Thursday, September 19 2019

outages, soup, music, and hitch

Dear Journal,

Good morning everyone, and happy Thursday. The weather has been so interesting this week in Madison. For the most part, it's been gloomy. The mornings and evenings are dark, and we've had some rain, but there's also lots of sun peeking through the clouds, making for some very dramatic skies. There's lots of angst in the air.

Work continues to get a little dicey. The other day, I compared working incidents to being on a crack IT fire fighting team, but yesterday it felt like I started work and the fire department was on fire. We had a handful of incidents throughout the day. After Marissa got back from dog practice, our services were still pretty unstable and I was too nervous to go anywhere for lunch, so we heated up some leftover rigatoni while I continued working. I still had a beer - that's a staple for Wednesday lunch.

Outages suck. When we have a bad week, the hardest part is having to set aside your work routine. I'm used to a weekly rhythm. But when you have a few incidents in a row, the meetings and rituals you're used to are replaced with marshal law in which you just have to be ready for anything. That's made it a challenging week, both technically and emotionally. I was talking with Marissa on the porch last night, and coincidently she's had kind of a tough work week too. We've been trying not to bum each other out, but it felt good to put that aside and have a good hearty vent session.

After work, I took Rod to the market. Cooking is a great way to channel work stress, and last night my goal was to funnel all my emotions into making a big pot of soup. Rod and I picked up two whole cabbages, some bacon, chicken stock, carrots, onions, Gruyère cheese, and a load of sourdough bread. When we got home, I got to work blanching the cabbage while Rod peeled some carrots. Everything went into the same pot - carrots, onions, bacon, and two whole heads of sliced cabbage, filled to the top with chicken stock. It was good that the lid of my Dutch oven was so heavy, because everything in the pot needed to be weighed down and compressed to fit in the pot. The soup simmered for an hour and a half. I was tempted to open the lid about 30 minutes in, but some good smells started to fill the kitchen and that was enough proof for me that Stefan, yet again, was a good bet.

Marissa, Rod, and I ate the soup outside on the porch while the sun went down. It was a little mild for a weeknight recipe, but I'm still going to keep this recipe in my back pocket for the next time one of us catches a cold or has a sensitive stomach. The soft cabbage, tender bacon, and warm chicken broth was comforting, but the soup never got the after dinner nap it really deserved.

Since dinner was a little light, we took Rod to go get some ice cream. We jumped in the car and drove down the street to McDonalds. When we got home, we let Rod watch an episode of Stinky & Dirty while he finished his ice cream, then Marissa put him to bed.

I had lots of chores to catch up, and since Kids Code starts this week, I wanted to make Thursday's dinner ahead of time. I fried up a pound of bacon and made garlic mayo for BLT sandwiches, then cleaned the kitchen. Marissa sanded frames in the dining room, and we both listened to the new Taylor Swift album. I wasn't a fan of the album at first, and there are so many lyrics and little noises she makes that make me roll my eyes, but last night I'd have to conclude that the thing that saves the album is the production. Every song - even the ones I can't stand - sound so good as a finished product.

Chores wrapped up around 10:30. Marissa and I caught up on some YouTube videos, then we started a movie. Marissa proposed that we try to watch more movies, even if we have to spread them out over two days, and the challenge of watching every movie we own appealed to me. Last night, I used my pick on the movie Hitch. That movie has not aged well. The classic scenes, like Will Smith teaching Kevin James to dance, still hold up, but the rest of the movie just sounds so bizarre to me now. Ten years ago, it was a suave, sexy romantic comedy. In high school, I thought the dialog was pretty smooth. Watching it again, the film is packed with so many cliches, it almost feels like I'm watching a surreal Tim & Eric sketch or something.

In a bit, I'm heading into work to fight more fires, armed with leftover cabbage soup. I have a feeling I'll need the comfort food today. After work, I'm making some BLTs for the family, then heading over to the library for our first Kids Code session of the semester.

Hope you all have a wonderful Thursday today. Remember, /Life is not the amount of breaths you take, it's the moments that take your breath away./ Quiz time - was that a Taylor Swift lyric or a line from Hitch?