I’m frugal. Maybe I’m parsimonious. Okay, I’m cheap. Every time I see an article listing Ten Things To Do To Save Thousands Of Dollars Each Year, I can’t save a penny because I already do the stuff on the list.

One thing always mentioned on these lists is to pack your own lunches. I have always packed my own lunches. Not just because I’m frugal, okay cheap, but because I don’t much care for fast food. If someone told me I had to eat a dry pretend-to-be-a-hamburger squished amid a really cheap, nasty, crappy, soggy bun – I would simply have to sit in a corner and begin sobbing.

Where I am employed, there are myriad eateries located within one block. Anything from a really great Italian place where two guys immigrated from Italy to come over here and create delicious meals for me (I’ve actually eaten here twice and it was great) to a place called Perfectly Frank’s which serves all manner of hot dogs.

It is possible to go for weeks eating at a different place each day and not have to walk farther than my daily trip around the block.

I don’t eat normal lunches. I am not much of a fan of sandwiches. I eat them occasionally, but I have no desire to eat a sandwich every day for lunch. I like cheese and crackers for lunch, or soup and crackers, or maybe leftovers from dinner. I like to eat at my desk or computer without a lot of mess involved, too. Some days my lunch is not nearly as neatly presented as that, but it is what I prefer.

On Monday, for the first time since I started working fourteen months ago, I made a conscious decision to buy my lunch. Single Smile Café is located in the same building as our office. They are on the first floor and in the northeast corner. They have really good food. I’ve had it before and was pleased.

They have something called a trio choice. I could get chicken salad, tuna salad, and shrimp salad on a bed of lettuce with some fruit on the side. Each of the salads is about a cup scoop of delicious stuff filled with the chicken, tuna, or shrimp. It isn’t running in mayonnaise. It is delightfully spiced. It is way more food than I need to eat for one lunch.

Ah, there’s another reason I don’t eat out. This is not something new or different, but I’ve always been aware of the calorie count in a McMeal even if it isn’t actually from McDonald’s but from some other fast food place. I don’t usually need or even want several hundred calories for a simple lunch.

But on Monday morning I just couldn’t find anything in my house that appealed to me. I had my favorite tomato basil soup here, but I didn’t feel like that. I had some really good flatbread crackers to go with it or with cheese, which I also had. I didn’t want that. I decided I wanted the trio for Single Smile Café.

I called the café to place my order and was told they were out of meat. There was no chicken, tuna, or shrimp salad. They could make a BLT, but that wasn’t what I was hoping for. My plan was to buy the trio and eat all week. I even brought two little containers to store the two salads I wasn’t going to eat on Monday to have them ready for lunch for Tuesday and Wednesday. I was going to be set for the week.

Earlier, I vacillated in the kitchen and Dick said to just buy the lunch and treat myself. But it was not to be. There wasn’t anything there to buy for lunch and now I didn’t have my tomato soup or cheese and crackers with me, either. I had no lunch. I might miss a meal. Surely this would be the end of civilization as we know it.

Obviously the menu names have changed over time.

I walked around the block. I stopped in at Frank’s, a place I had never stepped foot in before. I asked for a menu to take with me. I got back to my office. I asked the bosses if they were interested in ordering from Frank’s. They weren’t.

Now Frank’s is a cute idea. They have about twenty different ways to serve hot dogs and there is a simple Frank and then there are all sorts of famous Franks named with a description of what that type of hot dog would be. Frank Lloyd Wright, Franklin D. Roosevelt, etc. And each one was a bit different with different toppings.

I called Frank’s, got a Frank and sweet potato fries. I walked back over there and picked it up. I ate the entire hot dog and it was really a good hot dog and I ate only some of the fries. I brought most home and we ate them with our dinner of baked salmon and sautéed asparagus and mushrooms. Made a great meal.

I have to think of something to pack for lunch today.

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