WFH Care Package Manual

After months of working at home and another year of it ahead, it seems like a great time for a care package. This guide will answer the questions I’m sure you have about the completely random contents conceived by my randumb brain. Enjoy and…no refunds, no returns, no exchanges.

Animal crackers

My dad spent 22 years in the Air Force. He considered the military his best option to see the world and he was right. He was stationed all over the world and during his travels, met my mom in Spain, and had kids in the US, France, Spain, Turkey, and me in Tehran, Iran where I lived for 5 or so years before landing in Colorado. 

4 year old Mike (1976) in Tehran, Iran
I still wear this on weekends

One of my earliest memories was going on base to the commissary (i.e. military supermarket) with my mom while my brothers and sisters were in school. The trips were a treat and they burned into my memory because I always got a donut or a box of animal crackers for the drive home. Now you too can relive my glory days with a box of your very own.

Designer’s note: I don’t think the packaging has changed in the 40+ years I’ve eaten these but why complain? It’s awesome!

Café Bustelo

This coffee, like the animal crackers, is also rooted with my family. Coffee was a staple for my parents growing up. My folks drank coffee at least twice a day, morning and after dinner and sometimes midday too. With six kids running around—and now being a parent myself—I understand why! 

Our Tehran, Iran kitchen in 1976
Where’s Waldo, Iranian kitchen edition. Where are the two manual coffee grinders?

My parents ground their own beans in a hand grinder and used a Moka pot, long before it was cool to do so. Not to reminisce too much, but they owned two old school Moka pots made of steel rather than the lighter weight aluminum ones sold today. Once my dad sold his house, most of the stuff in it, and moved to Colorado after my mom died, those Moka pots were hot commodities amongst the kids. We’re heartless vultures, it’s terrible. Anyway, back to the story…

Coffee was routine. Now and then though, they’d go the extra bit to make a café Cubano—basically a sweet espresso. You can find plenty of tutorials if you wish to try one. My folks sometimes simply added a spoonful of sugar and other times used sweetened condensed milk. The milk version, which is definitely not of the Cuban style, makes me vomit a little in my mouth but that’s neither here nor there. The moral of this story is that the most routine of things, like coffee consumption, benefits from a periodic detour, à la the café Cubano. A good rule of thumb to apply to work if not to life in general.

Designer’s note: I dig the old school packaging they’ve kept alive. It’s like a nod to Cuba’s 50s retro charm.


Chocolove is my family’s favorite chocolate bar, especially this version with salt and almonds. The company is based in Boulder which gives us an irrational allegiance to it since it’s from our home town (though we actually lived in Denver proper).

The Sonoma County house
What could have been The Chocohouse instead became the much less cool Green Valley Wine Retreat

The house we had in Sonoma County was an Airbnb rental. As newbie vacation rental owners, we were always thinking about ways to enhance our hospitality skills and Chocolove came up. We asked if they’d like to be our rental’s official chocolate bar which we’d set out for guests as an introduction for anyone not familiar with them. We didn’t think anything would come of it and, indeed, nothing did aside from a thank you note—a far cry from our dream of a truck rolling up to deliver a palette of bars. Nonetheless, I hope your bar meets the high hospitality expectations we had for it. If it doesn’t, by all means send me what you consider the bomb. Our house welcomes all chocolate.

Designer’s note: Though the chocolate is delicious, the package is decidedly crap.


Yet another characteristic I picked up from my folks, mom in particular, was a knack for growing. We always had copious numbers of plants in the house. It was a chore to water them all as a kid, but I grew up to appreciate greenery (a house in the redwoods anyone?). I have a hard time thinking of any long term WFH idea more pleasant, useful and peaceful than growing something at your desk. What better way to overcome our current circumstance than bringing the outdoors indoors?

Now, I realize a care package should optimize for the word care. Yet, I’m making work for you: get dirt, plant seeds, water, tend, etc. My hope is that the goodies in your package will sustain you long enough to get that work rolling. And before you know it, you’ll have greenery, sweet smells, and great taste within reach. 

Cooking in California, 2020
What? You don’t protect yourself from splattering hot oil?

Taste, of course, is important. You all know I cook. How great is it to have fresh food at the ready when you need it? Your package contains two or three randomly chosen herbs in hopes one will be of interest and use in whatever you might cook in the future. Don’t be surprised if I ask about your plants’ progress during future 1on1s!

Designer’s note: There isn’t much packaging to pass judgement on here, but I will say that the clay pots took weeks to arrive as they were lost in transit and a new batch ended up having to be sent. Otherwise, you’d have received your package long ago.

Aight. This concludes your WFH manual. I hope you enjoy the bits and bobs.