Sunday, May 24 2020

the quesomelette, the fishtank, and little brownie squares

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone! How are you doing on this muggy Sunday morning? Even though the air even in our house is thick and muggy from the sudden overnight dawning of summer, it's a nice change-up after such a dry, cracking, grueling winter.

Rodney and I are coming to you today from the Sunday morning breakfast table. Using only a few ingredients from our scant pre-grocery trip fridge, we may have inadvertently invented the greatest breakfast ever created. One egg fried in butter and olive oil, and just after the first flip, we slid a tortilla underneath and sprinkled the mess with cheese. After another minute, we folded the tortilla like an omelette and gave it one last turn in the butter before slicing it up. We're still work-shopping a name for our creation - current favorites are The Breakfastdilla and The Quesomelette. Rest assured, if you were to give Rodney and I thirty seconds in an elevator with Jeff Bezos, the whole country would be clamoring to get their hands on the frozen home version of the Quesomelette.

Sip. So how is everyone feeling today? Just in case you need something to get excited about, I have some good news to share. Last night, the Recker family gutted and filled the old saltwater fish tank. It wasn't nearly as bad as we thought it would be - there were some old parts that needed to be sorted, the tank needed a good Windex, and the stand needed the magical touch of Marissa's craftsmanship with some gorilla glue. But the family project created quite a bit of buzz yesterday.

"Dada - dada - scumee," nagged Rodney tugging on my shirt. I shook him off my arm so I could continue wiping the tank, but he persisted. "Scume, Peter Parker? DOO KA DOOOOO!"

"WHAT Rodney. What do you want?" I snipped.

"Dada," said Rodney ready to make his pitch. "Now we fill it with water?"

"Almost dude," I replied tiredly. "Momma is fixing the loose peg on the tank stand." Rodney left me to work and wandered over to Marissa.


"WHAT Rodney," said Marissa from underneath the tank stand.

"Mama, we fill the tank now?" pleaded Rodney.

"No, Rodney. What did dad just say? We have to clean it and fix the stand first," replied Marissa patiently.

Once the tank was in working order, we lined up in front of the kitchen sink. I held a plastic pitcher, and Marissa a large plastic bowl. She handed Rodney a small plastic cup.

"OK, everybody, start making trips," said Marissa. I gave her a sly smile as we watched Rodney carefully make his way through the kitchen with the tiny glass of water, fling it into the tank, and walk back to fill his cup again.

"That will keep him busy for a while," I chuckled. "Why didn't we think of this sooner? He's been driving me crazy all day."

"Dude, after we fill the tank, it's realistic that we'll probably get some kind of fish in their by next weekend," said Marissa. But Rodney didn't hear her - he was distracted by the big tank of water, and standing precariously on a miniature plastic chair, he shifted his weight onto the tank to reach his arm inside.

"NO NO NO, dude, hold on," I scolded.

"No arms inside, dude. The wish won't like that," said Marissa. "Man, now I'm sort of worried about getting him so excited. Do you think he'll be able to keep his hands off the fish?" continued Marissa, turning toward me.

"At least we get those little practice fish first," I replied. " - the kind that the pet place lends to you just to create a healthy environment? That will also be a good practice round for Rodney to show us he's responsible enough to not bother the fish."

And so we filled the tank, and after Rodney went to bed, Marissa and I calibrated the salt. The back of the napkin math with proportions and concentrations made me feel like we were school lab partners. This morning, Rodney was excited to see a healthy layer of fresh sand on the bottom. The fish are officially happening.

And yesterday, in between the very exciting kick-off of the saltwater fishtank project, Marissa and Rodney also baked a batch of brownies.

"Hey dada," said Marissa leaning into the dining room. "Would you help us turn the oven on?"

"AH yes," I said getting up from my computer chair. "The magical combination to start up our piece-of-crap oven. OK, here we go..."

I took a spot in the kitchen next to the oven, and with my coffee mug held lazily in one hand, I proceeded to turn the oven on, wait for it to click, then turn it off repeatedly. Marissa stared at me blankly.

"Is this really all you do?" asked Marissa.

"Yep," I nodded, taking another swig of coffee. "It's a random failure, right? So I figure one in every ten or hundred tries, there is bound to be at least one random success. And once it lights it has no problem heating up. Here - want to take a turn?"

Marissa scooted next to me and pressed the button. Click. Click. Click. Click. Followed by a defeated silence.

"That was a dud. Spin again, please." I chuckled.

"This is so infuriating," said Marissa with clenched teeth. "And you've been making bread like this? I'm impressed you've been able to keep it together."

"I haven't," I said, interrupting. "There's an indent in the side of the oven. I punched it once."

Click. Click. Puff.

"Wow," I laughed. "You have the magic touch. Congratulations, you have a working oven. And it only took..." I glanced at the clock. "Twenty-three minutes to start. That has to be a new record or something, usually I have to try on and off again for a half hour."

Marissa and Rodney baked their brownies, and we set them aside for after dinner. We ate soup, with some makeshift goat cheese smeared grilled tortillas in lieu of bread. As we were cleaning up, Marissa began to slice of the brownies.

"Look," she said. "I'm cutting them into little brownie squares. Look at how lekker!"

"Oh no," I said. "We're going to be eating those like crazy tonight."

"Well the smaller pieces mean more trips to the dining room, so we'll burn more calories getting up," said Marissa. "But we to tend to snack more when we eat a healthy dinner." She stared down at her brownies in thought. "Yeah, these don't have a chance - we're finishing these tonight," she laughed.

Thanks for stopping by today. Have a wonderful Sunday, everyone.