Friday, September 9, 2011

Packed lunch

Yesterday was my son's first day at middle school.

Of course, I had forgotten to register for the "My Lunch Money" program online until the night before. I took care of it at 11:47pm, but discovered to my dismay that payments take 24 hours to appear in the school's system.

What the hell would I give him to eat on his first day? We are in the middle of an everlasting kitchen renovation during which we are subsisting on deliveries and take out, and the chances of me finding healthful sustenance amidst the dust and mess were slim.

I rustled around in the laundry hamper (where I am storing comestibles during the renovation), and retrieved a packet of Cheetos and a Capri Sun.

This would not do. While my son would be perfectly happy with this for lunch, his new school offers a very healthful menu with lots of fruits, veggies, and whole grains. I cannot send him into this environment with Cheetos. While I don't think Cheetos, if taken in moderation, would be bad for him, they sure as hell would be bad for me.

I would look like a Bad Parent.

I reviewed the label on the Capri Sun. I was encouraged by the fact that it contains 30% less sugar. Than what? Cotton candy? It didn't say. But it fooled me for a second, so it will fool the Judgers. I popped it into the lunch box.

I located the peanut butter under a pile of bills, alongside a suspicious-looking loaf of bread. I selected the two most promising slices, cut the worst of the mold off, and made a somewhat presentable sandwich.

What the hell could I do for fruit and veg? There was a forgotten green pepper in the fridge, but no amount of fancy knifework would ever make it edible. I grubbed about in the back of the vegetable drawer, and emerged triumphant with a remarkably well-preserved pear. I sliced it lovingly into an environmentally-friendly, non-BPA, reusable plastic container, being careful to leave the little 'organic' sticker on. Chew on that, Judgers!

While I was in the refrigerator, I noticed a lone yogurt, which was a little past its sell-by date. But not by much. I reminded myself that yogurt is meant to go off, sort of. I scratched off the sell-by date with my nail, added it to the lunch box, and zipped it all shut.

It was done. My reputation as a Not-All-That-Bad Parent was safe. My son's stomach, maybe less so. There is always Pepto Bismol.

I wonder if it counts as a vegetable?

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