Last Friday we had a chili cook-off in the office, which in part explains the lack of any blog posts from Thursday onward. The event officially began at 11:30 and although there were only eight different chili recipes to sample there was plenty to go around of each, along with hot dogs, chips, and desserts. So I had several helpings of chili dogs, nachos and cookies and promptly went into a pleasantly inert food coma for the rest of the day, which precluded assembling any kind of meaningful bloggery.
I would have enjoyed pitting my own amateur chili-cooking stylings against the field, and as it turned out I think even with my utter lack of experience I still might have won a prize for Spiciest since that’s the way I like it and most of the entrants were quite mild, with one hot-but-not-that-hot exception. But once again my commute exerted undue influence, as I was forced to admit that trying to carry a Crock Pot on the VRE and the Metro would have been difficult at best, if not completely disastrous. So I contented myself with being a humble attendee and voting on the winners, which, I hasten to add, is not so bad a way to pass some time in the office on a Friday.
Overall, really, a chili cook-off is such a humanizing kind of event for the work environment. The agency has had pizza parties, non-denominational holiday parties, and even a wine and cheese party in the time I’ve been here, but chili exists on a wholly different level unto itself. It’s messy as just about any foodstuff can be, for one thing, especially when piled on top of a hotdog (double-especially when said hot dog is ostensibly supported by a no-name bun) and I was impressed by how many co-workers went the full chili dog route, rather than abiding with a bowl of chili and the attendant utensils. And there’s the capsaicin factor, as well. I eat spicy food more or less daily and it takes something almost exotically fiery to really get my attention, but I know I’m outside the median in that regard. No pizza or holiday buffet spread is going to make people go “hooo!” and fan themselves the way that chili can (and did). So all in all, it was a welcome break from the bland, straight-laced professionalism that characterizes most of my workdays.
The food coma didn’t really dissipate until sometime midday Saturday, while my wife was at work and the little guy and I were deeply engrossed in the ongoing project of Operation: Ready the Nursery. Well, in fairness, the little guy accompanied me to the hardware store to get some more painting supplies, and then he took a nap while I rolled some more boulders uphill (or some more primer upwall, as it were). The good news is that a full two coats of primer seems to be just about enough to mask the horrors of the move-in paint job and we might actually be able to use a subtle shade of pink for the final wall color. The bad news is that shortly after the little guy got up from his nap and my wife got home from work, we noticed some bumpy rash-like spots on the little guy’s neck. And stomach, back, thighs, hands, etc. It was like a timelapse outbreak as he went from a dot here and there to a full-on mess. But he remained his usual rambunctious self throughout, so we weren’t worried that he was too terribly sick.
Paged the on-call pediatrician, got told we should discontinue the antibiotics that he had been on for eight days and give him some Benedryl and monitor him and bring him into the office on Monday morning. Again, it was Saturday evening when this all went down, so Sunday became a completely different beast than had originally been planned. What was supposed to be a laid back morning and afternoon followed by a babysitter’s arrival and mom and dad’s day-early Valentine’s celebration dinner and movie in the evening became an early cancellation of the sitter and a day of watching the little guy to see if he was about to take a turn for the worse. (This after a night interrupted multiple times by the little guy not sleeping so well.) The pediatrician had theorized it was just a bad case of hives due to an allergic reaction to the drugs, but we accounted for the possibility of other contagious viral maladies aplenty and didn’t feel right risking exposure to anyone outside the family. The rash did in fact seem to get worse in some new areas while fading a bit in others, and through it all the little guy was largely oblivious and happy to tear around the house playing cars, football, and possibly a heretofore unknown game called carfootball, and he skipped his Sunday nap altogether, but we all made it to his bedtime well enough (at which point he freaked out a little because suddenly the tops of his feet and only the tops of his feet were itching like mad). Once he was a-crib, I went out for takeout Indian food and my wife and I annihilated some serious murgh and gosht while watching Top Chef on demand. Which went a good way towards redeeming the evening.
So the little guy saw the doctor today and it was inconclusive! His rash is much better as of this morning and seems to be fading, and the doc said if he isn’t running a fever there’s no reason he shouldn’t go to daycare tomorrow. The allergic-reaction-to-antibiotics theory remains dominant in the absence of any strong contradictory evidence. My wife was able to take the little guy to the doctor but had to go to work immediately after, so fortunately grandma was able to come up and stay home with the little guy while he continues to recuperate. (Hooray for retirement!) At any rate, I know I haven’t been blogging on the weekends all that much lately, but this time I think I had a better excuse than most.