that day. I don’t actually remember sitting with my friends or taking photos. I can’t tell you which of my family members were there. My parents were recently divorced. My sisters were 20 and 17. I don’t know if we celebrated with dinner somewhere or if I spent time with friends and their families or if I spent the day with my boyfriend. It strikes me as odd, though, that there are no clear or warm memories of that day for me. It seems like the kind of day that many people might remember. An auspicious occasion. I was the first in our family to graduate from a four-year college. It feels like it passed as more or less an ordinary day.

My husband remembers his graduation day. His mom and dad hosted a graduation breakfast for him and his friends. It was near Christmas and his birthday, so his mom had a Santa come to the breakfast. After the ceremony, his parents hosted Steve and some of his friends at a graduation lunch at their favorite college restaurant, the Rio Grande, known for their potent margaritas (limit 3 per customer). At the lunch, his mom had a clown arrive with balloons. Later, a belly dancer showed up and performed three songs for him in the crowded restaurant. He has told me he wished it had only been two songs (enough for his mom to get her money’s worth), though, because three was a bit much. Still, his accomplishment was celebrated and cemented with specific events that he carries with him and always will. It was a fun day for him.

Today we were at Luke’s last cross-country event of the season. There were some teenagers walking near us. One of them, noticing all the parents at this meet at one p.m. on a Thursday afternoon, remarked to his friends, “I wish I had a supportive family.” That comment struck me. I told Steve that young man has a gift he doesn’t realize is a gift. He has self-awareness at a young age. I didn’t realize until my mid forties that I didn’t have a supportive family when I was growing up, at least not supportive parents, to be sure. If you are young when you realize you don’t have a supportive family, you can work to piece together a supportive family of your choosing. You can work to change your narrative for more of your life.

I have done a lot of work trying to piece together memories from the first eighteen years of my life. I don’t have many, but the ones that stick with me and have to do with my parents are predominantly negative. I do have positive memories of my life growing up, but those have to do with friends or my accomplishments. My fondest wish as a parent was to create positive memories with our sons that they would have with them their whole lives. I hope someday they will remember their birthdays, graduations, and other important milestones. I hope they will also benefit from the little things, like dinner as a family every night and deep conversations on long car rides. I hope they will look back and not just know they had a supportive family, but feel the power of that support each and every minute. Moreover, I wish every child had a loving, supportive family because every child should travel through life with at least that.

“Never underestimate a cycle breaker. Not only did they experience years of generational trauma, but they stood in the face of this trauma and fought to say ‘This ends with me.’ This is brave. This is powerful. This comes at significant cost. Never underestimate a cycle breaker.” ~Author Unknown

“You are not the darkness you endured. You are the light that refused to surrender.” ~John Mark Green

Turns Out Dr. Spock Was Right

“Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do.” ~Dr. Benjamin Spock

Two little bears and one mama bear

Today I was thinking about the times in my twenty years as a parent when I was brave enough to follow my gut, to speak up for my children, to make the right choices for them in the face of opposition from medical professionals, family members, friends, and even random strangers who couldn’t keep from speaking up about something they knew nothing about and that was none of their business. Sometimes I made these bold moves with my voice shaking. Sometimes I made them unconsciously, simply changing a behavior without considering why I had. No matter how I managed to summon the courage in those situations, though, I trusted myself. And, as it turns out, I intuitively knew a lot more than I thought I did.

When most kids their age were starting first grade, I thought it wise to keep both our boys back a year and give them a second kindergarten experience. I simply didn’t feel they were ready. I just kept thinking that an extra year to be a child, to build basic skills, could never be a bad thing. It was odd watching boys they knew from playgroup jump ahead of them in school. It was odder still when boys who were younger than they were suddenly were in the same grade. In the end, both boys ended up being diagnosed with learning disabilities, and the extra year allowed them to fit in with their fellow students until we figured out what they needed. If they had gone to school “on time” with other children their age, they would not have been able to keep up. They weren’t ready then. Neither boy has suffered for the extra time we suggested they take to get to where they needed to be.

When Joe was 7 and finishing first grade, I remember him crying and telling me he didn’t want to go to second grade. He hated school. He actually said to me, “I’m the dumbest person in my class” (that story here). That broke my heart because 1) I knew he was not dumb at all and 2) how do you fix the shattered self-esteem of a 7 year old? So, I went out on a limb and took him to Children’s Hospital in Denver to be evaluated for ADD after Joe’s occupational therapist suggested it. It took less than an hour spent with two child psychologists and one child psychiatrist before they took me aside and told me they were positive Joe had ADHD. They suggested trying him on a low dosage of Concerta, the slow-release version of Ritalin. Joe and I agreed he should try it. Several friends thought I was crazy. How could I put my young son on a Schedule II drug? Three days after he started on it, Joe, then 8, told me he finally felt like himself. That medication changed the trajectory of his life. It allowed him to focus at school, to trust himself, to make good decisions, to grow his self-esteem. It allowed him to graduate high school with a 3.8 GPA and gave him the opportunity to be accepted at a well-respected, private liberal arts college. He and I have zero regrets about this decision.

When I told Joe’s pediatrician at his next appointment about his new prescription, he read me the riot act for not consulting him first. Didn’t I know that he could have evaluated Joe? Why wouldn’t I consult him first? He was his doctor, after all. I looked that doctor square in the face and, with a voice rising from somewhere in my gut I did not know I had, told him, “Yes. You are his doctor. You should have diagnosed this already based on all your visits with him and all the forms we filled out for you and the tests you yourself gave him in your office.” He huffed out of the room. Joe was horrified. I told him everything would be fine, and we would be finding another doctor. Ten minutes later, to his credit, the doctor returned with Joe’s chart and admitted he should have caught it. We found another pediatrician anyway.

The next pediatrician came recommended to us by a couple friends as well as Luke’s dyslexia tutor who knew him personally. The boys were at that office for six years. During that time, they became teenagers. When the doctor conducted his physical exams of the boys, I stayed in the room. I never allowed them to be alone with the doctor during the physical exam when they were undressed, even though they might have felt it invaded their privacy. To combat that, I would turn to face the wall when the doctor checked their genitalia. My main reason for remaining in the room was that the boys were not great at sharing information, and I didn’t want to miss out on what the doctor was saying or finding. My secondary reason was that when I would ask the boys on the way into the office if they wanted me to stay in the room, they always did. I knew it made me seem like a meddling, overprotective, helicopter parent. I did not care. As it turned out, that doctor was one day no longer at the practice. He was being investigated regarding claims made by other parents of inappropriate sexual touching during exams. We dodged a bullet because I stuck with my gut.

If you are a new parent, a soon-to-be parent, or a parent who is constantly questioning your decisions about your children in the present moment, I’m here to tell you that what Dr. Spock said is true. Trust yourself. Trust your intuition. No one knows your child as well as you do. Listen to them. Listen to your heart. Meet them where they are and not where you hoped or wanted them to be. And then do whatever the damn hell you want to raise your child(ren) the way that makes the most sense for your family. Ignore the naysayers, the comment makers, and the nosey Bakers. You know more than you think you do, even when you aren’t aware of it.

My pride and joy…both of them

The One Where I Go Bananas

A few days ago, I was bemoaning my grocery shopping problem, namely that I go grocery shopping about four days a week. There are many reasons why this happens: my family eats a ton, my family doesn’t remind me about what they are out of, my family eats the food I buy for myself because of my food allergies, and/or my family decides they don’t like what I’ve bought. It’s maddening.

Tonight I went to make a late evening bowl of cereal. This is something I’ve started doing recently because I’ve mostly sworn off sugar, but a little bowl of Rice Chex with oat milk and a half of a banana seems like a treat when I am craving something sweet. I went to grab the cereal out of the pantry and noticed someone had finished off what was in the cereal container. No worries. I had purchased more in anticipation of that. So, I pulled down the new box, got a bowl, and walked to where we keep the counter produce to fetch myself a half of a banana. In a fit of optimism yesterday, I bought eight bananas. I never do this because we like our bananas on the less ripe side and usually if I buy more than three bananas I end up having to make damn banana bread because the stupid things turn brown before anyone eats them. But, I bought eight, gave two to my mother-in-law for her downstairs apartment, and kept six for Luke, Steve, and I. Imagine my shock when I go to the bowl today and find this:

What the what?

So, I had to go on a hunt to figure out who inhaled five freaking bananas since my shopping trip yesterday at 1 p.m. Steve said he had one for cereal. That meant Luke ate four bananas in 31 hours.

Me: How on earth did you eat four bananas? FOUR.

Luke: Well, I think I ate three yesterday.

Me: Why? Why would you do that?

Luke: Well, my joints have been hurting because of cross-country, and I heard potassium helps with that.

Me: And the other banana? Where did that one go?

Luke: I made a smoothie today.

Me: Seriously, Luke? I mean, it’s great that you’re eating something healthy instead of cookies, but I need you guys to do me a favor. When you are in a banana place, please say so. Then I can buy more the first time.

Luke: What can I say? The line between self-care and self-destruction is often very thin.

No arguing with that comment.

So, it looks like I will be going back to the grocery store tomorrow because Luke is eating all the bananas for my cereal and Steve has suddenly decided to eat a honeycrisp apple with his lunch (previously I was the only one eating an apple a day) and he’s putting my oat milk into his afternoon lattes. If I hit the grocery store on Monday and then again on Wednesday, maybe I can manage to make it to Friday before the next trip? And if all goes well, perhaps I can cut from four grocery trips this week to three. That’s something, right?

Keeping up with these monkeys is a bunch of work.

Baggy Clothes, A Shopping Cart, A Pink Blanket

Photo by Matt Collamer on Unsplash

This morning I was driving near our last home in Denver when I had the opportunity to watch a homeless man, probably in his late 50s or early 60s, pushing a shopping cart half full with whatever worldly possessions he has now. He was moving quite slowly in clothes that were far too baggy for his frame. He had a light pink blanket hanging loosely over his shoulders for warmth. I passed him as I was on my way to drop off something at my sister’s house. On my way back towards the highway, I caught sight of him again down the road. I found myself wondering about him. Wondering how he got to be where he was. Wondering if he had family somewhere who had lost track of him. Wondering where he was heading and where he would sleep tonight. Wondering how long he had been a lost member of our society.

As I pulled onto the highway headed home, I thought about my current first world problems. I needed to purchase some duvet covers for new down duvets we recently bought. I needed to research puppy training for our new furry friend. I needed to figure out dinners for this week. Not one of these concerns of mine are anything other than intellectual. We can afford to take care of all three of the chores that were occupying my mind before I spied that man. My “worries” aren’t really worries at all, at least not in the same sense as a homeless individual. I have shelter, food, water, health care, warm clothing, and companionship. I’m rich in more ways than money.

There is a large homeless population in Denver. It’s unusual for me to go a day without seeing a person who is living without proper shelter and food. I often see homeless encampments or homeless individuals standing with signs on street corners or highway on/off ramps. I don’t have any idea how to help these disenfranchised, visibly invisible Americans. I donate clothes to homeless shelters. I hand out cash when I run across a person with a sign, hoping my assistance will provide some measure of comfort for them. I volunteer at organizations that seek to lessen the suffering of those who are without food and shelter security. But, at the end of the day, my efforts are barely a rain drop in a flood. All I keep thinking is how sad it is that, as the wealthy nation we are, we don’t do better for the people among us who struggle. We make no allowances for the unfortunate events in life that can leave a person without basic necessities. We can’t be bothered to care.

Call me whatever you want. Call me a bleeding heart. Call me a raging socialist. Call me a hypocrite in my lovely suburban home. Perhaps I am all those things. I don’t care. At the end of the day, I can’t help but feel we can do better, show more compassion, use some of our country’s wealth for the good of our people. If feeling this way makes me too sensitive and weak, a “snowflake” if you prefer, I’ll own it because I can’t understand why we won’t do better. And if you find yourself at church every Sunday and you still believe that those who suffer from homelessness or poverty simply need to do better for themselves, then it seems to me church is not helping you and you’ve not learned much from your holy texts. Look inside yourself and try to find your compassion, and then ask yourself why it is okay to malign those who struggle. Ask yourself how you would feel if your father, mother, brother, sister, child, or even you were in the same situation as the man I saw with the pink blanket today. Homelessness is not a Democrat or Republican issue. It’s a human issue.

“It’s all right to tell a man to lift himself by his own bootstraps, but it is cruel jest to say to a bootless man that he ought to lift himself by his own bootstraps.” ~Martin Luther King Jr.

We can do better. We should do better. Anything less makes the United States far less great than we believe we are. It’s not the homeless who need to do more to change things for the better. It’s those of us with boots.

Get Off My Lawn

I pay attention to dreams. I believe that, at least in part, your dreams are meant to help you work through issues you are struggling with in your waking life. I do remember most of my dreams when I wake, if only for a little while. Sometimes, though, they are odd enough and vivid enough that I find myself telling someone about them. Those dreams often come on nights when I take a melatonin or Benadryl before heading to bed.

Last night’s dream started out normal enough. Steve and I were returning home after a trip. It wasn’t the home we live in now, but it was supposed to be. This house was an older, two-story Craftsman-style home, that had been renovated inside but still retained its period charm. At any rate, we recognized it as home and were glad to be there. I carried some of my bags upstairs and grabbed the knob on the bedroom door. It turned, but as I pushed the door to open it, I felt resistance. Someone was on the other side blocking me from going in. I put the bags down and pushed again. It gave enough for me to see that there were people inside the room. Rather than being frightened by this, I was puzzled. I pushed again, and the door opened enough that I was able to recognize one of the individuals as a former owner. I also noticed that none of our belongings were in the room. The room had been returned to the way it looked when we toured it, complete with their bed, dressers, lamps, and knick knacks. What the hell?

“What are you doing in our bedroom?” I asked, more annoyed than concerned.

“We decided we want our house back,” came their reply. “You can’t live here anymore.”

“Ummm….we own this house now,” I said firmly. “You need to get out or I will call the police.”

“We never wanted to leave this house,” they said. “You tricked us into selling it and now we are taking it back.”

At this point, it occurred to me that I needed to get Steve. I walked down the stairs and told him to come up. I turned the handle again, and this time they let us both in. We had a back-and-forth conversation that went much like the previous one, but at least now Steve was up to speed. I was getting quite angry at them for being in our house. I mean, we’d been paying the bills and the taxes and who the hell were they to just say we couldn’t be here anymore? This was our damn house. I escalated to threats.

“You need to get out or I am going to start moving you out myself. It would be a shame if I dropped this,” I said, picking up a Lladro figurine of a woman in fancy dress.

“Go ahead and drop it,” the previous owner said. “We’ll just add it to the lawsuit we’re filing against you.”

“You can’t sue us. We own the house. You sold it to us. The title is in our name, and your signatures are on file.”

He said, “We never wanted to sell. You tricked us.”

“That is not how it happened. We told you we liked your house and asked if you would sell. We told you to name your price. You did, and we paid it and the sale went through.”

“We want it back. We’re not leaving.”

At this point, Steve and I looked at each other and then walked downstairs, completely perplexed about what to do with the squatters in our bedroom. I suggested we call our realtor, Andy, as back up. We did and went outside to wait for him.

When he got out of his car, he was on the phone. Realtors are always on their phones. He ended his call, and we told him what was going on.

“So, what do we do now?” I inquired.

“I have no idea,” he said, sounding as confused as we felt. “I’ve never had something like this happen before.”

I told him he had better figure it out. What the hell do you do when someone who used to own your space has moved back in without violence? It was a conundrum, but I had no doubt they did not belong there and must go.

About that time, I woke up. I told Steve about my crazy dream, not really thinking about what it meant. A couple hours later, though, it came to me. Yesterday, I was talking to Steve about how I am feeling more powerful and capable of standing up for myself and making my choices from a place of what I want, rather than what is convenient for or desired by someone else. This dream is a perfect representation of that. I wasn’t afraid for my safety when I found them in my house because I felt legitimate claim to my space. I didn’t want them there and I knew they had no right to be there, so I had no plans of letting them take from me what I knew was rightfully mine. I merely had to determine the proper way to oust them. That is progress for me. In my past, I’ve too often let others run roughshod over my wishes, but I’ve been working to stake my own claim in my life and realize that my personal choices and mental well being matter more than keeping the peace with others. It’s a good place to be. I’m on the right path at long last.

Now I just need to get those people out of my house and then off my damn lawn.

The Solution To My First World Food Problem

Take out breakfast burritos…a real time saver for future me

One of the most frustrating aspects of my life at home is grocery shopping. The three members of my family, lucky souls, have zero food restrictions, whereas there are currently 39 food items/ingredients I need to avoid to feel well. I am chief in charge of buying food for our home so no one has to try to keep up on what I can and cannot consume. I try to anticipate what grocery items my family needs but, because there are so many items they can eat that I can’t and because they don’t always remember to tell me what they have run out of, I make no less than four trips to a grocery store each week.

This morning, Thing 2 awoke, wandered into the kitchen, and starting rifling through the fridge in search of food. There were plenty of breakfast items, from cereal to eggs to pancake fixings to hash browns and even pumpkin bread I made from scratch a couple days ago, but he came up empty for ideas.

Thing 2: I don’t know what to eat.

Me: Well, there’s….

Hubby: (immediately seeing an opportunity, cuts me off) We could go get breakfast burritos.

Thing 2: I’d be down for that.

Me: (finally continuing) There’s all sorts of food here to eat.

Thing 2: Breakfast burritos sound good.

Hubby: Let me finish making this coffee and we can go.

Thing 2 runs off to put on clothes for the outing to Tamale Kitchen for breakfast. I sit there wondering if I have become invisible or was somehow muted accidentally.

Me: We have plenty of food here. We don’t always have to go out to eat when someone is hungry.

Hubby: But….breakfast burritos.

Me: You have a problem.

Hubby: I don’t think it’s a problem. I think it’s a solution, actually.

I shook my head as Thing 2 returned to the kitchen fully clothed. He and hubby disappeared out the door to the garage.

Hubby picked up take out last night. The night before that we grabbed burgers after our son’s cross-country meet. Meanwhile, the food in our fridge is slowly staging a revolt and becoming revolting because we are ignoring it. I try to save us money by purchasing food we can prepare, but after twenty-eight years with my husband I should know better. The siren’s song of food trucks and take out menus and In ‘n Out and Chipotle is deafening. I am no match for it.

In light of this, I’ve decided the solution to my problem is to buy groceries for myself and let everyone else fend for themselves and go out to eat. Fewer dishes for me to wash, less food thrown out, no complaining about what I prepare, no danger of me feeling sick because I ingested foods from a food truck or restaurant with ingredients I should have avoided, and every meal time will be peaceful because I will be alone while my family is out. Ultimately, we might even save on food costs because I won’t be tossing food in the trash because it went bad while we were eating out, and I won’t be frustrated because all my efforts around meal planning and food purchasing are for naught.

Damn. I really wish I had thought of this sooner.