Tuesday, January 14 2020

salmon, poop talk, and vice president of cable management

1143 words

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone! Hope you’re feeling well today. Looking at the weather, we should finally start to brace for some real winter weather. It looks like for the rest of this week, we should see some on & off snow and some chilly temperature. I’m here for the cold weather. While I shoveled the deck and the front porch yesterday, I decided that I’m in a winter mood.

Yesterday, I had a weird start to the day. My team at work was pretty gracious about giving me extra time in the morning to heal up after a bad spasm. The extra sleep offset the terrible night, and before I knew it, I was back at work hacking on some code. While my work day was starting up, my wife was nice enough to set me up a doctor’s appointment. They called me later that afternoon, and I managed to get in this Wednesday morning. The nurse on the phone told me the doctor I was seeing also specializes in realignment therapy. “It’s a combination of chiropractic therapy and massage,” he told me. “That sounds amazing,” I said, trying not to sound too enthusiastic about the massage. Who knows, I may get my wish of a quick punch in the back and instant relief after all.

I’m feeling encouraged that everything came together so fast. Over lunch, my manager joined me at the seventh floor bar. Before the holidays, he had discovered that we suffer from the same elbow nerve affliction. “I found out what was making mine worse was all the sweets I was eating,” he explained. “I decided to lay off of sugar this month, and eat healthier in general, and it’s been really helping.” I nodded, adding, “Totally - it’s all related, right? Last December I had a really bad flare up after eating fast food in the car. I think sometimes the salt gets to me.”

After lunch, I jumped back into some code. I’m pleased to have finally found a productive, stimulating workflow within our team’s new code base. The new programming language trips me up at times, but it already feels like the good old days where I used to work on a big statically compiled monolith. Making a patch, rebasing it, then scratching your head because it no longer successfully compiles brought on some unexpected nostalgia.

During the work session, I listened to the new posthumous Mac Miller single, and I unintentionally let it play on loop through the afternoon. It’s a great sound, undoubtedly made more meaningful and emotional from his death two years ago. I started a new section in my notes for the 2020 mixtape. Field research never sleeps.

Back at home, I scooped up Rodney out of his room so we could go to the grocery store. Before we left, he asked if he could finish pooping. He paused for a minute, standing listlessly by his window, then happily reported “OK all done, we can change now.” I try to limit the poop talk in this journal to spare Rodney from embarrassment (and spare whatever you had for breakfast before reading this), but he’s at such a fascinating developmental intersection, I couldn’t resist. Our potty training journey has stagnated in the limbo between diapers and toilets, but he seems more aware of it now, and I think that first victorious poop in the toilet is right around the corner. “Maybe we should try pooping on the potty sometime, dude. I think you’ll really like it, it’s a lot of fun,” I encouraged him as we cleaned up.

Talking to my manager over lunch about eating healthier must have mentally planted a seed, because salmon & salad found its way to our evening grocery list. I’m also starting to notice how cheap salad can be. A pound and a half of salmon, lettuce, a bottle of dressing, slivered almonds, and fruits (along with some other things we needed for the house) ran me about thirty bucks. If that feeds the three of us for dinner and two more of us for lunch the next day, that’s about six bucks per person. Goedkope, I whispered to myself at the checkout aisle. That’s the Dutch word for “cheap”. Finally, salad is starting to speak my language!

Back at home, Marissa napped on the couch while I prepped the salmon. I threw together a marinade of lemon juice, mayo, pepper, and honey, then I set Rodney up at the dining room table with his chocolate egg. Prepping the salad while the fish soaked in the marinade was easy. I just sliced some cucumbers and apples and slowly incorporated them into the lettuce. I still find the process of salad assembly to be tedious. I’m still getting the hang of finding the right ratio of ingredients. Last night, dropping thin slices of apple around the top of the lettuce, I felt like I was dealing cards.

After the salmon had spent a half hour in the marinade, I moved it to the oven and blasted it at 450F for twenty minutes. Some of the sugar in the marinade burned along the outside of the silpat, but my silpat has seen much worse, so I wasn’t worried. If it were sentient, I imagine my silpat would be a quiet, experienced presence in the food prep locker room. This? This is nothing, kid. You should have seen me the first time he tried baking french cookies. Four hundred sixty degree oven. Burning sugar everywhere. It was hell.

After dinner, Marissa and I caught up on some projects. As I was waiting for her to clean up after a paining session and help me hang a wireless access point, I talked her ear off about my cable management securities. “It’s clear to me that I’m not good at doing cables,” I explained. “And I wanted to make sure I wasn’t just intentionally sabotaging my attempts so I could get out of it. I put a lot of time and work into it.” Marissa smirked, undoubtedly remembering how much time it took me to assemble the monstrosity under our bar table on Sunday night. “I kind of want to just hand it over to you, and make you, like, the Vice President of cable management.”

Marissa paused and narrowed her eyes at me. “Why just the vice president?” she replied.

After hanging the glowing blue halo behind our dining room (and doing a quick Internet speedtest from outside on our deck, which delighted me), we convened on the couch to watch a movie. Marissa picked the original Alien, which was a fine choice. Being a movie we’ve seen numerous times together, we felt comfortable chatting, browsing the Internet, and petting the dogs. It was a great evening.

That’s what I got today. I hope you all have a wonderful day.