Thursday, December 12 2019

boots, pizza, drowning nightmares, and eggnog addiction



Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone! Hope you’re staying warm today. I’m excited that it’s a cold day today - yesterday my new pair of winter boots arrived in the mail. I ordered them months ago, falling into the trap of ordering something on Amazon and not realizing the actual date it’s expected to arrive is months in the future. Has that ever happened to you? Marissa and I have even turned the boots into a joke. “I love winter boots,” we say. “Hope to be a part of them someday.” Like a lot of our jokes, it’s tied to a deep Office reference. So today, I’m attacking this Thursday, and looking forward to having warm feet. I love my black skate shoes, but they don’t do well in the winter. At a certain point once they wear down, I might as well be wearing slippers.

Yesterday was a pretty good day. The theme of “dealing with confrontation” continued into talks with my boss and team, and it led to a really fruitful discussion. I also learned that I have a tendency to apologize for disagreeing with people, which is definitely not how I saw myself, but since the thought entered my mind, more and more difficult conversations I’ve had in the past bubble up through my memory and fit the pattern.

In the late morning, I shut my laptop and the three of us took a little drive to the new Ian’s pizza that opened up in our neighborhood. We’re tentatively trying that out as a new regular lunch spot. They have good beer, but we’re still kind of all on the fence about the pizza. “They have no middle ground,” Marissa complained. “They’re either serving the most regular pizza possible, or something crazy and risky, like a pizza covered in Fritos.” She gestured toward my order. I had taken a risk on the chili cheese Frito pizza. I ate the end and the crust, but decided to call a truce on the big middle portion of the slice.

I’d have to agree with her. They have a lot of ambitious specialty pizzas, and undeniably some of those are real hits - the mac & cheese quesadilla pizza is particularly noteworthy - but most of the time, their specialty pizzas are just slightly worse than the sum of its parts. I’m reminded of the last time we went to Ian’s as a family, and I took a gamble on the thanksgiving pizza, which carried dark turkey meat, stuffing, and even some cranberry - slightly worse than the sum of its parts.

We head back home, and Rodney went down for a nap. I worked from the couch for the rest of the day. At quitting time, I shut my laptop, and joined Marissa on the couch. Ziggy jumped up in my lap, and I nuzzled her into my chest. We nodded off into a deep nap. About a half hour later, I woke up from a terrible dream: I was scuba diving, and as I was trying to surface for air I realized I was surfacing too quickly and felt a tremendous pressure on my chest, which was actually just Ziggy, who had adjusted and was sleeping squarely on top of me.

“I was scared, because I remembered that when you surface from a deep dive, you have to do it slowly at an incline while exhaling or something,” I later described to Marissa. “Your dreams are too technical,” she laughed. It’s true - seems like even my daytime nightmares are always way too heavy on the details.

For dinner, we raided our own fridge for leftovers - garlic bread, potatoes, cheese, and leftover saucijzenbroodjes. We discovered last night that they go really well with hot sauce. Leftover night is fun, and gratifying. It’s like a victory lap for all the meals you’ve had that week, and it feels good taking care of dinner without spending any money or leaving the house. Not to mention it creates a lot of extra space in your fridge, and it feels good to use food.

We put Rodney to bed, then I started on my chores while Marissa worked on hers, stopping to chat between tasks. While cleaning the fridge, I saw we had barely a splash of grapefruit juice left, so wanting to surprise Marissa with a snack, I tried to whip up some kind of grapefruit caramel. But no matter how much sugar or butter I added, the dark & twisted slurry just got darker and stranger, and when I finally called it and brought the bubbling, spurting caramel to the sink to cool it off with hot water, it congealed to an angry, greasy monkey fist. The way it coalesced in the sink reminded me of the alien black suit from Spider-Man. I put the hot dark mess in a bowl and walked it up to Marissa for her amusement.

Later, as we continued to tidy up together, Marissa walked over with a near empty sleeve of holiday-themed Starburst jelly beans. “Don’t let me eat these again, I’m sick,” she said slipping them into the garbage. “Are you basically addicted, and then you eat to much?” I asked. She nodded, and I replied, “Yep - eggnog.” We bonded over our vices. I’m a recovering eggnog addict. I can’t even keep it in the house anymore. When you think of eggnog around the holidays, you picture a cozy chair, some slippers, and a modest ounce of eggnog poured into a glass taster with some ground nutmeg on top, right? For me, eggnog is just a shameful secret. I swig it right out of the bottle with the fridge door still open, and like Marissa with her Starburst jelly beans, I drink too much at once, and I get sick.

We wrapped up our chores, then convened on the couch to advance a little further in The Usual Suspects. It’s the kind of movie that has tempted us into staying up late and seeing it all the way through. Dense and nuanced, it’s difficult to pick back up the next day, so last night we had to practically rewind half of what we already saw to catch up. I saw the movie already, and I feel like I’m finally piecing together the richer details of the plot for the first time on my second watch. But what a movie, right?

So that’s what I got today. Another week, another Thursday, and soon another weekend. Hope you all have a great day today - and stay warm out there.