Checking Expiration Dates

September 7, 2022

I'm a constant checker of food and medicine expiration dates. Even though I’ve read that, in many cases, the item may still be good days if not weeks after its “use by,” to me, if it’s one minute past midnight, out it goes!! I’m proud to say that, on my watch at least, no Seyfrieds have gotten food poisoning, nor have they ingested any dud Tylenols. I’m making pork tenderloin for dinner tonight, and even though we have several more days in the safe zone, according to the package label, I’m still just a tad leery. 

Therefore, my dream the other night was a puzzlement: in it, I discovered my passport had expired. Surely that was just as nonsensical as most of my other nocturnal sleepytime adventures! Impossible to imagine I’d let something that vital slip through the cracks, right? Yet something made me go and check the following morning. You (may have) guessed it: it actually HAD expired, in April of 2021!! And we are due to leave for Europe in exactly six weeks (too soon for a regular passport renewal to be processed and received). 

So it was a hasty and expensive lesson for me, ponying up first the extra $60 to expedite the application, then another $20 to overnight it to the State Dept., then ANOTHER $20 for them to overnight the new passport back to me. And I’m sure I’ll be pacing the next six weeks until it’s safely in my grubby little paws. I don’t want to think about the festive steins of beer and tasty German sausage that $100 might have purchased, so I won’t. But you can bet this sort of slipshod expiration date forgetting will never happen again!!

I’m writing this in early September, and it’s been a scorcher of a summer season. I’d love to look at this as summer’s expiration date, with cool and breezy autumn arriving right on time tomorrow morning. But that ain’t how Nature works (and it’s even worse now with the various and sundry climate changes). In fact, we just don’t know when the hot weather will end for good this year, nor can we reliably predict winter’s temps and snowfall. The seasons expire when they darn well want to, it seems!

Appliances and technology also have only approximate dates beyond which they bite the dust (although that date is always, always after the warranty runs out). As we are not a family with the means to just buy an extra refrigerator to have on hand in case, we live with the realization that warm milk and rotten fish may be right around the corner.

If I were Queen of the World (as Lucy in Peanuts would say), I’d have crystal clear expiration dates slapped on everything and everybody. Then it’d just be a matter of checking to see what day my wrinkles will reach critical mass, or when it’ll be no longer safe for me to drive a car.

Guesswork. Such a nuisance!


    I am an author (of four books, numerous plays, poetry and freelance articles,) a director (of Spiritual Formation at a Lutheran church,) and a producer (of five kids).

    I write about my hectic, funny, perfectly imperfect life.

    Please visit my website: or email me at



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