For all of the things that have remained imbalanced between work and life during the last half-decade, sleep has not been one of them. Lately, though, getting up and going in the mornings has been more difficult (a depression-meets-poor-tech-boundaries combo) – and I invariably find myself hopping in the shower around 7:48, knowing that the chances of getting out the door by 8:03 to catch the Jr. Shopkeeper’s bus are slim-to-none.

What this means is that I wind up driving her to school, which I kick myself about for the gasoline consumption – yet it gives me some routine: four blocks from school is a local spot with warm coffee cups and a quiet corner. This gives me a solid hour (or more) to stop and, if I focus, plan my day and knock out some administrative tasks.

This is where I made yesterday’s better choices (tea instead of coffee, and a veggie soup instead of meat-based chili). I’m back today ahead of a busy day at the shop, and upon arrival, a more-familiar human handed me a warm coffee cup without asking, ending my caffeine-free streak without a question (TBH, I’m grateful).

More importantly, though (back to yesterday’s ‘noticing’), I asked a question that had vaguely reached my brain each time I’d step up to the counter: what were those bowls of hearty salads in the cooler, and how could I order them if they weren’t priced or on the menu? The answer: they’re served deli-style, so people can take them home. And, packed into a plastic take-home container, they run around $5/lb.

I’ve been telling myself I can’t afford fast, easy, vegetable-based foods – either because I don’t have the time to make them, or because it’s too expensive to hire someone else to make them for me, or because I don’t have the time to go out of my way to pick it up on a regular basis from a grocery store a mile or more away.  My defaults, then, have been McDonald’s, packaged foods, and the occasional batch of deli salad that I can justify ordering as part of an Instacart order (an order that will come layered in plastic based on company policy).

One cup of coffee later, I was back at the counter with another question: If I bring my own empty container, could they fill that, instead of a plastic one? Yes- in fact, they gladly would!

It strikes me that all I need to do now – to have fresh, vegetable-based, zero-waste, locally-prepared foods in my kitchen on a regular basis – is have clean, empty containers ready to go in the morning.

I can do this. In fact, until I find a better, lower-driving solution (which should become feasible as I offload and map out different strategies for tackling Junket-related workload – and/or upon the arrival of a grocery store at 46th & Snelling), this is likely the best, easiest solution for gaining immediate traction and reducing waste. I don’t go here every day, but I don’t really have to go out of my way, either.

This is going to work.

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