Archive for the ‘the capt’n’ Category
Posted January 19, 2009on:
The cat is sprawled across my lap and spilling onto my keyboard. She’s purring like a motorboat, with her left front leg out in front, paw hovering over the escape key. A travel mug of tea is shoved precariously between my knee and a pillow. The Capt’n’s in his chair, perpendicular to mine, with his laptop open to a car website.
It’s just another mundane Monday night, though “mundane” might be playing things down somewhat — there is a cheesecake in the oven, and how often does that happen on a Monday?
Actually, strike mundane. This is no ordinary Monday night. This is the last night of the George W. Bush administration. This is the night before Barack Obama becomes the combo breaker. Sure, we’re sitting in the living room loafing around, but it feels momentous and important, which could explain the cheesecake.
“So then, I like to take a haaaaaaaaaaalv cup of suggggggggah and mix it with a haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaalv cup of achingly sweet golden syyyyyyyyrip shining like Rapunzle’s hair after she had a day at the spa, and then because I like it so much, I do it again.”
“Please stop. I can’t take Nigella in my kitchen.”
“Now, usually when I’m making this southern favorite, I like to add just a little bit of rum, just about two tablespoons, but this pie is going to a party where some of the guests don’t drink, so I’ll substitute an exquisite –”
“No. Seriously. Not the vanilla.”
“Ex-quisite Mexican vanilla.”
“Oh, for the love of God.”
“Mmmmm, the aroma of this vanilla speaks of the mysteries of Central America, where they’re not afraid of spices and all the women are beautiful.”
“And where the men all speak the one language we need to know, and that’s the international language of amore.“
I finished the first of the gloves last night, and I am not at all ashamed to proclaim my love for it, even if I did a slipshod job on creating the thumb. The second one is just past the wrist cables, so I have about a lunch hour and an evening’s worth of Netflixing before they’re through. Mmm. Gratification.
In other news, we thought the house was about to burn down this morning. We were both in the kitchen, going about the breakfast routine, when the Capt’n stuck his nose into the air and asked if I smelled . . . that.
And boy, howdy, did I. Smoke. Lots of it. Coming from the general direction of our furnace closet. But only the smell of smoke. Throwing open the door revealed nothing but a happy, not-currently-destroying-everything-we-own furnace and no smoke. Definitely no fire. So we ran around some more, sniffing the air in hopes of identifying the source. I remembered that I had a bagel in the toaster and went to sniff that, but nope. The Capt’n stuck his schnoz in front of the new furnace thermostat (a wiring project he undertook two weekends ago) and inhaled, but again, nothing.
And the smell was dissipating.
As best we can figure, one of our new neighbors stepped into the space between the houses to have an early morning cigarette (or six) and the smell drifted. At least, that’s what we’re telling each other. It’s 90 minutes later, and the house is still here, sans smoky flavoring.
Still, we turned the furnace off and started talking in the general sense of What to Save. I ran through the checklist. Ferrets and kitty into the car first. Laptops. Cameras. If there’s time, upstairs to grab the boxes of camera lenses, maybe an Uglydoll or two. I offered up the suggestion of grabbing my yarn stash basket — hey, it’s nearish the door and represents a good chunk of my earnings since the beginning of this summer — which is when the Capt’n made a whimpering noise and asked me to instead save some of his project toys.
And then he kind of laughed and said, “Well, if the house does burn down, it’ll give you a whole new spin — starting the domestic life from scratch!”
He ruffled my hair and said it was probably just cigarette smoke (again) and left for work, but I did notice that he took his camera with him.
Just in case.
So, somewhere between the really good coffee, the delicious homemade bagels and the Stephen Colbert column, the Capt’n turned to me and said, “Wow. After the dog-and-pony show for the bread, cupcakes are going to seem like a snap, aren’t they?”
I think I rolled my eyes at him and mumbled something about “done baking for the weekend.”
And then the coffee kicked in.
(Sidebar: “…and then the coffee kicked in” is totally going to be the title of my autobiography and/or memoir.)
I ended up making devil’s food cuppycakes with cream cheese frosting, both from the yellow book. I don’t know, maybe I’m a sucker, but I was feeling bad for the yellow book by the end of the weekend. It just sat there on the shelf while the new, sexier bread book got to be out on the counter, all showy and used and covered in flour.
Poor yellow book.
So cuppy cakes. They turned out kind of ugly. Fortunately, we’re silly with the Ugly Dolls.
The cakes themselves were nice and moist, though not as sweet as the Capt’n likes them. “Call me savage, call me an ugly American,” he says (on a daily basis). “But I like a sweet cupcake.”
Actually, they got sweeter as they cooled. Really, I think the Capt’n needs to stop going “nomnomnomHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOTcanttasteanythingszors!” the minute a treat comes out of the oven.
Yeah. It’s all fun and games until somebody drops one.
More bread in honor of the Capt’n's going and getting himself born.
I eschewed the yellow book this go around in favor of “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice.” Pop loaned his copy to me after my modest success with the Irish Soda bread of last week, and I decided, after spending most of the week reading it like a novel, to try the french bread recipe.
(Along about Wednesday, the Capt’n may or may not have looked over at me and may or may not have said, “y’know, real people don’t actually talk about character arcs for cookbooks,” and I may or may not have told him to shove it.)
French bread — maybe not the most inspired, hipster-specific, aspirationally artisan bread recipe on the planet, but I have very fond memories of spending a rainy summer afternoon making a loaf of french bread with my mother, and part of the D’oh!mestic mission is to honor traditions handed down from mother to daughter.
Or to at least justify being a third wave feminist who enjoys spending time participating in traditional gender role-based hobbies.
I like baking, damnit.
Grimlock enjoys baking, too.
It took most of the day to make one loaf of bread. (“Which would go for less than three bucks at the store,” the Capt’n pointed out. “Which seems kind of off.”) Really, it was more patience than anything. Knead for ten minutes, wait two hours. Roll and braid, wait two hours. Bake and nearly burn down the house? Wait an hour.
No, I did not burn down the house.
Though there was a very important lesson to be learned: the book suggested parchment paper. Paper burns at 451°F (thanks, Ray!). The oven is preheated to 500°F, and then lowered to 450°F. And my oven sometimes runs a little warm.
The smoke detector’s very finicky.
It was worth it, though, in the end.
The Capt’n, like so many fearless leaders before him, has been struck by that most medieval of aliments — gout.
Or “teh gout” as we call it around these parts. Because adding “teh” just underscores how ridiculous that particular diagnosis is in the early 21st century. I mean, honestly, with a disease like teh gout, we should just pack up and move to the Tudor court. Turkey leg, anyone?
Anyway, Dr. Google informs us that a diet rich in dark red or blue-skinned berries will help ease symptoms, which means I had the perfect excuse to try out the yellow book’s brand of blueberry muffins.
The Capt’n likes to inform me that, because he’s an American-American, he enjoys a sweet muffin. Call him crazy, call him uncultured, but he is not all about a savory breakfast bread. Maybe he’s belying his cultural ignorance, but the line has to be drawn somewhere, and he’s drawing it in the vicinity of sweet cakes.
So I knocked the sugar content up by a quarter cup.
I did not make the adjustment for the high altitude — we’re talkin 5,500 feet above sea level, people! Denver, a measly 5,280 feet can suck it — and I used the Gigato-jumbo muffin tin someone gave me when I got married, which produced six slightly deflated muffins.
Next time? Smaller cups, a little baking powder for loft, and maybe two full eggs instead of one egg and one yolk.
Not that the Capt’n minded, mind you. Thirty seconds after I extracted the first muffin from the tin, half of it was stuffed in his mouth, and he proceeded to run around the kitchen, making a “mwaaaaaaat” noise, which signifies approval and also, hot.
I wish I’d had the camera ready for that.
This afternoon, after more than a week, the Capt’n fired up the new engine in his car and then proceeded to drive it around the neighborhood without having to ring me for help (or at least a tow) once.
I thought I’d bake to celebrate. Why not? The boy needed brownies, and the Yellow Book suggested Katherine Hepburn’s recipe. “oh, this is a dream,” the yellow book soothed. “It’s Katherine Hepburn. C’mon. ‘Philadelphia Story?’ You fucking love ‘Philadelphia Story.’ “
The yellow book swears like a sailor.
So I made Katherine Hepburn’s fan-fuckin’-tabulous brownies, and you know what? She’s been dead for four years, we can stop kissing her culinary ass. Those brownies were gawdawful. Seriously. The batch I made could have doubled as fragrant poker chips and they had about the same taste as poker chips. Actually, strike that. Molded plastic tastes better.
I am terribly disappointed, if you couldn’t tell. This is the first time the yellow book has steered me wrong, and I can’t believe it’d fuck up something so badly as brownies. Who fucks up brownies? I mean, honestly. Kate Hepburn might have been a master of screwball comedy, but her brownies screwed over my evening.
This is how rockin’, married hipsters spend their weeknights. Or how THIS rockin’ married hipster spends her weeknights: knitting and Star Trek.
The Capt’n long lamented my disinterest in the different franchises — I didn’t moon over the original series, I hadn’t seen any of the movies, I self-identified as a Star Wars girl — but we have to remember that when the Capt’n was merely a cadet, he won Nickelodeon Super Slinky Star Trek Saturday trivia contest and was somewhat biased. I was redeemed only when I was able to identify Next Generation episodes within 30 seconds of tuning in, a skill developed in college.
For years, I basked in my Star Trek ignorance. It was one of those comedic barbs. Star Trek IV? Wasn’t that the one with the whales?
However, during this past winter — where it actually snowed, how do you midwesterners stand it? — Spike started rerunning Star Trek Voyager, the Capt’n started Tivoing it, and somehow I got sucked into the Star Trek vortex.
And then, when I started knitting in the round, there was the inevitable comparison of the shape of the sock with the shape of the letter which gives that quadrant its particular designation and now I can’t think of it any other way.
We’re going through the second cycle of episodes, first so I could catch up with the ones I hadn’t paid attention to the first time around, and then to just see the fucking crew get home. Again. Because, y’know, this time they might not make it.
In seven seasons, I have completed a cardigan, a baby’s afghan, five socks and half a scarf. Not bad for a lesser series.
We’re pulling into the station with the last batch of episodes before (OHEMGEESPOILERS!) Admiral Janeway blows the Borg out of the galaxy, and then we’ll go back to a more mainstream passive entertainment schedule with “Heroes” and “How I Met Your Mother” and maaaaaaaaaaaaaaybe “Grey’s Anatomy” if I can stomach it. I’ll still knit. It’ll just be slightly less nerdy.
And that’s kind of sad.
The Company has crappy coffee. I don’t think stating that The Company has crappy coffee impugns The Company’s honor in any way, given how generous it is with its employees (Hello, raise!), it’s just a fact. The coffee? Isn’t something to swan over. Hell, I’d speculate that unless you work for a small, independent coffee company or live in the vicinity of Kailua-Kona, your office has crappy coffee, too.
For a while, the crappy coffee situation didn’t bother me. The Company is situated within walking distance of Starbucks, and while I’m not in the OHEMGEEZORStarbucks! crowd, I like the baristas, and they’ll give me a grande in a venti without hassle. Except, I hadn’t counted on the busy season, a time — once every quarter — where all of our clients go a little bit nuts, and I don’t get up from my desk for 12 hours.
So after missing my afternoon jolt one too many times, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I dusted off the French press someone had given us for Christmas, and — after doing some research on the intarwebs — bought a pound of course-ground coffee from Satellite Coffee and became my own barista.
I don’t have to tell you that I fell in love with the French press experience.
The Capt’n praised me for being proactive in the name of caffeine, and started making wistful comments about hanging around the office at coffee time, just so he could experience this French press bliss-in-a-cup. So, after much consideration, I brought home the press and the coffee, just so he could try it.
I didn’t realize it would turn into a battle royale, a fight between the ever loyal Ol’ Brewski — an unassuming Black-n-Decker 12 cup jobbie that has held on since the last Clinton administration — and the upstart from Gay Pareeeee, French Prezzors!
(I have a thing about throwdowns, if you couldn’t tell.)
The first cup was from the press. I presented it to the Capt’n, who took a mighty wiff and said, “This smells like the kind of coffee they give you in Europe.” He took a sip, and then his eye exploded.
Okay, his eye didn’t explode so much as it popped open with alarming speed and kept twitching for the next twenty minutes. Every so often, he’d come out with some nugget of half-praise, “Boy! That’ll put hair on your chest” or “This coffee takes cowboy coffee and makes it its bitch” or “My coffee is formulating plans to invade Russia in winter.”
I think what he was saying was that it was strong.
And then the Capt’n begged, pleaded for me to make normal coffee in Ol’ Brewski. “Because it’s Ol’ Brewski,” he said. “And also, I think I’m going to die from caffeine overload. I need to flush my system.”
The Capt’n claims the second cup of coffee was better, but that was before I caught him sneaking in some of the dregs from the press.
I don’t think we have call for a second, home-based press, but I do think I’ll bring home the office press every so often — like when I have a deadline to meet, or when my dad will be at the house, or on the odd occasion I want to remind the Capt’n what strong coffee with a lust for conqust is like.
Until then, I will continue to rely on Ol’ Brewski for all my home-based caffeine needs.