Wednesday, December 07, 2005


There are moments, you know, that are frozen into memory. Some profound, some foolish, and some completely random. I remember my first kiss (and the first time I actually enjoyed one)the first time I met my wife, first beer, first complete and utter humiliation, first heartache... swim meets, car crashes, dinners, mistakes... all mesh into one big memory soup.
Anyway, I'm right in the middle of a swamp of work. I got into the weeds a few days ago, and I've yet to get out. I have so much food sitting around in so many different refrigerators & freezers, I spend every waking moment running through menus in my head... timing things out... if the pork goes in at 2:00 I need to make the napa slaw by 2:15 because I can clean ten pounds of chicken in 11 minutes so the 40 pound case will be done and I can get the breasts in the oven by 3:00, do the fruit till 3:25 and the flatbreads till 3:45, antipasto veggies broiled by 4:15... and on and on... Today I spent 14 hours like that, planning my next moves, revising by a minute or two in one direction or another. The problem is, I can't stop. I left work at 10:00 and thought - ok, gas station by five after, home by 10:15, food unloaded by 10:30, ask Sara about her day by 10:40, email & menus completed by 11:00, blog by 11:30, bed by...wake up at... its maddening.
This morning though, for a brief shining moment, I escaped. Up and in the shower by 6:15, out and dressed by 6:40, kids ready and downstairs by 6:55 - and I turn the espresso machine on so the boiler can heat up to about 203 degrees in the time it takes me to get breakfast and lunches ready... here it comes... almost ready to go, I start my morning meditation. Fresh roasted Black Cat blend Vienna roast beans from Intelligentsia in Chicago go from the hopper to the low speed gear reduction burr grinder, into the heated portafilter, lightly tamped, refilled and tamped with 30 pounds of pressure, portafilter snugged back into the grouphead, heated cup goes under and the vibration pump goes on... and this morning... perfect coffee karma. Godshot. Crema from the start, a little tiger striping in the drip, and it was perfect. For a moment I lost track of time and stared, sipped, admired, and left the house a little late. For the first time in days, I lost track of a few minutes, didn't adjust my schedule, and it was just what I needed. Finally quiet in my head, I'm good to go, refreshed, and ready to begin again... In the kitchen by 8:05, set-up by 8:30 soup by 9:05, oven on, beef cleaned by 9:20....

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