Homework, Dumplings, and Scare
Fezzik was pretty quiet this morning. John had left him inside when John left for work, and he seemed fairly content to just lie on his bed while I scampered around the kitchen. I had partially wanted to go to the Conoco to get donuts, but was such a quiet dog I decided I didn't want actually go out. Instead, I looked through my scone recipe book and found a recipe that used dried apples, which I had in abundance. So I made those. Fezzik happily ate scraps from the scones that I ate. The recipe was very nice, it had various spices, whole wheat, and raisins as well as the apples, so I got plenty of dried fruit along with fiber from the whole grain. It had enough heft so that I went upstairs with plenty of energy.
Fezzik mostly slept all morning, while I dictated my minutes. I went downstairs about every hour to pet him a little bit and check on how he was doing. He seemed fairly content to just be still. I then went through about half of the organized changes I wanted to do on my design documentation, but all the moving around within the documentation made dictation a bit harder, so it took more time.
John called around ten to tell me that everyone decided that they wanted to go to the Dumpling House for lunch, as a break from going to China Gourmet every week. I decided I'd meet them at 11:30 at work. So at 11, I helped Fezzik out the kitchen door to the kitchen porch and left him there with a dish of water and his bed. He went willingly, and lay down the moment I let go of his rear end. I held up his rear end until he was completely on his bed. I then drove off to Boulder.
I got there just as I saw Mei go in the front door. Mei had told Bob that she hadn't felt like working today, and decided to go to lunch with us as she needed some social interaction. Chad and Cary were waiting on John and Bob when I managed to get up the stairs. John then took off to the front door to see if Bob and Mei were still there, but they were already at Bob's cubicle. Eventually the six of us managed to go in the correct direction, with John riding with Chad and Mei. Bob and Cary were in my car. I managed to time things pretty well on the way out, and arrived well in advance of Chad's car. We even managed to save the parking space for Chad right in front of the Dumpling House.
We basically ordered one of everything. The three types of dumplings we got both steamed and panfried, we got a serving of each of the types of salads and a serving of each of the types of soups, we put everything in the middle of the table and shared everything. The spicy potato salad, with raw potato was a surprise hit. Everyone enjoyed all the different types of dumplings, Cary was stuffing his with the pickled jalapenos, very happy that they actually cleared his sinuses. The hot and sour soup was very hot, and both Cary and John really enjoyed that, while Mei and I nearly choked on how hot it was. I found that I really liked the chicken dumplings as well. It was nice having everyone actually enjoy everything. I had been a little apprehensive about Mei not finding the food up to her standards, but she enjoyed it a lot and both she and Bob said that they would be telling their Chinese friends about the place. I guess specialization has some very specific benefits, because the limited menu really highlights what it is that they do well.
I drove back home fairly content. I found that the latch on the gate had been done differently, and subsequently went looking and found a box with my Slice o' Life cakes in it. Fezzik had managed to get himself down onto the lawn, and looked very content just lying where he was lying, so I left him there. I went upstairs, and finished off most of the design documents changes by hand. After a morning of dictation my right hand was actually feeling pretty good, so I decided to balance the load a little as my voice was starting to go. I went down for herbal tea when I was done a few hours later, and found that Fezzik hadn't moved from his spot at all. I was also still so full from lunch that I didn't cut into the cakes. It was also such a beautiful day I could see why Fezzik might want to just lie in one spot in the sunshine.
I spent sometime experimenting with my connection to Eskimo, and talked with Cera for about 15 minutes online. I then plugged my work machine in, and heard a commotion in the general direction that Fezzik was lying. It turned out to be John home early from work, as the network connections were down and his main build machine wasn't working so he decided not to be frustrated at work. He could do some things at home. Fezzik, in the meantime, was pretty much where he had been. I went back upstairs and was able to concentrate enough to look into a bug I hadn't had the uninterrupted time to look at for the last week in half. I got through most of it and it was dark by the time I was done. When I went downstairs John said that he went out to pet Fezzik, but since Fezzik hadn't made any moved to come inside he was just out there.
I went out there and tried to lift Fezzik's hind end. I got a whiff of something I went back indoors to tell John that. He went back out and found that Fezzik had, indeed, soiled himself thoroughly. John got the hose out and washed Fezzik off before bringing him up to the kitchen porch. As wet as he was, Fezzik froze to the porch, as the temperatures outside were below freezing by a good margin. John broke him free, and we put both food and water out for him out there. He did eat and drink and looked mildly miserable. Eventually we took him inside for awhile to let him dry off, but after about an hour he shuffled up onto his front feet and looked at the kitchen door. So we helped him back out to the kitchen porch and took him down the stairs as he headed that way instead of just slumping on the porch. He found a spot on the dirt and just lay there, panting hard.
Yes, it worried both John and I. A lot. But we both said that he'd had bad days before and we'd give him a few days to see if he'd get better as he has before. I think as much to reassure ourselves as anything. Fezzik happily crunched ice when I put a water bowl out there with ice in it, and he seemed content to be outside rather than risking anything inside. He wouldn't move, though, so I had to bring the water to him rather then having him come to it.
While John worked with stuff, I made a quick dinner. I'd been craving Hunt's Manwich sloppy joes. The mix is made entirely from dried vegetables with some sugar and spice and salt. I only had an Italian style tomato paste to go in it, so it was fragrant with basil and garlic as well as the more traditional things. We ate it on bagels, which made me giggle, but we had toasted bagels and we might as well use them. Since John was also cooking more ground beef for Fezzik, he just did all three pounds of meat that we had left and left one of the browned pounds for me to make into our sandwiches. They were very good with Fritos and carrot sticks, though, because of the salt, I ate more carrots than Fritos, which is likely a good thing.
Afterwards we had something to take our minds off it all. John's former boss, Dan had a wife in the hospital until Thursday of this week and now that they were home, John and I volunteered to bring them dinner on Saturday. I had in mind a stuffed pork loin that I'd seen in Cooks Illustrated, with simple side dishes of mashed yams, microwaved peas, and a spinach salad. I also wanted to make a chocolate torte from the book that Mei had given me. We had to get the ingredients for the dinner. So we went to Safeway with a huge list, a handful of coupons, and our purple canvas bags and came away with a whole lot of food as well as about $17 worth of discounts.
On the way home I realized that just four weeks ago we had completely filled our freezer, refrigerator, and pantry. And we had half emptied the freezer, partially emptied the refrigerator, and there were great gaps in the pantry. We've been eating at home frequently, in part because we wanted to be with Fezzik and so I could eat more healthy food. So we've been cooking a lot in the last few weeks for many reasons that may well become a good habit in the long run. It certainly is cheaper.
We didn't get home until nearly 10, so I put off making the torte until tomorrow morning. John found an old B-movie about post-monster number one Frankenstein and he was fascinated by it but told me, in no uncertain terms, that I didn't have to stay up for it. So I didn't. I slept pretty soundly, only dreaming of brines for a roast... If there's anything I've learned in this whole thing with Fezzik it's that worry doesn't help anything and can only bring me down more.
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