salad days

by Sandra

I guess the financial world was a quiet one today, since the office cleared out especially early in the afternoon. As I was walking home, I checked my phone to see that Michelle had called asking if Chris could come over and take the battery out of one of our smoke detectors. They periodically chirp when the power is low and the steady intervals of beeps can rouse one from even the deepest of sleep.

Chris also happens to be the only boyfriend tall enough to reach the smoke detector with a mere step stool. I mean, it’s not like the rest of us date Hobbits or anything, but I’ve watched Steve try and reach one of those things and well….let’s just say that Chris is our go-to guy.

I noticed when I got home that the chirping had stopped but I waited for Chris to come over anyway, and he dutifully climbed onto the ladder and popped the battery out of the little round radar. As we went about our seperate things for a moment, we suddenly heard that high-pitched little “chirp!”

What the?

Chris and I reconvened in the hallway and stared at where the smoke detector used to be, now sitting supposedly lifeless on our bookcase.

“Are you sure we took the battery out of the right one?” Chris asked.

“Yeah, that’s the only one here,” I said, as my eyes followed Chris’s finger up to another, older smoke detector. Okay, I thought, I stand corrected.

Chris took the battery-free detector out into the hallway and waited. I stared at the dangling wire coming out of our wall and began to wonder if we had some sort of poltergeist in our house.


This time, fainter. It was coming from the unarmed detector. Strange. Chris and I exchanged furtive looks with each other and we surmised that there must be another sensor embedded in the device that chirps when there is no battery installed at all.

“Maybe we can just stuff it under a pillow or leave it someone’s car overnight,” he said.

Hmm…maybe, I thought. Instead I dug around for a nine-volt battery and plugged it into the detector. We stared at it for about a minute without another beep.

Satisfied, I left Chris to go to Trader Joe’s. To the Trader Joe’s that will henceforth be known as Satan’s Trader Joe’s. Perhaps it is the insanely small and crowded parking lot, or the fact that it’s in a neighborhood that is populated with young, overworked, urban professionals who bring their job stress home with themselves — I don’t know, but I’ve never had a plesant experience shopping there. Even in the supposedly “off” hours, it’s still pretty dismal. The charm, quality and price of the food is the only reason to go. Alas, and it’s the closest one to our house.

Once inside I poked around the aisles, looking for stuff to sustain me through the week, especially stuff that’s easy to take to work. Gala apples, fragrant asian pears, greek-style yogurt, smoked gouda, some spicy chai mix.

Later, after the frustration of the street navigation had subsided, I came up with a tasty, tasty salad that is very quick and easy (yes, this post did have a point, eventually).

Throw together some spring mix, finely chopped red onion and red pepper, crumble some cranberry goat cheese and candied walnuts, and fry up some panchetta (which is really just fancy bacon bits) and drizzle on some blue cheese dressing. Yummmm……

Maybe not for the lactose intolerant, but it made the stresses of the evening vanish in a few spicy, flavorful bites.