Tuesday, March 10 2020

chili, legal training, and ollie the office dog



Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone! How are you feeling today? We’re rolling over into the second day of clouds and rain, but I think all the moisture is good for the air. The wet, cold air feels good in my lungs, and if you haven’t yet had the chance, I’d recommend cracking a window and taking it all in.

I’m pretty comfortable at the moment. I’ve got a fresh cup of coffee at my desk, and terwijl de mensen en de honden slapen, I’m listening to some Frank Ocean in my headphones.

Sip. I’m feeling good today, and I think that’s because I had such a great day yesterday. Yesterday, I sat at my desk and attending some meetings, periodically walking downstairs to stretch my legs, stare out the window, or fill up on coffee. “Hi coworkers,” I said to my family coming down the stairs for coffee. Marissa was on the couch, and Rodney was taking in an episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

On the work front, we had a planning meeting, then I sat through a training created by our legal department. I watched a series of interactive videos where I had to review the rules around insider training, fair business practices, and what kind of information I’m allowed to disclose about Zendesk. Since I don’t deal with customers directly, there’s a limit to how much damage I could cause, but these days I’m writing a lot of words on the public Internet. Since I inevitably tell a lot of stories about work, I thought it best to stay sharp and pay attention throughout the training. The takeaway here is that next time a government official from Iran wants to send me a gift for joining his advisory board for a product that, in exchange for letting my cousin work at his weapons depot, I will aggressively persuade Zendesk to acquire - all in a verbal agreement over a lavish golfing and massage trip in beautiful Cuba - I’ll be well-equipped to JUST SAY NO.

After brushing up on my legal training, I headed downstairs to heat up a bowl of goulash. I plopped down on the couch with a hot bowl of noodles and beef and changed the channel to Whose Line Is It Anyway?. At first, changing the channel was an unpopular decision. Rodney was in the sweet spot of a late morning TMNT binge, but soon the antics of the loveable Whose Line Is It Anyway? cast won him over. When I finished my lunch, Rodney joined me on the chair, watching the rest of the episode on my lap.

Marissa packed her and Rodney a lunch, then left with him to go to Sports Zone and work on her mural. She took Ziggy with her, leaving just me and Ollie to watch the house. Ollie remained downstairs, patrolling the living room, dining room, and kitchen.

“I think Ollie likes it when I work out of the house,” I said to Marissa later.

“Yeah?” she replied. “Did he sleep under you desk?”

“Nah,” I laughed. “But he just sort of hung around the living room like a security guard. I could have sworn he even nodded at me when I passed. He would make a good office dog, I think.”

At quitting time, Marissa picked me up from the house, offering to give me a lift downtown. I wanted to pick up some extra IT supplies form the office, and she would circle the square until I was finished. Wearing my sweats and a ratty white t shirt, I swiped into the elevator and entered my floor. My swipes were already used up for the month at the little vending machine maintained by IT, so I returned to my office desk to scavenge for parts. I returned to the car with my laptop stand, a USB to USB-C dongle for my keyboard, and my trackpad. Setting it all up back at home, I was content to have almost perfect parity with my set-up at work

Marissa hopped out the car in the driveway and took Ziggy in the house. I slid over to the driver seat, and Rodney and I made our way over to the grocery store.

“Hey Rod,” I said pivoting around in the driver seat. “Want to go to the grocery store and pick up stuff for chili?”

“No chilly, dada. Bhrrr.” said Rodney, clutching his arms. It’s a shame that was lost in translation, but I’m not sure how we could have avoided that one. We drove through the winding, narrow streets of Atwood and parked at the grocery store. We picked up ground beef, an onion, some canned tomatoes, and two boxes of corn muffin mix. We also picked up a block of aged white cheddar.

Back in our kitchen, I got to cooking chili. Rodney fiddled with the wodden spoon standing on top the folding ladder while I diced an onion and browned the ground beef. After some tomatoes, spices, and cold water, the pot was simmering and all that was left to do was wait.

We’d eat a later dinner. This rendition of chili was a baked version. Once the chili was done simmering, I’d pour it into a casserole dish and top it with cornbread batter and bake the dish for a half hour. Rodney, who has become accustomed to eating at 7 sharp, wandered in and out of the kitchen asking for more handfuls of shredded white cheddar. As it got closer to 7:20, he’d wander in every 90 seconds. “Hi Dada. Um, Rodney need cheese,” he’d say looking down at his feet shuffling, holding the handle of the fridge door.

At last, we ate chili and cornbread at the table. It was a delicious recipe, and pretty good for only a $30 grocery bill, considering we now have enough leftover chili to eat for the rest of the week if we wanted to.

“Let’s just eat chili every day this week,” laughed Marissa, watching me fill tupperware for the fridge.

I put Rodney to bed, joining him in his new roomy twin for story time. “I like your new bed, dude,” I said, stretching my legs to the end. “I can lay next to you and read, and it doesn’t feel like I’m hiding in a suitcase.”

I hope you have a wonderful day today. Thanks for stopping by this morning.