Tea For Two: Talking About A Retirement Side Hustle + 2 Story Updates

• • •

TEA FOR TWO, THAT’S ME & YOU

I’ve heard it said that most marital communication is the word *WHAT* being shouted between rooms.

I believe this to be true.

Especially now that Zen-Den, Esq., has retired, sort of.

You see, he retired from his main source of employment, a full-time job with benefits, and is now self-employed as an advisor wandering around at home, sometimes advising his former main source of employment while other times chatting it up with new prospects.

This is called a side hustle.

I am told.

So this means, from my point of view, that He Who Has A Side Hustle is underfoot almost all day long. Like a cheerful puppy. And because he’s accustomed to barking talking almost all day long, he has begun to NEED to tell me things.

While we are in different rooms.

Why just the other morning he shouted something to me from the kitchen while I was in our home study.

I said *what* of course.

He then walked into the home study and told me he had a few calls to take in the morning. After that he was going to organize the tea drawer where we keep, come to find out, 12 different teas*.

So you can see that He Who Has A Side Hustle is finding productive ways to occupy himself that for the most part keep him from pestering and annoying me all day long, and allow him to believe he is a valuable part of this household.

Because he is, of course.

* Knowing that someone is going to ask, the 12 kinds of tea in the drawer are:

  1. Ceylon Orange Pekoe
  2. Constant Comment
  3. Earl Grey
  4. English Breakfast
  5. English Teatime
  6. Green Tea
  7. Green Tea with Pomegranate, Raspberry & Strawberry
  8. Irish Breakfast
  9. Lady Grey
  10. Oolong Tea
  11. Peppermint
  12. Perfect Peach

• • •

UPDATES TO STORIES

1. We named the skeleton Earl. Thanks to everyone who offered name ideas. Y’all are funny. [Original story HERE.]

2.  After writing about how I accidentally acquired a bag of potato chips, Z-D was at Kroger using the U-scan. He used the barcode reader to ring up a six-pack of beer and it did, but then while placing the beer on the wonky wobbly bagging carousel he accidentally dropped the six-pack on the floor. The impact caused the metal caps on two bottles to loosen, spewing carbonated beer from the bottles.

Instead of going back to get a new six-pack, for which he paid in full, Z-D left the store with four bottles of beer. Thus he paid for something he did not get and thereby, I believe, restored balance in our relationship with Kroger. [Original story HERE.]

• • •

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY

When thinking about retirement what is the first idea that pops into your mind? Does this thought make you worry or happy– or something else? 

If you drink tea, hot &/or cold, how many kinds of it do you have in your home? Are you about variety or uniformity?     

So what do you think, was it Kroger Karma that caused Zen-Den to drop that beer, making us whole with them again?

• • 💚 • •

The Tale Of The Accidentally Purloined Bag Of Potato Chips

LIKE MISCREANTS EVERYWHERE I’M GOING to say this wasn’t my fault because, as I will explain below, it was an accident.

Nothing pre-meditated about this.

Just a minor tussle involving a fast-moving me and a fussy computer in the U-scan checkout lane in the grocery store that lead to an unanticipated situation.

You see…

It was late afternoon and I was using the U-scan checkout lane in Kroger.  I like the self-checkout lane because it’s usually faster than waiting in line for the traditional checkout.

Plus, and I’m bragging here, I am very good at finding the little UPC codes on what I’m buying, expertly swiping the code across the flat UPC barcode reading screen, then tossing my purchase into the reusable bags I swear by.

• • • 

HOWEVER ON THIS PARTICULAR DAY in my zeal for checking out of the store, while grabbing a bag of potato chips out of my shopping cart, I twisted around in such a way that my crossbody purse did a little flying leap away from my body and landed on the flat UPC barcode reading screen.

PLOP!

Then for reasons known only to the computer, it immediately jumped ahead to the part of the transaction that asks you how you’re going to pay for these items.

But I wasn’t finished inputing all my items.

So being tired and in a hurry, without thinking much about it, I laid the bag of potato chips, not properly swiped, on top of the stuff already packed in my reusable bag.

Then I focused my energies on coaxing the computer, Little Miss Touchy Screen, to allow me to continue shopping. I was victorious, because I know all about that ⬅️ key that lets you keep buying stuff.

I input a few more items, the rest of what I wanted to buy, then paid for my purchases using a credit card, grabbed my bags, and walked to my car where I placed the bags in the trunk.

I drove home.

• • •

BUT AS I DID SO I had a slow realization, the sort that sneaks up on you in the most unlikely places, like at a stoplight while you’re waiting for it to turn green, that it was possible I had accidentally stolen that bag of potato chips, a small bag I assure you, from Kroger.

And you know what?  When I got home I checked my register receipt and well… yep I stole a bag of potato chips… like a thief… a perp… which I am not… except maybe I was.

And here’s the thing because all perps have a thing, if interrogated by the Coppers I’m gonna squeal on my accomplice in this unfortunate situation. IT WAS THAT DARNED COMPUTER’S FAULT for getting flustered.

I mean what kind of wuss is that thing?  It wasn’t like I hit it with the heft of a heavy leather Hermès Birkin Bag, now was it?  It was only a lightweight nylon baggallini Uptown Bagg, a sleek crossbody.

Honestly, I didn’t mean to do this.

You believe me, right?

~ ~ 🛒 ~ ~

A few other *oops* stories about *situations* at Ye Olde K. Roger…

In Which Ms. Bean Is An Accessory After The Fact, Maybe [2018]

Carelessness, Coupons, And Cake– OH MY! [2017]

The One About The Friend, The Dog & The Suburban Grocery Store Salad Bar [2014]

~ ~ 🛒 ~ ~

A Potpourri Of NOT Much Happening Around Here

You know, my little sugarplums, that I enjoy writing posts here, right? I tell you about what’s going on in my life. But that premise is based on the idea that something interesting is going on in my life.

And sometimes THERE AIN’T MUCH HAPPENING HERE.

However I feel like writing & using emojis. Muse is getting antsy waiting for it to NOT be January, so here’s what I have to tell you, interesting or not.

THE WEIRD CONVERSATION

While I was shopping in Kroger as I was standing in front of the cheese case a woman wearing a mask walked up to me to ask a question.  She pulled down her mask [🤨] and asked me: “do you know what uncured ham is?”

It sounded vaguely familiar, like something from my childhood but I couldn’t tell her what it was.  This didn’t stop her from sharing her woe about not finding it, an ingredient in some special sandwich, the recipe for which she waved before me as if it was a magic wand that’d spark my memory.

When I assured her I did NOT know anything useful about uncured ham, but maybe someone at the meat counter did, she wandered away, visibly disheartened.

I felt like I’d failed a pop quiz.

THE GOOD NEWS

The 30-foot tall dead tree in our neighbor’s yard, a tree that has loomed ominously over our screened-in porch for 5 years, fell down NOT on our house.  Instead it keeled over into the wooded ravine behind our houses.

There said tree shall remain for eternity… with my blessing [😇].

THE REMODELING MEETING

We finalized remodeling plans for our 2 bathrooms.  Having already had the kitchen and the primary bathroom and the laundry room remodeled by this company, it was easy to pick out the cabinets.  We’re rather familiar with them [🙄].

The cabinets won’t be here until May;  NOT sure I believe that, but I’ll try to be positive.  The rest of the decisions about tile and sinks and knobs and wall color are yet to come when we closer to the project start date and the interior designer is ready to work with me.

I’m jazzed because that’s the fun part, oh yes it is.

THE PHOTO PROJECT UPDATE

Last April I started taking a monthly photo of our backyard + a little of the neighbor’s backyard;  the previous photos are here.  They are to document the changes of the seasons.  I snap them while standing in the same place on our deck.

While this is NOT my usual higgledy-piggledy photo style [😁], it’s a fun harmless project that might prove something… yet to be decided.

These photos are the next installment.

AUGUST

SEPTEMBER

OCTOBER

NOVEMBER

DECEMBER

JANUARY

~ ~ 💚 ~ ~

Talking Turkey: One Sorry Not Sorry, One Grumble Avoided

Late afternoon sunlight as seen through trees with leaves turned golden in autumn.

Today is Tuesday. 🗓

This means that if you live in the United States [and if you celebrate Turkey Day] then tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day Eve followed by Thanksgiving Day on Thursday.

I’m not sure if I could’ve made the previous paragraph more convoluted, but probably.  I was trying to be clear and informative, logical even.

Just talking turkey, you know. 😉

It’ll be the two of us celebrating Thanksgiving together this year, most years actually.  We’ve a turkey breast currently in the freezer that I’ll start thawing in the refrigerator soon.  And we’ve the ingredients to make some of the fixings that traditionally go with a turkey dinner.

The usual suspects waiting to be part of Thanksgiving dinner.

YEP to mashed potatoes and stuffing and cranberry sauce and gravy, but NOPE to green bean casserole and yams with little marshmallows.  You may consider those last two sides part of the traditional Thanksgiving Day dinner, but I don’t like them so we’re not gonna have ’em.

Sorry not sorry, don’t even try to convince me otherwise. 🤨

All that’s left for me to do is to go to the bakery to pick up some pies, cherry and pumpkin this year, then get home safely.  Starting today and for the next few days I try to stay away from grocery stores, parking lots around said, and people within.

I’ve learned that Thanksgiving week is one doozy of a chaotic shopping experience in grocery stores.  Generally speaking the shoppers be frenzied, with long lists in hand.  The best thing I can do is stay far away, giving everyone the space they need to shop, while I go home not grumbling about people.

Well, at least not grumbling about the ones in the stores. 🛒

Blue sky with rusty orange leaves, the epitome of an autumn palette.

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY

What don’t you like about the traditional Thanksgiving Day dinner? What do you like?

Do you have a sorry not sorry about Thanksgiving, or this week in general?

Tell all in the comments below. 

Adapting With A Smile: Getting The Groceries, Trying The Recipes

Welp, it has finally happened even though I said I’d never do this.

You see, we’ve started using online ordering for our groceries, then we go, together, to pick up our order outside the store.

There’s no charge for this now and it does seem like a healthier way for us to get groceries.  Plus not to put too fine of a point on it, we have the time– and allow me to clue you in, it can take time to do this.

On our last adventure our assigned pickup time was for a 5:00-6:00 p.m.  We arrived at 5:03 p.m., got in a line with about 20 cars in front of us, and left the parking lot with our groceries in the trunk of the car at 6:58 p.m.

Yes, almost 2 hours in line to get food, safely.

Ain’t life a pip? 

• • •

The knocked over sign said: PICKUP LINE STARTS HERE  We laughed at the folly of it all, having been in line for an hour before getting to this *beginning* spot. From the look of the damage to the sign someone before us may not have seen the humor in that sign at that point in line.

• • •

We did have a weirdly good time waiting in line together.  

We started watching shoppers, most of whom didn’t have masks, going in and out of the store.  We started making up back stories about them OR criticizing how they handled their groceries once they got to their vehicles.

Case in point, a woman wearing surgical gloves came out of the store pushing a cart, walked to her car, opened the trunk, put her groceries into the trunk, walked over to the trash container, removed her gloves properly.

Then USING HER UNGLOVED HANDS she opened the flap on the trash container, disposing of the gloves therein.  She walked back to her car trunk, shut the trunk, got into the car, and drove away– using her hands that had touched the trash container to do so.

ICK!

• • •

The shy sign said: PICKUP WAITING STARTS HERE We chuckled with mirth, but weren’t duped. We’d been in line for close to an hour and a half at this point. Clearly this sign saw what had happened to the previous sign and was taking precautions to stay safe.

• • •

Now that we’re dining in all the time we’ve been cooking and baking: carbohydrates are our friends.

In truth we’ve been having fun while trying new recipes and/or revisiting old ones.  In all cases we’ve adapted the recipes to work with what we have procured via said online ordering/pickup scenario discussed above.

Below is an alphabetized list of recipes we’ve made.  I’ve rated them and made a few notes about what we changed because of… oh you understand why.

Click on the title of the recipe to be taken to it online.

Alton Brown’s Shepherd’s Pie [A+] – used ground beef instead of ground lamb

Baked Cheese Grits [A] – used half & half instead of whipping cream

Bisquick Velvet Crumb Cake [B-] – added nutmeg to batter, cinnamon to topping 

Brown Rice and Corn Cakes [A] – used onion powder instead of fresh chives, white flour instead of whole wheat

Classic Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies [A+] – didn’t change a thing!

Classic Strawberry Shortcakes [A] – added 1 tsp vanilla extract, a pinch of nutmeg

Easy Bisquick Chicken Pot Pie [C-] – made as is, not bad but old-fashioned and blah

Grandma’s Anything Goes Strata [B] – used all milk [no half & half], used cooked bulk breakfast sausage instead of deli meat, added 1/4 tsp brown mustard

Lemon Curd [A+] – no changes to ingredients, cooked using double boiler instead of directly on heat 

Martha Stewart Spiced Walnuts [B+] – used 1 tsp chili powder for 1/2 tsp coriander

~ The End ~