Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The work Christmas party

So, I woke up early on Tuesday. That was good. I took the Dutch oven out of the fridge and transferred my chicken tortilla soup into my oval slow cooker. I turned it on high and then got ready for work.

I assembled everything I had to take to work (which was a lot) and loaded the truck. Finally, I used masking tape to secure the lid of my slow cooker and set it on the passenger floor mat (which I had covered with a trash bag).

Before I left, I took the trashcan out to the road. Then I headed out, driving as carefully as I could. I’d spilled a LOT of crap from slow cookers on the Volvo floor mats.

Sidebar: I’ve seen TV commercials for slow cookers with locking lids and have been sorely tempted to buy one. But I already have three, the oval one, a smaller, round one and a little one (for cheese or dips), so another just seems excessive. I’m not that much of a slow cooker kinda guy. But, for the Goerlich family reunion or office parties, I think it would be great!

I got there with a minimum of spillage and lugged all my shit inside. I plugged in the slow cooker and set it on warm and got to work. People kept bringing food in. Vicky, for example, brought in a Tres Leche cake (this time strawberry) and two pans of flan her mom Evy made. Courtney added a layer of sour cream and topped that with cheddar cheese and diced green onions to her seven layer dip. And so on…

About 10:30 a.m., shit got real. I grabbed my corporate card, then Courtney and I headed out. We stopped at the museum and inspected the arrangement. I asked for another table for food (we bought a LOT of it) and then headed out to El Coyote Loka. I paid with the corporate card, and we lugged two HUGE boxes of Mexican food out to the truck. Seriously. I am pretty sure the one I carried exceeded my doctor-imposed weight limit!

I dropped Courtney and the food off and then went back to get my personal offerings. By the time I got back and was ready, things were moving along. People were arriving and things got set up (it’s a collective event, you see). I set up my soup along with the toppings: the cilantro, the diced red onions, diced avocados (which Courtney had cut up for me – I don’t do avocados and didn’t know how), sour cream and the eight cut-up corn tortillas.

I was seriously beat, so I sat down as people lined up to eat. I was worried about my soup (it’s hard to balance a plate, a plastic fork, knife and spoon and a paper plate going through a buffet line, without worrying about a soup bowl). But, people raved about it.

Sidebar: Both Vicky and Courtney (now that Anthony is gone, my only two resident Hispanic voices) were shocked that I hadn’t fried the tortillas. I explained my recipe never said to, as the tortillas were supposed to “melt” into the soup, not act as a garnish (like they serve at Buddy’s, for example). Hence the name Tortilla Soup. They weren’t buying it. But, I’m German, what the hell do I know about chicken tortilla soup?

Finally, the belle of the ball arrived, my ex-co-worker, Michelle. She took the morning off work from her new job as her power went out, and came in to our party. Lots of hugs, a few tears…

Sidebar: If she had the morning off, she could have come in early and helped set the damn thing up, instead of leaving it to the old guy (me) and the newbie, Courtney. I’m just saying…

I eventually gave her my $20 for the Tupperware Toys for Tots and she had a bowl of my tortilla soup. She only added some sour cream and the corn tortillas. She said it was good. Sigh… But, she’s a Buddy’s fan, as well.

Anyway, the party eventually broke up. Michelle left, but I got a going-away hug (and, if you know Michelle, you know they are impressive!) Then everybody pitched in to carry the leftovers back to Building 3.

I had already set up two tables in the hallway to receive the food, with the help of Kelly, our new receptionist (she smells good). So, we loaded up the tables with food and the coffee counter with desserts and invited our building co-workers (who vastly outnumber us) to enjoy.

The afternoon went by quickly, for a change. I was pooped and had a coffee to try and revive my sagging spirits.

Note: that coffee would have hit the spot with my piece of the Tres Leche cake at the party, but we never serve coffee for some dumb reason or another. Just water and soda.

Finally, it was time to go home. Everything that hadn’t been consumed or cajoled into somebody taking it home got pitched, the tables washed and put away and Christmas for the IT department was over.

There was just enough soup left for a container for Michelle in Facilities and my dinner tonight, BTW.

I got home and got everything inside. I washed the Dutch oven I had left soaking to make room to soak the slow cooker insert.

I checked my email and then noticed there was a voicemail on the home phone. So, I checked it out.

Sidebar: Ever since the last election cycle, I pay no attention to the house phone. In spite of the “Do Not Call” thing I signed up for, all I got was constant political ads. So, unless I’m standing there, looking at the screen to see who it is, you’re fncked. Call me on the cell phone. The political hacks haven’t figured that out yet!

It was from my nephew Rick, who I haven’t seen in over 20 years! He was up for Christmas with his son Jesse and Jesse’s girlfriend and wanted to know if they could drop by. So, I called him back and we arranged to have them stop by Wednesday night.

I ate the last of the soup and looked at the computer desk. I decided I was just too tired to work on it. Maybe a nap would help. So, I went to bed – no TV, no book.

I slept until 2:00 a.m.  I thought about getting back to the computer desk, but decided I was being stupid. So, I went back to bed and slept until 8:30 a.m. My alarm was still set, so apparently it eventually shuts itself off. I sent a text to co-workers (to call off the dogs) and got ready for work…


  1. The German section of my genetic-heritage was curious about you not frying the tortillas, too, but I wasn’t going to give you a hard time about it. If you get any Mexican-cuisine events in the future, though, I’d be happy to give you my recipe for cold nachos (they’d be much easier to transport). Top those babies with braised, shredded chicken and pico de gallo (or jarred salsa, if you’re in a hurry) you’re good to go.