My Budding Curmudgeon

<a href=””>Sail</a&gt;


Sailing (not us though) on Martha’s Vineyard.

Curmudgeon: 1. archaic: miser. 2. a crusty, ill-tempered and usually old man. -Merriam-Webster

My husband is the type of guy who takes out a desk calendar every Sunday and asks everyone what they’ve got going on for the week.

He’s a bit of a control freak. Maybe it’s from being a lawyer for nearly 30 years and having to keep track of billable hours. He’s so used to being accountable for his time that he has a hard time relaxing on vacation. The longer the stretch of open time laying before him, the more unmoored he gets.

We’ve been on vacation for less than 48 hours and he’s thrown out some stuff I’ve never heard in 33 years of marriage. Here’s a sampling:

“Why can’t cats be house trained?”

“We have only four hotdogs! What are we going to do?”

“I just went to the store and there are no hotdogs anywhere!”

“I just spent $125 at the store and we’ve got nothing to eat.”

“I can’t believe I forgot to bring the Bisquick.”

“Are you crazy buying corn on the cob up here? OK, you can buy four ears.” (I buy six for 4 people.)

“I can’t believe I left all my vitamins at home.”

“I don’t have a book to read. I don’t want to use your Kindle. I’m going to treat myself and go to the bookstore.”

“I forgot to buy the Vineyard Gazette. I have no idea about the tides.”

“I can’t see (an eye infection) and I can’t walk (achilles tendonitis).

“My legs are dead.”

“Why would I want to go swimming at the YMCA in the summer?”

“There’s a new golf course in Chappaquiddick.” Me: “Hey, let’s go!” Him: “We have no clubs, no bags, no game and no money.”

“I need a new dump sticker, but I left my tax form at home. How am I going to prove ownership?”

“I’d take out the recyclables, but we don’t have a recycling bin.”

“I can’t believe I just spent $15 for a small bag of cherries and $8 for a small can of cashews.”

“The chip aisle was stripped, but I managed to find a bag.”

“Maybe we should have tried the Scottish Bake House before spending $25 for a pie.”

“Do you realize that ginger ale you bought was $6?”

Me: “Hey, let’s go sailing.” Him: “In what? Do you want me to spend $50,000 to rent the Shenandoah?”

Son: “Happy 4th Dad!” Him, swirling his pointer “Whoopdeedoo!”

Son: “Let’s go get some beach chairs.” Him: “I’m not paying $80 for beach chairs.”

“I bought cold cuts for a G Sandwich, but we need bread. Let’s get some at the store.” After going in three stores, “There’s no bread anywhere. Let’s get out of here.”

“There’s a Beverly Hills Cop special on Encore tonight. Let’s watch it.” Son: “We don’t get Encore.” Him: “We get it at home, why don’t we get it here? Do we get HBO?”

“We have to be at the picnic at 6 o’clock. How are we going to manage the beach today?”

After eating lunch, watching tennis and a brief nap: “Are we going to the beach today or not?”

On the way home from the beach: “I hate to tell you this, but there’s not much for dinner.”

I tell him I am going to write a piece and call him a curmudgeon. “Your father was a curmudgeon,” he replies. “I’d appreciate if you call me a budding curmudgeon.”





Wade’s World

via Daily Prompt: Reprieve


Wade Michaels sorts produce at the Madison, CT., Food Pantry.

Wade Michaels is a reprieve from the bad stuff: a glimpse of hope in a sea of negativity.

I stumbled upon Wade while researching a project about food waste. It’s funny how one story leads to the next. Someone at the Connecticut Food Bank told me about Wade. So on a sunny May day, we met outside the Guilford, CT., Big Y.

Wade, produce/floral manager, battled anxiety and depression after his father suddenly died of a heart attack 10 years ago. (This is not the uplifting part.) He tried antidepressants and therapy, but didn’t feel better until he began helping others.

“I was the saddest guy in the room,” Wade, 40, recalls. “I was so wrapped up in my own stuff. Then one day I realized I had to change. I started reading Tony Robbins, who says the way to end suffering is helping people. We’re not here to take, we’re here to give.”

Wade began volunteering at the Madison Community Service Food Pantry, and his spirits began to lift. When the Connecticut Food Bank asked him if Big Y would donate surplus produce last year, Wade jumped.

Today, he rescues fresh produce from Big Ys in Guilford, Old Saybrook and Lyme, and delivers them to Shoreline food banks. Every Wednesday, he spends his lunch hour at the Madison pantry stocking shelves and handing out produce.

“It’s one of the best things I do all week,” Wade says. “I’m just getting started. Once you start helping people, you look for ways to do more.”

Though smaller than many Big Ys in the state, the Guilford store donates the most produce to the Connecticut Food Bank. Wade says he’s supported by his Springfield, MA.,-based company, which gives him a two-hour lunch break Wednesdays. But he rescues most food in his spare time.

In the past year, he’s diverted 25,000 pounds of surplus produce to food pantries. Before the rescue program began, local food banks bought fresh produce for their shelves.

“He’s awesome,” said one Connecticut Food Bank executive. “The average age of our volunteers is 70 and no one was available to rescue food from the Old Saybrook and Lyme stores. Wade took it upon himself to get produce from those stores. When presented with a problem, Wade finds ways to fix it.”

When the Lyme Food Pantry needed shopping carts, Wade got them donated. He believes nothing’s impossible if you’re willing to tackle a problem.

Madison Community Services Food Pantry leaders are overwhelmed by Wade’s volunteerism, saying they’ve never met anyone like him.

“He’s always looking out for other people,” says Vincent Diglio, who directs the pantry with his wife Margaret and Mary Hake. “Anything he can do for other people in need, he does. It’s really quite extraordinary.”

The other day, a customer asked for fresh fruit. Wade apologized that he was nearly out.  He offered apples, but the man shook his head. “I was hoping for some strawberries, maybe a melon,” he said. Wade assured him he’d put some aside for him next week.

Wade, who is married and lives in Old Saybrook, CT., is happy, and grateful that his dark days are behind him.

“My father had to pass away and I had to go through that period to change,” Wade says.

The Connecticut Food Bank always needs volunteers. To learn more, visit


Fresh carrots from Big Y.