Tuesday, September 17 2019

coffee, fish, butterflies, and work

831 words

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Dear Journal,

The coffee is really good today. Yesterday I went to the Jenny Street Market, and it wasn’t very busy, so Rod and I finally figured out how to buy whole bean coffee. It’s a bit of a to-do, so I’m glad I waited. You have to walk away from checkout to fill the bag, and then the cashier has to weigh the beans. I went with Del Sol, the morning blend, and even when brewed with our uninspiring coffee maker, it tastes pretty next level.

This morning I’ve got work on my mind. I spent pretty much all day yesterday documenting Friday’s outage. My team did some research on Friday, and I did some of my own Monday afternoon. This morning, we have our post mortem meeting. These things feel very official, and even though my work does a really good job keeping things objective and blameless, I can still get defensive if I don’t watch myself. This morning I’m just trying to get in the right head space for a very friendly, amicable technical cross examination.

Yesterday I finally went off call, and I enjoyed the solitude today. For lunch I grabbed a sandwich from Starbucks, then I sat on the terrace and stared out at the water. It wasn’t as hot outside as I thought it would be, and the as always water had a very calming presence. There were still a few monarch butterflies hanging out by the flowers. I thought those butterflies were supposed to take their winter migration pretty seriously, but maybe if they find a place they like, they hang out for an extra week or two - there’s probably room for that kind of freedom in the butterfly community, right?

After work, I took Rod to the market, and we picked up stuff to make Kibbeling. As always, I got plenty of cod and shrimp, but I also tried out some perch. The perch looked pretty cool while it was frying. The thin strips puffed up in the hot oil, and the skin blistered. I’m also learning to be a little less shy with the heat. I really cranked the stove and allowed the oil to reach the upper 300’s, and it came out a lot crispier. I also left the shrimp in for almost a full minute after I’d normally take them out, just as an experiment. It’s tricky finding a balance between getting it crispy and cooked just right. I used to talk a lot of crap about the fried fish they sell on Fridays at restaurants around Madison, but I’m finally coming around to how difficult it is to perfect. When you’re frying fish, there’s a lot of room for choice, and also a lot of room for error.

After dinner, Marissa gave Rod a bath, then handed him off to me to put to bed, which is a pretty classic way to divvy up the bedtime routine. After getting his pajamas on, Rod wanted to spend a few minutes jumping around like a frog. Lately, he really likes to stall during bedtime, so every inane step of the bedtime routine has the potential to turn into a big time waster if you’re not vigilant. He’ll stop brushing his teeth to look out the window, then he’ll tell you a story of the time he saw a cat in the neighbor’s window, then before you know it he’s grabbed a brush out of the bathroom closet and started to scrub the bathroom walls (the painted walls). When we finally make it to bed, his new trick is asking to read the story instead of me, which was charming at first, but he’s quickly realized that when he’s got my attention it’s much easier to burn minutes after the official bedtime of 7:30, hamming it up with stories, throwing his voice into his stuffed animals, and pretending to talk on the phone to family members.

After putting Rod to bed, Marissa sanded frames outside, and I sat out there with her and drank a beer. It felt good to just enjoy the conversation without having to keep an eye on my phone in case I got paged. The day after my on-call shift ends, I joke that I “stick my phone in a drawer all night”, and it’s not far from the truth. I usually put on music and just leave it in the kitchen.

After the post mortem today, I’m probably going to feel like a mid day beer, so Marissa and Rodney are going to meet me for lunch for taco Tuesday. It will feel nice to finally close the book on Friday’s incident. We’ll have to spend a few weeks focusing on preventative measures, but that’s not so bad.

Hope you all have a wonderful day today. Thanks for reading.