Thursday, March 12 2020

team lunches, remote work, and putting apple sauce on things

Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone! Happy Thursday. I hope you're feeling good, and proud of yourself for making it this far into the week. It's a quiet and cozy morning. It's sort of chilly in the house, and I've settled into my desk with a zip-up and a fresh cup of coffee.

Yesterday was a great day. To keep the social camaraderie going throughout this period of remote work, our team scheduled a lunch together. I suggested the new Ian's Pizza constructed in the new Garver Mill's development in our neighborhood - Mine and Marissa's usual watering hole for Wednesday lunch these days.

I attended some meetings before leaving to pick up Fong just before lunch. "Alright, you ready to get lost?" I teased pulling out of her driveway. "I walk along the bike path with my family to get there, I don't think I've ever driven there yet."

Fong and I arrived, meeting Heath & Julia in the foyer before queuing up for pizza. We found a quiet booth in the back. I ordered a beer, of course, in Wednesday lunch tradition.

"I was excited about lunch," I said as we all filed into a booth with plates of pizza. "This is the most social thing I've done all week. I even put on a real outfit for the occasion - my nice sweat pants." Some chuckles were heard before the conversation took us to remote work.

"UW just closed campus, they're going full remote for this virus thing," said Julia.

Heath laughed. "I think a lot of people are going to realize that remote work is a lot easier than they thought. Hell, you take a math class or something, and you don't even need the professor there. Just record the lecture."

I took a swig of beer and joined the conversation. "This virus thing has sparked a lot of conversation about remote work - not just at our work, but it's all over twitter and LinkedIn - it's like a remote revolution."

With a mouthful of pizza, I continued. "I bet this is how we transition into like what you see in sci-fi movies, where everyone remotes into everything and we just stay in our houses most of the time."

Even I was surprised at how easily I took to remote work this week, but in hindsight it's kind of obvious. I'm a home body. I'm an introvert. I'd prefer to wear the same thing every day if I can. I like to work in bursts and do something active in between - at the office that means going for walks around the square, but at home I can wash some dishes or put things away. I have more time to cook - at quitting time, I can start simmering something on the stove or set aside some dough to rise before running to the store. I can help watch Rodney. And all throughout, I seem to be more focused and getting work done. It's a great set-up.

Lunch concluded, and Fong left with Julia to swing by the office and pick up some things. "That's fine," I said as we were walking back to our cars. "But you're not going to hear the rest of my mixtape, and that's a real shame." Heath laughed and rolled his eyes as we bid farewell to each other.

Back at home, I had a quick snuggle with Ziggy on the couch, then jumped back online. I took my laptop to the couch and worked while Marissa and Rodney worked on a puzzle in the dining room. Marissa put Rodney down for a nap and I relocated to our bedroom. One of our HDMI dongles finally arrived in the mail, which allowed me to plug in my secondary monitor. "It's perfect," I said triumphantly tucking the cable behind the extra screen. "It's almost exactly the same setup I had at the office."

After work, we decided to let Rodney sleep, and I left for Hy-Vee alone. Marissa's acid reflux has been a little tough, and after an exciting week of pasta, chili, and pizza, I decided to do something mellow for dinner. I picked up a few chicken breasts, some brussels sprouts, and potatoes. Back at home, I seared the chicken breasts, cooked the potatoes in rosemary and butter, and gently roasted the sprouts. As I cooked, I enjoyed a Stuff You Should Know podcast.

After cooking, I gently shook Marissa awake on the couch and ushered Rodney over to the dining room before plating everything up, dumping some Apple sauce on each plate.

After dinner, Marissa cleaned up the living room with Rodney and put him to bed. We stood on the deck for a while before jumping into Wednesday chores. We got to talking about apple sauce, of all things.

"I like to play a game with your mom where I ask her when its OK to put apple sauce on things," said Marissa. "And it seems like no matter what I say, she'll think about it for a minute and just say 'yes, you could put Apple Sauce on that'," laughed Marissa. "It kind of reminds me of that scene from the office where Jim is asking Dwight how long he could survive on his farm and he just keeps adding years."

"Apple sauce is useful," I said. "We kind of used to put it on your food the same way you put salt on everything. Only it's more useful than salt. It cools things down, keeps your food from getting too dry, sweetens things, and you can use a lot to cover up a taste you don't like."

"What about salmon?" asked Marissa.

"Of course. I smoke it with apple wood, after all. It's basically the pork of fish, and pork tastes good with apples."

"Spaghetti," suggested Marissa.

"Nah," I said rocking on my heels. "Well not with like red sauce spaghetti, anyway. But maybe like buttered noodles, just heap some on the side. And maybe some sliced tomatoes or something."

Marissa laughed. "How about pancakes?"

"Well yeah," I replied. "You serve fruit on pancakes, I don't see the difference. Maybe like some granola and apple sauce on the side, it's basically a little parfait."

"You're doing it too! I think you'll literally just say yes to anything!" laughed Marissa.

We headed back in the house, and I cleaned the kitchen. I cleaned the fridge and pantry, and by the end of the evening before we convened on the couch to watch a movie, I was feeling very satisfied with our food situation.

"Look at this," I said to Marissa opening the fridge. "Tomorrow we're going to feast on all these leftovers for lunch, then we're going to all nap after work, then we're ordering Portillo's for dinner."

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