Warning: this post is bi-polar. The next paragraph has basically nothing to do with the one that follows it. It is the second paragraph below that is the real subject of this post.
Sitting down to write this entry, I am torn between writing about the ceaseless stresses that come with being a relatively poor, married, graduate student father and discussing something much less gloomy. Suffice it to say, the more people in your family, the more often something is wrong. I dare say, this has been the most stressful, and at times dreary and depressing, my life has felt in several years. I’m not in a constant state of sadness or anything, but I’ve felt more despair since Creegan was born than I’d care to admit. Good thing he’s a cutie. It’s not like it’s him causing the problems, anyway, at least not specifically. It’s just that he’s one more person in the equation. Our resources—emotional, psychological, and physical alike—are further tapped. Add that to the endless supply of demands that are upon you—familial demands, professional and academic demands, even personal-development demands—and it’s rough, especially when someone is always sick, an errand always needs to be run, a meal always needs to be made, a van always needs to be taken into the repair shop, an essay always needs to be written, a test always needs to be graded, a call always needs to be made—to the apartment maintenance staff because something’s falling apart, to the hospital billing department because they can’t figure out my insurance, etc. It never ends. I don’t know how Melanie does everything she does, and she does a lot. But as a family of five, it’s harder and harder for demands not to impinge on everyone, and I sometimes don’t know if I can take the stress and/or blah of it all.
OK, I guess I had to get some of that off my chest. You’d never guess that I had decided not to write about stress, would you? I actually chose to write about something happier. And what’s that, you ask? One of my favorite food discoveries of the past year—baked chips. Two or three months ago, Melanie and I were at some friends’ house for a barbecue, and they served Baked Cheddar & Sour Cream Ruffles® to go with their burgers. I’ve tried baked chips before, but I didn’t remember caring for them all that much. However, Cheddar & Sour Cream Ruffles have long been one of my favorite kinds of chip, so I thought I’d try out the baked variety. To my surprise, I found that I liked them even more than the “normal” kind. I’ve since tried other baked chips from Frito-Lay, including Baked Doritos®, and I find them all surprisingly good. With the exception of Doritos, I genuinely like the baked versions better. That’s happy news for my health, since a serving of baked chips has roughly one-third the amount of saturated fat that the “normal” chips have. If you’ve been following my blog, you know that reducing my saturated fats seems to be having a positive effect on my weight. The cool thing is, even if the “normal” and the baked varieties of chips were equally good (or bad) for you, I would opt for the baked versions almost every time. They really do taste better. (Bear in mind, I’m the kind of person that also thinks French fries, McDonald’s hash browns, and the like taste better if you squeeze them really hard with a napkin first and get rid of a lot of the grease. I’ve been like that for years, so it’s not merely a change in my diet that has prompted me to enjoy the less greasy version of chips. I like the more natural taste.) On the downside, baked chips are a lot more expensive. If I remember correctly, a bag of baked chips is at least dollar more than “normal” chips, and I don’t think you get as much. Depending on how much you eat chips, switching to baked chips could be expensive. Of course, if you eat them very frequently, you’ll be much better off switching to the baked variety.