Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Frustrations Resolved

First day back at the office. After being gone so long, my work area was a mess of papers, so I sorted everything that needed to be done, made a to-do list, and did part of it but not all of it (after all, some of it needs to be done tomorrow.)

I also discovered that one of my roles at work involves listening to Justin vent when he encounters something frustrating. The last couple of days have been more full of frustrations than usual. I don't know if it's simply due to being gone so long and under pressure to catch up, or if it also involves some emotions related to his mother's death, but either way, he has gotten pretty mad a few times in the last two days. Today the biggest issue was the new computer program he's mostly learned to use to draw the cabinets, but he couldn't get it to do something he needed it to do. He explained in detail, passionately, what it was supposed to do, and what it was doing instead, and it was all Greek to me. Something about "layers" not working right and the dimensions not printing even though they showed up on the screen. But I was appropriately empathetic and he went back to messing with it (and figured out how to make it work later on, after I'd left. Wait, maybe I'm the jinx?)

Speaking of frustrating technology, I have started to rely on being able to use the Bluetooth link in my car to a) talk on the phone while driving; b) listen to audiobooks and Pandora. Today I could do neither. When I pushed the Bluetooth button it showed that my iPhone was connected, but at the next screen it said "No Data." I checked to make sure the Bluetooth was on on my phone (it was) and I tried turning the phone off and on again. Nope. I had to drive all 45 minutes listening to commercial radio. First world problems, I know. When I got home from picking up four kids at three schools, I called tech support. Did you know they have tech support for cars now?

To make a long story short(er), the very nice young lady helped me delete my phone's connection, then reconnect it. None of this was in the Technology Reference Manual or the car tech support website, I might add; but she was great. I hope she is making an excellent salary for her ability to help the technologically incompetent, and not sounding condescending even once.

Oh! I was proud of myself tonight for improvising dinner. Usually I have my recipe ingredients, and if anything goes wrong, oh well, we're eating out or it's everyone for themselves. Some things that can go wrong: a) I forgot to buy an important ingredient; b) I forgot to defrost the meat; c) I ruined the food; d) I'm too tired to cook.

d) hardly happens anymore now that I'm not nearly as stressed. c) is rare since I don't experiment as much as I used to and I have better cooking skills. Also, one of the reasons I don't cook when d) happens is that if I'm that tired, I'm probably going to ruin the food anyway. Now, b) can still happen and if the meat can't be quickly defrosted and there's no other quickly defrosted option, then I find it hard to improvise. I know many people have no issues with a); they just substitute something else, or leave that ingredient out. It blows my mind that there are a lot of people, my brother included, who DON'T COOK WITH RECIPES. They don't buy specific items to cook a specific dish. This means that they are always able to put something together from what is available, but the downside is this: they may produce something exceptionally delicious, and because they are not measurers, they will never make the dish the same way again. I have gotten a LITTLE less married to exact recipes and know what substitutions might be likely to work, but even that is usually planned in advance and specifically shopped for.

Well, tonight was headed toward d). I had planned, with it being St. Patrick's Day and all, to make a shepherd's pie, because that seemed vaguely Irish and I don't know how to make corned beef and cabbage. Well, I was going to make a cottage pie, actually, as it was to be made with beef and not lamb, but that's neither here nor there. This evening once the kids I watch after school were picked up, it all just seemed like too much effort to cook the meat and vegetables and mash the potatoes and then have to wait another 30 minutes while it baked. It's possible I was just hungry. Whatever. I didn't want to make the cottage pie although it's delicious. I remembered making meatballs and gravy from a book called, appropriately enough, I Hate to Cook. I had all the ingredients except bread crumbs, so I used buttery cracker crumbs (improvising!), and the meatballs were delicious. We had the mashed potatoes and some green beans on the side and no one was frustrated.


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