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Where I chronicle an exceptionally busy day

by John on November 20th, 2014
Benji cuddles

My alarm goes off at 5am.

Yesterday, however, my day started just before 4am.

Benji was outside, barking. Duffy went downstairs to bring him back in — but, after he came in, there was still noise being made, because Pip, our lovely cat, was caterwauling. Duffy came upstairs as the loud meows continued.

“She’s stuck in a tree,” I heard, my eyes still closed as I hadn’t given up, entirely, on the hopes of falling back to sleep.

I stood, put on shoes (exciting Benji, as he believed this was his cue for the start of a walk), put on my jacket (further exciting Benji, who really wanted his walk), walked outside, stood on the railing to our deck (which, had it not been hours before the buttcrack of dawn super early in the morning, or if I held the ability to think, I would not have done), extracted our cat from her frozen/scared state, escorted her to the basement (where dogs cannot visit), and went to lie back down.

Before I knew it, my alarm went off.

So I walked Benji. Then I fed both dogs (Snick, still, will not get out of bed to walk, especially in the cold. It’s funny, though, because Benji comes back from his walk and heads upstairs specifically to wake Snickelfritz up so that they can have breakfast together . . . this, I think, more comes from Benji’s enjoyment of food than for a real comraderie with Snick, however), then I talked myself into working out.

Then I did half of my eye-opener workout:

  • 7 pull-ups1
  • 10 parallel bar dips
  • 5 pistol squats (each leg)
  • 7 pull-ups
  • 5 pistol squats (each leg)

Then my alarm went off again, so it was upstairs to dress my still-asleep children (which, honestly, is just as much of a workout as what I had just completed) and then brush The La’s hair.

With each child in clothing (The La is going through a “girly” phase, so she ALWAYS wears tights and a dress, always . . . the first dress I put on her was, well, one that she had grown out of, so I had to fight the sparkly purple dress (her favorite) off of her, because I’m *that dad* and my daughter will dress modestly while I have still say over things).

Then it was downstairs to start the coffee (a process which makes me look like Captain OCD, but, as I’ve yet to actually have any coffee, a strict routine is the only thing that works:

  • Fill & place four mason jars of tap water in the microwave
  • Turn on microwave
  • Grind beans for Duffy’s latte
  • Pour water into percolator for Duffy’s latte
  • Put ground coffee in percolator for Duffy’s latte, assemble percolator, turn on burner
  • Grind beans
  • Add chia seeds to the top side of the filter in the French press
  • Add ground beans to the French press carafe
  • Add to blender:
    • 2 Tablespoons Ghee
    • 1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil
    • 2 Tablespoons Maca powder
    • 1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Pull tart cherry juice, eggs, and skim milk from the fridge
  • Start milk frothing for Duffy’s latte
  • Add to blender:
    • 1 Tablespoon tart cherry juice
    • 2 eggs
  • Put milk, tart cherry juice, eggs back in fridge
  • Put a Splena in Duffy’s travel mug
  • Pour half of the now-percolated coffee into Duffy’s travel mug for her latte
  • Pour other half of the now-percolated coffee over measuring spoons in the blender so that I don’t waste any of those ingredients
  • Pour hot water from microwave into very large French press, place filter on
  • Add 1 scoop of whey protein isolate powder to the blender
  • Add frothed milk to Duffy’s travel mug, close lid on that latte

As my coffee was still brewing, I helped-to-get and saw my children out of the door before heading downstairs to complete my eye-opener workout (same as before – another 14 pull-ups, 10 dips, 10 pistols on each leg).

Then my phone rang.

Due to a tricky scheduling situation in the afternoon, I had flirted with the idea of working from home. But, now there was an 7:30 meeting that I needed to attend, and would have to serve as presenter . . . I needed to either rush out the door to get to the office in time (praying that there wouldn’t be traffic) or work from home. So I chose to work from home . . . I went upstairs, noticed that I could actually see defined abs (so I took a mostly safe-for-work selfie . . . because, hi, I’m vain, but that’s not news to you), got my computer, grabbing a basket full of dirty laundry on my way down, set up my computer, logged into the VPN, and actually took the time to think through what I would be presenting before blending (I wash any dirty dish I can find as the blender runs . . . because there are enough solids in the mixture that, well, the more time I give things to blend, the less time I spend chewing th concoction) then enjoying the monstrosity that is my morning coffee.

Because Abs!

I presented. It went well.

Immediately after the presentation, I ended up on a conference call (no computer sharing), and I started a load of laundry and folded the laundry in the dryer while participating on a detailed process call.

When I was off the phone, I started playing horror movies for background noise (I had just finished the audiobook of If Chins Could Kill, Bruce Campbell‘s autobiography, so I was quite tempted to watch the Evil Dead movies, and that’s just what I did) as I built & modified Java Server Pages.

The dryer ding went off just before my next conference call, and, again, I spent a call folding laundry, throwing the wet load in the dryer, and putting the now-folded laundry away (except for Duffy’s stuff — I don’t entirely know what goes where, we are best left to leaving each others’ clothes for the other to put away).

Then it was just about lunch time, and I was going to head downstairs for yet another workout (I do the eye opener every day — then on Mondays/Wednesdays/Fridays, I try to do a full-body routine, with Tuesday & Thursdays as days for stretching & yoga), but something Duffy said that morning stuck in my head: “it’s cold out there, but at least the windows weren’t frosted.

Our garage has turned into…a dumping area. Now, my truck doesn’t actually fit in the garage, so having one side of the garage as “large, random storage” isn’t all that bad a thing. But, the “large random storage” had taken up both bays of the two-car garage, and Duffy has been parking in the driveway. For the most part, this isn’t that big a deal — but, well, look at the morning schedule, I don’t have time to scrape windshields (I, myself, have just enough leeway in my schedule to start my car before I dress, and therefore deal with a frozen-over windshield). So, instead of a second workout, I cleared out the one bay of the garage, throwing out a bunch of stuff, moving other stuff around so that it’ll be a real pain to get out & ride a bicycle2.

By now, it was time for yet another conference call. I ate the last of the first back of noodle jars for lunch, and then made the next batch of six jars, then folded & put-away another load of laundry, all while discussing programming best practices.

Shrimp Pad Thai noodle jar

Then it was time to present, once again, so I went back to my computer. And presented details of how we take measurements against Quality Inspection Plan documents.

By now, it was almost 3, and I was still in my pajamas, so I threw on some clothes and went to pick up the kids, taking them to the grocery store before heading back home.

I started Jake and the Neverland Pirates on the TV for The La (CJ, through a series of bad choices the day before, had lost the ability to play video games) while creating a Unix daemon process on a server back at the office before I decided that “the work day was over,” which, coincidentally, coincided with the ending of Jake and the Neverland Pirates.

By now, it was CJ’s turn to pick something to watch on TV, and he wanted the Star Wars where “Anakin turns into Darth Vader,” so I put on Episode III and started dinner as The La painted with her water colors.

Dinner was a simple affair:

  • slather a little olive oil on chicken drumsticks before tossing in some spices
  • toss a little olive oil on a bunch cauliflower florets
  • poke a bunch of fork holes in some washed sweet potatoes
  • cook all that shit at 400 for an hour (turning at 30)

Roasted Chicken, Sweet Potato, and Cauliflower

As dinner baked, Leila & I played some complicated game of house, involving her Littlest Pet Shop figurines.

Then we noticed that CJ had fallen asleep. So The La wanted to watch more Jake & the Neverland Pirates, so I put that on, put away dry dishes, and cleaned the dishes from making lunches.

Getting The La juice, however, I noticed something green in the fridge . . . upon investigation, it was cheese. So I went through everything in the fridge, chucking anything that either had obviously gone bad or was a leftover where I could not remember the original serving. In this cleanup, I ran across some pumpkin that I had, previously, baked and set aside . . . it was still good, but I knew it wouldn’t be good for much longer. So, I started making my plantain pumpkin pies, in cupcake containers:

  • 3 cups roasted pumpkin flesh
  • 3 eggs
  • 6 Tablespoons milk
  • 6 Tablespoons honey
  • 1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

Mix all that shit together, slice three plaintains, line cupcake tin with sliced plantain so that they, kind-of, look like pie crusts, pour in solution, bake at 425 for 15 minutes before reducing heat to 350 and backing for another 30 minutes.

I took my dinner out just as I had the cupcake tins ready to go in, so I enjoyed my dinner while The La ate watermelon and pasta and watched TV and CJ slept.

Then CJ woke, but he was really, really grumpy.

So I tried to get him to eat something, but he was having none of that, so I declared that it was bath time. And a bath we had.

However, the still-grumpy CJ simply was *done* with things after I had washed the children (normally, bath is where he’ll sit and play with his guys3 until the water is cold), so he & I left Leila to play with Littlest Pet Shop creatures while we put on his PJ’s. By now, he was hungry, so we got The La out of the tub, put some pajamas on her, and I went downstairs as short-order cook: watermelon and pasta for CJ, a hot dog for The La as the twosome watched Justin Time on the TV.

In preparing the kids’ dinners (second dinner for The La . . . it’s surprising how much she takes after me), I noticed two severely overripe bananas on the counter . . . these was nearing the “rotten and not even usuable in banana bread” stage. I noted this for later action.

I delivered the kids’ food to them on the bed, because, well, I’m a pushover as a parent, and I let my kids eat while on my bed — there are, simply, bigger fish to fry, in my life.

With the kids eating on the bed, I pulled Benji off the bed, lest we get a situation where a child, too focused on the TV show, doesn’t notice the mutt eating whatever was in his/her hand. Benji took this as me saying “let’s play,” so he went to jump and wrestle.

I moved.

His paw caught the “happy early christmas because there was a really good deal on a Smart TV” present that Duffy & I got for each other.

The TV toppled to the ground.

Sound continued, but the picture? Didn’t.

Cracked TV

Fortunately (because television is a crutch that I absolutely leverage in parenting, and “each kid getting to pick a show to watch before we read books before bedtime” is a routine that works incredibly well), I still had the old, heavy TV & the old Roku around . . . so I set that up. In just a few minutes, all was right in the world again.

We brushed teeth & watched Justin Time.

Benji cuddled.

Benji cuddles

We turned off the TV and read books.

Duffy got home from conferences as I was lying down with the kids.

I went downstairs and made banana bread:

  • 2 overripe bananas
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 Tablespoons coconut flour
  • 2 Tablespoons ghee
  • 4 Tablespoons honey

Mix that shit together, pour into two mini-bread-loaf pans, bake a 350 until done (35-40 minutes in my oven).

I cleaned the dishes from dinner as that baked. After removing the bread, I went back upstairs, watched some TV with my wife (while laughing at the inane items that CJ will find to complain about in order to keep himself awake when he’s had a late nap) and promptly fell asleep.

1 I start every morning with a limited number of pulls, presses, and legs. My goal is to have everything done before too much time elapses, but I really want to get myself doing 20 pull-ups in a single set, so my sessions focus more on pulls than anything else. I start the week at x pull-ups per set (this week, it was 5) and I add one pull-up per set per day until I fail (today, I failed on my 8th, so I did 7 per each set — if I don’t fail, I’ll continue to the number prescribed: 5 on Monday, 6 on Tuesday, 7 on Wednesday, etc…, next week, I’ll start with 6 on Monday).
2 Temperatures have been well below freezing, and this winter is shaping up as an especially brutal event . . . I won’t be riding my bicycle until there are leaves on the trees once again.
3 Star Wars & DC comic figurines
  1. I am not sure which is more exhausting your coffee/latte making routine or your work out.

    • The coffee/latte routine, at least, has coffee at the end, so I’m always looking forward to finishing. The workout . . . well, the only way I get through it is thinking that I’ll get coffee at the end.

  2. I LOVE that your blog has footnotes.

    • Why thank you – it’s one of the things that I feel makes the place a little more “me”.

  3. I’m super exhausted after reading that. Last winter we had some terrible cold days that had me talking scrapers online. My northern friends apparently have these huge things with handles and even a built in glove to keep your hand warm. You ask for a “scraper” here and you’ll get a small plastic thing, about the size of a credit card.

    RIP, TV.

    • My wife is 4’10”, so she has a telescoping windshield scraper. It’s a very necessary thing, even if she does park in the garage, just because if you’re at a store or work & it starts to snow/sleet/ice, well, you gotta do something.

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