THANKS FOR NOTHING MONTH                      January 18, 2012                      7:45 AM

64 F indoors                 27 F outdoors (feels like 18F)

Snow flurries


 Image Jay at 5 AM -writing the great American non-fiction


Jay uses the coffeemaker.  There, I’ve said it.

Yesterday Jay informed me that I should write about his indiscretions with energy.  I hated to do it, but since I haven’t said much about his comings and goings it seems like a good way to begin my blog today.

When we first started planning the THANKS FOR NOTHING MONTH Jay was very keen about the idea.  Together we made a list of guidelines we both agreed to follow.

Jay is kind of a low maintenance kind of guy.  He requires cheese, coffee, pasta, potatoes, bread, butter and chocolate, plus lots of hugs and kisses.  Actually these are his food groups and if the food doesn’t fit into these categories then he has the attitude that it probably isn’t good for him. 

Jay is also a guy who enjoys routine.  In the evening he is eager to report what film we’ll watch.  After the film he takes a shower, then switches on the white noise machine. Reading comes next, and finally sleeps. 

For several months now he gets up at 5 AM to write.  The night before he puts his clothes in the living room so that when he changes in the morning he won’t wake me up – he’s a thoughtful kind of guy as well.  Next he makes coffee in the coffee maker, and begins his day.

I personally think he needs this routine because he is a brilliant workaholic.  That brain just can’t shut down. 

When we started thinking about THANKS FOR NOTHING MONTH though I felt like we weren’t really making many changes in our routine life.  Then Nans came up with the idea that we should live with the rhythm of the earth and turn off every ounce of energy (we need a little for our business day) once it got dark.

To me this was a Eureka idea.  To Jay it began a list of things that were challenges.  The first item was the white noise machine.  He said he wouldn’t live without it.  Within a day he had discovered it would run on batteries.  Whew!  That was a relief because that machine was staying one way or another.

Then I mentioned that we had a large French press that would work well for morning coffee.  Honestly, I don’t ever want to be responsible for putting that look on his face, but it had to be said.  “No way” was his response.  That coffeemaker was his best friend and he wasn’t giving it up for a whole month because his business day begins when that coffeemaker starts.

There are those who would side with Jay on these matters (and more) because after all, he does live with me, and he has to set his limits.  In fairness to him, I can see his reasoning, but I refuse to agree.

I argued that the whole point of this month was to have a deeper experience at living simply.  He said the purpose was to live without an exchange of money.  Sigh…

Last night, as we ate supper at 9 PM (he taught his class until 8 PM) he said, “I had to spend money today – I had a 20 cent fine at the library.”  I couldn’t help laughing.  When I pointed out he could pay it in February, he couldn’t see the point.

He said he could have stood in front of the Newark library and asked someone for 20 cents, which I thought was a distinct possibility.  The image of Professor Warmke in his expensive brown leather bomber’s jacket standing out in front of that fancy building with the folks who do ask for cigarettes or money for a cup of coffee seemed like it might be a life-changing experience.  Jay said that it would be his luck that the dean of the school would show up just as he asked for the change.  We had a good laugh about that.

Personally I think that this month is about stepping outside of the ordinary, and trying new ways of thinking about consumption.  Jay often tells me that my approach is about the soft side and his about the basics.  I tell him I’m the global thinker and he’s the local thinker. 

From a distance it might make people wonder how we’ve spent more then three decades together, but for me it’s just another day with my dearest friend and the most brilliant person I’ve ever known.




Gluten-free cinnamon toast

Left over noodles with egg (for Jay)



Chicken Salad

Potato Soup



Left Overs