Tuesday, September 28 2021

decorations, my work anniversary, and the restaurant black list

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everybody. Happy Tuesday. This morning while writing at the dining room computer, I'm joined by Marissa, Miles, and the puppies. Miles enjoys a hand-mashed hodge podge of sliced banana and cereal bar. Marissa munches on a bag of oatmeal square cereal. The dogs circle below the table hoping to partake in all of the above. Oh, and I sit beside a coffee bar festively decorated with balloons, streamers, and an assortment of wrapped presents.

Marissa stayed up late last night decorating the dining room for my birthday, and she wasn't even surprised that I walked right by the festive arrangement this morning while making coffee. "You didn't notice the decorations or the presents at all this morning, did you?" she laughed.

I think this gives us a lot of insight into how my brain operates in the mornings. I have the first shift - the bootstrap shift. Most of my routine unfolds before the first drops of fresh coffee trickle out of the filter. Without caffeine to warm things up, I have to conserve my mental energy enough so I can make coffee in the first place. It's no wonder that I didn't notice the colorful balloons taped to the wall or the assortment of presents wrapped in tarantula themed wrapping paper. In all honesty, somebody could have left a fresh horse head on our coffee bar this morning and I probably wouldn't have noticed that either - as long as the smell wasn't too bad.


But I have coffee now, don't I? When I reach the bottom of this cup, I'll be so alert I'll almost be able to pass as a functioning adult. Where would I be without you, coffee?

Sip. It's good to be here this morning. Admittedly, it's easy to be in a good mood when you're sitting next to a table full of your own wrapped birthday presents. Today should be a pretty good day for a number of reasons. My on-call shift ends this afternoon and I don't get tapped again until November. I'm taking two days off of work. Tomorrow, Marissa, Rodney, and I are taking a train into Chicago to see the Blackhawks play their pre-season opener. Between the hockey game, an adventurous day in the city, and a mid-week break from work, there's a lot to be excited about.

Speaking of work, I just hit my five year mark at Zendesk. They hired me just a few days before my twenty-sixth birthday, and that was a great gift because gainful employment is the gift that keeps on giving.

To celebrate my five year anniversary, I took a short pause from the workday to embellish in some Google photos nostalgia. I had a weird impulse to make a LinkedIn post - something I only feel like doing once every five years. But between all the photos I've taken on the job at Zendesk, very few of them were LinkedIn worthy.

Would I go with the confrontational selfie I took in the fluorescent drowned stairwell for my employee badge?


Or what about the time I sat in an empty office on Halloween day dressed like Ryan Gosling's character from Drive?


What about a picture from when I flew out to San Francisco for onsite training? I can't use that one either. I look utterly terrified. And if you narrowly missed being peed on by a drunk pedestrian while lost in the San Francisco tenderloin, you would be too.


We had a mellow day yesterday - a slow start to the week. Since we held it down with the home cooking all weekend, we decided to treat ourselves to some takeout food. "How about Garibaldi's?" Marissa suggested. And just like that, the plans were set.

There's lots to love about Garbialdi's. We love their no-frills take chips and guac. We love the authentic-tasting food. Most of all, we love how confused people get when we recommend a place named Garibaldi's as the best Mexican food in Madison. But one thing we don't love is the running fifty percent success rate they have in actually getting the food to our house. Over an hour later with no delivery and no updates, we started to get desperate. As Rodney and I hungrily shoveled reheated french toast into our mouths, Marissa dialed up the restaurant.

"They said that 'nobody bagged it up yet'," reported Marissa.

"Nobody bagged it? What does that even mean?" I retorted.

"She just said nobody bagged it," Marissa replied. "And they are still waiting for a driver to come pick it up. It's fine, I'll just go pick it up."

The hanger took hold of me. "No!" I snapped. "I'm done with this. This is the third time this has happened. Garibaldi's is black listed."

Marissa somberly nodded as I got up from the table and grabbed a set of car keys. I slammed the door behind me. I'd return with a warm bag of McDonald's fifteen minutes later. In moments like these, it pays to live on the same block as so many fast food restaurants.

In our family, once a restaurant is put on the black list, there's no return. It's our harshest form of punishment reserved only for restaurants that have crossed the line with our family's reasonable Midwestern dining standards. There's Daisy's Cupcake and Eatery, for the hour long wait it took to get Marissa her cold and watery omelette. There's the Pizza Pit for the great food poisoning debacle that took our family out of commission for two days. Who could forget Five Star Korean BBQ for serving us undercooked bulgogi while leaving the same Jason Mraz song on loop for the entire duration of our stay? And most recently the late Garibaldi's, for failing to deliver our food three times. Enjoy your stay on the black list, Garibaldi's.

That's what I got today. Have a great Tuesday everyone.