Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, August 26, 2022

Rogers column: Return to reruns, bad eating habits while wife’s away

I’ve been watching the first episodes of “Lost in Space” from 1965. Watering the plants every day or two. Taking the trash and recycling to the curb. Now I’m wondering: Should I be feeding the birds?

I’m a bachelor again.

It’s short-term, just while Kayne is temporarily working in Seoul. But it means all the household duties we normally share (or she tends to solo) are up to me.

Watching “Lost in Space” isn’t a duty. It’s just that a certain amount of TV viewing will be necessary to help pass the time, and it’s better if it involves shows I know Kayne won’t mind missing. This one definitely fits the bill. During our last separation for work stuff, I went through all 79 episodes of the original “Star Trek” series.

That separation lasted more than a year, but also included an assignment I’m happy not to have to repeat: selling the house in New York. Though, based on inquiries I get, selling the house here would be much easier. Just today, a mailing arrived advising that “we have a pre-approved buyer for YOUR PROPERTY AT....”

No thanks.

Arranging meals, both for me and the cats, is my primary responsibility. The cat part is easy, since their entire diet consists of crunchy dry food from a bag, some raw chicken for variety and the occasional treats. And they’re very good about reminding me when they want that variety and treats served up: twice a day.

My own consumption is more complicated. I’m determined not to revert to my earliest bachelor days, when supper might consist of half a bag of Oreos followed the next day by the rest of the bag for breakfast. With milk, of course.

Hamburger Helper was also a staple, which gives you an idea of how simple my tastes can be. And how lazy I can be?

I’ve gotten more adventurous in the years since, including discovering how long a pot of homemade chili will last if I eat it for every meal other than breakfast. (Five days.)

But I’m more likely to rely on sandwiches – scrambled eggs with cheese represents my finest achievement – and canned soups. Hot dogs are almost certain to lead the menu on any nights.

I choose to watch baseball (another Kayne-viewing non-starter). Frozen meals of the Hungry Man variety likewise stand at the ready. Can frozen pizza be far behind?

One thing I can safely predict: Raw vegetables will not be on the shopping list. In the past, I’ve occasionally addressed the plant component of my diet by mixing one can of English peas with little onions with one can of corn. In addition to satisfying that part of the nutrition pyramid, the combo offers a green-and-yellow color combination that I find appealing.

Haven’t tried it in a while, though; Kayne has indicated a lack of interest, for some reason.

Food aside, I also assigned myself a long-delayed goal during this interregnum: sorting through my clips of hundreds – thousands? – of columns produced over the years, with an eye toward possibly collecting some in book form as a legacy of sorts.

The prospect has always seemed daunting, which is why I decided to take it on while my free time is even more plentiful than normal.

The process has begun. Among my discoveries: My efforts to make columns timely by focusing on current events does not also make them timeless. For example, anything that mentions President Bush – the first one – seems unlikely to possess lasting appeal.

Other possibilities to productively pass the time: I could surprise Kayne by having new fencing installed along the side yard and getting rid of the bird-friendly, but overgrown, bushes now occupying a portion.

I also could contract someone to build the bookshelves I’ve been wanting in the rear parlor. We haven’t actually reached agreement on whether either should be done, so imagine Kayne’s reaction if she saw I’d unilaterally finished both!

OK, maybe not a good idea. A safer pastime would be to touch up the kitchen cabinet doors where the paint is wearing away. But not a fun pastime.

And fun needs to be on the agenda, too. Toward that end I scheduled a baseball trip with friends to Chicago to see the Cubs. A local outing or two for pool would also be enjoyable, although the continued closing of Buffalo Billiards downtown complicates that pursuit.

I wonder what the Uber charge to/from Melrose would run? One does not drive a vehicle home after a pool outing, as beer is of necessity involved.

Meanwhile, an empty feeder stands beside those bushes right outside the rear parlor window. And I think I’ve seen the birds trying to get my attention.

Joe Rogers is a former writer for The Tennessean and editor for The New York Times. He is retired and living in Nashville. He can be reached at jrogink@gmail.com