June 2020 Universal Yums box—a Great Britain birthday

So as part of her birthday extravaganza I took the teenager’s mail and packages, compiled it into a box and gave it to her with her birthday cake during a small birthday dinner with her paternal grandparents.

In the box was her June 2020 Universal Yums box.

Part One

Part Two

I explained to the grandparents what this was all about— a monthly themed box of snacks from a certain region of the world.

I didn’t expect that after a mountain of meat loaf she could keep eating.

Best of the box:

  • The teenager loved the banana toffee.
  • We both liked the intense pickled onion rings.
  • The teenager enjoyed the shortbread.

Worst of the box:

  • The honey mustard potato chips were dull by my standards and too much for the teen. [after a while, the Mackie’s if Scotland crisps starting growing on me— the flavor and texture was perfect.)
  • We were all rather confused by the lamb and mint chips. They were weird. And not in a good way.

As the teenager finishes her sixteenth year…

The teenager was born at 1:34 a.m. on June 23, 2004. I was induced on Monday the 22nd. I remember it as a Monday because of the disappointment I felt as the clock struck midnight…

Why? you ask…

Well, Tuesday’s child is full of woe.

The French day, “I have XX years,” vs. “I am XX.” I am pondering that today because it really is more accurate.

When the teenager wakes up in the morning, she will have finished 16 years on this earth.

Doing silly things like this: Her cake topper (YouTube videos)

Her birthday started this weekend with a scavenger hunt at her dad’s and his homemade peanut butter bars. He invited me over to share in their celebration.

Today she spent the day with my father riding his Harley through the Pocono Mountains, eating pancakes and buying coffee from convenience stores.

And my mother-in-law asked what she wanted for her birthday. The teenager asked for a meatloaf.

Birthday Meatloaf

Well, if your in-laws are bringing a meatloaf, they might as well stay for dinner. And if the in-laws are here, you might as well invite the estranged husband.

And I had some “presents” for her. Unbeknownst to her, a bunch of her packages came today while she was gone.

Among the goodies: most of her Dress Lily order, her June Universal Yums box, and her “low brass witch” customized color-changing tumbler purchased to support my former Target colleague as her family dealt with Covid-related unemployment while their middle child (age six) is battling Leukemia.

More on all of these things another day, as I had a business meeting at eight p.m. and I took a long walk in today’s heat with Nala on my shoulder. She did well,

Friday Funday

Today had some elements of greatness among the toil of a long work day in the midst of a pandemic.

  • We had a lovely walk.
  • We had pizza.
  • I got a free doughnut.
  • We got a Yum box.
  • We went to Family Dollar for school supplies and found some other surprises.
  • My truck is only $5,000. Maybe I can really buy it.
  • I got a new plunger.
  • I helped my blind friend Nancy open a Twitter account.

If none of that sounds interesting just skip this entry, but you might enjoy this “a day in the life.”

I had to go to the local Goin Postal to print and mail a grant for work. I brought the teenager along so she could grab some Little Caesars pizza and school supplies from Family Dollar as I figured I’d be in the shop for an hour.

The dollar store had clearance jelly beans for 75% off! I got three bags for $1!!! The teenager got lead for her favorite mechanical pencils and pens for my home office. We also got two really big cans of cat food. Because four cats.

The teenager procured some food items too— though some may not qualify as food. Lemon sugar wagers, pickles, blueberry muffins, beef ramen, generic pop tarts, sour freeze pops and Slim Jim’s.

We came home and she did school work while I did office work. At 2 pm, I took my meal break to go to the local hardware store. We needed caulk, wood patch, drain unclogger, a plunger, and items for a floor in the mud room.

I’ll have to take some photos of the nice laminate plank flooring the teen picked out for her floor. I even got wasp killer and some keys made.

Spent $180. But that includes 60 square feet of flooring.

That was also when I noticed my old aging truck was only $5,000.

I want this truck.

So we then stopped at Dunkin because it’s Free Doughnut Friday and since I only leave the house about once a week might as well make it exciting.

I worked late. Went straight to a telephone meeting with Nancy, my blind friend who I do computer stuff for. Long story short— we ended up putting her on Twitter and she followed a whole bunch of NASA stuff. Try explaining Twitter to a blind person. Just try.

Then once we finished, the teenager and I had her Universal Yums box for dinner. It was amazing! Scandinavian goodies for the win!

Unboxing and tasting video here: April 2020 Scandinavia Universal Yum Box

And then I tried the new plunger. It worked so well the gunk was coming out that little hole in the drain circle where the flipper for the tub plug goes. Under the spigot.

And that was my exciting day. Everyone even hung out with me.

Through tired eyes

I. Am. Exhausted.

March was shaping up to be an exhausting month at work before it even started because of all the grants I had to finish— I forget how many so we’ll round to ten. And a couple needed reports.

Then we added a couple last minute important government opportunities and dealt with some EITC issues… if you don’t know what EITC is don’t worry about it, it’s a Pennsylvania tax program for corporations that benefits education.

And then we hit the state emergency of Corona virus/COVID-19 shutdown.

My employer has the largest full-choice food pantry in the County and we serve hundreds of households every month. We educated about a hundred people daily in our classrooms. We serve students in the schools. Provide assistance to walk-ins, existing clients and referrals.

So this has changed everything. The CEO is scrambling. Meetings are going virtual. Our educators are looking at distance learning. Our food pantry staff and volunteers are bagging food instead of letting clients shop.

And now we need to design a schedule and a work plan to use our homes as offices.

Ideally, we no more than 3 people in our admin building at a time. (There are only six of us.)

Tomorrow I have to take the old MacBook Air into the office and hope I can get it to connect to the remote server. Otherwise, I am not allowed to work from home.

And I forgot my journal on my desk, and my planner, but my planner I can survive without. But my journal? Noooooooo!

Every morning, I get up, pour a cup of mostly decaf coffee and write in my journal while the cats eat. Not having this ritual will be upsetting.

To lighten the mood, here is a cat photo from the freshly cleaned room of the teenager:

And an unboxing of this months treats— a Universal Yums box from Brazil (featuring Nala, my naughty Goffin’s cockatoo):

Universal Yums March 2020

Eating Polish Things

For Christmas, I got the teenager a subscription to Universal Yums, a snack box that send food from a different country to your door.

This month featured Poland.

We plan to do an unboxing and a tasting with every box.

This box featured a lot of chocolate. The three items that weren’t chocolate were pretzel sticks covered with poppy seeds, a milk caramel coconut candy and a potato chip called Monster Munch that was the same product as Frito Lay’s Munchos in a different shape.

For our review, visit my YouTube channel:

Universal Yums from Poland part 1

Universal Yums box from Poland, part 2

And for the initial box, the multicultural holiday box, see here:

Universal Yums holiday box