Sunday, December 1 2019

wet christmas trees, frozen 2, and tiny metal hooks

Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone! And happy December! It's always exciting to roll into another month, isn't it? Visually, seeing 'December' on the calendar is a little terrifying, as now I'm starting to think of everything I need to get done in the month of December. Christmas shopping, Secret Santa contests, end of the year writing - this month it all piles up.

It's gallery day, and we're up a little earlier than normal to get ready. Certainly no time for a pancake party this morning. Today we have to pack the car and set up everything at the Goodman Community Center by ten. Also, sometime today I have to pack Rodney for a little trip to Grandma & Grandpa's house. Today, he's going home with my parents, and we'll pick him up again when we see them this weekend. So this morning, I'm looking to quickly crank out a journal entry before the business and general running around begins.

I think this will be a weird week. I have off work this Thursday and Friday for the Bears game & our Chicago gallery prep and Rodney will be away. And while it sounds like an opportunity to wild out, I'll probably just use the extra time in the evening this week to clean my closet or get ahead of December to-dos. Maybe I'll briefly pick back up the nesting power hour, which I had to take a break from.

Yesterday was a pretty great day. We started the day slow, eating pancakes and sitting around the dining room table talking about the weekend. I cleaned the kitchen while Marissa got ready for her gallery. After cleaning up from breakfast, I purchased three movie tickets for Frozen 2 at our favorite theater.

We had plenty of time before we needed to get to the theater, so we used it to go buy a Christmas tree at Hy-Vee. Admittedly, we rushed our decision a bit. It was cold and drizzling, and after all the hype around letting Rodney make the ultimate decision of which tree we'd take home, he was only interested in jumping in the puddles collecting in the parking lot. "Rodney, touch this tree," I said, gesturing at me and Marissa's choice Frasier. Rodney hesitantly patted the tree. "Look! He made his choice, he wants this one," I joked.

After buying the tree, the guy made quick work of wrapping it in plastic, hoisting it up to the roof of our car, and tying it through our open doors. We made our way home, and with great effort we carried it inside. The rain worried us a bit - we didn't want to set up the wet Christmas tree in our living room only to have it drip rainwater all over the place, but amazingly the tree was already bone dry. I guess with the thousands of little pine needles and oily sap, they're already designed to be water resistant.

We put Rodney down for a nap, and I flopped on the couch and caught up on YouTube videos until a little after five. It was time to make our way to the movie. We jumped in the car and made our way to the theater. We got there about an hour early so we could find a seat at the bar and eat some dinner before heading in. Marissa and I ordered the boneless wings, which were only five bucks, since the Badgers were playing the Gophers in college football. The game was already in the final minutes of the fourth quarter. Families sitting in the dining room were glued to the big projector playing the game. In the last minutes of that game, I learned a lot about the college football rivalry between Minnesota and Wisconsin. When the game was over, the Badgers rushed the field and seized a giant wooden axe leaned up against the goalpost. "Paul Bunyan's Axe" traditionally goes home with whoever wins this game, which always takes place the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

Watching the game with Marissa, we chatted about college football. This year, following professional football much more closely, we have a refreshed perspective. "I think I'm starting to get why it's so exciting," I pondered. "The players make more mistakes, and the plays are bigger. It's like everything ends in a diving catch or an eighty yard run." Marissa nodded. "It's more youthful, too. It feels like the players have more energy."

It came time for us to pay the bill and find our seats to see Frozen 2. Rodney stood in line with Marissa to buy some popcorn while I ran back to the car to see if we remembered to bring an extra diaper. We ended up making it through the evening without needing one, but it's good to be cautious.

About fifteen minutes into Frozen 2, Marissa and I looked at each other, giving each other the this movie is going to be terrible, isn't it eyes. And it was. Frozen 2 was grotesquely bad. None of the songs were catchy, and everything about the movie required so much extra context and explanation, I felt like I was watching Star Trek. I don't want to spoil anything, so I'll leave it at that. Maybe just lower your expectations a bit.

There were also a lot of callbacks to the first Frozen - which is never a good sign, isn't it? Like the movie was begging us for our enjoyment - remember that movie you liked? That's us! We made that movie. So you like this one too, right? So it pleases me to say that Frozen 2 was, indeed, an avalanche of half-formed ideas.

My 'moment of zen' during Frozen 2 had to be when Marissa got up to use the bathroom, and it was just me and Rodney in the big recliners. Frozen 2 was in the middle of introducing some kind of tiny lizard character, as if they didn't have enough marketable characters already. Elsa broke out into song, and Rodney reach up to my mouth and casually popped a wet sweet tart in between my teeth. "HERE YOU GO," he said loudly enough for the whole theater to hear over Elsa singing.

After putting Rodney to bed, Marissa and I watched TV while working on paintings. Marissa taught me how to screw the hanging hooks into the wood frames and tie them together with a thin piece of wire. It took me about twenty minutes to finish the first one, and eventually I gave up on twisting the tiny metal hooks and stuck to just tying wire. There's so much mastery in her process, even in the small things that follow making the actual painting. It baffles me how she's able to apply enough force to that small metal hook to twist it through the wood in a single fluid motion. The process that took me ten minutes at my best took her about 45 seconds in a casual demonstration. "It's ok," Marissa assured me. "I've had a lot of practice. I get blisters from this, you know."

So that's what I got today. Today, a new month - tomorrow, a new week. A half week, anyway. Hope you all have a great day today.