Monday, September 12, 2016

Puerile and Productive

How shall I amuse you today? Would you like to hear how I mistook some firemen for strippers? My office doesn't have its own receptionist and my cube is closest to the door.  At the tail end of Friday afternoon there was a knock on the door and two firemen in full regalia came bursting through and said, "Someone reported something burning?" Well. It was manifestly clear that nothing was burning. And doesn't the fire-in-office scenario start with general panic and someone pulling the fire alarm and THEN the firemen show up? (I'm thinking of the two fire scenes in The Office.) So I assumed they were strippers.

It was a beloved colleague's the last day of work, and it was somewhat (ok, just barely) plausible that someone ordered strippers as a final sendoff. And I was giddy because it was fifteen minutes before I could escape for the weekend. I didn't say anything inappropriate. (And certainly there are a lot of responses that come to mind if a stripper shows up at the door and wants to know where the fire is.) However, my manner may have seemed a tad flippant. A small crowd had gathered by this time. "The fire alarm's not going off," I said, slightly challenging, waiting for the boom box to appear. "That's because NOONE PULLED THE ALARM" one of the firemen shouted. I thought: These strippers don't have much of a sense of humor. I thought: These strippers have very realistic costumes.

So I shut my mouth and did the only thing I could think of that might be helpful: I emailed the entire department with Who Called the Fire Department in the subject line and text about did someone smell something burning. And I got flippant responses: "It's just the Thai food we ate for lunch" etc. So at least I wasn't the only one who mistook the whole thing for a joke. And then it developed that one person did smell something burning and did call the fire department and then other people started to notice a burning smell but that turned out to be the firemen themselves who had come straight from another fire. The original source of the burning smell was never discovered.

To make up for being an idiot on Friday, I worked very hard all weekend. I bought twenty-five pounds of canning tomatoes at the farmer's market and had them all peeled by late afternoon. I took a break from the tomatoes to make homemade pizza for dinner, and then turned some of the tomatoes into salsa, using this delicious recipe. It was after 10:00 pm by the time I finished processing the salsa. I left one jar unprocessed to eat right away and it is really yummy. Sunday, I asked Ian to do a blind taste test of my salsa compared with a high-end commercial salsa and he said mine was better and had a more interesting flavor.

SO tired after peeling all those tomatoes
Total yield from 25 pounds of tomatoes.
They were very juicy, so lost considerable volume once they were drained.

Sunday morning I was up at 5:00 am and this is what I accomplished by 11:00 (before breakfast or coffee):

  • Cooked down and pureed the tomatoes that hadn't gone into the salsa. (Yield - 3 pints for the freezer.)
  • Made piri piri marinade for the chicken I was planning to cook for Sunday dinner and started the chicken marinating.
  • Cooked up a pint of chicken stock from the giblets and wings.
  • Washed all the dishes from the canning projects
  • Read twenty pages of Anthony Trollope's Can You Forgive Her?
  • Washed the kitchen floor
  • Washed the floor around the toilet in the upstairs bathroom
  • Blocked a piece of knitting
  • Did a twenty-five minute HIIT workout
  • Walked and fed the dogs - cut up the cooked chicken giblets as a garnish for them
  • Picked up all the dog poop in the back yard
  • Pulled up a small patch of poison ivy in the yard and other light weeding.
  • Talked to my dad on the phone
  • Swept the front patio
Then I collapsed and drank coffee for a while. In the afternoon I baked this plum tart with marzipan crumble. (Recipe)

This is absolutely shameless bragging; I'll be the first to admit it. I've had a lot of energy lately. A few years ago, I spent a lot of weekends napping and staring at the computer.


  1. I have SpongeBob stuck in my head saying, "There's a fire... in my pants!" I have weekends where I'm productive and ones where I just read and drink tea. Moderation in no things, as someone never said. This weekend was a lazy one except for baking a few items. A word to the wise: the King Arthur challah recipe baking time results in a burned bottom that even the strippers can't save.

  2. The whole thing seems like something out of The Office - especially the part about the burning smell coming from the firemen themselves. Too funny.

    I had a super productive weekend as well. I did some monster batches of pickled eggplant (27 jars) and watermelon rind pickles (27 jars) as well as two rounds of pepper jelly (27 jars there too and no, I wasn't trying for 27 jars of each) and am officially done with making all the pickles I received orders for. I only have tomatoes left to do for the season. Maybe this weekend?

    1. Holy cow! That's eighty-one jars! You win the prize for most productive canning weekend ever.

  3. You were so productive Sunday, wow! Plum tart looks delicious. And I see you are reading my favorite author, Anthony Trollope. I have read 14 of his wonderful novels since discovering him.

  4. Damn woman. That's a HOARD of tomatoes. You were busy. And then all the other stuff you got done. I love those little insightful lists. Cleaning the floor around the toilet. Reading 20 pages. Love those lists.
    And the fireman story is HILARIOUS. I can see making that mistake. Totally legit. But glad you didn't put your foot smack in your mouth.