Unfortunately, my dentist appointment proved that my precognitive flash was correct. The X-rays showed decay in a place that can’t be fixed unless the dentist removes the cantilevered bridge (aka a “Maryland bridge”) to do it.
That bridge was on borrowed time anyway. It was installed 31 years ago. When I said as much, the dentist’s eyes widened. It’s had an impressive run, but time for it to go. And for a crown to be placed on that tooth.
My self-funded dental insurance covers only preventive work like X-rays and cleaning. The work needed will run a little over $1,200 if I pay by check. Which I will, of course.
My decidedly non-frugal reaction was to say, “Let’s go out to eat.” You can see that I wasn’t thinking clearly.
How could I? I’d just been handed a big bill. I hadn’t packed for my Fairbanks trip. I’d spent most of the day not working (dentist, business meeting, picking up a nephew). The fridge was bare of leftovers and we hadn’t taken anything out to thaw. I hadn’t eaten much that day and was hungry and dispirited.
Fortunately, DF was smarter than I am. Also very kind.
He told me he’d be happy to take me out to eat anywhere I wanted. But he gently pointed out that for the next three days I’d be eating out nonstop.
“That will be food made by people who do not love you,” he said, and offered to fix us some turkey burgers.
Prepared and shared with love
The instant he started sautéing onions, I knew he’d made the right call. The house took on a delicious aroma as he sliced potatoes and fried them, and warmed up a can of baked beans.
While he did this I packed for the trip and cleared some e-mails, reappearing in the kitchen in time to toast some rolls from the used bread store and get all the condiments out of the refrigerator.
While the burgers finished cooking we picked at the plate of potatoes, onions and some fruit-punch Koolickles that he’d also sliced. The caramelized onions plus some of our home-canned pickled cabbage turned the turkey burgers into gourmet sandwiches, and the side dishes were just right.
So the next time you think there’s nothing to eat and want to order takeout or go out to eat, the answer to your issue is probably in the freezer and cupboards. It may not be the answer you want, but it’s the answer our budgets often need.
Even if your dinner winds up being scrambled egg sandwiches or ramen and canned peaches, it’s still food and it’s not a budget-buster. Bonus: Food gets used up in good time vs. languishing for months or years.
Normally I would have done that myself but I didn’t because I was too cranky-pants that day. So thanks, DF, for bringing me back to my senses. My share of that mythical dinner out can go toward my dentist bill.
After all, the same meal eaten elsewhere would have cost us $20 or more. It also would have been prepared by people who do not love me.
P.S. Yes, I flossed before bedtime.