Fire Hydrant

by Berck

I just read Julie & Julia. I enjoyed it, though it’d be hard to say if I did so because it has any particular merit, or because I understand. For some reason, us humans like things we can relate to, and I can relate to an attempt to cook every recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Back when we lived in Oklahoma, I considered trying to cook everything in Marcela Harzan’s The Classic Italian Cookbook. I know the feeling of frustration Julie describes. As I tried to simply flip gnocchi off the back of a fork or stuff hand-rolled ravioli in my tiny kitchen, I could envision Marcella sitting at my table with her head buried in her hands. I gave up for a couple reasons. The biggest obstacle to many of the dishes is that I simply could not locate the ingredients. Even something as simple as swiss chard was simply not to be found in Norman, Oklahoma. Julie is lucky that she lived in New York, as I’m sure it’s one of the only places in the world she could have actually completed the project.

Just try to find a real butcher in most places across America, today. It can’t be done. Grocery stores are mostly supplied with pre-cut meat these days, or at least heavily prepared. A store might get a whole loin, so you can ask them to cut steaks however you want, but you’ll be pretty much out of luck if you want something as simple as a bone-in chuck roast.

Places like Whole Foods are good and bad. Good if you want to find something like semolina flour or San Marzano tomatoes. But the whole over-priced organic food bullshit isn’t helping anything. The cheese selection at the local whole foods in the Springs has been going downhill steadily. It used to be they had hundreds of kinds of cheese, but now they’re down to a few dozens. Instead it seems to be much more important that they cater to the organic granola crowd than those of us interested in a exotic, exciting food.

Anyway, there was also just the aspect that I didn’t want to eat things like liver and octopus, even if I could have found them in Oklahoma.

I feel a bit late to the crowd reading it now, now that there’s a movie out. I haven’t seen the movie as I’m a bit confused as to how one turns a blog into a movie and makes it at all interesting. Additionally, my copy of the book has Meryl Streep on the cover, and Jonah said that I’d look incredibly gay reading it. So now she’s got me all self-conscious about it.

So I’ve been back to work, post-vacation. While I like doing my job, there’s the ever-hanging cloud of the furlough hanging over my head, which makes it a whole lot less fun. I’d been concentrating on the vacation in order to distract me from my impending unemployment, but now that’s over. Additionally, my trips this month have been pretty awful. There’s endless 5am report times and 7-leg days. I don’t think that 7 leg days are safe. It’s simply too much work even when things go right, which they never do. How safe do you feel knowing that your pilot is making less than $20,000/year, just worked 7 legs/day spread out over 14 hours the last several days and has already worked 6 legs before getting to yours? Does that make you feel safe? No? But are you willing to pay more for your airline tickets?

At this point, I’m not sure what I want to do. I don’t know if I really want to move to Alaska, if it’s even an option. I’m not sure why, maybe at 28 I’m just getting old? At this point, I want a house with a garage and to pay off my debt. And to get paid to fly airplanes in some capacity, with some actual time off. I don’t mind being gone from home a lot, in fact, I like it. But I need more than 10 days off/month.

Jonah mentioned this ad to me the other night:

PERFECT FOR WOODWORKER
OR AUTO MECHANIC 1BD/1BA house w/ 4 car heated garage w/ 220 elect. 2 add’l covered storage spaces, fenced yard, pets OK. $675 + util

So tempting. I could tinker on my cars in peace. And build an airplane.

All this reading about cooking puts me in a cooky mood, but I have no idea what to cook. I hate deciding (another reason that simply going through a cookbook appealed to me). And the vidallia-onion induced plague of flies in the kitchen is a bit off-putting.

When I got home last night, there were no less than 10 giant trucks in the vicinity of my apartment, many caterpillar-tracked devices and a giant hole in front of my apartment. I didn’t think I could get anywhere near the apartment, so I parked in the day care lot. Jonah came out to tell me that I could, in fact, get through the maze to the driveway that there was a path.

The giant hole is mostly around the shaft that used to sport a fire hydrant on top of it, but which for the past several months has been capped off ever since a car crashed into the hydrant and our mailbox. I’m not sure if the project entirely a result of the missing water hydrant, but the scope of the work seems to make me think that it’s not. The hole is about 15 feet deep and wide. There are large portions of the road missing, now. Our mailbox is sitting precariously at the edge of the hole. While we had water when we went to bed, I suggested to Jonah that we probably wouldn’t for long.

They worked all night, waking me up several times. I was so tired I thought perhaps I would sleep through it, but the noise was, at times, tremendous. I kept thinking it was morning, then realizing that the light shining through the blinds was from the project, not the sun. Jonah informed me that our water was, indeed, turned off some time while we slept. The water finally returned around Noon. I would have been seriously annoyed if I’d had to get up and go to work and not shower. The work continues, though it’s entirely unclear what’s actually going on.

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