What a loooong week it's been.
I have been doing all the things that seem to pop up all at once this time of year. I never really noticed it before, but perhaps it's the few extra 'gotcha's' life's throwing in the mix this year. We're in Massachusetts, where cars need yearly inspections. I'm not sure if this is the norm in all states, now, but it wasn't when I was first driving. I grew up in Michigan, car capital of American, if you will. My first car was a hand-me-down '84 Chevy Cavalier (that I honestly loved despite it's MANY flaws) which I inherited from Auntie when she decided to get a $500 '79 Grand Wagoneer (sky blue...oh, it was a beauty!). When I had to leave the Cape our first summer (due to lack of funds and needing to live rent free with the parents for a bit...it didn't last long. I had just turned 21, I knew right away that living with my parents would never be an option for me!)...I drove that Cavalier back to Michigan...and then back to Mass a few months later. Before I could even change from my Michigan plates, I got pulled over after, what I thought was, my muffler had fallen off. When I took it in, I learned that my car was not legal. In Michigan, at that time anyway, you didn't get your cars inspected. You drove them if they moved, and if they didn't go...you sent them off to the junk yard. My car had a long pipe welded in place where the catalytic converter should be. "that's illegal'' is what the mechanic told me. So, several hundred dollars later, it was 'fixed'.
The point? Umm...Oh! State inspections...mine was due this month. So there was that. And my front brakes need to be done, though, they didn't keep me from passing my inspection. I did, however, have to make an appointment for this Thursday (there goes another day...day off, at least). That will be the day after the dog goes to the vet, since her annual exam always falls on February, too. And tax time!! We don't usually dread tax time, but the past couple years have been great big question marks. Last year, we only had health insurance for the last 2 months of the year, and so had to pay a fine. I have no idea what that fine was, but it cut into our tax refund. This year, we were covered the entire year, and were pretty excited about getting some moolah back in the back...until I sat down with the W-2's and whatnot. I found out, and this has actually happened to me before, so I should've learned my lesson...Trader Joe's has not been taking any Federal taxes out of my checks...for a year. The year I met Hubby, I had to borrow money from him to pay my taxes because I never realized my job wasn't taking any out. I believe it was around 5 or 6 HUNDRED dollars. It sucks, and it's been weighing on my mind...of course, until I go to work to straighten it out and COMPLETELY FORGET TO BRING IT UP!! Stupid!! At any rate, it was a slap in the face and a little added stress that I just don't need.
Not that everyone wants/needs to hear my sad story, but Hubby is also stressed at his job due to a financial situation his boss is in, resulting in no one getting paid last week. He's also worried that his boss is saying and doing things that lead him to believe he is looking for reasons to let him go. That would be a huge problem for us, to say the least, but the worst part really is the stress of not knowing. I hate to see Hubby stressed...that's MY thing! :)
So with all of that going on, I have finished my 10 day work week.
And there is some good, besides finally getting a day off. It is a day with Hubby, and it's kind of like two since I was home by 1 yesterday.
Valentine's day isn't a 'holiday' we celebrate, but since we got a day off together, so close to the holiday, I felt like celebrating. I have also been wanting to try some of the cheeses we have, since I am now in charge of ordering it. People will come to me and ask me about cheeses we have, so I need to be prepared. I am amazed by the number of people who will come into Trader Joe's, planning a party, but seeming to have no idea how to do it or what to serve. They literally expect us to plan their party, right there on the spot! But no matter...I'm the kind of girl who embraces her new challenges...I am a slave to my job, no matter what it is...I'm a loyal employee, to say the least. But, big fun! I spent a little bit extra when I did my grocery shopping this week. I got a couple cheeses to sample, and after my discount, it's almost like I got them for free (that's how I justify splurging when money's tight!). I thought a nice cheese tray, and our yummy Ham & Gruyere Tarte D'alsace and a bottle of wine would be a 'fancy' lunch.
I got the Pinot Grigio Salami that I love (I'm not really a salami girl, usually, but this one's nice..a little peppery); the Irish Dubliner Cheddar that we know we like; I have been wanting to try the English Cheddar with Caramelized Onions (the triangle pieces in the top right corner) ever since getting the Cotswold with chives for the holiday party I went to in December, and I'm glad I did! The one I've been dying to try is the wedge with the orange edge. It's Port Salut. It's a semi soft cheese that just looks delicious to me. It's so white and creamy...it just spreads on the crackers. It's so mild, that I had trouble really tasting anything. I truly enjoyed the texture and couldn't stop eating it, but I literally could not tell you what it tastes like! Has anyone else had this type of cheese? Could you explain or describe it if someone asked? Trader Joe's has also recently added a new cheese to their line up (I know I sound like an ad, but it really is just my life...not me trying to get you to shop their or even like the company...just me rambling on...). It's a 'melange' of goat and cow milk (it's the one at the bottom left corner, between the apple and the salami). It has a nice creamy texture, and you can really taste the goat part, but the cow milk cuts that sharp goatiness. It's nice for people like me who have to 'be in the mood' for goat cheese. My palette accepts it as a sour taste usually, which isn't particularly pleasant to me most days.
I rounded out the plate with some basic water crackers and yummy pita crackers, a surprisingly new favorite in our house.
And the tarte...Hubby doesn't eat ham, yet this is a favorite of his. It's a thin crust topped with Gruyere, ham, and caramelized onions. Unfortunately, when I took it out of the box, I discovered that it didn't survive my shoving it into the freezer after my shopping trip! Oh, well, just for us, no biggie.
So, we sat and ate cheese and tarte, and drank some wine and just thought about the good things...and that was what we celebrated.
Now the birds are singing. The days are definitely getting longer. Hubby has some freelance work going. I have a day off and the sun is shining. Who cares about the rest!
Hope everyone is having a great weekend!