Tuesday, February 16 2021
Today was Mardi Gras, but it was also my 53rd birthday, and, it taking place during a global pandemic, I hadn't planned for much of a celebration. I got up early and began my workday as I always do. Eventually Gretchen got up and made me my birthday cake, which, as has become the tradition, was a savory homemade pizza featuring faux sausage, tempeh crumble, onions, mushrooms, banana peppers, faux ricotta, and faux cheddar (or mozzarella), all on homemade dough (which had swollen so big overnight in the refrigerator that some of it had dripped down onto a lower shelf, like something out of The Night Kitchen). Gretchen knows how proprietary I am about my food, so, just for this one pizza, she declared that nobody but me would be having any of it, though she did put aside dough so Powerful and she could make their own pizzas later. Gretchen delivered the first slice of the pizza to me as I sat in front of my Woodchuck workstation in the laboratory. She'd even put a candle on it.
My pizza before it got cut up.
Gretchen took this picture after handing me a slice.
When I came downstairs to get another slice of pizza, I found a couple presents Powerful had gotten me for my birthday. Again, he bemoaned his fate as someone tasked with the job of finding something for someone who already has everything he could possibly want. But given the circumstances, Powerful had done well. He'd gotten a woodburning kit with an assortment of tips that could also serve as a soldering iron, and it's always nice to have a brand new soldering iron on hand. He'd also gotten me a Vincent Van Gogh-themed coffee cup with an ear-shaped handle and Van Gogh's famous self-portrait, altered to give him back the ear he famously cut off. But when a hot beverage is put in the cup, that ear is replaced by a white bandage.
In addition to the pizza, Gretchen had also made me french press of coffee, which seemed like a great indulgence at first. But later, after I'd eaten a bunch of pizza and was coming down off the caffeine, I felt increasingly dysphoric (and also a bit sleepy). This negatively affected my performance in the remote workplace, particularly when Alex called to ask me what I'd learned from my research of old Delphi code related to the calculation of pro rata.
Today in the mail, I was delighted to receive the monitor arm I'd ordered for my little 15 inch 4K monitor. I immediately installed it on the laboratory's east pillar, and that allowed me to add the little monitor to the right side of my monitor array. My current cables weren't capable yet of piping a full 4K signal to the new monitor, so for the time being it's running at 1080 X 1920 pixels. I give the pixels in thar order because I've arranged the little monitor in portrait mode (though the arm has a degree of freedom allowing me to rotate the monitor into landscape mode if I choose to).
My brother Don called me early this afternoon mostly to wish me a happy birthday. He also told me that our mother Hoagie, who can no longer remember where she set anything down, also had remembered that it's my birthday. I walked out to the mailbox as I was talking to Don, and the weather felt gloriously springlike. It was sunny, temperatures were in the upper 40s, and the snow was impatiently melting. It was the best weather we'd had since well back in January.
Meanwhile Gretchen had driven across the Hudson to Rhinebeck to walk dogs with Cathy and return home with falafel. So I ended up having falafel for lupper, which seemed appropriate on my birthday given that lupper is my favorite meal of the day. Unfortunately, though, it was a lot food coming on top of all that pizza I'd had earlier in the day, and after that, I felt decidedly uncomfortable. It reminded me of the gluttony Gretchen and I have experienced when traveling, when huge delicious meals aren't sufficiently spaced. Originally we'd planned to have a dinner of carry-out pizza, this time from Catskill Mountain Pizza, but after eating that falafel, I was done eating for the day.
Gretchen went to take a bath, and in so doing managed to run out of hot water even though we have the boiler on and there's also an electric hybrid hotwater heater downstream from it (heating in all-electric mode). It turned out that a clip I'd used to force the hotwater heater to work had come loose, so the boiler hadn't been heating the water ar all (and the hybrid hotwater heater is almost useless even when in full-on destroy the earth mode). But with the boiler heating the water, it wouldn't be long before there would be plenty of hot water. While waiting for that, I got my birthday sex. [REDACTED]
This was probably the first birthday since I was a teenager on which I didn't drink any alcohol. Part of my ongoing alcohol fast is to train myself to find ways to celebrate that do not depend on drinking.
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