Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The $200 Lunchbox

GI Echo knows how to make a sandwich.  He also knows how to put a lemon square into a little bag, and how to fill a thermos with soup.  He knows where we keep the apples and he almost always knows where the lunchbag is.  He's busy, but he could probably find five minutes to make his own lunch.  And sometimes, he does.  That's the part everybody knows.  Here's the part that's kind of a secret.  Several times a week, I do something shocking.

I make my husband's lunch.  Here's why:

  • Health.  If there's nothing prepped for him, GI Echo will do one of several things.  (You may recognize some of this behavior from your own household.)  He'll go out and buy something gnarly and fried at the PX food court, which is long on "convenience" and short on nutrition.  Or, he'll skip lunch altogether, which is not ideal for active people.
  • Time management.  Leaving his workplace to purchase fast food can be an unwelcome time suck on his day, whereas a packed lunch can travel with him and be enjoyed without leaving the desk!  Or motor pool, or range.  Are they allowed to eat on range?  I don't know, ask Bravo.
  • Money.  The going rate for a take-out lunch in our area is between $6-$15, though your mileage may vary.  If one partner spends $10 a day on lunch, that's a $200 drag on your budget every month- and more if you both go out for lunch!
I hear you, I hear you.  You've just pointed out that the above list contains three points in support of brown-bagging it in general, but no real argument for why I make his lunch.  Hang onto your ironic hat and keep reading.

  • Harmony.  When he skips lunch, he comes home in a total cloud of full-on, level 10, varsity blackbelt irritability haze.  He has a major case of hangry, and in this case, prevention is way better, and more practical, than the cure.  Don't act like your husband doesn't do the same damn thing.  He does, and I'll bet you do, too.
  • Money.  There are so many better things to spend $200 on.  Here  are just a few examples that you could both enjoy!  
  • Polar bears.  All that packaging from fast food is bad for the environment.  So is driving to and from the restaurant, not to mention drive-throughs.  Please tell me this is not the first time you've heard that.
  • Love.  There's just nothing like interrupting a tough day to enjoy a lovingly packed lunch.  In our military household, staying connected takes creativity and effort, since we are apart so much of the time.  The nature of his job makes funny emails, short check-in calls, and even naughty sexts impractical (and naughty!) but sending him with a lunch is a great, realistic way to stay close.
So, in five minutes a day, you too can nurture your budget, the planet, and your partner in one simple effort.  That's a lot of nurturing and so, so worth it.

Even if you don't include a hastily-drawn sketch of your partner looking like a polar bear with a sappy note inside.  I'm not saying I do, but I heard that folks do that.  It's a thing.  Shut up.  We'll be back with some tips sometime later this week- we are milspouses, after all.  We're not just going to sanctimoniously boss you around without providing instructions!

This bag may contain an embarrassingly sentimental note.

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