The American way of life

Well, it’s cold. No two ways about it. It was -22 when I woke up this morning and it crawled up to -13 by 4pm. Right now it’s -16 and according to Dark Sky it feels like -34. I don’t know what this means since I haven’t set foot outside since Monday morning. Is the world still out there? How would I know? The TV still works. I still get the news, and oxygen.

The whole week has had a holding quality to it: that feeling when you’re a kid waiting for a snow day to be called. That breath you don’t quite let out. I work at home anyway and most of the people I work with work at home a couple of times a week so this has been a regular week, but still. It’s weirdly quiet. I feel packed in. There isn’t much traffic and nobody’s out walking and even the geese are in hiding. I haven’t heard a single dog bark. I’ve kept the heat at 68 to give the furnace a break, which is plenty warm, but it’s a big apartment with drafty windows and my feet are cold with two pairs of socks on. Not a complaint (I’m done complaining!), only an observation. I have it good, I know this. And we’ll all run wild this weekend, no doubt, when it bounces back up to…44 degrees?

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A typical family exchange:

Behind the scenes

I made these NYT chicken enchiladas last night and they were literally (“literally”) one of the worst things I’ve ever eaten. They tasted like paper. Maybe if I ate paper all the time I would have been cool with this, but as it is I do not. Nor am I cool with the three years or whatever I spent cooking and then shredding chicken, likewise not a top hobby. I will admit that I used store-bought tomatillo salsa, so I suppose I could blame it on that, or on the sour cream & onion potato chips I ate while these were baking, which may have artificially inflated my tongue expectations and in retrospect were probably a mistake. But I’ve gotta find some scapegoat, and it’s not going to be my desire for food that tastes like something. I don’t feel like that’s a very high bar to meet, frankly. “Tastes like something” is pretty much my floor.

In summation, I can see why this recipe got over 300 comments although I haven’t read any of them because I’m not that interested in the thoughts of others (news to my millions of readers, I’ll bet), and all I want to do at this point is complain. I don’t want anyone to come around and tell me what I could have done differently or better or how this recipe could have been salvaged. I just want to be petty and small.

Anyway, flavor: try it sometime. But not these enchiladas.

3 things for today

I just deleted a whole snotty post so it’s only one thing: my brother Kyle sent me a mix tape for my birthday and he printed out his own CD cover and everything and then labeled it “Driftless Winter,” which is just about perfect, the effort and the caring that went into a detail like that. Good ol’ Kyle. It’s the second really nice, thoughtful, personal gift I’ve gotten in the mail in the last week and together they made me remember that even the smallest things are vital.

Oh! There is one more thing: go to Twin Anchors & get them ribs, stat.

Hello

A lot of trendy design blogs will tell you coffee tables are unnecessary collectors of garbage but I will tell you that’s what life is.

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