Wednesday, January 22 2020
work, football, steamed fish, and jenga

Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone. Hope this morning finds you well. I’m currently upstairs in our bedroom at the computer, having just changed into a clean pair of sweatpants and my favorite hoodie. It’s a great day to hide away at home and quietly catch up on things. Yesterday it felt great to be back at work, and now that Fong has returned from China, our team is even whole again. But the business of the work week is already bearing down on me. We have our first Kids Code session tomorrow, and between new projects, end of the quarter stuff, meetings, and working our support ticket queue, it’s been a lot to keep track of. I’ll tell you this, it’s been another one of those weeks where it feels like I’m making up for having off on Monday. Work always finds its way back to you, doesn’t it?

So I’m going to keep taking it in stride. I’m going to stay organized, break the work up into reasonable chunks, take good notes, and drink plenty of coffee along the way. This morning, I’m drinking an accidental mix of Fire Department coffee cut with some Starbucks Breakfast blend, since I was at the bottom of the bag. Whatever it is, it’s really hitting the spot. I wonder if I accidentally invented some new perfect blend of coffee.

Sip. You know what else helps take the edge off of an intense workday? A nice lunch. Yesterday I walked over to Starbucks and bought a chicken & bacon paninni. Back at the office, I dumped a little bag of baby carrots and pita chips on the side, then took it back to my desk where I enjoyed it from the privacy of my headphones. I caught up on my YouTube channels, watching a video about the Bears’ top defensive plays of this past year. I guess you could say this is officially my first “off-season” as a football plan, and it’s not as boring as I thought it would be. There’s still plenty of staff moves, interviews, and breakdowns floating around to keep things interested. And of course, there’s also the Superbowl. Speaking of which, while clicking around on reddit, I discovered that Jimmy G, the quarterback who will be starting for the San Francisco 49ers in the super bowl grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, and even played football for Rolling Meadows high school. So I guess it’s totally possible that I’ve waited in line behind him at a Panera or something, or maybe even made him a drink at Starbucks while he was visiting home. I think that seals the deal for me, I’m going to have to go for the niners. The Mahomes fanboys were really starting to get to me anyway.

Nearing the end of my lunch break, I wrapped things up with a diet coke while I continued to peruse YouTube, this time in search of a recipe to try. Chef John has a “New Year, New You” playlist comprised of healthy foods to try in January, and a roasted cabbage and whitefish recipe of his caught my eye. I watched the video twice, taking down a quick grocery list and some notes.

I wrapped up work, then jumped on the bus homeward. As I usually do, I reviewed the grocery list I made. I could see that Marissa added some items as well.

When I returned home, Marissa was on the couch with Ziggy. I could tell from the look on her face that she was still recovering from a cold. Ziggy, undoubtedly sensing her discomfort, had wrapped herself around Marissa like a scarf. “Can I get you anything? And Is Ziggy close enough to you?” Marissa cracked a tired smile. I trudged up the stairs wearing my boots to scoop Rodney out of bed. He was waiting by his door, peering into the hallway. He ran out to greet me.

Rodney and I left to pick up groceries. Between our big tractor themed grocery cart and my backpack, we knocked over a small tower of energy drinks. Two other shoppers emerged to help us clean up the mess, and we dealt with it so quickly that there was no need for an employee to intervene. “Mums the word,” said a lady that helped me before leaving. I hadn’t heard that expression in a while.

Back at home, I sliced and seasoned the beautiful piece of cod we bought, topped it with some sliced poblano peppers and ginger, and dredged it in some soy sauce and sesame oil. I wrapped the four chunks of fish in steamed cabbage leaves and baked them in a buttered casserole dish. This was a clever recipe, because the end result is a way to enjoy both roasted cabbage leaves and steamed fish at the same time, and they help each other out. I cut the little pouches of cabbage and fish free and opened them up on some white rice. “The fish is an A+,” went Marissa’s review at the table. “But the rice…”

“The rice sucks, I know,” I interrupted. “I make terrible rice. I’ve just come to expect it at this point.”

“Did you use the right rice?” asked Marissa sympathetically.

“Yep. Same proportions too. I just make bad rice,” I assured her. And it’s true - I’ve come to terms with the fact that I make bad rice, and that’s just fine. If you ask me, rice is overrated. The fish, steamed to flakes, a touch of spice from the peppers, sweetness from the green onions, and just enough ginger to make your lips tingle, was enough for me to hang my hat on, so to speak.

After dinner, we cleared the table for a quick game of Jenga. I broke out some Italian Ice cups I secretly stashed away in our freezer. Marissa’s eyes lit up after the first bite, and I knew we had a inductee in the pregnancy craving hall of fame. Rodney was especially talkative. It felt like the last time we played Jenga, we practically had to watch every move he made. Compared to this time, strategizing and even keeping track of whose turn it was, I barely had to pay attention to him.

“Rodney has been fun to talk to lately,” Marissa said to me after putting him to bed. “He has lots of new phrases.”

I gotchu momma,” I said, mimicking him. He pulled out that phrase while helping Marissa put the Jenga pieces away after dinner, even after we told him to relax and just enjoy is Italian Ice. “He’s a nice boy,” I remarked.

That’s what I got today. Let’s jump into this busy day together. I’m reminded of the inspirational speech from Behind Enemy Lines where Gene Hackman says “You still got your boots on? Well you got it made!” Sitting here at home with good coffee feeling absolutely comfortable, I have to agree that I too have it made. I have everything I need to knock out this busy Wednesday. Evade and Survive, right?

Have a great day everyone.