Today was my first day at my new job. When the IT guy came by to set up my password, he also showed me how to use the map on the website to find all the restaurants nearby. Many of them were still closed for the holiday, so I decided to get fast food a little further out. I found a Cookout ten minutes away, so I went there. All Cookouts have double lanes for ordering, but not all of them have both lanes’ windows on the driver’s side, which is very frustrating to me. I accidentally went in the lane that has the window on the passenger’s side and had to go out and come back in again. Also all the Cookouts in my experience have the speaker way too loud and it hurts my ears.
I ordered a big double tray with a chicken quesadilla and corn dog. I also asked for some extra mustard for my corn dog. When I got to the window, the cashier gave me my order quickly and was not very friendly. I felt rushed, so I did not check to make sure I got the mustard. Something told me they didn’t put it in. I pulled into a parking space in the shopping center where the restaurant was and opened my tray. Of course there was no mustard. I was doubly frustrated, because the last time I had gone to Cookout I got the same order and did not use the mustard so I put it in the door handle but then took it out and gave it to my dad when I was home for Christmas, so I missed two opportunities to have mustard for my corn dog.
Across the lot from me I saw three men standing and eating their Cookout off the back of their work truck. The truck had two matching Trump/Pence bumper stickers on the back windshield. The biggest building in the shopping center was something called Strawbridge Studios Inc. The door only had the name on it, and there were no other signs indicating what kind of goods or services this company offered. A man in a suit walked out at one point, but that wasn’t enough of a clue to figure out what the business was. On the roof were four of those plastic owls for scaring away birds. I wondered if there may have been more towards the back that I couldn’t see.
On my way to the gyro food truck tonight, I passed by the elderly people who convene at the tables on the landing and realized I always eat at the same time they do. I wondered how many people my age live in my building. While I was waiting for my order at the food truck, a guy walked up and asked the owner how much he charged for drinks. The owner told him $2 and I was worried he was going to let the guy go ahead of me. The guy asked for a Diet Coke and put his cash between the row of drinks and the edge of the window. I stared at the money, hoping the owner wouldn’t touch it before he finished making and wrapping up my gyro. To my relief, he passed me my food and took my card. The drink guy pointed to his money again and said “It’s right there, in case you didn’t see it.” The owner handed him the drink and he walked away. I told the owner that the drinks in the vending machine inside are only $1.50, so it was neat that the guy bought one from the food truck. On the way back to my apartment, I texted as I walked down the hallway. Every time I looked up, I felt further away from my door than it seemed like I should be. I kept looking down to text and then looking back up, expecting to be closer than I was. It made me very anxious.
I decided to go get seconds at the food truck. The jalapenos from the first order still burned my lips. I told the guy at the window that I’m not normally this type of girl. I took the jalapeno-habanero-cheddar-mashed potato bites back to my apartment, put them on the ottoman, and took a picture for Instagram.
The potato food truck came to my apartment tonight. I stood in line trying to decide what I wanted before it was my turn to order. I wanted a Tex Mex style baked potato, but they also had a type of mashed potato popper mixed with cheddar, habanero, and jalapeno peppers. I thought about getting both, but told myself I didn’t need $13 worth of food truck potato products. When I got up to my apartment, I put the potato on my ottoman and took a picture for Instagram.
After spending over five minutes looking for the cat and trying not to get anxious wondering if he got out, I decided to make waffles. I pulled the toaster down and wondered how gross it would be if a bug got in there. There’s a bad smell coming from the freezer. Bad smells don’t usually come from the freezer, usually it’s the refrigerator. There is old food in the refrigerator. I haven’t needed to get in there all week, so I haven’t opened it lately.
My teapot whistled for the first time today when I was boiling water for cup noodles. It always made a sputtering noise before this, so I thought it was just a kind that didn’t whistle. I felt a kind of pride, like the teapot had learned how to do something. It was like watching a baby bird learn to fly or a lion cub make its first kill.
While I was waiting I was watching the first episode of the second season of Parks and Rec. I didn’t recognize the song Leslie was rapping until the very end. It was “Parents Just Don’t Understand.” I don’t know that song very well.
I met up with my friends at Ruckus after my hair appointment. It had taken four hours, which was about double what I was expecting. My hair never looks good after I get it done, so I brought a hat to put on. When I got to Ruckus, my friends said it didn’t look like I had done anything to it. This was frustrating to me, because it had taken so long and I had a significant amount of blonde put into it. I know that it was probably hard to tell because it was dark in the bar and I was wearing a hat, but it still hurt my feelings.
I didn’t get food because I was trying to be good, but then I had three beers and started wanting Taco Bell. I got in line in the drive through but it didn’t move at all for ten minutes. I decided to leave and go home but then I passed McDonald’s and saw that line was much shorter. I ordered two McDoubles and thought I might should’ve only gotten one. I watched the person at the window passing out the order to the car in front of me, and I didn’t see anything except bottles of water. I wondered if I had missed the rest of the order or if they had really only ordered several bottles of water. When I got up to the window, I noticed a sign that said this franchise owner’s name was Ric Richards and I thought that was silly. As I ate the burgers on the way home, I realized I definitely should’ve only gotten one. I also got mustard on my radio.
I had some anxiety about breakfast this morning because it is cold cereal day at work. We are supposed to eat 100% of what we serve ourselves, and I can’t stand milk. Last Tuesday, I used as little milk in my cereal as possible so that I could drink the majority of it fresh out my cup. I almost gagged having to drink it out of the bowl. I was glad I didn’t, because I figured they wouldn’t have a very positive reaction to that. I’ve seen some people use yogurt in place of milk, and I was planning to try that this morning. I like granola in my yogurt, so I was going to try to pretend it was the same thing.
When I got on shift, I was told I would be eating my breakfast by myself and then rejoining the group later. That meant I could eat my cereal how I wanted. I was literally overjoyed – this milk thing is a huge hurdle for me. Later that day I found out every other Tuesday would be back to normal, so next week I will be eating my cereal with yogurt.
I arrived at home for Thanksgiving about an hour later than I should have. My dad and grandpa agreed to do dinner on Sunday since I work on Thursdays. I walked in the front door to be greeted by my dad yelling at me from the kitchen that it’s about time I showed up. I rushed in to see what I could do, only for him to continue fussing that he’s been going crazy cooking all morning with no help. I washed my hands and waited for him to give me a task.
I ended up making the mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce with actual fresh cranberries, and rolls. He made a casserole with squash, broccoli, and rice, which was new this year. He said he used to make casseroles all the time except they also had chicken in them, but I don’t remember ever having one. This casserole was very good, except it had too many breadcrumbs at the bottom which made a dusty, gooey sort of amalgam that peeled away from the rest of the portion when it was served. He asked me if there were too many breadcrumbs and I nodded but said it didn’t matter.
My dad cooks his turkeys on the charcoal grill, and they’re always amazing. I took a video of him carving the turkey on Snapchat. I sent it to him and he complained that it was too short. I ate too much during the meal and didn’t have any room for dessert. My grandpa made the rum cake he always brings, except this year it had granulated sugar on top. One year it had so much rum in it that it had that feeling you get in your mouth after you take a shot, that fume or vapor sort of feeling.
After dinner, my grandpa gave me $20 that he said was from his girlfriend. The money was all in one dollar bills, which he said was from the carwash. I knew he worked at the carwash part-time since he retired, but I didn’t know if she did. I didn’t ask. I wondered if that’s where they met. I only met her this past May at my grad school graduation and she was kind of introduced like she’d been around a while but not mentioned until now. I’ve never asked any of that either.
My grandpa left and I slept on the couch wearing my coat and two blankets for two and a half hours. When I woke up, my dad and I watched Designated Survivor and an episode of Columbo that had Ricardo Montalbán in it. We had to turn that off halfway through to turn on The Walking Dead, and now I can’t even remember what the episode was about. This new season is a little boring. The Columbo episode was about bull fighters and was pretty good. Ricardo Montalbán is a good actor and I like Peter Falk because of The Princess Bride. I told my dad about all the adult braces I’ve seen lately, which is now up to four. In the morning, I packed up some leftovers and cornered the stray cat he adopted (who is still afraid of me) so I could put her outside for the day.
Tonight I went to my aunt and uncle’s house to have dinner and hang out. I was supposed to pick up an order of Chinese food for us but I ended up leaving my apartment much too early because I accounted for traffic and there wasn’t any. I went straight to their house and as soon as I arrived I remembered they have a dog now. They’ve probably had the dog for a while by now but I don’t see them often and it’s still new to me. I was wearing a white sweater and just got my nose pierced the day before and was worried about one or both of them getting messed up. Nothing happened though – the dog is a good dog. All dogs are good dogs, I just like cats better because they’re smaller and don’t lick as much. After a while my aunt and I went out to pick up the food. I drove, which felt weird because I almost never drive members of my family anywhere.
There was a car parked in the way of the exit at the restaurant. We wondered why they did that, and saw it was a real parking space. I waited while my aunt went inside and watched a minivan parked at the car wash across the street. The back door was open, showing a girl sitting cross-legged while her brother break danced in front of her. The owner of the badly-parked car beside me returned and drove away. Another car pulled in almost immediately. My aunt returned with the food and I told her about the kids and cars. I remembered the way back by myself and did not need her to direct me. I did need a confirmation on the correct road, though.
I got Szechuan chicken, which I had somehow gone my entire life without ever ordering before. The restaurant used water chestnuts and baby carrots, which I do not like. They also used bok choy, which I do like. I had to ask someone what it was. My aunt and uncle ordered an egg roll for me even though I didn’t ask for one, which was super cool. While we ate, we talked about movies we’d seen. I learned that they hadn’t actually seen Hobo with a Shotgun, which I’d tried to watch a few years ago but turned off because it was too gruesome. I heard them talking about it at Christmas one year and thought they’d seen it. I was freaked out for a day or two after seeing the movie, even though I know it was just a movie and I only watched about 30 minutes of it.