What I Eat in a Day: Full-Time Worker, Part-Time Caregiver, and Alleged Comedian Edition
Have no time and no energy to do anything for yourself? Neither do I!
Eating is easy, but figuring out what to eat and actually making it is hard, especially when you’re at work most of the day and spend your nights pretty busy (for me it was at open mics and improv practice, etc.). That’s why for the past few years I got into the habit of meal prepping on my Sunday afternoons. It was nothing too labor-intensive or exceptionally healthy, but just enough to get me through at least a few days for lunch in the office. Now, as a reader of this newsletter you know that pretty much every part of my old living routine flew out the fucking window when my mom fell ill, and meal prepping for myself was one of the first things to go.
Now don’t get me wrong, I still meal prep, but it’s not for me. I usually like to take time (a lot of it) over the weekend while I’m at my parents’ house to make something simple and fresh that they both like to eat that also won’t tear apart my dad’s stomach. I know I’m starting to sound like a mommy blogger but don’t worry—this is more for my sake than for theirs (who wants to deal with a dad who has an upset stomach seven days a week? It fucking sucks).
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Because I’ve still decided to try and live my life the way I used to to the best of my ability (I am so tired all the time), and since I’ve lost my one day to prepare myself for the work week, I’ve had to get a little creative about my meals. If there’s one thing I don’t have, it’s time. So here’s what I do.
I’ve honestly never eaten breakfast in my life. The idea of eating something first thing in the morning makes me gag. I have been perpetually tired since the age of thirteen and I have not eaten an early morning breakfast since that time. I need until like 9:00 a.m. before even thinking about putting anything in my body.
But I do drink coffee. I am gross though and drink instant coffee. It’s what my parents drink and honestly if you never taste anything better, instant coffee isn’t too bad. Sometimes living in ignorance is good, and much cheaper. When I’m in the office, I’ll go for a K-cup coffee even though there’s a coffee shop on the top floor of the building and the barista likes to give out free copies of his noise band CD. I’ve never gone up there.
Since I don’t eat breakfast, this is the time where I get a little rumbly tumbly. It’s granola bar time! Chewy brand is always good to go, but I also like the sweet and salty nut bars with dark chocolate, and even those super crumbly ones. Granola is good.
Lunch is an incredibly stupid meal. There’s not really enough time in the middle of the workday to prepare a good lunch, or enjoy it, and I also don’t have $20 to spend every day on a salad or whatever. This is where the previous meal prep routine would help. But I don’t have that anymore. Luckily for me what I do have is a friend who lives with his brother who works at Dimo’s (a pizza place nearby that is known for serving very large slices of pizza for $5) and he apparently brings home so much pizza that they don’t know what to do with them and I am their solution to this problem.
Almost every day I eat a giant slice of pizza. Initially, I was given eighteen giant slices of pizza, all individually wrapped in foil. This became both a dream and a burden. I started eating the slices cold, since I’m a fan of eating leftovers cold. A TikTok once told me that’s a sign of disordered eating, it could be true but it could just also not be true. Pizza and wings don’t heat up very well. I did get an air fryer for Christmas and found out it reheats pizza pretty well. The pizza slices are too big to fit in the air fryer tray, though. We’re working on it.
As I chew my fifteenth slice of pizza from the batch, I finally know what it’s like to grow tired of something. I’ve never been one to get tired of eating the same thing over and over—I’m a meal prepper after all! In the name of efficiency I have lost something. After my dad was sent to the hospital the first time for pneumonia (first out of three in three months), I gained a bunch of weight. I wonder if Jane Fonda is disappointed in me, but I remind myself that Jane Fonda would be proud of me. None of my clothes fit right anymore but I don’t have the time to go clothes shopping (that’s a weekend activity, and I don’t know this new body well enough to shop online). I’m eating a giant slice of pizza and that’s okay. The weight gain happened months before the pizza. My body will figure it out eventually. I feel calm while eating the pizza.
Every slice is its own fun little mystery. They’re all different flavors but nothing is labeled. I have yet to get a free slice of mac n’ cheese pizza, even though that’s my favorite. When I unwrap a bbq chicken or a pepperoni and ricotta slice, it feels like I have won at least $10 off a scratcher card—just enough to afford a couple more scratchers. When I get a sausage, I am not pleased. When I get a buffalo chicken, it feels like a punishment. But I’m eating something hot and easy for free, so I eat the pizza.
I am in a state of constantly needing a little treat to get by. I’m currently preventing myself from purchasing any Diet Cokes from CVS (only allowing myself to drink what’s free at work). I got teeth whitening strips from my brother’s girlfriend last year for my birthday but haven’t used them yet because I’m always busy drinking like three Diet Cokes a day, and that would render the whitestrips useless. If there’s any time to try and stop doing something, it’s in the 40 days that Jesus Christ is telling you to give up on something—I’m not a believer but sometimes he can be a good motivator.
It seems insane to try and give up something that makes you happy while there is so much that makes you unhappy currently, and you’re right it is. But I’m making my own iced tea using a mix of different herbal teas that I like and it’s been going well. I’m running out of tea bags actually. I love a mozzarella stick. I’ve gotten through two handfuls of blackberries. Putting them in a glass jar is supposed to help them stay good for longer. I don’t know if that’s exactly true, but I’ve been doing it for a while and it seems to work. There are a lot of days in a week that I don’t have access to my berries and I would like them to still be edible when I get back home.
The individually-wrapped Dove chocolate square has a message from Alicia C. in Texas: “If you are reading this, you are beautiful and worth it.” Thanks Alicia! My most recent boyfriend broke up with me because he was tired of me being gone taking care of my dying mom all the time and my other ex was too sad that I wasn’t as hot as his other ex-girlfriend. So beautiful and worth it! I eat three of these.
After several calls for help in these trying months, my friends have stepped up and prepared meals for me that are easy to freeze and reheat for later. This means I eat a lot of chili. Sometimes it’s other kinds of soup, but it’s mostly chili. When I eat a lot of chili in the week is when my digestive system is the most regular, and as a person who is getting older this is good and important to me.
I make a lot of soup for my mom, who is the one who taught me about how to make soup. I recently made a mushroom soup using her loose recipe (we don’t use recipes) and she said it tasted better than the one her Polish friend recently made. This is a win. I am a Certified Soup Hoe. I saved some of it in my freezer, which is a little present from Past Me to Future Me. Thanks, Past Me!
If I’m home for the night, my late night snack is some M&M’s from our sexy green M&M candy dispenser where she’s dressed like the Statue of Liberty. If I’m away from the night, my snack is usually a cheap beer that I instantly regret. Just a year ago I was able to pack down at least two of these, but responsibility makes drinking less fun. Maybe someday I can enjoy things a little bit more.
My improv team, Ghost Rats, is hosting a show: Date Night With The Rats this week. Thursday, March 2nd, 9:00 p.m. at the Bughouse Theater. Tickets are $10 at the door. You might just be the lucky audience member who gets to go on a DATE with US!