Achievement Unlocked:

In the last five days, I have:

  • Driven 650 miles
  • Made and blind-baked four pie crusts
  • Roasted and braised a turkey
  • Made sides and gravy for 16
  • Reserved enough broth to make turkey gravy salted caramels (YES I WILL, MOTHER FUCKERS)
  • Waited to hear if my nephew has a brain tumor (he doesn’t, hell yes)
  • Hosted family overnight
  • Run a frankly absurd number of dishwasher loads
  • Hand-washed all the family china
  • Done an introvert-month’s worth of socializing
  • Invented the unit of measurement known as the introvert-month
  • Eaten enough carbs that I feel Confession is warranted, despite my Protestant-bordering-on-Unitarian leanings
  • Made my father-in-law cry

Every inch worth it. Tomorrow, I return to work, so that I may rest.

Fizzy Lifting Drink

So we're going to set aside the navel gazing for a second. A pointing arrow has cropped up, two people in as many days bringing up the same topic independently of each other. I feel the universe is guiding me toward making the Internet and your lives better.

We need to talk about you nerds and your Sodastreams.

Look, I get it. Bubbly water is both amazing and versatile. I understand the burning passion that a man has for a crisp, refreshing, hydrating beverage that tickles his palate and settles an upset stomach.

Make a simple syrup with peaches or berries or ginger or even celery seed (I shit you not), and you've got a soda. Mix it with booze for a cocktail. And may Shub-Niggurath, The Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young, spare MetaFilter user Greg Nog for his idea of cold-brewed fizzy coffee. Motherfucker changed my world with that.

Yes, I get it. Your passion is mine. But why why why must you constantly be bobbling out to Williams-Sonoma to swap your booby-trapped proprietary charger cartridges, only to find out they're out of stock? Why must you limit yourself so? Don't get me wrong, I'm no open-source zealot, but you're grundle-punching yourself here.

You guys? Homebrew that shit.

It takes a couple of parts ordered online, a trip to a home improvement store, and then a quick jaunt out to a welding supply shop. Twenty minutes of assembly later, and you have months of ozone-destroying beverage pleasure. And it's cheaper even than a Sodastream, long term. (Protip: Get the adapter they link at the bottom rather than build the bike valve thing, unless you really need your water super fizzy)

But middleclasstool, you say, why would I spend that time and effort building that myself when I can just buy the Sodastream and get it running in five minutes? Besides, there's a model that looks like a penguin!

Listen to me, you fucking Philistine.

If you have a Sodastream, odds are you're a nerd. If you're a nerd, then you understand that spending even two hours setting up a tool that saves you five minutes of work every time you use it will pay dividends. You drop your money on Textexpander to save you seconds or minutes per day because you know those minutes will add up to hours and days and weeks and months. You're Backblazing your Tent node right now, aren't you, pervert?

This one day of work is going to save you at least a year's worth of errands. Me, I get bubbles whenever I want. I have never known the pain of having a charger run out on me when I'm ready for my fizz. Sometimes I get really mad at Al Gore and I turn it on and let it go, and I still have plenty left in the tank for my bubbles. You need to embrace this liberty and all the sexy ladies that will come with it.

I am a voice of one crying in the wilderness. Make straight the way of the seltzer.

I'm Only Half Joking Here

We are here today to celebrate the career and herald the retirement of a lifelong friend. We are here not just to wish her well, not to merely hand her some gold-plated accessory and pat her on the back, but to honor her.

To honor her industry.

Her dedication. 

Her steadfastness and her genius.

Her beauty? Yes, her beauty too.

Transient

To this day she stands clad in Harvest Gold, a shining symbol of an age when our tools and our workers were not meant to be disposable, but were built to last and priced accordingly. She outlived that era, and she is still standing, still working---at the end, harder than ever.

She is, let it be said, the John Henry of dough.

She came into my home before I did. I have known her and her loving care literally my whole life. I spent my boyhood "helping" her and my mom make all manner of batters and doughs. I watched her whip egg whites into meringue Kilimanjaros. I watched her turn cream into lust, a defiant reversal of the natural order. Bit by bit, she taught me how to conjure.

She gave me love and comfort beyond measure. She was part mother, part science teacher, part enabler. When I finally became a man and had a wife and children of my own, she followed me to my new home to give them that same comfort and joy.

But two loaves' worth of bread dough a week is simply too much to ask of someone who has already given so much for so long. Her paddle beater is nicked, the tines of her whisk dulled. These marks of use and usefulness only enhance her beauty, but I can no longer ask her to bear more scars on my behalf.

Yesterday I laid my hand on her as once more she diligently massaged life-giving gluten into a mass of hot cereal and flour and honey and yeast, and I felt the searing heat of her brow. She never complained, not once, just gave a small sigh when she laid that burden down for what I hope will be the last time.

When it was done, I washed her bowl and paddle and dough hook, wiped her down with a cool, damp cloth and left her to return to room temperature. I fretted over the strain I had forced her to endure. And if there was some excitement in my anticipation of Tuesday morning's trip to Tuesday Morning to arrange for her replacement, know that it was tempered with sorrow and conflict.

She will always have a place in my home. I will not toss her aside after so many years of loyalty and dedication and love. But her days of bleeding for my family are over. She has earned her rest.

Enjoy that rest, dear lady. Thank you for all you've given me.