I have been told that, even on my best days, I can be difficult. I was a bombastic sonofabitch in my 20s, taking to throwing phones at people, assaulting filing cabinets and copy machines, and other nonsensical stuff. I mellowed to pushy sonofabitch in my 30s. It’s too early to define my 40s.
Some of it was maturity. I was still growing into myself and not sure of who I was. Some of it was misplaced anger and depression. A lot of that has been worked out with therapy. Patience was one of those things I’ve never handled well. Even these days I can get manic when confronted with a situation that tests my patience. It’s not one of my prettier sides.
The birth of my first child did something to me. For the first time, I couldn’t put someone off. I could put off my wife (I still do. Drives her fucking nuts.). I could put off work or my boss. But, the baby had needs. Immediate ones, at that. Food. Diaper change. Holding. The baby forced me to take this on and without exhibiting distress that she could sense. It forced me to calm down.
This is prelude is all to say that my wife and oldest daughter will be joining me at Al Dente HQ for the near future. Onondaga County has its first confirmed case of Coronavirus and the plan to shutter schools at 4 p.m. Friday was moved up to today.
Working in an office is not easy, but it’s not difficult to shut out the world around you. Slapping on earphones or shutting a door provides you a direct tunnel into your work, closing out the world.
Beginning tomorrow, our house becomes a hybrid of work and education environments. My wife is expected to provide “continuity of education” as a high school teacher. My daughter is expected to maintain her progress. I’m expected to be as productive as I can be. And, my wife and I are expected to conduct some level of facilitation for our daughter’s education.
(We’re shipping the younger one to daycare. She’ll be fine. They sanitize the center continuously, which makes it cleaner than our house. OH YEAH! Hey Al Dente universe, since we last talked, The Wife and I had a second child. More on her later.)
I love my wife endlessly, but she and I don’t always do well in confined spaces for long periods of time. There are plenty of memes out there about the birth and divorce rates climbing as a result of our Coronamerica Coronacations; that’s a little extreme in our case, but I don’t think either one of us are looking forward to being cooped up together.
With nowhere to go.
With the kids.
SO! As promised here at Al Dente, we’re going to revisit some of our favorite recipes that you require you to stand in Soviet-style breadlines each morning at Wegmans in order to procure ingredients. Smartest Man I Know, Brian Moritz, asked the other day to share some chicken recipes. So, here we go…
Crispy Baked Chicken Breasts
Like fried chicken but without all the fuss of hot oil or air frying.
Spaghetti al Limone with Poached Chicken
My photography was really bad, wasn’t it? Pasta may be an issue, since stores are damn near out of it, but you can substitute any shape here.
Orzo should be available, as it’s not a traditional pasta shape. In this dish, you make treat like rice in a risotto. It’s extremely scalable to different sized crowds as well.
Honey Mustard Chicken
Apparently, this is Weight Watchers friendly, from back in the days when I paid attention to such things.