Thursday, September 15 2022

contractors, the roach tank, and coq au vin

page banner

Dear Journal,

Good morning, friends. Happy Thursday. Waking up with coffee and enjoying the morning news on the couch, it's hard not to be in a good mood after a slow morning like this one. On Thursdays my team meets on zoom in the evening to make up for our sparse time zones, and I've really come to enjoy the effect it has on the rest of the day. The morning is mine, whether I want to write, clean, slink around in my bath robe, or do a little of everything.

Sip. I think the real reason I'm in such a good mood is because the floor guys haven't gotten here yet. It's been a busy week, and I've had a difficult time focusing with all the hammering, tearing, banging, and chatter from burly contractors across the hall. But you tow a thin line when you complain about hired work in your house. It feels like an invasion of space, but we paid them to be here. It feels like an inconvenience, but they'll be leaving a beautifully installed laminate floor behind them. Making my emotions even more complicated, our contractor Marcin is a really nice guy. He even offered to fix that ripped up gutter on our house free of charge.

"What would I charge you? "It's going to take me ten minutes. What, am I gonna add twenty bucks to your bill?" he laughed boastfully. "I'd rather do something nice so you tell your friends about me."

This week, my office has felt like my fragile refuge from all the chaos happening across the hall. I've found peace staring into my new glass dubia roach tank. There are no roaches here yet, but I think they're going to like it. No plastic bin, paper towels, or stack of old egg cartons. Compared to those trappings, this is like the president's suite of roach colonies. A pile of clean, decorative drift wood lines the feeding pit. A dark, humid rock cave gently bakes under the soft purple glow of a heat lamp. I wanted to make a comfortable, natural habitat for happy free range dubia roaches. Later this week, I'll deploy the spring tails to get a jump on activating the soil.


Still thinking of names. How about "roach-halla"?

What else is happening? Earlier this week, I took a drive out to Naperville to have dinner with my good friend Tim Hagan. We met at a trendy burger bar. The waiter handed us each a clipboard with six pages of small-type font. It was nice to catch up with Tim, and I was honored he hosted my first visit to Naperville.

Back at home, Marissa made pumpkin cupcakes with the boys.


It's been a good food week. Yesterday I was feeling burnt out from work, so I disconnected a little early to get a jump on dinner. I was tackling the intimidating French staple dish coq au vin. The quartered chicken pieces turned purple from marinating in red wine overnight, but it didn't look so strange once they were seared and draped in a velvety brown sauce. For style points, bits of rendered bacon and some caramelized knob onions.


It's fun to show off in the kitchen sometimes, even if it's just for your family. But Marissa's cupcakes stole the show.


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