Wednesday, November 13 2019

french cooking, missing burners, and the case from hell

Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone! Hope you're doing well this morning. I was having difficulty finding time to write this morning, which is surprising, because I'm working from home today and without the commute you'd think I'd have all the time in the world. I took a little longer getting ready this morning, then I noticed Rodney was awake. To keep him from bothering Marissa while she was trying to get out the door for dog class, I took Rodney in the kitchen to make a French omelet for us to share. We cracked three eggs, Rodney added a heavy pinch of salt, then we "busted those eggs right in the yolks" as Chef John likes to say. We cooked the eggs gently in butter, swirling the pan and scrambling with a spatula. At this point, I had to stop explaining things to Rodney so I could focus - I had only successfully made one of these one other time. Finally we rolled the flat egg pancake into an omelet. I sealed it with my finger against the side of the pan. Rodney touched the hot egg with his finger to, and recoiled. "Oh sorry dude, that's kind of hot, isn't it?" I asked. "Want me to kiss it?" That's a standard remedy in our house. "No," Rodney responded. "Mommy kiss it." Rodney jumped off the step stool and trotted upstairs. That's fair, I guess. He's allowed to have preferences. I agree with you, dude, Mom's kisses are superior, especially while Dad is in the second week of movember.

Yesterday was a pretty action-packed day. I had another busy day on ticket duty, flying from one meeting, ticket, and slack question to the next. This week I'm trying to get over my shyness and meet with people in person (or at least in a video call) whenever I can. Typing words has always come easier to me, but I've noticed for most people - especially people who are stuck on something - prefer an in person explanation. Plus, looking somebody in the eye, you get a lot of empathy for free. It's a lot harder to get grumpy about somebody's issue when you can hear the frustration in their voice, and maybe even see how tired they are in their face. But you never point it out to them - that's just rude.

On the way home from work, I made a grocery list. "What do you feel like tonight," I messaged Marissa. "Tilapia," she responded. I knew what she was picturing - some seared tilapia served with a can of baked beans, and maybe a can of sweet corn. But I had a busy day at work, and when work picks up I like to spend extra time in the kitchen, so instead I planned to make tilapia, herb & rice pilaf, and a french butter sauce. Like most dinners, it was a combination of things I've done before and things I googled on my phone on the way home.

Rodney and I drove to the grocery store. Even though we had a lot of ingredients to pick up for dinner, most of them were in the produce aisle, so we took our time. We picked up some fish from the meat counter, swung over by the dairy for some heavy cream, and finally grabbed a miniature bottle of white wine from the liquor store.

As I cooked, Marissa worked on a painting in the dining room. I put on some quiet Frank Ocean and started dicing vegetables, carrying on a conversation with Marissa about the day. I started the rice early, cooking some onions in butter, then adding long grained white rice, water, and minced garlic. Next was the sauce - some diced shallots, terragon, and butter. I waited until the shallots softened in butter, then added a cup of white wine. "This missing burner is really starting to irritate me," I griped. Marissa looked up from her painting in concern. "Yeah, would it have helped you to have a fourth?" she asked. "It's not so much that I'm missing a burner, it's just that out of the three I have, only one of them is big." On most evenings, missing a burner on our stove doesn't bother me - only when I make something ambitious and French. Ordering a replacement part is on our todo list - it's just one of those things that's hard to get around to, especially since we've tried to order one and it was the wrong size.

The little back-right burner finally brought the wine to a simmer. I nervously glanced at the clock. "Ahhh, I forgot about how long this sauce takes, we might be eating a little late," I complained. Marissa shook her head. "You know we're always fine no matter what time we eat, 7:00 PM is just a deadline you set for yourself." I laughed, "AH, yeah I guess it's only 6:40, we're still in the clear."

Dinner was finished at 7. As we ate, we talked about our weekend plans. "You know," Marissa started, "there's that dinosaur show at the Aliant energy center, I bet we would have a lot of fun there as long as it's not too scary." She spun her chair around and found a TV spot for the touring dinosaur show on YouTube. Rodney smiled. "Oh man," I exclaimed. "That's looks awesome dude."

After Rodney went to bed, Marissa and I caught up on chores, then I used the power hour to finally assemble that router case that has been sitting on my desk. I was picturing about twenty minutes of assembly, ten minutes turning everything back on, then I'd use the rest of the time to tidy of my server rack. But opening up the box, suddenly the dining room table was filled with tiny screws, cables, and pieces of metal frame. There was also a pair of white gloves - like the kind that you'd wear if you were dusting for fingerprints. I knew I was in trouble.

By the time I had figured out how to assemble the case, it had already been an hour, and I had to shift my attention to getting the Internet back on. This project will have to wait for a weekend. I sloppily packed up all the parts in a plastic bag, penning "CASE FROM HELL" on the label.

So that's what I got today. Hope you all have a wonderful day today. Being halfway through the week, it might be a good idea to find some place quiet to sit and not think about anything, even if it's only for fifteen minutes. I'm going to try that today.