Monday, September 28 2020

the bears game, crown molding, and duck breasts



banners/2020 09 28

Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone. Happy Monday. Is it the weekend yet? This morning it feels like energy is in short supply. Here I am at the computer, dumping coffee down my gullet like some kind of frazzled sea gull, and for whatever reason I just can't resurrect my usual bubbly, chipper Monday morning self.

Marissa is right there with me, today. Miles had her up at 3 AM, and again at 5:30 AM. Even though he's all smiles now - sitting beside me in his little chair while Marissa steals a power nap, he certainly knows how to make a racket when he demands attention. Oddly enough, his kicks are almost as loud as his cries. When he's frustrated, he lifts his tiny legs and slams them against the bed, and the thumping can be heard all throughout the house. Thump thump thump. Whack whack whack. Miles also likes to express his frustration by ringing his hands, and sometimes his tiny baby nails will catch on his fingers, scratching himself, which makes him want to kick, yell, and scratch even more. Man, babies are just a hot, dumb mess, aren't they?

Ugh. So tired today. Let's hope that I can turn things around for at least another day. It's my 30th birthday tomorrow, and to celebrate I've taken the day off. We have some fun family things planned for the day like eating cake and hanging out at the biergarten, but at this moment, I'm just excited about the not working component.

Sip. How about those Bears? Yesterday after making brunch, Marissa, Rodney, and I settled in to watch every minute of the twisting, turning exhibition against the Falcons, snatching another final minute victory from the jaws of defeat. It doesn't even feel real, but the Bears are 3-0. The victory was not without warts and bumps in the road. Tarik Cohen is out with an ACL injury. We had two touchdowns reversed on us with some iffy calls. And if you woke up this morning and you are not Mitch Trubisky, you should be thankful. Watching him getting pulled out of the game was tough, but clearly the right call. Three wins, zero losses. It probably won't last, but let's just enjoy it while it does, right?

The Bears game pretty much occupied my thoughts all day yesterday. Meanwhile, Rodney sat on the couch, contentedly clicking around Nick Jr. on Marissa's laptop. Occasionally he'd look up and join in on the celebration whenever he'd hear Marissa or I clap and cheer. When the game was finished, my Twitter timeline exploded with theories and hot takes, and I just couldn't pull away from it. It was a fun day, and football is a great distraction, isn't it?

After the game, our house returned to a much more normal cadence. I got busy simultaneously cooking some dinner in the kitchen while cleaning up from that morning's brunch. Meanwhile, Marissa took to Miles' room, where she kept plugging away at some new crown molding. Every few minutes, between the pops of her nail gun and the growling of the air compressor, I'd wander in to check on her progress.

"Look at this corner," she said, gesturing to the ceiling. "I'm getting better at cutting these. It kind of clicked, that to make it even you need to divide the angle in half between the two pieces."

Even though the nuances of her crown molding epiphany were lost on me, I did my best to play along and be supportive. Still, I can't help but underscore how impressed I am that her first attempt at crown molding is probably the most difficult implementation I can imagine. The Miles' ceiling has a slant in the middle of the room, and on top of everything, the house is old, and from what I gather some things that are supposed to be straight are not.

"Does this corner look bad?" asked Marissa. "I think that's just going to have to be a little wood glue party over there."

"I think it looks fine," I said. "It looks better than it did before. Remember - your C+ is everyone else's A+."

That's my go-to line I use whenever Marissa is fretting about a DIY project. Sometimes when you obsessively work at perfecting a niche craft, you can lose sight of how far you've come from when you first started. You can forget how magical it seems to everyone else. If I were to walk into a room in your house where you did the crown molding yourself, rest assured I wouldn't immediately start scouring the corners for mistakes. To me, the layman, crown molding is magical, and anyone who learns it is a powerful magician.

After cleaning up the kitchen, while waiting for Marissa to finish up for the evening, I took a seat at the dining room computer to plan some meals and put in a grocery order. I took a risk with dinners this week. This evening, we're going to kick off the week with a quartered up chicken seared and finished in a tarragon cream sauce. Tuesday is my birthday, and we're just rocking a birthday cake and a Home Run Inn pizza. On Wednesday, I'm going to try to make a pair of duck breasts in peppercorn sauce. I've never cooked duck before, but from what I can tell, it's a lot like cooking a chicken thigh. There's a big pad of fat on one side of the breast, and by the time the fat has rendered out and it has cooked through, the whole thing is basically done.

Some risky, first time meals slated for this week, but I was thinking I needed a break from my usual go-to recipes. Starting twenty minutes ago, I'm no longer on-call. We've got some good wine in the house, and I'm thinking I would like to spend some intentional time in the kitchen this week making good food to go with the wine.

Thanks for stopping by today. I hope you have a wonderful week. Let's get through this Monday together, shall we? Just do your best today. Remember - your C+ is everyone else's A+.