Saturday, November 16 2019

puffy pancakes, robot dinosaurs, and naps before bed

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Dear Journal,

Good morning everyone! And I say ‘good morning’ in the most generous sense of the word. It’s about 11:43 AM, and there are only a few more minutes in the day where this qualifies as a morning journal entry.

At least I made pretty good use of the time. I slept in by my standards, rolling out of bed just a little after nine. Rodney was awake, so I got him ready for the day. Later we plan on checking out the touring mechanical robot dinosaur show at the Alliant Energy center, so to celebrate the day he wore his green dinosaur sweater. When we finally roll up to the show later today, he’ll no doubt look like the biggest dinosaur fan in the building.

Rodney and I let the dogs out, then cleaned up the kitchen from last night’s pizza. “Dude, whoever cleans the kitchen at night should be fired - what a bum!” I teased. Rodney repeated, “What a bum!”. Truth be told, after a long week of ticket duty, chores, and Kids Code, I was supremely burnt out, and filling my stomach with pizza and beer was the straw that broke the camel’s back, and that camel had no choice but to just collapse on the couch for the rest of the night.

We brushed the crumbs off the cutting bored, did a quick load of dishes, then shifted our focus to making breakfast. “What’s it gonna be today, dude? We got eggs, flour, butter, a stale loaf of bread - the sky is the limit,” I said.

“Dutch Baby!” Rodney yelled, gesturing at the stove. Of course he picked the hard one. That recipe calls for clarified butter, and even though we just went to the market yesterday, I totally spaced and forgot to grab another jar of clarified butter. But Rodney’s enthusiasm for puffy German pancakes inspired me to make it ourselves.

We dropped a stick of butter in the pan and turned the heat on. As we waited for it to melt, we gathered the ingredients. Rodney cracked three eggs into a bowl, guided by my hands. “There you go dude, just crack them in the middle and open it like a book,” I instructed. The egg crumpled in his tiny fingers. “Perfect,” I said as I fished the egg shells out with my pinky finger.

Once the butter was melted, I used a spoon to skim off the fat, doing my best to keep as much butter around as possible. As I’m writing this, I realize I probably should have used the cheese cloth I have. You’d think after buying cheese cloth and finding a place to store it, I’d find any excuse to break it out. But a spoon worked fine.

Melted down without the fat, a stick of butter doesn’t seem like that much food - just a shimmering pool of yellow liquid that barely covered the bottom of my saucepan. We dumped it into the bottom of a skillet and stuck it in the oven. Rodney shifted his attention to building a tower out of his toy bulldozer and some measuring cups left over from making the batter. I remembered earlier this week when I scolded him for screwing around in the kitchen. “That’s great dude, just keep working on that tower,” I said. I was making a point to be distinctly pro-screwing around. Since my burnt rice bad day, that’s the new policy. Rodney nodded dutifully and went back to balancing the truck toy on top.

We blended the ingredients together. Rodney likes to hit the blender button, but sometimes forget that the lid needs to be fastened first. I do my best to unplug the blender so he doesn’t get into trouble. When he helps me in the kitchen, I try to let him use as many tools as possible. I don’t want him to be afraid of knives, scissors, stoves. and other appliances. Sometimes that liberal philosophy backfires - last night while he was helping me cut onions, he managed to pinch his finger pretty hard with a butter knife - but for the most part it’s worked out pretty well.

We dumped the batter into the hot skillet. It hissed, then melted into the butter. Rodney scampered off to watch Dinosaur Train while the pancake baked in the oven - I told you it was a dinosaur kind of day.

Marissa emerged, and we ate breakfast at the table, then we excused Rodney to go watch some more TV. I was planning on getting an early jump on journaling, but Marissa and I just stayed at the table, drank coffee and talked instead. It’s been a crazy week, and it felt good to just sit and talk while the pancakes digested. We talked about how Marissa is dealing with the pregnancy, peppering the conversation with Office quotes and other jokes. Marissa recalled the scene where Pam is pregnant and absent-mindedly spits her gum on the floor.

The slow, easy morning has already set the mood for this weekend. We have nothing planned for today except for hanging out with some robot dinosaurs sometime in the afternoon. We’ll leave some time after lunch, taking plenty of time to graze on pizza leftovers from last night.

Last night, we started the third matrix movie, so back into the action. I only made it about a half hour before I started to doze off. Marissa switched the TV over to the Harry Potter movie she was watching earlier so I could sleep without missing any of the action. I must have gotten a solid 45 minutes of sleep in before she woke me to head upstairs for the night. Taking a nap right before bedtime - how excellent is that?

Sleep. Breakfast. Coffee. Dinosaurs. Life is pretty great right now. And by the looks of it, it looks like it’s warming up outside. It might be a good day for an ambitious outdoor project, or a long walk around the neighborhood.

Whatever you get up to today, I hope you make time for dinosaurs. And I think I might be on to something with this whole “nap before bed” thing. I think it’s got legs. “#NapBeforeBed” even makes a pretty snappy hashtag.

Hope you all have a wonderful day today. Here’s to catching up on sleep, long weekends, and of course, dinosaurs. Where would we be without dinosaurs?