Saturday, December 14 2019

fire alarms, bubble gum dares, shakes, and christmas lights

Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone! Hope you're feeling good today. Rodney and I have been up for a little over an hour now, and it's been a slow ramp up for both of us. He's still getting over his cold, and I guess from taking such a long nap yesterday he's up early, and was feeling cranky. But after a some milk and a couple episodes of Blippi - and a couple cups of coffee for me - we're both getting there, and it's starting to feel like a regular Saturday morning.

I'm pretty groggy from yesterday. After putting Rodney to bed, I crashed on the couch under a blanket with Ziggy close by. The next thing I remember was Marissa shaking me sometime around eleven, asking me if I wanted a grapefruit. I sat up, and we watched some TV while we ate, before finally heading upstairs again around midnight. It felt great to get some extra sleep, but now all I want to do is keep sleeping, so this morning I'm just trying to build some momentum and have a productive day.

Yesterday was a pretty great day. There was a small shake-up at work in the morning when some construction on another floor accidentally set off the fire alarm. My work hadn't sent any emails about a fire drill, so after we all filed down the stairwell and out to the capitol building lawn, my team stood around and postulated about what could have triggered it. "You know I heard on NPR that buildings are so safe these days that the average firefighter only sees one actual fire per year," said my teammate. Standing around with my team, I noticed that I absent-mindedly carried my coffee mug down the stairs and outside with me, filled to the brim with warm coffee. I'm so used to carrying my Seinfeld mug with me wherever I go, it's hard to break the habit even in an emergency evacuation. But it was pretty chilly, and it took at least ten minutes for the fire department to shut off the tripped alarm, so I must have looked pretty smart to some people, comfortably sipping hot coffee outside.

They gave us the all clear, and we all groaned knowing that we would now have to now climb eight flights of stairs back up to our floor. "I'm going to be an hour late to stand-up," I announced to my team. "I'm going to wait for the elevator." Eyes rolled.

After ascending the stairs, we stood around by our stand-up spot catching our breath. I started fiddling with a pack of Hubba Bubba that I bought and contribute to our common gum & mints stash. "You should put the whole thing in your mouth," said my team lead. The others nodded in approval. I shrugged, then slipped the whole roll of Hubba Bubba in my mouth and started chewing. "By the end of this stand-up meeting," I said through gum & drool, "I'm gonna blow a bubble just watch."

And I did blow a bubble - a tiny one. Hubba Bubba is a pretty terrible gum all around. It's chalky, it loses it's flavor immediately, and it falls apart in your mouth. I don't know how I ended up being the guy that does things just because people dare me to, but I like the street cred. I'm reminded of the time I ate a whole wad of wasabi of somebody's plate during a team sushi lunch. No doubt, there has to be some middle child psychology at play.

The rest of the work day was pretty normal. I worked through the morning, then took a break around 11 to heat up my soup and eat it at a spot at the 7th floor bar overlooking the capital. I career highlights of Brian Urlacher from my phone. Brian Urlacher was a scary guy, wasn't he? It's terrifying how fast he could move for how big he is.

As the work day concluded, we all met back at our section to pack our desks. Next week, they're moving us down to the sixth floor of the building. Just before heading home, we took a walk around where we'd be sitting. I think I came out pretty lucky in this desk move. I have a nice quiet corner seat overlooking the lake, and it feels much closer to the ground, which is pretty cozy.

After getting home, I made a pizza, and we ate it at the table. Rod had just woken up from a monster nap, so he was groggy and a little grumpy. "You know," my wife spoke up. "Rod and I had an idea today, Dad." Rodney stopped chewing and widened his eyes in anticipation. "We wanted to know if we could go get a chocolate shake, then go check out the Christmas lights on John Nolan," she continued.

"Chrimbiss Lights?!" Rodney exclaimed.

I paused and furrowed my brow, pretending to deliberate. "Well… I suppose so. But we better leave now."

We all packed in the car, dogs included, then after stopping by Portillo's for some late night shakes, we continued driving to the John Nolan park. As we crossed the lake, we could already see a big cluster of colorful Christmas lights coming into view. We inched the car slowly through a giant lit tunnel, which started to flicker and change colors. There was a fighter jet, giant football helmet, dancing Bucky the Badger, and a big bulldozer driven by Santa all made up by colorful Christmas lights. The last installation was a replica of the Madison capitol. It made me laugh, because the Christmas lights version sort of just looked like a stubby summer sausage stuck into some glowing blocks, and it looked even sillier because it stood in front of the actual capitol building well visible from across the lake. We took at least three more laps around the Christmas lights, then went home.

So that's what I got today. Yesterday, after getting back, I basically got right to recharging. I spent the rest of the night passed out on the couch under some blankets, and between you and me, I plan on doing some more of that today. After of course I clean up from yesterday's pizza.

Hope you have a wonderful day, and a restful weekend. Next week is the last week before Christmas, so if you're like me and you'll be doing a lot of last minute planning, gifting, and driving, I'd get as much rest as possible this weekend. Thanks for reading, and happy Saturday!