Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks

While we were out for a walk yesterday, we ran into someone walking her chocolate Labrador retriever. His name is Hunter and he had a tree branch longer than him in his jaws. He looked like he was having a great time gnawing on it and swinging it around.

I didn’t envy his owner when it came time to going home and taking it away from him.

Mostly younger dogs like to chew on old sticks and some say it might be a good idea to bring a chew toy along with you when you take a dog outside for a walk. It can be tough to persuade a dog to just let the stick go.

As a retired consultation-liaison psychiatrist, I sometimes compare myself to a dog who latches on to a stick and is reluctant to let it go. I’m an old dog that way and, as I’ve mentioned before, it’s a little hard to teach an old dog new tricks.

There are examples of this issue. I rarely go grocery shopping and I still have a lot to learn. I was not good about grocery shopping and other non-work-related chores when I was a doctor for about 28 years, counting residency. Medical school kept me pretty busy too.

Anyway, I went grocery shopping yesterday and I thought I did OK although I had to wander around quite a bit to find everything on my list. Sena doesn’t need a list. She pointed out that I got the unsalted butter—which she never buys. I wondered how I managed to pick up unsalted butter. I thought I was doing good to get the Great Value brand rather than the more expensive brand.

The package was blue instead of red. You mean I have to read the package?

I got a package of chicken breasts and congratulated myself on that. Sena said they were really thin and noticed that they included rib meat—which she normally doesn’t buy. That slipped by me.

I bought a lot of items that we needed; you know, things like milk, eggs, bread, nuclear weapons, etc. But I really didn’t get anything that you could actually make a bona fide meal out of in the sense of cooking something.

Well, I did get a couple of frozen pizzas. This brought the total of frozen pizzas in our freezer to a number I’m not willing to divulge at this time.

I had to maneuver around several shoppers who were filling orders for customers who ordered their groceries on line. I tried that a very few times and it’s more difficult than I thought.

When I got up to the cashier, I just stood there while she rang up my purchases, bagged them—and then she started to put the bags in my cart. She didn’t say anything but a tiny bell in my brain rang somewhere and it occurred to me that I was supposed to put the bags in the cart. I apologized and got to work right away when I noticed. I recalled that it was probably just that mistake that led to my leaving an item at the store the last time I shopped.

Sena went to the grocery store after I got home and returned with items that could be used in menus. I think that is called meal planning.

But I did make dinner last night, meaning I reheated left-over chili and chopped up some vegetables for salads. Oh, and I got the saltines out for the bread group.

Sena is still trying to coax me to let go of the stick.

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