Sunday, November 13, 2011

Simple Things

Can anything be more fun than simply taking a nap or hanging outside with your beagles?

  Tuesday was Daisy and Baxter’s birthday and I want to thank them for writing my blog post last week. When I put down my 2 great dogs Queenie and Tuffy within 3 weeks of each other last year, I was sad and depressed for a long time afterward. The things I missed the most were just the simple little things like taking them for a morning walk, catching a glimpse of them doing something goofy, or just sitting on the couch reading or watching TV and having one of them amble up to me and fall asleep. Daisy and Baxter have very different personalities than Queenie and Tuffy and my relationship I have with them is different, but they have restored a lot of my joy in life. I love taking them for walks and when the light catches them at the right angle for a funny looking shadow or one of them snatches up a wrapper, lollipop, or a chicken bone off the ground I have a good laugh (after I wrestle the morsel away from them). I think I appreciate these simple things more after not having them for a few months last year.

      Baked Cheetos - top right!
  After months of planning, the company I worked for finally moved into our new offices on Friday. I’m a creature of habit, so I don’t especially like moving but so far I’d have to say the changes are mostly good. At the old building, there was a wireless internet so I could use my amazing iPod and the equally amazing Rhapsody and iHeart radio apps to listen to music and the Miller and Deace show while I was working. 3 weeks ago, the wireless internet was turned off and I could only listen to music I preloaded onto my iPod. The wireless Internet has been restored at the new building and now I can have my music dished up to me and be surprised by a new song or 2. I’m going to enjoy walking less than one block to my car instead of taking 2 blocks and an elevator, but I am also 2 blocks further away from a lunchtime ice cream treat. The restrooms are smaller with only room for 2 as opposed to the 4 occupant restroom in the old building and it’s further away so there will probably be more waiting time. While there is now a lunchroom complete with a TV and vending machines, I have to head downstairs to use them. The vending machine has a row of Baked Cheetos, but no Crunchy Cheetos or Cheetos Puffs. Baked Cheetos are OK so for now my boycott is still off. The major drawback is simple but weighty. The new cubicles are a foot shorter than at the old building. That may not seem like a big problem, but now whenever someone walks past my cube, I see them out of the corner of my eye. This is pretty distracting and while I may get used to it, I’ll be wearing my hat indoors for awhile until then. These things seem small, but when you spend 40 hours a week staring at the same computer screen in the corner of the same cubicle, simple distractions can become big because there is nothing else to focus on.

The king of simple living!

  I have 6 weeks between youth chess tournaments in Des Moines so I didn’t have to spend any time this weekend ordering prizes, printing medal inserts, sending emails, etc. Ben was at a Quiz Bowl competition and Matt spent the weekend at college. That left Kathy and I home alone. We walked the dogs 3 times (twice for beef sticks) and in the middle of the day, took a trip to the Salvation Army and Goodwill stores where Kathy looks for Christmas candles and I look for books and music. On the way back, we went to the HyVee Drug-Store. Kathy always gets a bag of popcorn from the Lions and a lottery ticket and we also look to see what food was on sale. I previously wrote about the time apple juice was on sale for 1.16 a half gallon. This day was a jackpot because a lot of our favorites were available. I got a 2 liter bottle of Canada Dry Ginger Ale for 99 cents. My favorite soft drink of all time is an ice-cold Ginger Ale with a half a lemon. I also got a 4-oz package of ham for 59 cents to have for lunch and a dollar Old Wisconsin Summer Sausage (Daisy and Baxter aren’t the only one who like beef stick treats!). Kathy got 2 Twix and 2 Snicker bars for a quarter apiece. There was also a wall of instant oatmeal boxes for a quarter apiece. I passed on that (I ate oatmeal every day for breakfast when I was a kid and I can’t stand the stuff), but I saw a guy rifling through the entire display and pulling out the boxes with the ‘Strawberries and Cream flavor’. He saw me looking and said. "You always have to look hard for the best flavors". He filled a cart with as many of the boxes as he could find and pulled it to the checkout. When we got to the checkout line, the guy was in front us and he had all these oatmeal boxes along with 4 or 5 12 packs of Milwaukee’s Best beer and 2 bags of pretzels. I can only think that this man was the king of simple living.

  There was also a deceptively simple advertisement for Pearson’s Salted Nut Rolls at the Hy-Vee Drug Store. Everyone sells them at 2 for a dollar but for some reason the HyVee Drug store says I can save 2.78 by buying them there. That would mean these Salted Nut Rolls are really 1.89 each, which I don’t believe. I got one at the Bondurant Git’n’Go on my way home from work one day, lured by the yellow message in the corner telling me it was a good source of protein. I looked at the back of the wrapper and sure enough, I could get 16% of my daily protein needs from one bar for only 12% of my caloric intake. I also noticed that I could get 17% of my daily fat requirement from the same nut roll and the 20 grams of sugar provides 50% of the 40 gram maximum offered as a guide line by the US. I’d like to see the Pearson company change the wrapper to say ‘Good Source of Protein, Better Source of Fat, and a Great Source of Sugar, but it’s probably simpler to just mention the protein.