In the midst of one of the worst I-don’t-get-migraines-so-maybe-that’s-not-what-this-is episodes of my life, where I’ve got what feels like something inside my head trying to push my right eye out. It sucks and I’m trying to avoid screens or, really, looking at anything at all, and given my proclivities and hobbies and basically my life that’s a bit more complicated for me than for some people.

I’ll be back, if I don’t die. Or if my eye doesn’t pop out.

In which it’s not just the legg

You may remember that I picked my current classroom at least in part because I was told that the other room frequently was prone to heating and cooling issues. I am therefore just a little pissed to let you know that it was approximately a hundred and forty degrees and infinite fucking humidity in my room all day today, and by the time sixth and seventh hour– so far, my favorite and least-favorite group, back-to-back– rolled into my room, I was utterly and completely without a single iota of patience after five hours of being sweaty and putting up with the funk of dozens of fourteen-year-olds, some of whom were, incomprehensibly, wearing sweaters.

Sixth and seventh hour didn’t go well. I will take some– perhaps a majority– of the blame, because by that point I was just completely beaten to death by the heat and the humidity and it kills me. But one way or another they didn’t go well.

Anyway. That’s not the story. Here’s the story: during my prep period I walked into the office to check my mailbox, and I happened to walk behind my assistant principal and another teacher, who were standing at a counter in the office. The office staff were also in place. I nodded and didn’t say anything and walked back to where the mailboxes were, and then heard my name over my shoulder.

“Yeah,” someone was saying. “I think it’s Siler.”

I am not joking when I say I had been sweating for four straight hours at that point, so my initial reaction was basically pure terror.

“Christ,” I said, recovering the contents of my mailbox and walking back into the office. “I’ve been sweating like a pig all day. Do I smell that bad?”

I hear my principal laugh and realize he’s in the room as well. Dandy.

“No,” my AP says. “You smell good! There’s something–” and here she takes a deep breath– “kind of floral that just wafted past us.”

I take a whiff. I can’t smell anything Goddamn floral. All I can smell is axe body spray and funk, which is how I know I’m in a middle school.

“I promise it’s not me, then,” I say. “I don’t wear cologne and I promise you any odors wafting off of me right now are not floral. It’s a hundred and forty in my room. That might actually be the smell of death.”

I’m not certain my bosses know if I’m a good teacher or not yet, but at least they think I’m funny?


My knees declared war on the rest of me last night as I was trying to grout the floor in the bathroom.  I had actually bought knee pads for the occasion but apparently my legs are bigger than I thought they were and even the XL size were just big enough to technically fit, if by “fit” I mean “be incredibly painful, and not solve that glass-marble-pressing-into-the-side-of-my-kneecap thing that’s been happening lately.”

I took enough ibuprofen to kill a horse before I went to bed last night, and then refused to even entertain the idea of getting out of bed today before four digits were visible on the clock next to me.  Then the power went out in my neighborhood, rendering me unable to do basically anything I’d wanted to do with my day at all, since the bathroom lacks windows and external light.

So I sat around and read on my Kindle, finishing Katherine Lampe’s The Unquiet Grave in the process, a book that I five-starred on Goodreads upon finishing it and which I’ll talk more about later.

Bathroom will be finished soon.  You’ll get pictures then.  No more until it’s done, or at least this phase is done.  This phase doesn’t include lighting, though, so the bathroom’s still gonna look a bit weird until we get that fixed.

Other than that, I’m taking a mulligan on today.  Hopefully tomorrow will be less filled with pain and more productive.

In which I am defeated


The weird thing is I’m not even sure I’ve had chicken paprikash before.

I’ve been sitting on this recipe for a while; a friend linked to it on Facebook and I went “Man, chicken paprikash, that sounds awesome,” and bookmarked it, and then went through a few weeks where we either weren’t cooking very much or were mostly cooking stuff we’ve made before, which I don’t tend to give any attention to.

Note that the recipe calls for, specifically, “sweet paprika.”  At the time I was unaware that paprika had varieties.  A bit of research (and reading the rest of the recipe) revealed that it also comes in Hot and Smoked flavors; the Hot and Sweet are specifically Hungarian in nature; if you’ve bought something just labeled “paprika” it was probably sweet paprika, as the hot variety tends to always be labeled as such.

For, as it turns out, a damn good reason.  

Witness this exercise in understatement, ladies and gentlemen:

If you enjoy spicy food, try replacing half of the sweet paprika with hot Hungarian paprika.

Oh, well, hell.  I’m not actually a huge fan of spicy, but I’ve been making a concerted effort to improve my palate in that area; I’ve gotten to the point where I can tolerate sriracha (and, more to the point, want sriracha) on, well, just about bloody everything.  I can handle, barely, the hottest wings at hot wings places, although I’m not at the point where I can finish an eating challenge or anything like that.(*)

Anyway, I found proper paprikas after looking around a bit; I was proud enough of it that I took a picture of the cans.  I sniffed them; the hot paprika honestly didn’t seem all that different from the sweet.  At the time.  So instead of two tablespoons of sweet paprika, as the recipe calls for, I used a tablespoon of sweet and a tablespoon of hot.  It’s a goddamn Martha Stewart recipe.  Isn’t she from goddamn Minnesota or something like that?  She don’t know from spicy.

I didn’t realize what I’d done until tasting a fingertip’s worth of the sauce before I dropped the chicken into it.  It’s got a nice delay on it; it takes a few seconds of man-that’s-not-hot-at-all and then you’re trying to find a cow.

Hot Hungarian paprika is no goddamn joke, people.  I’ve made food that I tried to make super hot that didn’t come close to this shit.  And there was only a tablespoon in there.  Considering the amounts of cayenne and red pepper flakes that I’ve blithely tossed into chilis and pulled pork and, hell, my tikka masala, you’d think that basic food preparations would have lost the ability to kill me.

Neither of us could finish it.  I ended up putting some sauce on the noodles along with a healthy dollop of additional sour cream and that made it pretty tasty and, well, edible, but I made four chicken breasts and right now two of them are in the fridge and I don’t think they’re going anywhere.  This isn’t a “Man, lookit how I screwed up dinner this time!” post, really; I did everything right and the chicken was cooked properly– I just didn’t have any idea what a sonofabitch that hot paprika was going to be.

cannot wait until the next time I make chili, though.

(*) Seriously TMI addendum:  We went to BW3’s for dinner the other night, and I had about five of whatever they call their hottest wings.  People joke about those hurting coming out.  This, as it turns out, isn’t true.  Eating super spicy hot wings does not sear as it comes out the next day.  What it does, folks, is paralyze your asshole, numbing it to such a degree that being able to tell if you’re shitting or not is not actually possible.  It is an incredibly odd feeling to go to the bathroom and then, ten minutes later, be standing in your living room and having to admit to yourself that it is entirely possible that you’re shitting yourself and you can’t tell.  It is deeply goddamn unpleasant; I’d rather have pain.


It is 7:48 in the morning, it is supposed to be one billion degrees today with a humidity level of nine jillion, and I will have to spend half of my day outside.

Kill me.