Countdown to Crazy-Town: Screwpocalypse Hits the Road as Looby Ladies Quest for Banana Bonanzas

Previously on A&A's Adventures in Cohabitation: The eschatons clashed with fangs and claws unfurled. Kitchen met Screw and the fallout required several pounds of soap and detergent to erase. Scars still cling as rematches loomed. Poppin' pills pullulated and paused. Things got more complicated as the regimen reached soy staples and caffeine quandries. Our heroine turned to hemp in a desperate move, but regained her heart in the land of legumes and minor pacts with the demon Seitan. 

Coming up: The weld goes on, as Screwpocalypse and Kitchenpocalypse reunite for a second round. Twice the blood shed. Twice the weld nuts and pea mush. Will either of our (W)rights survive the ructions all around? Mountains roared as travel plans recoil from frayed frenzies. Will Prague beckon still despite the anomie? Or will Russian forces invade Iceland and bomb the mad volcanoes and if they do is that still covered by travel insurance?? Looby lady gets the call and hits the road for one more test to end all tests (for three weeks to a month). Will the poking and prodding reveal wiring dysfunctions? A baby sphynx cat? Will she ever remember to take the x-ray "R" off of her belly? Will she survive the hell of weekday 405 traffic? And to boulder or not to boulder? The answers get murky before getting nuts. Will Andrew endure Screwpocalypse: The Tour? And will he make it to his honeymoon flight in time if he does? 

Pull on your Carharts, get out those aprons and remember to read the end-notes for answers to these ponderous ponderings and more...  

Out of the Mushy Slow Cooker and into the Fryday Pan! Me me me Mediation Madness!

Ok, I've got a good feeling about my mediation couple today. I think they can go the distance. I think maybe this will be the couple that doesn't actually reconcile within ten minutes of talking to me. Maybe. I can't say for sure. At any rate, I'm inevitably a little nervous. The absence of rapid-rabid reconciliation may require me to actually utilize my latent facilitative mojo. Not that I don't redeploy all my little ADR tools every day. I do. I subtly and/or none-too-subtly keep people on track and interests-based-negotiate the crap out of meetings, family meals, every conversation ever had etc. But the occasions requiring official mediation skillz are just infrequent enough ("not every day" is my admittedly low threshold) that I get amped up and nervous beforehand. 

Especially when I know that it's going to railroad my morning breakfast time. Pshaw. I may starve to death getting this couple satisfactorily separated. 

Yesterday I feinted "being at the office" by dropping in every few hours, eating, adding an item or two to the case status sheet, and then leaving again. Now that's my kinda work day!

Despite the cumulative couple of hours of actual "work", it was a fairly exhausting day. I began by meeting with my mediator musketeer comrades in armistices. We talked shop, practiced our facilitative skills on our own occasionally muddled conversation, and hopefully opened up some options for SYNERGIZING (yes, I just wanted to use that word today) our complementary skill sets yadda yadda yadda. Being the lawyer, I mostly tagged along to cast doom and gloom aspersions of practicalities and liabilities, of course. It's my nature. I can't help it. But I did it with a smile at least. 

After an eating and typing break back at the office, I attended our belated Whatcom Collaborative Law board meeting. I was on it today, with a pre-typed summary of our year so far and all the issues ever raised by anyone that hadn't been fully developed in 2014. I highlighted the things earmarked for our upcoming meeting. We developed a game plan for the rest of the meeting, and more or less scheduled out the rest of the year. Shocking! I think everyone was dazed and tired from the long summer break so they allowed me to railroad them (subtly, I am told by a fellow board member... I'm subtle haha) with my organizational elan. 

Yet another meal and typing break at the office later, I was back off to the DRC. I get the sense that they're still not sure what to do with me in Vanessa's absence. Not that I haven't been doing some helpful and fun projects. But I think the Oh crap Adella's coming in, quick think of something for her to do!! panic is getting to my case managers. Next Thursday, Cynthia and Luke plan to sit down with me and have me give input on what they can do with me. Help me help you help me, or something like that. Lord knows! But I'm sure I'll think of some ideas. I can eat all of their chocolates for them, for instance... I'm willing to make that sacrifice. 

And then I came back for yet another brief spell before eventually returning  home to the black eyed pea mush that had frothed itself up in the slow cooker. Apparently I was out longer than expected. After briefly browsing for "over-cooked black eyed peas recipes" (yes, you can get google hits with that search string) and almost attempting to make quinoa fritters (with amaranth because I'm out of quinoa), I decided (1) weird as it sounds, mushy black eyed peas, onions, sunflower seeds, and cottage cheese is really quite tasty, (2) after laying the recycling on the curb and chipping off some more teff from the harder-to-reach plates of my rice cooker, I had no more energy to do anything ambitious besides reheating the dinner I made on Tuesday before making a faster dinner when Andrew got home before the first dinner was ready.

Andrew - despite and/or because of his Screwpocalypse Redux at work - actually got home slightly earlier than he usually does on Thursdays. Apparently his pre-conceived schedule towards shipping the massive object they've created on Monday has been a bit shaken up by flaws and mishaps. He expected to put the machine back together yesterday after taking it apart for weld-repairs. That wasn't ready to be done until 4:45 p.m. yesterday, so that's on the agenda for this morning instead. He was already going into work on Saturday and the damned thing's going out on Monday, so I don't see that it will impact him much overall. Except maybe tonight will be longer and/or whoever comes in on Sunday (instead of him, he has cycling commitments) will have a worse time of it. 

Anyways, nice to see him and we were appropriately twitchy and apprehensive about our pending work days for most of the evening. Yet, I slept surprisingly without issue. Lord knows! All I know is that if I wait it out until noon and get to eat, I'm pretty set for friggin' FRIDAY weekend wackiness to ensue. Probably back in the kitchen, because there is some seriously wilting produce needing quick use here. Parsley pesto anyone? 

Wishing you a happy Friday. We are almost ready for a fully FALL weekend and I hope all your falls lands you on soft cushioney pillows and snuggly moments. 

Work-weekends and Kitchen Crazies The (W)rights bide their time to vacation 

Ok, I'm starting a count-down. Eight days until we're outta here! One way or another. I mentioned to my dad that we had travel insurance so I figured this ensured no crazy snags would come our way. I'd been thinking of missed connections, the ongoing work explosion, or maybe Bardabardabingbong actually living up to all the hype and trying for a come-back Ash Tour of usable airspace. My dad started talking about terrorism and missing planes from Indonesian airports. Thank goodness I have somebody even more pessimistic than me to think of all the possible things that could interrupt our vacay. Don't forget car crash! Plane explosion! Acid Rain! Russia invading Prague because... well it's all kind of the same, that Eastern Europe thing, right? 

Anyways, like I say, we have travel insurance, so it should all go smoothly. And if we're really lucky, we'll make it to Prague, then have the volcano go nuts and even get an extra day's free vacation out of it. Honestly, I don't even know if our flight path would be affected given all the hype about improved modeling and relaxed standards. We'll see. 

This vacation (however it occurs) is coming none too soon. First, I am actually having to get back to work after a weird summer of distractions and diversions and general madness. This cannot stand! Second, Andrew's Screwpocalypse is erupting more than anything. He's into TRIPLE EEBOP territory as of today.

 EEBOP is not just a catchy sounding riff on Hansen's 1990's little nugget of boy band americana. Oh no. It has something to do with how salaried employees can get "bonus pay" for working certain "overtime" hours during a two week pay period. It's very strange. Unlike most American firms, EI seems to expect that salaried employees will work around 40 hours a week. More is great, but they aren't penalized for not doing more. Nor are they particularly encouraged to plug in pointless unpaid hours.

 In fact, there is a tiered reward system that incentivizes gaming the hours. If you work 83 hours in a pay period, you are not rewarded. If you work 85, no reward. But if you are pre-approved AND work up to - and I forget the exact numbers so I'm making them up - 87, then you get a bonus that equals all those hours at time and a half of your regular estimated rate. Something like that. Then again, there's a reward at some point in the nineties. And on last bonus reward at 100. If you work more than that, you're pretty much a sucker. 

Andrew has calculated out that - between the late nights of recent and the various imbroglios on both weekends of late - he is 3.3 hours away from Triple EEBOP. Also, the machine is getting closer to ready, but with the inevitable "if only somebody had thought of this at the beginning" crap to do with testing and fixing and retesting and re-fixing and on and on and on. He's basically taking a gigantic machine apart and reassembling it several times with various breaks for weld inspectors, ultrasound technicians, and local people to subject the machine to a battery of diagnostics that reveal the machine needs disassembly yet again so somebody else can fix something, reassemble, retest, and on and on recursively into the horizon. 

It's been ... fun... I'm sure. I haven't really participated much, but he seems fairly stressed out about the matter (oddly enough, given that they're supposed to ship it out on Monday) and things are only occasionally going smoothly. 

Today, he had to forgo a planned excursion to Tiger Mountain for a rematch with the fabled phantasms of yore. He's still volunteering at a cyclocross race out that way, but stopping off at work for the next round of AAAAAAHHH. In sum, instead of trying to kill himself on a mountain, he'll be trying to kill himself under enormous machine parts. He's already got the facial abrasions to prove this is no walk in the industrial park. 

Resuming the mantle of domestic variety housewife, I've stayed behind the last two days. Yesterday I made "sweet potato falafels" which is a fancy way of saying "sweet potato balls with garbanzo flour, cilantro, and cumin" and went on a town-wide Odyssey about the various grocery stores in town. Andrew left early enough that I decided to start at Winco, which is one of those places I only venture if I can go early. I usually default to Freddy's, which is nearer to our house. 

I'm relieved to see that I'm not missing out on any absurdly major price breaks by foregoing more regular pilgrimages. Winco is a lot cheaper on a few random things, but on par or even sometimes more expensive on others. They do, however, have a vast bulk section at fantastic prices. Since I'm going the soy-less (not full cold turkey, but a serving or two every few days) route, I've been cooking up beans in the slow cooker, then portioning them into single serving ziplocs and freezing for easy access. Very convenient for lunches. And Winco has every kind of bean imaginable. Not totally true. No Adzuki. I don't think anyone sells them here, randomly. But still, a wide variety of novel beans and grains that can't be found at Freddy's (despite the catchy "you'll find it at Freddy's" promise that apparently carries an implicit asterisk by "it" and later explains that "it" = "things sold at Freddy's and only after you ask a sherpa/salesperson where something is, because the new organizational system at Freddy's remains a total enigma").

Today, I'm experimenting (dun dun dun...) with homemade protein bars. I'm a little concerned about the current choice, since the recipe didn't call for water while  I decided water was necessary. Then I decided that the 9x13 baking pan lined with parchment paper was too big after loading it up. So I carefully moved the paper and its sticky viscous contents into a loaf pan. That caused all kind of weird parchment paper crumpling, so I scissor-trimmed the paper, spatulaed the sides and hoped for the best. Jury is still out. I also - poor me - have a massage. Tough day for me, I know. 

But yes, I'm still a bit tired, just about saturated with work talk, and - though we've definitely crammed in our quality time in the mornings and evenings just great - missing my husband a bit. So PRAGUE here we come!!! In Eight days. 

After another week of pretty hectic work. And maybe some more medical test and/or pills sorting nonsense. 


Kitchen Clangors and Champagne Shivarees for the Single Bridge Lady

Today is a momentous day at EI(EEEEIIIOOO) for the boyz in the satellite hood: It's SHIP DAY! In theory. Of course, since a magic-box weld inspection did not occur as planned on Saturday, it has now been scheduled for this morning. Which could, in fact, be a bit of a sticking point. They spent all yesterday putting the machine back together and making it look nice after the last round of weld inspections found failures. So, should there in fact be any failures deep in the guts of this behemoth, there would likely be some serious undoing which would then necessitate further testing etc. 

But, assuming all goes well, a truck will be on its way with the gigantor machine that has eaten up the first year and a half of Andrew's gainful employment. Yeah, Andrew will meet it on the other side probably. He doesn't know the details, but probably Thursday and Friday.

 I'm sure all will go well. I'm just sure. Because if it doesn't, I'll be rapping on the doors of some of the fates and demanding compensation for two lost weekends and several placid week nights. I don't even want to parse into "lost energy required from Husband Unit A to get an interested look on his face when I talk about my day and/or to actually ask about it into the first place," but I do have receipts and I will expect compensation if things don't go well today. 

Ok, I will have to balance off the nice little moments. Admittedly there have been those. Yesterday we were happy to just lie on the bed in our air conditioned room and stare at the ceiling fan together. And we had champagne with our nocturnal showing of The Wire. Oh and just to go crazy, we even went out to eat on Saturday night. At a mexican restaurant. Oh la la ole!

And dear fates, don't give me any sass about EEBOP (BOP BOP MMMBOP), because I don't get a dime of that except in that abstract way in which it is community earnings that we no doubt will spend on community bike gear. I have a separate right of action beyond et ux.  But as always, these little flares remind me how lucky we are. Andrew hit 101.5 hours in his time period, or just 50 hours a week. Which is what some people work every week. Often without having to go in on the weekends. That's twisted, man, is all I can say. 

While the bike-and-chain earned our community sleep debt, I tried to rebalance with some community domesticity. I was actually fairly frenzied all day for both days, but with a few lovely breaks in between. As Mr. (W)right's free-fall down the rabbit hole of Screwpocalypse Redux plays out, I charged into the kitchen with immersion blender blaring and a few half-baked ideas of what maybe I might kinda wanna do with these random ingredients in my possession. 

I've been wanting to figure out homemade bars/protein bars for a long time. Bars are super convenient, especially when I don't have constant and easy access to a grazing kitchen. I typically eat at least some kind of bar every day. But I admit that this ruffles my inner cheapskate, as well as being a compromise in terms of overall dietary preferences. So we'll call this experiment number one, based on a trawl of roughly six thousand recipe sites, none of which had my absolute perfect recipe, but most of which gave a decent sense of the foundations.

In keeping with the theme of Adella now eats yippee-hippee food, I ended up with a brownie-like thing made of (1) two bananas, (2) some dessicated blueberries from my dehydrator experiments, (3) 1/4 cup oat bran, (4) 1 tablespoon wheat germ, (5) two scoops of whey protein, (6) 1/4 cup cocoa powder, (7) 1/4 cup flax seeds, (8) some small quantity of water that took the mix from totally unmixably powdery to sopping wet. 

protein log beats paper beats scissors

Put it on parchment paper on a baking pan before deciding it was too thin and transferring the parchment paper to a loaf pan. This created fascinating crinkles and requires a decent amount of trimming and spatula-intervention, but otherwise didn't provide any disservice. Instead of a bar, they're more like vergingly savory brownies (not quite sweet due to the fact that I didn't have that much fruit, but there are the bananas and chocolate). And nothing exploded, so I call it a win!

My next "must-do" was to figure out what to do with the extra pack of tofu I'd stocked up on before deciding to cut back on the strictly-soy-sustenance stuff. I do eat tofu, but going through a serving every few days wouldn't work with the shelf life of the stuff. Later I remembered I easily could have frozen the tofu and left it in any one of my several freezers. But oh well. I figured Andrew likes crispy things, so I went forth and made crispy tofu in a marinade of various asian type flavors meant to ad lib for the dire absence of Sriracha in our home (vinegar, chili peppers, cayenne, garlic, rice and apple cider vinegar, plus lite soy sauce & sesame oil). 

Marinades are fun. You get to use ziplock bags in weird ways. At least, I filled up the marinade with my random liquidy oozy ingredients. And threw some poorly cubed tofu in there. After press-drying it of, course (I'm just glad that the jar of spaghetti sauce I balanced precariously atop the plate balanced atop the paper-towel wrapped tofu splatted into another plate did not fall off and smash across the kitchen floor). I suspect this recipe would have worked better with super firm tofu instead of average firm, but at least I didn't try to make from soft tofu. I'm sure that the plate and paper towel mush from attempted drying would have been delicious oven-roasted. 

Anyways, I like marinade because you can start it, leave it in the fridge (if you can find space, which took some serious tetris skillz yesterday) and forget about it for hours on end. Which I did. Also, the bag is fascinatingly disgusting. I kept it since it's a tasty enough sauce. I'm sure it will explode in my fridge at some point and spackle the all-too-white interior with some potent panache!

And while things sat in various precarious positions, I had plenty of time to wonder what on earth I'd do with the daikon and mung beans I'd bought the other day. Going with the theme of the day (and because I didn't feel like soaking the beans), I decided to go the slow cooker and slightly asian route, and combined a cup of mung beans, two tablespoons sesame oil, onions, daikon rounds, 1/2 cup wild rice, 1/2 cup forbidden black rice, garlic, nutritional yeast, and whatever other last minute additions came to me a ways down the road. Oh and 6 cups of water. 

All the kitchen stuff stacked up and pending notification of the boy's return, I departed from my trusty abode to bring vittles to Papa T, walk around town, be pummelled by my trusty massage assassin, and eventually to buy the corn starch I apparently needed for the tofu and which I apparently didn't own yet. 

I am pleased with the results almost down the line. And I was able to repurpose the leftover marinade and tofu to make a peanut sauce over millet the next day:

At some point I actually ate something too. Funny, being around that many meals but forgetting to eat. I do sample, of course, but not quite as liberally as would provide a meal. 

Just as Andrew hit his triple EEBOP, I had plenty of time to throw the little cubes in the infernal oven and get nice and overwarm in our unexpectedly hot afternoon weather. Hence the joy of our subsequent air conditioning bed-bask later in the evening. But I was pleased with my productive weekend and only partially ready to sleep-in and call in "already worked hard all weekend" to work today. 

This is the first full work week I've had since the family explosion. And the last until the end of September. Very strange. 

And while we're counting "*7 days 'til Prague*"

Screwpocalyptica and the Matryoshka Maunders Of to Kirkland she goes

Good news, bad news on Mr. (W)right's ongoing work explosions. Actually good news, bad news, but then bad news is kinda ambivalent to good news in a lotta ways, so mostly good news... or did it? Things constantly evolve.* 

Good news: The darned thing passed its final inspection. On the day the thing was supposed to be shipped. With an ultrasound inspection that it had never successfully passed before. That means no taking the machine apart again. No extra stress testing. No wearing sackcloth, gnashing teeth, and moaning. Just plenty of time to get ready for the expected afternoon ship-out which brings us to...

Bad news: Truck didn't come! Delivery was delayed anyways for at least a day throwing off all kinds of carefully laid plans, including "every one take Tuesday off" plans and "every one go to Boulder on Thursday" plans, which leads me to...

Ambivalent slowly graduating into good news again Andrew, to his knowledge, is no longer going to Boulder to commission this brute. Which means he'll be home doing regular work hours mopping up after a crazy weekend. Which means we'll both be far more likely to have time to pack and prepare for Prague. Which means, I'm not heartbroken about this turn of events.* 

So, he doesn't get to take today off, which is a shame as well. BUT he gets to take tomorrow off. Naturally, he'll celebrate not having to drive an hour and a half to do more physical labor all day by driving an hour and a half to physically mangle himself on a mountain bike all day. Sanity prevails rarely in our happy home. But it should shake out all the juju of last minute project stress.**

For my part, I'm joining in the commuting games this morning after a few telephone calls revealed that, actually, I can't get the somewhat uncomfortable medical imaging test I need in town. I can get it in Kirkland though. Kirkland is better than Seattle. Most things are. But it's essentially the same sort of commute, so I'll be hitting the road soon and not looking back until some time after lunch.***

 I'm pretty sure that once I get this delightful somewhat uncomfortable (there's contrast fluid shot into delicate feminine areas involved and I'm promised I'll be wanting to take a couple of ibuprofen before the procedure) medical test, I'll really enjoy driving directly back to work so as to get cracking on the longish list of pre-vacation to-dos.****

 I'm also hoping that this means I can start my next round of whatever-the-heck comes next crazy side-effects-a-go-go when I get back from our vacation. I think it's the same crazy hormones but crazier than before and in a different sequence. Whatever it is, I'm ready with my double pill cases and my theoretical flow chart. Prince Florimund, our sphynx cat is helping me keep compliance. When I take a pill according to schedule, he gives himself a bon bon and gives me the gold foil wrapper. Which is as close to a gold star as I'm gonna get. Trust me, the meeeooow of an imaginary child-surrogate sphynx cat in thrall of cocoa cravings is enough to sort any medication regime right out.***** 

So as I take leave of the working day I wish you all the best. May your commutes be easy and without incident. And whatever heavy loads weigh on you this work day, may they be shipped promptly to Boulder!

****END NOTES****

*So, actually, the good news that was bad news that was good news and is not ambivalently maybe less good news turns out that - as Adella predicted and Andrew thoroughly denied only two days ago - ANDREW IS GOING TO BOULDER. But on Friday and Saturday instead of Thursday and Friday. While not ideal, this does at least give him 24 whole hours to catch up with all the business he usually gets to in a weekend and pretend to start packing before we head out to Prague. I'm sure he won't end up in Prague carrying only a bag full of dirty bike shorts, a shammy, and a guide book for Dublin. Just positive. 

**But the good news that was bad news that was good news that was ambivalent news that was bad good to good news: Andrew did get a day off on Wednesday. He naturally spent it driving out to Tiger Mountain (longer commute than to work) and BIKING for five hours before driving back. He looked... tired when he got back, but his brain has unclogged itself of work-blargh, so it was probably still an overall win. Possibly not his sexiest date night presentation ever between the salty sweat-styled 'fro, the stubble-beard, the gash across his face, and the stained t-shirt... but a vast improvement from twitchy and wild-eyed, so I'll take it. Showers and laundry can address the former kind of muss much more easily. 

*** I did hit the road. It was as predicted. While I-5 played the gentle giant, 405 stepped up with eclat to provide twenty five minutes of claustrophobic traffic-clotted aggravation. Only trying to make it seven miles, but did I ever earn those damned miles. 

**** The test was quite surreal, but - as predicted by those who've been through the stirrups and speculum routine (this includes my doctor herself, which is oddly reassuring to me) - merely uncomfortable. It involved prying open the door to my incubator (shall we say, for the weak of heart) and shooting some contrast material in where the sun decidedly don't shine. X-rays were then taken to determine whether I had any internal plumbing issues. I do not. And I really wish I'd gotten a photo of the dye unfurling through my own fallopian tubes. It was aquatic, peaceful, pretty, and a nice contrast to all those in utero fetus photos. I didn't necessarily enjoy driving back but it after getting thoroughly turned around and ending up in Bothell, I managed to escape and have an uneventful drive home in time to feel spent and irritable and utterly emotionally drained at work for the rest of the day. 

I subsequently returned home in a funk that only PMS should allow a gal (being in between medications, I suspect that perhaps my body is reacting to the hormonal flux by getting all "hormonal") and aggravated the situation by being exceedingly clumsy and declaring war on the inanimate objects around me. Thus it was that I strained my recovering intercostal by slamming a cabinet door irritably (it bonked me on the head, the brat!). Fortunately, it has mostly cleared up. 

***** Proving once more to be an exception in my experiences with medical Matryoshkas, long wait periods and recondite rituals, I had answers immediately upon finishing the test. I was contacted the next day and informed that my prescription for the next phase had been called in, and was provided with a detailed protocol and a calendar I could use to reference when following the protocol. I was then instructed to let them know when I began the protocol so the appropriate orders could be sent to my local Mt. Baker Imaging for an ultrasound when appropriate. 

And upon further inspection, it turns out that the first week of hormonal additives would actually be on par with the doses I'd been taking previously, so it might actually be easier on my body (which is roiling at the lack of its regularly delivered hormones) to just starts taking it immediately. Rite Aid needs to restock it, so I couldn't yesterday, but I'm on my way back to looby lady in no time!

And while we're at the end notes, I may have gotten a bit lost in my count-down over this crazy week. I believe we have reached FOUR DAYS TO GO. 

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