Friday, March 5 2021

dinner in an igloo, whiteboard diagrams, and mondering tomatoes



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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everybody! Hope you're morning is going well. Today the regular morning cadence of our house short-circuited. Rodney was wide awake an hour before the usual. Peeking his head out the door, he plead to leave his room.

"Not yet, dude," I said. "Why don't you just relax."

Then Marissa started to get up. Still in bed with the dogs she muttered how are yOu today honey? without even opening her eyes. Sleepily she began to climb out of the sheets. Hearing her voice, Rodney started to call out again from across the hall.

"I COME OUT NOW?" he pleaded. "I COME OUT NOW?"

"What the heck is going on!?" I interrupted. "It's only 8:15 - Nobody is hecking dang waking up, go back to bed you dingisses!" Marissa fell back into a deep sleep exactly 100 microseconds after she heard the news. Rodney wasn't so happy about it, and he's now roaring his remote control dinosaur out of protest.

Ah, the remote control dinosaur. It's only been in our house for two days, and it's already climbed to the top of my things I'd like to chuck into traffic list. I pretend it doesn't bother me for fear that Rodney will understand the persuasive power it holds. He roars it constantly. While he's watching TV, he absent-mindedly presses the button on repeat. He even makes it roar in the living room while he's pooping in the upstairs bathroom.

Sip. Just chaos over here. But I'm wearing a real outfit today. I've got a pair of jeans and a button down shirt. I can't believe I used to wear outfits like this every day. It's definitely not as comfortable as my go-to work sweats and long sleeve t shirt. I feel like I'm waiting around to leave for a wedding or something.

The Recker family has a date night today. We've reserved one of those outdoor domes at a nearby brewery. After work, we'll schlep our whole family over there and enjoy the sterile outdoor bubble. We've been telling Rodney that we are eating dinner in an igloo.

The outdoor bubble is appealing because we're pretty much trapped in there for two hours. Rodney and Miles can bring a few toys, but we haven't gone anywhere in so long we're probably all going to be content to just gape at things like visitors from another planet.

So how was your Thursday? I had a busy day at work. At the moment I'm working on a proposal for a new architecture to one of our services. I should have made a little more progress, but I got distracted by making diagrams. Should this line be dotted or dashed? Do these squares look better in beige or sea foam green? It's funny how little details like that can distract you from communicated a big idea.

I'm trying to get better at making diagrams on the computer. Back in the days where I attended a real office, I perhaps leaned a little to hard on my prowess with a whiteboard. Thanks to all molecules and calculations I had to draw in college, I developed the perfect dry erase board handwriting. My letters are boxy and legible. My arrows are smooth and confident. My personal happy place was standing at the board drawing ideas out in real time while the rest of my team pitched them. If you'll let me brag for a second, if whiteboard diagrams are cool then I'm freakin' Miles Davis.

I haven't had the pleasure of working at a whiteboard in a while. That skill doesn't really translate well to the remote life. I continue to play around with different tools, trying to see if I can capture the same kind of magic in a more practical electronic way.

Yesterday was a hockey night. We had fun exaggerating the hockey drought this week, but on a real level the four days between games felt unbearable, like something was missing from our life. To celebrate, we made crunchwrap supremes.

Start with ground beef. You can use taco seasoning if you want, but you can go without it with just cumin, paprika, pepper, and a dash of yellow curry. I like to cook it in cast iron so it heats evenly. Don't just stop when the meat is brown, you have to keep cooking and stirring until the juices concentrate and take on a syrup like consistency.

I also like to monder the tomato. I boil it in water for about thirty seconds and then drop it in ice water - the skin peels right off. I half it, then gouge out the watery pulp and seeds with a grapefruit spoon. I think the final product really benefits from not having all the tomato pulp in the mix.

Mondering the tomato also gives me a chance to tease Marissa about that one time I asked her to do it for me. It was right before a big party and she offered to help pull things together in the kitchen. She tried to be a good sport about it, but it was just one of those tasks that she automatically hated every minute of and her body language made that pretty clear. "I love you," she said, "but I never want to monder a tomato again."

I also like to use cabbage. It keeps better than lettuce, and it doesn't taste so gross when you heat it up. Because cabbage is a little stiff, I like to slice it thin then crush it in my hand before adding it.

We ate crunchwrap supremes and watched the hockey game. We were playing the defending champs from last year, so we weren't expecting much, but the Hawks took them to overtime. The Lightning scored with a tenth of a second left on the clock, and with a game that close it's hard to even be mad about it. It was a good day yesterday.

That's what I got today. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend - you deserve it. If you can, go reserve your own outdoor bubble and get a beer your quarantine-mates. And remember, if you need any tomatoes mondered Marissa is happy to take care of that for you. Thanks for stopping by today, I'll see you all next time.