Partly Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

Dear Rhett,

Between your moving away to Saskatoon and my starting a new job, I figured the only way I’d have any idea what you’re eating for lunch would be to resurrect this blog.

I’ve personally found it difficult to establish a proper lunch routine at the new office, due to a steady stream of lunch invites and general uncertainty about what constitutes an acceptable lunch break. The steady stream of pissing rain has also been a factor. While I ordinarily prefer eating out to dining in, my long-standing aversion to getting wet means I try my best to bring a lunch whenever the weather turns inclement.

Today I played it safe and brought in left-over Spaghetti and Meatballs from earlier in the week. It was OK. It would have been better were I more comfortable standing around in front of the microwave waiting for things to heat up. As it is, I have a three minute rule I adhere to very strictly. Unfortunately, three minutes was about two minutes too few for this meal. Long story short, I ended up eating lukewarm pasta while I stared into the gaping hole of my computer’s monitor.

Hoping your own mid-day meals have been more rewarding.

Best,
Brendan

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Not better than fast food

Dear Rhett,

Two weeks of hanging out with my childhood friends have left me suffering from mild kidney pain and acute poverty. Though still several months shy of my 30th year, I just can’t seem to binge drink the way I used to — and not for lack of trying.

I mention my struggles with alcohol not to highlight yet another deficiency of my character, but rather to explain away the sad state of my pocketbook. I didn’t even want to risk a trip to the supermarket this weekend in the interest of avoiding the discomfort I’d feel should my debit card be declined. Weeks like this are the reason I keep the pantry well-stocked. I feel no qualms about spinning my circumstances when talking with Tara. I’m not too poor to buy meat. I’m interested in exploring vegetarian options. Hello lentil soup and meatless spaghetti.

The only problem with my approach is that I didn’t have any emergency lunch fixings kicking around. I’d planned on eating a week-old couscous I’d left in the fridge at work last week, but when I opened it up, the stench of rotting Merguez nearly knocked me over. It appeared I’d have to chance having my card declined at one of the NE’s many fast food restaurants. Not exactly an enticing lunch option.

I ended up in the drive-through at Wendy’s on 32nd Avenue. I ordered a Spicy Chicken combo with regular size fries and a Coke. The clerk then asked what size I wanted. I glanced at the menu board to ensure I was using the correct terminology and then specified that I had meant medium when I said regular. I just assumed that would be understood. I promise to hold fast food personnel to a lower standard in the future.

Regardless of this woman’s stupidity, I promptly received my food, passed my card through the window and punched in my PIN. I made sure the car was in gear, and as soon as I handed it back to her, I hit the gas. I’m still not sure if the transaction was approved or not. I don’t really care.

Full either way,
Brendan

Itching for some ‘ban

Brendan,

I too have been enjoying some time outside. Leah’s been spending more time at the university, so I’ve been going home at lunch to walk Duke.

Earlier in the day, when I was still outside and enjoying life, I had the sweet and naive ambition to try and save you from becoming who I am, but then I realized that there’s never hope of saving you.

I’ll just show you what I did over my lunch hour and it sickens me—but I felt like my last letter was particularly harsh and I thought the studio audience in my head might have got the wrong idea about me and thus want to show the softer side.

That’s pronounced:

Mai Poo-KEY, Whew-KEY, Do-KEY

How cute am I? And, just as important, how cute is he!? And that leads you to this picture:

So here’s how my lunch hour broke down:

  • 20 minutes to drive home
  • 15 minutes to walk Duke (5 minutes spent taking cute pictures and making cutesy noises at Duke)
  • 3 minutes to cook ichiban
  • 1.25 minutes to eat
  • 45 seconds to write this letter (in my head)
  • 20 minutes to drive back to work

I wanted to save you from a pathetic life of loving your pets too much. But I can’t. Because I know you love Finnegan way too much. It’s creepy. The obvious thing to do here is make a peanut butter joke, but I’m not going there. Nope, nope, nope.

Pets are wonderful and the ichiban is always the same.

Rhett

P.S. Is it sad that we’ve written maybe 40 letters total and this is, I’m pretty sure, my second—if not third—reference to a lunch of ichiban.

I’ll Have What He’s Having

Dear Rhett,

Even though I don’t especially care for warm weather, I feel like it behooves me as a Calgarian to go outside and enjoy it on the rare days it appears. When I was less mobile, this would take the form of walks around the neighborhood, maybe as far as the Tim Horton’s on 32 Avenue for a mediocre sandwich and cup of bittersweet coffee. Now that wheels have expanded my range, I opted to go for a drive.

I ended up heading towards the Inter-Faith Furniture barn, which lies halfway between the office and my house. I popped in on the off chance they were selling something I absolutely had to have. Nothing really caught my fancy, though I did pick up some Mason jars that might end up being re-purposed for our wedding in one way or another. Despite the lack of bounty, I ended up spending more time there than I’d planned on, and had to pick something up to bring back to the office.

I swung by Cedars Deli on Edmonton Trail. Standing in line (and there is always a line), I waffled between getting a Shawarma or a Falafel sandwich, when the man in front of me casually asked for a Cornerstone on whole wheat. I was flabbergasted. I didn’t even know this was an option, nevermind what it was made of.

I watched with great interest as the sweaty middle-eastern server crushed a falafel ball onto the open pita before scooping Shawarma meat on top of it. It was a revelation. No longer was I limited to either/or. I could have both, in one magical pita sandwich.

When he raised his head and asked me what I wanted, it was a no-brainer.

“I’ll have what he’s having.”

Stuffed with Stouffers

Brendan,

It’s been a while since I’ve written, but I’m currently in a trans-fat coma so I thought it would be a good time to write.

I just finished a Turkey-bacon Crustini and I feel like I may have just swallowed the seed of the beast. I swear to Jesus if some kind of alien/parasite bursts out of my stomach later today I’m going to be really pissed off.

I suppose I should be saying congratulations on finding a woman who’d dare to say yes to your marriage proposal (when she took you for dinner). I’d go off on a tangent about that, but right now I have other things I need to address—like not letting your (future) wife go grocery shopping by herself or else she’ll come back with frozen dinners for lunch for you that are 50% trans fat.

Seriously, I simultaneously feel stoned and nauseous. After two minutes on high in the microwave, that thing was full of liquid hot magma cheese and edible turkey/bacon bits.

It’s like she’s trying to kill me and we don’t even have insurance, so she’s not even in it for the money. She just wants me to die. And that, my friend, is basically the perfect analogy for marriage.

So when the day finally comes, when you say I do, make sure you dive head-first and—if God loves you—no one will have filled the pool.

I think I’m going to throw up,
Rhett

Good morning, Vietnam

Dear Rhett,

Ever since I bought that truck, I’ve been real lazy about riding my bike to work. There’s always some semblance of a reason that keeps me from pedaling in (today I told myself I’d be riding if not for a much-needed trip to the pet store to buy dog food) but if I’m being honest with you, the real reason is that I’m celebrating my new-found freedom from the cafeteria’s pseudo-food.

You probably won’t be surprised by how quickly I got accustomed to picking up real food for lunch. At first, I’d only do so when I was already out and about thrifting, but now lunch has become the main event.

Take today, for instance. While I did pop into the Mennonite Thrift Shop briefly, my real destination was Basil, a Vietnamese place on 32nd Ave NE that Tara reviewed a while back.

I got a marinated meatball sub that tasted nothing like the Subway version that I’m sure you’re thinking about. I briefly thought about eating in the restaurant but then decided against it because I was alone and didn’t want to feel like a loser. Instead I brought it back to my desk and felt like a loser anyway. Such is life.

At any rate, I fear that I’m rambling. Just thought you might be curious as to what I had today for lunch.

Warm regards,
Brendan

Tequila Thursdays

Brendan,

I had a brilliant idea last night after I did a shot of tequila—we should institute a standing date together and drink tequila. I really enjoy tequila. You know that great warmth you get from it? It’s like a hug from Jesus. A wonderful Mexican Jesus.

But I got to thinking today, while I hovered over my Campbells chicken soup, that this might not be a great idea. Side note: I don’t know why Campbells takes all this time to brag about all the salt they removed from their soup because I just add it right back. That shit tastes awful without salt. And we apparently don’t have pepper in the office otherwise I would have loaded it down.

Anyway, I figure that this is actually a bad idea because I don’t know about you but when I’m running hard down tequila alley I tend to get a little crazy. I’ve often heard tequila referred to as panty remover. Frankly, I don’t think tequila is gender specific. Tequila, the slut, goes both ways.

What I’m saying here is that I don’t want to get 6 shots in and see you starting to unbutton your shirt or twisting your moustache and giving me the googly eyes. I can see it happening in my mind and it scares the shit out of me. What if I can’t resist?

I am aware of how attractive you are under that douchey hipster exterior and I will admit some weakness for your pale blue eyes. And as far as temptation goes, you and I are not known for our ability to withstand… I just don’t think Tequila Thursdays are going to work.

Let’s take this a step further and just not ever drink together alone.

Never yours,
Rhett

PS – I still haven’t opened that bottle of tequila you gave me and we should at least crack the bottle together. What are you doing on Tuesday?