My refrigerator OCD

This is a nagging psychological problem, occurring more or less every day, since I’ve been married. In fact, it probably (almost certainly) existed before, but since I was in control of grocery shopping and refrigerator management, it never manifest itself as an issue. Maybe you or you’re trusted psychologist friend can tell me what you think and why. Is this run of the mill neurosis? A deep-seated fear of death in the guise of food perishability? Is this controlling personality in full force? Some combo?

Inside the frig there’s an enormous Tupperware of last night’s salad. By enormous, I mean the biggest money can buy. We use it for popcorn and for storing enormous amounts of salad. Kate made the salad. Phenomenal. Spinach, chard, kale, carrot, baby tomato, onion, cilantro, bell pepper, feta, bacon, almond.

In the frig, next to the enormous salad, there’s an 11Ib container of Greek Yogurt, which I bought from Black Sheep Coffee for $28 because it’s made with goat’s milk and 9% milk fat and no sugar and OMG so damn delicious creamy smooth. 11Ibs is damn large. But not necessarily for our consumption. We go through about 2 Ibs of yogurt per day. 2 Ibs is the standard yogurt container size sold in normal grocery stores. 11Ibs is shopped from Restaurant Depot.

Everything else in the frig is irrelevant, at least for the purposes of this analysis. If it’s not irrelevant, the is other stuff in the frig—just in low quantities, safely low. Broccoli, oranges, apples, eggs, dates, cherries, blueberries, carbonated water, cheese.

Safely low. I’d flag this phrase for psychological examination. 

By contrast, the salad and yogurt are dangerously high—in terms of quantity.

The problem is perishability. I habitually become very very anxious about the salad going bad, and it getting wasted. Same with the yogurt. Anything that’s perishable and outside of what I consider a manageable quantity. So, for example. The carbonated is fine; non perishable. The apples? They hold for weeks—and if they get close, we can bake them into a pie, and they’ll hold or freeze forever. The blueberries and cherries? The baby will chomp these down in days. The veggies in those little pull out drawers? Currently, there’s only a meal or two worth. But the potatoes in the cupboard? They worry me. How long do potatoes last? I moved them from the counter to the cupboard because I thought they were getting to much sun. The bunch of four bananas? They’re changing from yellow to brown awfully fast. The plantain. Ugh it’s aging quickly too. The granola I made a few days ago? Should I freeze it in between uses? It’s been hot lately and our in-window A/C units are spotty

This mania effects me every day. What I slurp slurp chomp chomp for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. When we eat out (exceedingly exceeding rare), or eat at someone else’s house (less rare), I have PERISHABLE FOOD IN FRIG blaring in my mind. Yelling at me. 

This morning was typical boxing match with anxiety. Open frig. Heaping quantity of salad and yogurt. Both phenomenally delicious. So that makes deciding twice as difficult. Both are roughly equally urgent to consume, in terms of perishability. Neither can be frozen. So what the hell do I do?

Well. I split the difference and had a little of both. I gilded the salad with an over-easy egg, which was technically a perishability foible, because the eggs last so long there’s no time imperative.

If I asked Kate, which I will in 3 hours when it’s lunch time, she’ll choose salad or yogurt. And the decision won’t cause her a moment’s hesitation or the slightest twinge of anxiety. We’ve had this conversation before. Several times. We’ve branded it as a matter of diverging personal preference. I prefer a basically empty refrigerator. She prefers a widely stocked refrigerator. I’ve said yes because I like going to the store regularly, rather than once a week, as to avoid as much as possible the perishability problem. But, in fact, that’s probably only half true. What I really like is having a nearly empty refrigerator. And my preference for what Kate calls well-balanced eating (eating a variety of foods throughout the day, and from day to day) is much much lower. I’d be entirely at ease subsisting on eggs and bread. Or kale. Just kale. Until the kale runs out. And then get hummus and carrots and steak. And just hummus and carrots and stake until the stake runs out. And so on so forth.

I’m less interested in pinning this on the marriage. More interested in figuring out what’s driving what’s become an obsession. I mean preference is one thing. But I’m experiencing too much day to day anxiety for this to be merely a preference. Too many of my thoughts are attempting to problem solve how to store the bread. I tell myself the loaf of bread is worth barely 60 cents in flour, water, salt. But this doesn’t seem to make the preservation issue any less pressing.

If I ask myself what Jordan Peterson would say, I’d guess he’d lean back and begin a lecture about how the fundamental human concern is to balance the two competing universal forces: order and chaos. Which, of course, is what I’m doing. Is my worry about 60 cent bread and a Tupperware of salad a function of being in an economically scarce position relative to my friends, family and neighbors? That is, neither Kate nor I currently have a meaningful source of income. I’m excluding both of our $10/hr coffee shop gigs from meaningful source of income. Which isn’t to say we don’t enjoy and appreciate and value the job; we do. It’s just saying that $10/hr is not a livable wage. I make $11.50 actually. Just got a raise. Lol.

So, to wrap this up, vacuum seal this, and stow it in the freezer, this has been simmering under the skin and on the skin for a while. I rarely talk about it. Just the same as I rarely talked about being an alcoholic when I was an alcoholic. It wasn’t until after I realized I was an alcoholic that I started talking obsessively about it, asking people about their experiences, and writing about my own. For whatever it’s worth.

One more thing. I often wonder, precariously, what my mental state would be like in a world without a refrigerator…


Last night’s dream

Last night’s dream:

I was throwing up. I had a catheter in my penis. I was about to be seen by the doctor. I had just been in a car accident. An ex was driving.

The place felt like a doctors office but also like a museum and operating room and chiropractor and boarding school. The hallways were littered with kids floating by. Savant smart weird special gifted magic kids. Genius kids playing the piano in midair with no piano just fingers dancing.

I threw up again. The doctor guy asked me something and then nodded explaining a spell has been cast upon me. I thought what the bullshit. Then he asked me if I’d ever had raspberries and how long it’s been. Before I could answer we were walking to the library so he could find the exact raspberry potion recipe.

As we walked, he talked. Spontaneously, I lunged forward with my left foot, dropping my back right knee down. He looks at me with approval. Like I somehow already knew what yoga therapy he was just about to prescribe, but he wasn’t surprised.

While in the lunge, he mimicked me except out his right foot forward. He said hold it right there. Then he went for the book. The pose began to hurt. He came back and said okay, come with me.

Kombucha and Chaga and mushrooms were in the titles of books in this section. I perked up at the recognition of familiar in such a strange place.

Time got still. But little kids kept waking by. And then this shadow cold man who I remember from before the accident walked by. It was clear he was evil. All the kids avoided eye contact. They didn’t run, but they walked away very quickly. Like water down a gradual slope. 

The man gave me a dirty look, the evil eye. Time flipped and I was back in the lunge. Still just got the evil eye. I got up and ran after evil man. Ran with short strides like you would if you were on top toes but I was running with my whole foot striking the ground simultaneously, per my waking life stride research.

Back in the library the raspberry yoga doctor staring at me. I stop my run and ask who the shadow guy is. Doc says either he doesn’t know that we have power or he resent that we have power so we keep it from him ( I can’t remember which).

The last line echoed: he doesn’t know the full extent of our power.

Then I woke up

Much caffeine ingested

It’s 11:47. Finished sausage breakfast sandwiches and quiche work et al 13 minutes early.

13 minutes.


Or think sit breathe. Meditate.

Can I write consciously enough to call it meditation?

Last five hours headphones will frying eggs and cutting veggies. Listened to podcast called New Solo about lawyering.

I feel the good kind of borderline exhausted because I got up at 415 AM and swam. First time in a month without the wetsuit. No hypothermia this time. The suit does provide a lot of flotation which greatly increases speed. So today was difficult .

Big inhale fill chest and lower belly.

The baby. I get to see the baby soon. I’m departing in 6 minutes. If I knew when I was going to die, or how, I think the uncertainty would be removed and that uncertainty is what adds meaning to the day to day. Like we have the freedom to choose and the freedom gives us the opportunity to squander or be responsible. Like we need this balance. Jordan Petersen says that’s why the Bible opens with the garden: this perfect balance between human order and nature. Like circumnavigating the lake. Under the cover of dawn, before the goddamn police come.

If any of you are police officers, I apologize. The no lake swimming rule is absurd and I civil disobedience object. Even though I think I took a lawyer vow not to so that.


Greek yogurt and granola and apples for lunch. Mmmm. And Kate’s going to give me a haircut so I look like a presentable human being.

Lol. Balance order and chaos.



Small shit adds up

It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.

Amen to that.

The baby ate strawberries, blueberries, then macaroni and cheese. Then on to sesame sticks, breast milk, feta cheese. Then on to olives, Greek yogurt. Then almond butter, granola, and carbonated water.

We hustle back-and-forth from thing to thing.

The baby, me.

Sleep, drive, swim, shop, socialize, maybe maybe maybe even take golf lessons. Yes even though golfs isn’t really a sport.

Call the attorneys. Ask them what they think. Tell them I’ll buy coffee or beer. Whatever is they’re poison.

We’re going to splurge and pay the $29.99 for Jordan Peterson‘s self authoring series. It looks promising. The suite comes with two. One for Kate and one for moi.

Intimate details include. Swiss Kriss works miraculously as a natural gentle laxative. The package says take 2 but 2 didn’t work so I took six and that worked very much.

I’ve got pineapple and salsa ready on top of the frig for my slow roast pork shoulder. We’re beginning a new chapter in my life where I care about many other people instead of just myself. I’ll admit it’s very uncomfortable and I’m not sure if I’m faking it but I’m trying to build good habits.

It’s 6:28pm. Maybe time for some decaf French press coffee?

Hopefully this amounts to something. Thanks to my sisters and my dad and Mary Jo for always showing the love recently. Small shit adds up.

On becoming a lawyer 6 years later

So everybody’s been saying it the whole time. I mean my mom, your mom, Disney, the Bible, our gut biome. I’m talking about life wisdom. Lame preaching yaya but for real.

The golden rule gold: get out there, show up, smile, do shit you love, speak honestly, serve others, do the best you can.

For the past six years, and the three years of law school before that, I thought the golden rule of practicing law was suits, and ties, and slicked back hair, no tattoos, no piercings. No thanks.

So I did food trucks, dishwasher, Christmas tree salesman, Whole Foods Baker, and then graduate school in creative writing.

Now I’m back to the bridge I thought I left behind 6 years ago. Paying unpaid bar dues, catching up on 6 years of CLEs, yada yada.

This afternoon  I called two of my dads lawyer friends and they said yeah yeah you can def do law. Just go to where the people are and give of yourself and have a positive attitude and be social and help other lawyers and everything will be groovy. They said giving is the best thing for business because it shows people you care and it puts my face in front of their‘s. It’s the best advertising. I was rather mind blown by the simplicity of their advice. As simple as the golden rule: do onto others as you would have done to your self.

Which woah. Like I said. The whole time it wasn’t what I thought. Law, I mean. Was I projecting? Or just afraid? Or was I not ready? I’m seeing law differently now. Nothing to do with suits ties and hair gel. After law school, I chewed the heavy gum of bitterness toward the world and sucked on the jolly rancher known as rejection of the old order. This resentment turned into vengeance violence in a way, where I lived to spite the Establishment. But this sort of imploded. The way all things implode when you carry them.

It’s funny how fate spins you full circle. Funny may be the wrong word. Fishy. Freaky. Fascinating.

Love list after line cook shift

I love waking up at 4:15 and watching the sleepy nothingness and stillness and the dark. Oh the dark.

I love swimming at 5am, toes in tepid Lake Harriet water, deserted except for ducks and father who needs a head start.

I love the wetsuit even though the zipper jams and I have to put it on twice because it keeps me warm and buoyant.

I love the coffee hitting lips first thing in morning and the wake up buzz. With cream, but not too much, so the coffee turns light.

I love writing. Slow sentences that are quiet and loud because they are simple but true.

I love the baby, who’s almost always smiling toothy and surprised and curious. Crawling and pulling up and almost walking.

I love Mouse, my marital partner, and other half. Like sand paper, we’re smoothing each other’s rough edges. Without her, I’d be sunk drunk at the bottom of a creek. Even right now, she’s the lighthouse illuminating the dark within me. It’s a thankless job but I love her for it and in-spite of it and because of it.

I love baked apples and walnuts and cinnamon and ghee and the oven that smelds them all together.

I love my mom, even though she’s not here, because she pushed me out and the thing is she’s still pushing me. The tendency is to focus on the dead or forget them. The goal is to overdo neither and balance both.

I love my dad not just because he has this thermos that keeps the post swim coffee hot but because he reminds me that I’m not insane I’m just genetically challenged lol. Which may be the same thing.

I love all of you. It’s utter horseshit sounding but I thought about it while swimming this morning, somewhere grey and wet between the second and third buoy: Ry, wake the fuck up and be grateful for all these folks who read read read your stuff every day. I’ve been meaning to write a book and this morning in the lake a voice in my head said, you need to do it and stop talk talk talking and the voice with his hand on the steering wheel agreed and I’m grateful.

I’m grateful too for my family, which is hard to say sometimes, but I mean my family and Kate’s family, because it has to be the same. I’m grateful for them just for being them. It’s hard because of the above logic about sandpaper, but it’s good.

Wax on, wax off.

Thanks for reading.

The paradox of serving others and letting career come to you

I love spending the 7-noon morning with the baby while Kate is working at Black Sheep Coffee. The little toothy diaper peanut is so squirrely and fun and gratifying.

Her fever has passed. And appetite returned. Blueberries, baked apples with walnuts, over easy eggs, Cheerios, ginger Kombucha.

Be positive. Be very careful with your words, Ry. And be even more careful with facial gestures. This is my project number 1 on the domestic front.

And also. Be kind to Tacoma even though he overheats on the morning run and annoyingly slow down. It’s not all about you, Ry.

Studies show happiness is haphazard and satisfaction simmers from serving others.

Work on being responsible and serving instead of pursuing my happiness me me me because in the end helping others bends makes metal me into chill chi me, paradoxically, at least according to this book I’m reading slmost done with called the 10% happier.

Hello mom. I still wish wish wish I could call you. I suppose you’re very pleased I’m after much ado returning to law. Not that you’re that kind of high achieve parent, but you kind of were. All those scholarships and what not. I hear you. Now I’m going to law to help people and also to make money for Kate and the baby and other peanuts who come down the line. But now it feels more like my decision and 6 years ago it didn’t.

Pulled chicken for dinner. Or more carbonated water and peanuts. I don’t know. Being full isn’t pleasurable. But being hungry and snacking is delectable.

Fage yogurt, baked apples, cashews, chia seeds and watermelon flavored carbonated water

So rewinding to 4;59AM. Silver dark early morning swim. Arms lead heavy sore. Finally left my damn watch in the car, letting go of TImex obsession of FitBit quantifying every damn aspect of every day.

Bulky arms. Slap slap.

Are you sore because you did push ups for the first time in months yesterday? Or are you sore because the universe is trying to teach you to slow down, trot instead of thrash, and enjoy the damn swim around the lake instead of race race race?

Why are you sore? Pushups or universe? Or both? Physics or metaphysics?

I keep having waking dreams while swimming and regular dreams while sleeping about my grandma. She’s locked in an old folks home in Texas and apparently has been repeatedly found stripping herself of her Depends. The dreams take place in Grandma’s ole house in New York, where she lived until recently. Everyone else on the planet is gone and it’s just me and her. Or that’s what it feels like. In the dream, I’m more afraid of her than loathing, which is the inverse of how I feel now. In the dream I’m mostly afraid because I think her judgementalness and religiosity is a contagious disease, but also that her age is a disease I might catch. That’s all I remember because I’m relatively sleep deprived but also dreams fade. The point is I have a weird feeling that my grandma is going to die soon. And I don’t feel terrible about it. Probably because she’s said terrible things to me about me, and terrible things to my mom. Which is basically unforgivable. I know she’s old and I know she’s of another time and I know you should have compassion on the old and to a certain extent I do, I just don’t feel bad for her.

I’m going to become a lawyer. I’m going to start with expungements. I’m going to work for myself and the people.

Andrew Yang for President in 2020. I’m actually going to vote this time.

The banana muffins round one were a little dry so in the remaining batter I added honey and the no fat Greek yogurt from Aldi that’s ugh compared to full fat Fage. Bam! Better muffins.

No AM swimming tomorrow. 

My control issues

I’m learning there’s much demand for short and sweet. I’m also learning there’s hardly ever any truth there. It takes a while. You have to wear the shoes a while to know if they fit. Same with truth.

Like I could say damn dawn was beautiful as it erupted across lake horizon this morning. But the words are flat tin cans because you really had to be there.

So that’s one reason for this mornings podcast. Which is up on the website but not the podcast app for some reason.

The gentle herbal laxatives worked wonders. Feel 10 Ibs lighter. If we owned a scale I’d confirm. I took 3x the recommended dose. I felt that backed up. Like I’d eat very little and feel super full and cramped.

I think I have some sort of order disorder. Or overarching control issue. More than one days supply of food in frig makes me anxious and I begin planning meals or I consider freezing options, which fills freezer space, making me more anxious. This guy on Sam Harris’ latest podcast says most people are most of the time motivated by a fear of scarcity, and that this is evolutionarily inherited.

Swim you reptilian worrier. Next time I’m leaving the watch in the car. I know I keep saying this. Again the control issue.

Check out the 20 minute podcast I’m dying to hear what ya think. 

Nap revelation

It’s 6pm.

I was dozing deliriously. Am still barely post dozing, post PM nap drool. Disoriented. Warm head. Cool A/C. Blackout curtains. I turn over. The baby is cocooned. Kate is gone. The dog is gone. I press indigo on my watch. 6:01 PM. I’ve been asleep asunder atrip to planet sleepy sleep for a solid hour. Maybe more.

Houston, prepare for reentry.

Then I realize something and it feels like being struck by lightning while swimming, blasting me up and off my own horse of habit and patterned thinking. The g force of earth.

For the last 12 months, when Kate and the baby have been in bed napping, or in bed in the morning sleeping, I’ve been up and at em, busy writing, lifting, swimming, cycling, running, teaching yoga, sipping coffee. I’ve been going going going.

Plagued by busy.

And the penalty, the wages of these sins, has been when it’s 7pm and the baby is crawling crawling crawling like she invented hand knee hand knee hand knee, I’m horizontal on the couch, counting down the minutes until final lights out and I can close my eyes and rocket blast off to zzzzzz.

The realization is that I’ve traded sleep for stuff. Lately, I’ve been IV-attached to caffeine. Dependent in order to jet pack through the mid-afternoon slump.

While pancaked on the bed a few minutes ago, this perspective felt like a world class epiphany. Now I’m not sure what it is. You know the way the details of dreams fade upon waking up. In the haze of sleep, I thought I struck my ax of awareness on a psychedelic revelation. Something like the law of karma. I’ve been so tired because I’ve been so violently 100MPH. So simple. So collosal. Said from a different angle: the baby is always happy and smiling and baba clap clap, because she’s always rested.

Karma kicks. Take more naps.