Saturday, August 8 2020

showing up with no pants, pizza, and jobsite injuries



banners/2020 08 08

Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone. How is your Saturday treating you so far? I stayed in bed a little longer, then with the help of some coffee and quiet music, warmed up my thoughts enough to catch up on cleaning. Today, we have ambitions to clean the back corner of our basement, move some garbage into the shed for a trip to the dump on Monday, pick up groceries, and maybe even find time to enjoy some of the temperate weather we've been having.

Currently, we're wrapping up a lazy Saturday brunch. There's a hot pot of coffee on the table, and there are plates smeared with powdered sugar and maple syrup stacked beside the sink. After a solid morning Blippi bender, we've shut off the TV and insisted that Rodney spend some time entertaining himself the old-fashioned way. To Rodney, that means hiding under a pile of pillows in protest.

Sip. Here's some scandalous news. I've started putting a splash of cream in my coffee. Before all you fellow black coffee purists pick up their metaphorical pitchforks and start slinging angry emails at me, let me just say this is probably only a phase I'm going through. The first time I did it earlier this week, it was with Rodney at the breakfast table, and I was just trying to find something to amuse him.

"Watch this dude," I said, scooting my fresh mug over to him. He ooh'ed and ahh'ed as the white and black liquids swirled on the surface of the mug, converging on the color of chocolate. I took a sip. "That's actually pretty good, dude. I forgot about what that tastes like," I said. "It does a nice job cutting the acidity." Rodney was just staring down at the mug, most likely ignoring my inane commentary.

I first learned to like coffee with a splash of skim milk. Each morning while getting ready for school, I used to pass by my mom's cup of coffee resting on the bathroom counter. One morning, on an impulse, I took a sip. I remember thinking it tasted earthy and grassy. Slowly over time, my sips got bigger, and at some point my mom just started leaving a second cup of coffee for me on the counter beside hers.

Starbucks caused me to switch to black coffee. Since our breaks were only ten minutes long, we rarely got the time to enjoy a cup of hot coffee. Most of us would just fill a cup with ice and espresso and hide it in the back, stealing sips when there were no customers in line.

One guy I worked with used to make something he jokingly referred to as super coffee. Iced coffee, espresso, a packet of VIA instant coffee, and a little scoop of frappucino powder. Sometimes he would even garnish it with some crushed espresso beans.

I'm thankful for coffee today. It may not be super coffee, but it's getting the job done.

By coincidence, yesterday after commenting about how much time I had left on child leave, I received an email from work. It was from our parental leave liaison, double checking that I was ready to return on the 25th of this month.

"That's kind of a bummer," said Marissa.

"Oh no, I was happy for it" I said, interrupting. "No matter how often I double check the date, I have this irrational fear that I somehow got it wrong."

I was grateful for the email reality check. I've even been having bad dreams where I show up to my first day of work utterly unprepared, much likes those dreams I used to have leading up to the first day of school where I show up without pants.

Although given our mandatory work from home situation, I suppose I could show up without pants. See, nothing to be afraid of!

In other news, we've made substantial leaps in our thin crust pizza technology yesterday. Each time I've tried the recipe, I've struggled to roll it out thinly enough. The dough would tear or tug back to the center. But yesterday I had the shocking realization that pizza dough is a lot like bread, and I was simply underkneading it and underproofing it. Much like a loaf of bread, tearing is just a sign that your gluten isn't strong enough, and dough that's difficult to roll out just means that it hasn't relaxed enough.

Last night's batch was fun. With a better crafted pizza dough to my advantage, I felt like the real deal. I was free to enjoy the old world charm of sliding a thin disc of dough onto a hot stone with a swift flick of the wrist. Topped with sweet homemade sauce, a bit of mozzarella, pancietta, and basil from our garden - molto delizioso.

thin crust

(twirls imaginary moustache)

After dinner, Marissa got to work in the basement knocking out some old drywall. While cleaning up from dinner, I lost track of Rodney, and he slipped past me down the stairs to go check out the commotion for himself.

"Ope, sorry - Rodney got by me," I called down to Marissa.

"It's OK!" she replied. "He can help if he wants."

Marissa put Rodney to work. Like a present, she handed him a yellow crowbar and guided him to a spot on the wall on which he could swing it as hard as he could. And what little boy wouldn't enjoy that?

Minutes later, I heard crying in the basement. While working, Rodney got a tiny paper cut on his finger, and he and Marissa headed upstairs to bandage up.

"Dude, this is a serious jobsite injury," I said.

Rodney stopped crying. "Yeah, this is my jobsite injury," he repeated emphatically. Rodney liked how that sounded.

In fact, Rodney liked the phrase so much that he claimed he got another jobsite injury after stepping on a piece of dry wall.

"I don't think you actually got hurt," said Marissa, inspecting his foot. Rodney's tried to stoke more fake tears with some sobbing.

"I think he just really wants to earn another jobsite injury," I laughed.

Thanks for stopping by today. Have a great Saturday, everyone.