Monday, October 14 2019

tacos, orchards, nightmares, and steaks

1191 words

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone. It’s another Monday, and another week. Speaking of which, can I tell you about a recent lifestyle change I’ve made? I’ve switched all my calendars over to Monday being the first day of the week. I don’t remember exactly how Sunday became the first day of the week (especially since in the Bible that was the last day of creation), but whatever the reason I’m sure I’m not helping or hurting the cause with my own Google calendar settings. I don’t know about you, but my day begins on Monday, right now.

So yesterday, despite Marissa and I having a wonderful day planned, it sort of crashed and burned. First after church we were planning on going out to eat at Bel Air. Bel Air is one of those restaurants that is either really good, or it’s really horrendously bad, and yesterday it was bad. Marissa and I got burritos, and they were wet, cold in the middle, and Marissa found exactly four peas in hers, which makes you wonder if they even meant to put peas in a burrito. And who puts peas on a burrito? “It’s like they made a Shepard’s pie, then suddenly remembered they were a taco place and corrected it last minute,” I joked. I got the steak and eggs breakfast burrito, and it too was underwhelming. But at least Bel Air has those great free taco chips, right? They found a way to mess that up too. I don’t know if this is a permanent change, but instead of the usual big basket of warm chips, the waiter brought out a tiny cereal bowl that had only handful of chips. Rodney commandeered the first bowl for himself, and I don’t blame him. The amount of chips the waiter set down at the table were just about the amount that I would pour for Rodney at home, except this was supposed to be for three people. I really hope that’s not a permanent change. The chips were one of the great things Bel Air had going for it, and good chips can save an iffy dinner.

After lunch, we drove to the apple & pumpkin orchard. Marissa had read online that the place we were going to was one of the best. We were bundled up and looking forward to wandering around a pumpkin patch, trying some apples, and just having the perfect cozy fall experience. We parked next to the sign, got out of the car, and apart from a small building with some pumpkins set out on an indoor table, we couldn’t find anything. Marissa asked someone where all the animals were, and they directed us across the street to a small sheep pen. We wandered over, and indeed, there was just a small sheep pen. Being completely unmanned, it felt a little strange bothering the sheep, like we were trespassing on somebody’s hobby farm and harassing their animals. At least one of the sheep was friendly enough to wander over and hang out with Rodney.

We wandered across the street and back into the building to pick out some apples. They were out of honey crisps. I’m no apple connoisseur, but going by Marissa Honey Crisp apples were the main reason she wanted to come. We sampled some apple slices, bought a pumpkin, and left.

On the way home, Marissa and I talked about the apple orchard in her home town. It was a big sprawling farm, there were hay bales for kids to climb on, wooden cutouts to take pictures with, fruit samples and animals galore, and a big pumpkin patch where you could wander around and pick your favorite pumpkin right off the vine. I think that’s the kind of place we were both expecting, and our disappointment was mutual. Rodney would have loved the orchard in Rochester. I guess it all wasn’t a bust. He got to pet a sheep, and he picked out a pumpkin for carving later this week.

We returned home, and having already struck out with our lunch choice and the orchard, it suddenly became one of those days where you had to take a nap and just start over. We put Rodney down, and Marissa and I fell asleep on the couch letting the TV play quietly. I woke up an hour later to Rodney crying. I think he had a nightmare, because he was saying something about “momma” and “ghosts”. I asked him if he wanted to go to the grocery store, and he quickly nodded. “Sometimes when you have a really weird nightmare, it helps to do something very routine to shake it off,” I explained.

He was eager to go shopping, so we took our time. We walked around the store taking in Hy-Vee’s Halloween decorations, picking up some steak, potatoes, and mushrooms. As we went down the bread aisle to find Mom’s favorite blueberry bagels, Rodney excitedly yelled out “DAD! DANCING!” I glanced up to find him indeed dancing. Something about that aisle puts him in a dancing mood I guess. We spent a few minutes spinning, waving our arms, and I tried to show him how to moon walk. Having a three year old is a great excuse to dance, and dancing feels good.

We got home a little late, so I jumped on dinner. I roasted some red potatoes and made a mushroom stuffing. I wanted to mash up some hard boiled egg yolks into the stuffing, but I must have miscalculated how hot the water was, and when it came time to peel the eggs, a beautiful yellow egg yolk fell right out into the sink. “So it looks like we’re skipping the eggs,” I yelled from the kitchen.

I fried a steak on some cast iron. It wasn’t a perfect dinner, but at least it was better then our lunch. I have a feeling I paid just a little too much for those steaks. We ate dinner, then watched an episode of Blippi on the couch before putting Rod to bed. I cleaned the kitchen and Marissa straightened up the basement. About an hour later, she proudly showed me her new basement wood-cutting corner. It’s been a pleasure to see her slowly conquer the basement. The section of “junk” has been slowly receding further into the corner, like a melting iceberg.

We watched We Bought A Zoo. In my book, that would be a perfect movie if Matt Damon weren’t in it. “You know he’s really not that good looking,” Marissa laughed while the movie was paused during a close up of his face.

In about four minutes, my on-call shift ends. This week, I’m hoping to clean up my IT corner. With Marissa’s help, I’d like to install some shelves and make a nice corner to display my fancy new kubernetes cluster.

Have a great day everyone. Be generous with taco chips, and grocery shopping is a great way to shake off the nightmares.