Monday, June 29 2020

movies, chilean food, and the burpee rag bin

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone! Happy Monday. I hope you get a good start today, and plenty of coffee to wake you up along the way. I'm feeling good today. It feels good to begin a fresh week, and on the other side of the coin, I feel comforted knowing that we're still hovering in last few days of June. I don't think I'm quite ready to look at a July date just yet. Rolling over into July would mean that I've completed a full month of paternity leave, which would mean that I would need to start thinking about work. Not ready for that yet.

Sip. Marissa and I have been getting a lot of joy from movies lately. Picking up the pace, we've managed to obliterate any sense of a comfortable genre, instead being dedicated to watch anything and everything eventually.

"I aspire to be one of those people who can find something redeem-able in literally every movie," I said to Marissa last night.

"I think we're already there," she laughed. "We watched the movie Splice and still had stuff to talk about. Yesterday you almost convinced me that American Psycho was my favorite movie."

I nodded. "If they were truly bad movies, we wouldn't have talked so much about them."

"I think some movies are meant to be enjoyed afterwards just thinking about them," mused Marissa loud.

Yes, recently, we've had a difficult arc through some unsettling thrillers and horror flicks, so I thought I would give us a break and spin up a rom-com. Last night, we watched a little more than half of There's Something About Mary.

"This is so good," said Marissa while munching on taco chips. "I love a good rom-com with a good bad guy."

"I thought I've already seen this movie," I replied, "but most of this is completely new to me."

Admittedly, we're using movies as an escape. They're an escape from coronavirus. They're an escape from hearing about Donald Trump in the news. They're an escape from riots. This morning, talking about movies is also an escape from cleaning my messy kitchen. Yesterday I attempted to make a Chilean themed meal to celebrate my wife's 1/8th share of Chilean ancestry. I took Rodney to Hy-Vee, practically loading an entire farmer's market worth of produce into our shopping cart. Back at home, I hurriedly prepared a Chilean pebre - diced onions, monder'ed tomatoes, banana peppers, garlic, lime, olive oil, and cilantro. And even though my tomato mondering could use some more practice, Marissa claims it was the best salsa she's ever had.


Chilean Pebre, which probably means "spent the afternoon crying from dicing all these onions"

And for the main course, we had Chilean empenadas - braised beef and onion filling wrapped in a flaky, golden brown dough - and just before sealing these shut, following authentic instruction I tucked an olive, a handful of raisins, and a wedge of hard boiled egg inside. I have a feeling that I made a wrong turn somewhere - these were not supposed to puff up like pizza dough.


Accidental Chilean fusion calzone. Still delicious.

And so all after all this amateur exploration through Chilean cuisine, my kitchen is in shambles. Every plate and bowl I own is stacked in the sink, glistening with a film of egg wash. Cilantro stems and garlic peels garnish the counter, forming a very pretty contrast with flour dusted cutting board. On top of everything, while feeding Krang this morning, his jar shattered in the sink. Why not get a little broken glass involved as well?

Yesterday after sliding my empenadas into the oven, I collected Rodney from his room, greeting him at the door with a little ball of leftover empenada dough. Rodney led me downstairs to the kitchen table, where he took me through some bizarre made-up recipe which involved flattening the dough like a pancake and poking it with a pen cap. But for something that was clearly invented by a bored three year old, I was impressed with how focused he was. Lancing his little dried up dough ball with a pen, you would think he was Bobby Flay in the last few remaining seconds of a close finish episode of Iron Chef.

After putting Rodney to bed, Marissa and I poured some wine and made a last valiant push to clean the project board for the week, sorting all of Miles' newborn clothes. When it was finished, we sank into our chairs, victoriously adding the final index card at the top of the DONE column.

"What went well this week?" I asked.

"I like that we only had one more thing to do on Sunday," said Marissa. "That's way better than having three more cards."

"We started much earlier too," I added. "Getting at least something done right away on Monday seems to set the tone for the whole week."

Marissa nodded.

"I'd like to propose the MVP of the week," I said, changing the subject. "The burpee rag bin."

Marissa nodded while sipping her wine, then raised her glass in agreement. "The burpee rag bin. Your finest invention."

Earlier that week, I had been complaining about how difficult it was to find a burpee rag in the house. Despite having dozens of them circulating in our laundry, when push comes to shove, and the baby fluids are pouring out from Miles like an Old Testament miracle, none of them can be found.

"Can we put them all in once container?" I asked.

"I can pick up a bin in the next Target order," Marissa replied. But I shook my head, being interested in an immediate solution. I flung open our tupperware drawer, retrieving a large bowl. Holding the bowl in hand, I began to pace around the living room.

"How about here?" I asked, pointing to the corner of dresser behind the TV.

"There?" questioned Marissa. "That's kind of a weird place. Will it be hard to get to?" Without answering her, I flipped the bowl on its side and slid it behind the TV. It rested comfortably in place.

"Check it out," I bragged. "The bowl is too big to fall behind the dresser."

burpee rag bin

My greatest invention.

As the week passed, we've grown to like the oddly placed tupperware bin of burpee rags. It's a bit out of the way, but it helps having all the burpee rags centralized in a single, predictable spot.

"To the burpee rag bin," said Marissa raising her glass again. I lifted my glass beside her. Clink.

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