Wednesday, January 13 2021

slow weeks, a touch of food poisoning, and liquified dinners



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Dear Journal,

How's it going, everybody? Happy Wednesday. From my computer to yours, I hope you are feeling good today and that you have enough energy in the tank to get you to the weekend.

I can't believe it's only Wednesday. Is it just me, or is this week dragging on more slowly than usual? I guess that's the downside of having so few meetings and so much time to crank through my individual work. Part of me suspects that I've already finished what I normally do in a week. Maybe those little dopamine glands in my brain are so accustomed to firing off the "good chemicals" after this much work that they've deceived me into thinking that the weekend is just around the corner.

We keep plugging away, I guess. There's always something to do. Even if I catch up on my emails and get a work ticket to where I'd like it, there's always dishes in the sink, old food in the fridge, or maybe even a little bit of potty at the bottom of Rodney's plastic toilet waiting to be rinsed out. Tucked in the corner of our dining room, I forget about that sometimes. Not to be gross, but sometimes Rodney fills it to the brim, and the only way he can force the issue is to saunter over to me while I'm busy with something else and say in passing, "My potty is getting kinda pretty full."

Sip. It's been a slow week, but a productive one. I made good progress on my vault upgrade yesterday, spending most of the day composing a detailed runbook. At this point in my career I've gotten pretty good at writing instructions for doing something on servers that's both automated, but not so "magical" that it poses a risk. For this stuff, you might think it would be a good idea to write one long script that finishes every part of the task, but what if it breaks half way through? How do you know where it broke and how much of the task it had already finished? How do you know if it left a mess? How do you start it again?

The happy middle ground I've found is writing small functions that can pasted in the terminal while reading. The functions do helpful things like fetching dynamic names and making simple changes to our resources in Amazon, but they don't do too much. If something breaks, then at least it's much easier to fix it before moving on.

All in all, the project is moving along smoothly. Within the next few days I'm going to do a "dress rehearsal" in our staging environment. Then hopefully onto the real thing.

I took a nice long lunch to make a batch of chicken stock, and since I already had all the chicken carved up, I seared the breasts and served them up with some cabbage and leftover rice for lunch. It tasted great going down, but inexplicably we all started to feel queasy - a subtle, persistent stomach cramp. A touch of food poisoning. Rodney got it the worst. In fact, during his quiet time he actually climbed into bed voluntarily and fell asleep, and I don't know when was the last time that happened.

How did we get sick from fresh chicken breast, leftover rice, and cabbage? The chicken smelled fresh as a daisy, and it was on the well-done side. The cabbage had at least a half hour to soak in oil and vinegar. And leftover rice is rice.

"Maybe it's Bacillus cereus," I said reading off the computer screen. "It says that it can develop on cooked rice if it is left out for at least two hours."

"We leave rice out all the time," laughed Marissa. "Wouldn't we get that constantly?"

Just a guess. Stomachs are weird, and sometimes they don't like the things you eat. We all felt fine later that evening. Rodney insisted he was still sick, and that his tummicks was making his eyes hurt, but that was clearly just a misdiagnosis of a classic "too much Paw Patrol" headache.

I made pea soup for dinner. Somehow I messed up the consistency, and when it was time to strain it serve it up, it was practically green water. I blasted it for a few minutes on the stove and cut some bread to hold everyone over.

Finally, over an hour later, it was time to eat. The green soup was still on the thinner side. Marissa and I got along just fine, but Rodney struggled to lap the thin soup at the end of his spoon. Without warning, I grabbed his bowl and poured it into his plastic spider-man sippie cup, sealing it with a lid and straw.

"HUH?" laughed Rodney. "My spider-man cup?"

"Yeah, dude," I laughed. "Just drink it. See if you like it."

Rodney placed the cup in his lap and carefully sipped his dinner drink. He smiled, then went right back to the straw. He proceeded to slam it like he was drinking a Big Gulp. Seconds later, his straw was loudly slurping air.

"I bee excused?" said Rodney after taking a gasp of air. Marissa and I stared at each other, baffled. Rodney skipped away into the living room.

"What just happened?" laughed Marissa. "He finished that in like sixty seconds."

"He's hungry, but I think it's just the utensils that trip him up," I laughed.

"YES," said Marissa. "I think it's just - you know - keeping his focus while using forks and spoons."

"We should just liquefy all his dinners," I laughed. "Blended mac and cheese. Blended pork chops. Blended peanut butter and jelly."

Putting Rodney to bed, he seemed a little sad that his tummy still didn't feel right.

"It's ok, dude. The grinch soup will help, that's good for your tummy."

"No - It didn't work," said Rodney. "My tummicks still hurts."

"Well, tummies are tricky," I said. "Give it time. It doesn't work instantly. Dude, I promise you'll feel perfectly fine in the morning, just get some sleep."

Thanks for stopping by today. Take care of your tummicks, and have a great Wednesday.