Monday, December 16 2019

the gauntlet, the bears game, oil disposal, and snack menus

Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone! Hope you're all staying warm out there. This morning there is a little bit of snow on the ground, and all at once I realize how much some snow can affect your mood. It has been so dreary outside lately, and after spending a whole weekend in the house, I'm looking forward to getting outside - even a short walk to the bus stop across the street sounds like a welcomed change of pace right now.

This weekend was pretty relaxing. I certainly got my fill of hanging out with Rod and Marissa, catching up on chores, reading, and re-charging on the couch. And this week of work is going to be busy. Looking at our family calendar, it's evident we're squeezing pretty much every evening this week, whether it's our family Christmas photo, baking cookies, or finishing up Christmas presents before next week. I'm also on ticket duty, and on top of that I have to finish a pretty hefty standards document before this Friday. "I basically have to write like a six page paper by the end of this week," I griped to Marissa as we were going to bed.

With the busyness of this week, then immediate relief of time-off next week, I think I'm going to officially dub this week the gauntlet. It's going to be a hectic one, but I think if I stay on track, divide my time up well, and stay motivated, we'll be just fine.

Yesterday was a so-so day. Obviously, the Bears losing to the Packers soured things. The funny part about last night's game was that even though we technically lost by more points than we did when we played the Packers in week 1, our performance was much less embarrassing than it was in week 1. We let up a lot of points at the beginning, and it was clear our offense was trying to find a rhythm in the first half, but I think our boys put up a pretty good fight. "Risky Trubisky" really showed up for this game. If anything, last night Mitch confirmed his place as our starter for next season. His hustle was undeniable, and I love how Mitch can keep plays alive. He's also freakishly accurate once he finds his focus.

In the end, Greenbay was just a better team this season. I'm sure they have their own problems, and between you and me I don't think they're going to make it far into the playoffs, but they played the best in our division. At least the Bears kept it interesting - keeping the score of this game within one touchdown and staying in playoff contention through week fifteen. I emerge this season a proud, battered Bears fan with one season under my belt. And there are still more games to go, so at least we're not done watching football.

After the game, Marissa got back with the dogs carrying a handful of ribbons. Both Ollie and Ziggy did really well this weekend. Yesterday, Ollie had two qualifying runs, and Ziggy had her first qualifying run in Open class.

After Marissa got home, I fried a batch of french fries, then made a half dozen polish sausages in foil with onions. The meal didn't turn out the way I'd have liked it. I had trouble cooking the sausages all the way through - they stayed frozen, and I had to resort to the ol' "chuck it in the microwave" method, which never makes for good meat. On top of that, my hot dogs buns decided to fall apart, so I had to abandon steaming the buns. At least the fries were good. At least they were good, until I decided to warm them up in the oven, and they got a little soggy. So last night's dinner had some struggles, and even though inside I wanted to hurl a spatula at the wall and spike a plate on the ground, I kept my composure and resisted losing my temper.

It was a terrible dinner, though. If we're using 2019 Bears games as a grading rubric, this meal was probably like when the Bears played the Raiders in London. Just a total breakdown of something that should have been pretty easy.

After dinner, I cleaned the kitchen and caught up on chores. Last night, I came up with a pretty ingenious system to clean up oil. Out of the last seven things I've tried, this is probably the first method I used that didn't spill a single drop. I simply took a gallon Ziploc bag and lined the inside of a tall Tupperware container. I filled the bag over the sink, and while the bag only held half the oil, I was able to zip it up and use another to collect the rest. When I finished pouring the oil, I used paper towels to soak up the rest in the pot, then I added the paper towels to the bag and zipped it shut. And with that, I had successfully moved about a half gallon of canola oil to the garbage without spilling a drop. Here's to small victories.

Marissa was napping on the couch as I cleaned. As a joke, I decided to craft a snack menu for when she woke up. The menu for Rissa's included classic favorites like "cheese curbs", "Rodney's cookie", and "Bring Me Three Clementines". That last one was a callback to a night where Marissa's pregnancy was sending mixed cravings and she was trying to decide on what to eat. She turned to me and said "bring me THREE clementines," and she really emphasized the three. Her uncertainty with what to eat and her emphasis on how much was funny, and it gave us a good laugh.

So that's what I got today. Now, I leave the comfort of my morning blogging station and head out into the breach. Welcome to the gauntlet. Five work days of ticket duty, technical standard writing, and evening work. Let's do this! Happy Monday, everyone. Let's go hit this week!