"I found the carrot," said my sweet Sven with a mouthful.
"Yeah," he said.
And then he explained.
"I was eating carrots when I made the chili and I threw the last one in. Kind of like a prize, ya know?"
I have nothing against carrots.
However it is a known fact that there is a baby Jesus baked into a king cake. That a grand prize is waiting to be found in a box of Cracker Jacks. And as kids we used to dump out the entire box of cereal looking for the token buried inside.
I was glad Sven ran into that carrot because I might have spit the thing across the room. Or I could have ladled it into the container I gave to my sister.
But you know how it is.
You wear the ring, you let things slide.
Peace and carats.
There was a looming appointment for me on the calendar.
It was scheduled at the clinic that is attached to the hospital that has a parking ramp.
Fortunately I have educated myself of the ins and outs of the establishment over the last couple years.
I know exactly what not to do.
So, that morning I left with plenty of time.
Since I wasn't speeding my heart wasn't racing, and I was able to concentrate on the route.
When the arrow turned green I turned toward what used to be a maze of problems. But not this time.
This time I understood that my vehicle would fit underneath the gate that hangs over the road. And traffic to the left goes into the ramp and traffic to the right is for valet service.
I knew which set of revolving doors would lead into the clinic and which were aimed at the hospital.
I had pre e-checked myself in from home.
All I had to do was have my parking ticket validated, which I did. I put it into my back right pocket and made note of it's whereabouts. I walked with confidence to the elevator and pressed the button.
The girl in charge of the boob smashing machine didn't crank it all the way to the point of no return when you start confessing whatever they want you to.
And then it was over.
I had an hour and a half lay over until my next appointment in the same office.
This was not a problem.
I had remembered to bring a book as well as my reading glasses.
"Oh," I said to the technician when she could not locate the physician's assistant to see if she could see me early or find an empty room.
I decided to take a winter stroll in the city.
I knew where my car was parked.
Level two, first row to the left of the stairway.
So, I could have hopped in and gone shopping.
But, that would have altered the Feng Shui of the day.
Sixteen dollars later, I was seated with a grilled cheese sandwich and a small black coffee in my parked car, via the short cut I was privy to, due to a past failed attempt to drive into the parking ramp causing an overshoot of the whole thing when that irritated middle fingered car honking son of a bitch guy was right behind me.
Turning pages with gloves is a little clunky.
But, I didn't mind.
I was cold, but not as chilly as the Big Brother book in front of me.
Forty-five minutes later, I dog eared my page and walked through the revolving doors for appointment number two.
Even my blood pressure was in line.
And then I made a perfect dismount from the building.
I followed the exit signs in the parking ramp like some kind of a pro and slid my validated ticket, which was still in my back right pocket, into the slot.
The arm rose.
I did not space out and forget to move over one lane to the left on University Ave. Which meant I was not forced down the old road where that collie chased all the cars when we were kids. This also meant that I did not end up cruising my childhood neighborhood.
I just drove home.
"It was really kind of boring," I was telling Sven during dinner. "I mean, is that the way it is for everybody?"
We were in our living room having a bowl of his reheated batch of chili that I had pulled out of the freezer.
"I found the carrot," he says with a mouthful.
"I was eating carrots when I made the chili and I threw the last one in."
There was a moment of silence as we eyed each other trying to figure out if I was senile, if he was senile or if we were both screwed.
"I thought you already ate that," I said.
"Me too," he said.
Peace and carats.
I prepared a meatloaf, whipped up potatoes and threw together a green bean casserole the other day.
There we were, the two of us settled into our spots on the couch with our plates on our laps. A fire crackled in the wood stove. Hunter was sprawled out in front of it on a bark break. Tuna was outside pillaging. And Grandma Meow was asleep on her favorite step. We watched the world coming apart on the tv again, and Sven said, "Do you put eggs in meatloaf?"
"One," I said.
"I think I just ate an eggshell."
"I put that in there, kind of like a prize, ya know?" I said.
And then I took another bite and spit an egg shell into my napkin.
"I thought you only put in one egg," he smirked.
This led our conversation to the mystery carrot, which then led to carrots in general and then to peas.
"I like the baby ones. But cooked carrots are better when they are the old fashioned kind you have to peel," I said.
"I think the baby ones are better."
But when I got to the bottom of it, it was just so there was no peeling involved.
"My brother hates cooked carrots," I said. "It wouldn't matter which kind they were."
"Well your sister hates peas," he said.
"She used to," I said. "But now she loves peas."
"What about your brother?"
"He still hates carrots if they are cooked. Always has. Always will."
We continued to eat our comfort food as we watched in horror the world coming apart in front of us.
"I wonder why some people learn to love the things they once hated and why some people just continue to hate," I said.
"Good question," said Sven.
"Do you think it is because people are made differently and can accept change? Or do you think it is because peas are just that much better than carrots?"