Life Lessons

It’s been raining.

A few weeks ago, I published a post about Random Thoughts, one of the attributes mentioned on the tag line. Life Lessons is also mentioned in that tag line. Well, the past few weeks have given us all the opportunity to learn more about ourselves. Many people have written about these lessons, about what they’ve learned about themselves. I don’t want to cover that same ground, so I thought I’d focus on a few lessons you might enjoy.

Anti-Social Distance – The Editor pointed out the incongruity with the term Social Distance. Social doesn’t involve distance. Social involves people interacting with people. Precisely what we’re not allowed to do. This weekend, in Connecticut, our Governor reduced the number of people who could gather in a group to five. I’m OK with five. Maddie, on the other hand, is all, “Five? Five people? At the same time? You’re not going to do that, are you? I only need you two and maybe Faith. Actually, if Faith comes, you two can go.”

Maddie is not a social dog. When we walk, we avoid other people, especially people with other dogs. On Saturday, we saw a family coming toward us. A man and a woman, two little kids, AND A DOG! That’s a group of five right there. We crossed the street and Maddie barked. After we passed them, Maddie kept checking behind us. She’d look back and utter a simple single bark.

Shopping – If I’ve learned anything during this period of isolation, it’s how little I know about the things we eat. I not only don’t know what we eat, I don’t know where the things we eat are located in the grocery store. I don’t know how much that stuff costs, so I don’t know what a good price might be. I do know that, if you want to sell me something, advertise a price at which I can have two. For instance, if Special-K is normally $2.59 a box, put a sign up that says “Special-K – Now two boxes for $6.00” and I’ll toss two boxes in my cart. Two packs of muffins, two packages of lettuce, two bags of chips. If my dentist offered two root canals for a price my insurance would pay, I’d probably make two appointments.

Design and Math – I think the readers who object to math-on-Mondays, will appreciate this. The Editor shops at the smaller of the local grocery stores. I shop there, too, but I’ll venture into Stop & Shop if the little store is out of something we need. In order to maintain that prescribed social distance in line, I prefer to use the self-checkout. While shopping, I noticed Kraft Mac & Cheese – don’t judge, I love that stuff – on sale for 88¢ a box. Now, I don’t know if that’s a good price, but this wasn’t the generic stuff we sometimes buy, this was Kraft! I put three boxes in my cart.

At the checkout station, as you scan each item it tells you the price and your savings. I admit, I didn’t much understand this process. None of the prices sounded familiar and I wasn’t sure where the “savings” were coming from. I have a Stop & Shop rewards thing, so I assume maybe that was generating the savings. However, when I scanned the Mac & Cheese, it said, “One, twenty-five. Savings thirty-seven cents.” A dollar-twenty-five? What happened to eight-eight cents.

I flagged the helper-lady over. I held up the Mac & Cheese and explained that the sign said eighty-eight cents. She explained that that was the price after the thirty-seven-cent savings.

OK, I felt stupid. But then I realized how badly their system is designed. If I had designed that system, the voice would have said, “Eighty-eight cents. You saved thirty-seven cents. Way to go big guy!”

I hope you are all maintaining a distance that Maddie would approve and that you stay safe and healthy throughout this crisis.


  1. Great post Dan! Don’t feel too bad about not knowing where items are in the market. Just when you get their location down pat, they change everything around in the entire store. 😤 Following the discounts on the register receipts can be challenging too.

    Great sunrise shot over the trash cans. And the one of Sammy sheltered under the roof with Maddie in the rain is priceless! Looks like a lot of blooming going on in your yard, and that’s good to see.

    Glad Maddie is holding you to a strict social distance when out and about! She’s a smart girl.

    Persistent rain here as well, but at least no shoveling required! Lol.

    Continued good health to all of you. Looking forward to better days ahead.
    🐾Ginger 🐾

    Liked by 1 person

    • Here’s to those better days, Ginger!

      I took Maddie for a walk early today, hoping to beat the rain and the other people who must now walk, since their gyms are closed. Maddie greets them all with, “This is my park! Get out of here!” If we’re close enough, I apologize for her tone, but…

      Target is the one place I normally shop, and they are always moving things around. Just leave the M&Ms in the same place!

      The squirrels are s pathetic in the rain. Normally, they stay in their nest, but the babies have been born and the moms are hungry. We fed the little drowned rat about six straight peanuts. It just wouldn’t move. Finally, it took one and ran back to its tree.

      I never thought I’d be sharing sunrise over the trash cans, but I guess you take beauty where you find it.

      Stay safe and healthy!


  2. Good morning, Dan and Maddie, and thank you for the smiles while reading this during this challenging time. When this is over, I may drive to CT so you can go with me on a JoAnn’s fabric shopping trip and help me understand their receipts. I normally go, I shop, I read the receipt, and I have no clue what I actually paid. Mac and cheese is always good comfort food. My problem is I’ve bought food that has will last if need be and has protein, and all I’m craving is stuff I don’t have. For instance, I sure wish I could get a key lime pie in a jar to go. :-) Stay safe.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mmmmmm, Key Lime Pie, that would taste good right about now. I’m used to the receipts at Home Depot, or the lumber yard – straight forward – you bought this, it cost this, thanks. My favorite receipt is the one from the bar when I notice that the bartender comped me a beer. That makes me smile and it encourages a nicer tip for her. I’ve seen a few posts from her on Facebook, so it’s good to know she’s OK.

      Hang in there, Judy. Stay safe, and try to stay healthy.


  3. I love your water droplets! And Maddie of course. One day we will look back on these trying times wth pride, with horror and perhaps with compassion. The world has changed. Hopefully the good bits will remain.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad you like the drops, Pam. It’s the one benefit of having a dog on a rainy day. Maddie stops to sniff something interesting (finding a place to pee would be nice) and I look around.

      I do think some good will come from this. I only hope it outweighs the bad.

      Take care!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Sunrise over the trash cans. I fear that will be the extent of my travel blogs in the near future…
    And btw, I hope you’re sanitizing that self checkout machine. Steal a bottle from the cashier like my other half did.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow! That’s a good point you make about sanitizing the self-checkout machine! I’ve never used one, but I see lots of people who do, and no one has ever wiped it down before they touched it. That’s good advice for any time, but especially now.
      🐾Ginger 🐾

      Liked by 2 people

    • I maintain minimal contact with that machine. I hold an open bag in one hand and scan the item in another. I touch the screen, only once or twice, when I have to, and I use my fingernail.

      I’ve actually seen the common clerk moving around and wiping the terminals down after people leave.

      I think sunrise over trash cans will be a new art form.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Rain has been, and continues to be, our forecast too … although we can’t boast your tree buds yet. I’m just still in awe of the fact that it’s the end of March and the silly tulips are as large as they are.

    I admit that I too am a sucker for “2 for the price of …”. All too often my answer will be yes, please. That however does not explain my current ridiculous stash of chocolate. I think Alternate Reality Joanne went out shopping that day.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. LOL, I love your math faux pas, but only because that probably would have been me as well. And you’re right – it should have spit out 88 cents as the price to begin with.

    I grew up with homemade mac and cheese, but when I got married, he liked the Kraft stuff in the box. So, I compromised by making the box stuff and throwing in two or three slices of processed cheese to make it creamier. Worked like a charm and we were both satisfied.

    I went to the front lines yesterday morning (grocery store) early and found that other people were like minded. Too many people. It was quite the excursion, but I think I came out okay by using lots of wipes to shop with. No mac and cheese, but I did find a nice chicken for soup.

    Have a good Monday, Dan!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I knew you would like the math lapse. I felt like I owed it to the Monday crowd to share. I guess, if you don’t have the shopping card, you pay $1.25 and they want those poor slobs to hear you getting your discount. Since I mainly do “fill-in” shopping, I’m not sure what they’re learning about me.

      My wife augments the Mac&Cheese with a small can of whole kernel corn (my food weakness) and sometimes she adds some crushed tomatoes or bits of ham.

      I wasn’t in the store very long yesterday. Sunday does seem to be a bad day to shop.

      Take care. I know you’re working, but a little extra attention migh be demanded by the four-leggers.


  7. Yeah, we had those “reward” card stores overseas….one price on the shelf, one for the out of towners and one for the card folks. third world mentality that jacks up the price to make a few cents more and hopes the customer doesn’t realize it with the “savings.” Just put the price on the box, please.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Sunrise over trash cans….how can you not love the creativity of that? I watch that checkout like a hawk! One store, I have come to realize, scans the regular price and deducts your ‘savings’ at the end. I about throttled the clerk before she explained that to me. Now I am a fan of self-checkout. My husband needs to pick up the pace with bagging, though…..BOGO’s–our Publix prints out their ad every Wednesday and I take that to the store with me (NOT senior hours–too early for me). It would crack me up when our dogs would do like Maddie: look back and give one simple single bark. Just so you know, I mean business. You’ve been warned

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’d probably be yelling at me, Lois. I am so slow at the checkout. I’m not putting anything down on that surface, and I’m shopping alone. Item in one hand, bag in the other. Scan-bag-repeat. If you pick on me, I’ll order a “service dog” badge for Maddie’s harness and take her in with me. I go with a list from The Editor and instructions on how to avoid the chicken that looks like MiMi’s chicken but isn’t (yes, she cooks chicken for MiMi – long story).

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Wait! During the panic buying sessions, I totally forgot about mac-and-cheese! Darn. Ain’t going back for it now, even though our stores have enforced social distancing by placing taped marks on the floor heading to the registers, along with employees with walkie-talkies at the front and back of the line to ensure that only one person goes to the register at a time. I understand that some stores have also placed plexiglass barriers along the conveyor, between the customer and the cashier, but I personally haven’t seen that. Of course, I also don’t do the shopping any more; hubby does that because he’s not immune compromised. Just as well. Like you, I would be too tempted by two-fer signs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You forgot mac&cheese – too late, I’m sure I’ve hoarded it by now ;-) – I’m not hoarding.

      I did read about the plexiglass barriers. I haven’t seen them, or the tape marks. I’ve gone back to shopping mid-morning to avoid the crush.

      Take care. Stay safe and add Kraft to the list for hubs.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Many things in those systems are whacked, Dan. I am, I must admit, that your calculating mathematically superior brain didn’t immediately see that the difference between those two numbers equalled your savings. 😉But, hey, out of one’s element is the key. Hubby has the same issues. He expounds on the idiocy of grocery processes, from bait and switch marketing to outdated items on the shelves. I have seen such an evolution in grocery stores over my 45 years as Chief Cook and Bottle Washer. Lol

    Liked by 1 person

    • Shopping really has changed. I did most of the shopping in my first marriage. Now, it’s a rare event, and I’m not good at it. It changed too much while I wasn’t paying attention. But, I look at every system from a “what would I have done?” point of view. I know it could be better. I actually wrote a point-of-sale system for a hardware store. I know what can be done.


  11. Our stay at home order starts at 5:00 pm today but I do not plan to go anywhere today. We are stocked well and if others need food, then they should have it. I am taking advantage of this time to treat myself to things we would not normally eat. Yesterday that was a pan of freshly baked brownies. Hang in there, Dan, and stay safe.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Twiggy and Maddie have the same idea about others. Twiggy cannot stand to see anyone on her planet. If you are driving a pickup forgetaboutit. She has cursed you into the next century. Super photos of the rain, Dan. We are expecting the same today.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I pay attention to taglines because I come from a marketing background, but also because it’s fun to see how a person plans to talk about his or her life– then what they write. You’ve nailed the random and you’re doing great with the life lessons. Carry on.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hopes and Dreams have always been an underlying component of these posts, Ally, but sometimes, I don’t think I’ve been clear about that. It’s good to hear that someone actually read the tag line ;-)

      I hope you are staying safe and well.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. It seems you’re getting quite a shopping education, Dan. :) I try not to look at the sale signs — they almost always confuse me, and I’m sure that’s no accident.
    I love the pic of the fence with all the water droplets — I can see a reflection in them. How cool! Sorry about the rainy forecast. I guess that will put a damper on many of your home projects. (Ugh, no pun intended.) Hugs on the wing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha – I’m glad you like those photos, Teagan. I couldn’t decide which one I liked the best, so I included all of them. I hope to pull my car out of the garage today and get a little organizing done. It’s really all I can do until I can start working outside.


      Liked by 1 person

  15. Loved this post . I made all of those shopping boo boos , too ( but I was a teenager ) . The price signs lately have gone a lot more deceptive . I have to put on my reading glasses and really read them carefully , including the small print . Some have a great price , on wine for example , on the large -print label ; but in small print I find that it’s that price only if you buy 10 bottles. I don’t buy 10 bottles of wine at once.
    Anyway , so this pandemic will be a learning experience for us all in more ways than one. Stay safe in there , Dan.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Dan, you too.

      Their goal is to separate us from as much of our money as possible. I liked the “but I was a teenager” part. That may show up on a Saturday bar post.


  16. Oh, those refracted images in the drops are great! Especially the trees, and the reflected image of the tree in the puddle all a little fuzzy was like a dream!

    I find I’m questioning whether or not I got the savings more and more as stores use weird accounting to spit out my costs on the receipt. I’d rather just see the sale price and the savings at the end.

    Stay well!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I do like it that way, John. My wife sometimes adds ham. She always adds a small can of whole kernel corn (my favorite) and sometimes adds some crushed tomatoes. It’s a very versatile food. It’s like a precursor compound ;-)


  17. I was in a supermarket one Sunday back in 2018 when I saw some very fine face towels. I loved them. I The price on the shelf indicated they were 75.00KES (or 0.75 USD at the time) each. I thought that was really affordable given the quality of the material the towels were made from. So I decided to buy two of them. At the counter, I was charged 195.00KES each, totalling to 390.00KES. I complained to the clerk and she asked one of the attendants to go confirm the price on the shelf. The attendant returned seconds later and explained that the towels had been placed on the wrong shelf.
    I left the supermarket feeling “less than happy”, to quote a certain musician. I was thoroughly disappointed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I would be very disappointed, Peter. I’ve had that happen, on a piece of luggage. These days, if I see a really good price, I take a picture of them on the shelf.


      • That’s a good thing to do. Better than lining up at the counter for several minutes only to be cheated on account of the supermarket’s poor management.

        I forgot to mention that I like the “antisocial distance” bit. Surely it is antisocial distance they are telling us to keep. “Social distance” in the context of the coronavirus is an oxymoron.

        Liked by 1 person

  18. Our Benji is the same way. He tolerates my son and grandsons coming up but really prefers just Bill and me. He barks like crazy when other dogs approach while we’re on a walk even though he is an elderly dog. Groups of 3 would suit him better.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I like “he tolerates my son.” Kind of like a cat.

      Maddie prefers one person at a time, drawn according to her choice from a group no larger than three. She has gotten better at sitting quietly when Faith joins us for dinner, but that’s recent, and she’s almost 7.


  19. I used to do all of the shopping, so was fairly familiar with location, price, and whatnot. Lately though, since hubby has taken over the task, I have lost touch with what might be a good deal.

    One tactic that is not universal across chains is buying multiples to get a discount. Say 3 for 5.99, regular 2.50 – some stores will charge you 2.00, others the regular price if you want only one.

    Especially irksome are the various and always changing formats – you really do need math if you are determined to get the best unit price. Which, in my cheapskate way, is something that is important to me.

    But lately, if it’s on the shelf and I need it, I’m buying it, because I don’t know when I’ll see it again.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I’m just about as clueless as you in the grocery store, Dan. Hubby does most of the shopping as when years ago I told him I just can’t take care of these special needs babies, take care of me, take care of our home and do all the shopping. So he stepped in.
    I like the way you explained how the social distancing is actually an oxymoron. I agree.
    Really enjoyed your pictures today. Thank you for showing us how the simplicity in life is really a good thing.
    I noticed “We Are The Light” banner in your upper right hand corner and I’m interested. How do I go about getting connected? I agree SO strongly that in these times of hate and severe twisting of facts, those of us who have good hearts stand up and begin by joining forces to display light and love in both our lives and our blogs. May that ripple be HUGE! We can make a difference! xo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Amy. WATWBlogfest is the last Friday of every month (except December) – you just need to share one article/video/story of some good news you know of. It’s a very rewarding challenge. You can sign-up at the LINKY page – “” (copy the whole string between the quotes). They announce it on Facebook, but I don’t think you’re active there. If you’re interested, I’ll try to announce it on my blog, as reminder.

      Liked by 1 person

        • I am going to copy/paste the reminders on the Cherished Blogfest website. I’ll post about that later in the month. You can follow that like any blog. The nice thing about getting the post, is that you get the links to the co-hosts, if you want to include a message to/about them. It will also include a reminder of the rules (not many, not hard).

          Liked by 1 person

  21. The anti-social distancing hasn’t been much of a problem for me. Being more of an introvert, the days of isolation have seems pretty normal. I do miss sitting in a restaurant once a week though.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. I would be lost grocery shopping. The stores were so overwhelmed here, I wouldn’t even be able to try it. It all became kind of a mute point for us as it turned out …

    We were exposed to a close friend when we were in Seattle that ended up positive….apparently the symptoms had just started when we met up that Friday night for dinner. Fast forward a week and she tested positive. Since we had been sequestered anyway upon our return to So Cal, we felt good we hadn’t potentially exposed anyone (especially our grandchildren). Ironically the trip at that time was originally scheduled to see our daughters and their husbands prior to my second knee replacement surgery which ended up cancelled anyway once we got back due to the current situation. Where I was headed with this…fast forward another week and my wife had a day with slight fever coming and going…got on the list for testing because of age and exposure to someone who tested positive. Our medical is with UCLA and they were great getting us to a site but it was in Santa Monica (usually a good hour from our house). That morning the drive was 20 minutes and I have never in all my years seen such light traffic in Los Angeles. It had a very Sci Fi feel to it…test turned out negative, so all is well!

    Our friend is on the mend and didn’t get too ill, her husband, our daughters and their husbands who were part of that Friday night dinner are all well! We dodged a bullet!!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. My husband used to be like you, never knowing what to get. I used to write very careful lists — Grovestand orange juice, 64 oz, that sorta thing. Well, now he knows alllll the things, but it turns out he prefers Simply Orange. Whaddaya gonna do?
    I also love the X for $X deals. I will buy hecka stuff for $X.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Oooo, I love your close-up shots! And the sunrises. Hmmm, I think a social distance Maddie would approve of would have me on another planet, so, maybe not THAT much. Daffyducks! ROTFL!


  25. change comes when life forces it. Food shopping is easy, if you want it you will buy it. Price be damned. Especially when the only thing we still are allowed to do is eat.Stay safe yourself

    Liked by 1 person

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