Monday, December 23 2019

grant, bears, travel plans, and doctor's appointments

Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone! It's officially Christmas week. I have the week off work, and a glorious thirteen minutes from now, I finally go off call, and can finally lean into the celebration without having to worry about phone reception and having my laptop around. Luckily it was a pretty uneventful week of on call duty. I don't think I got a single page all weekend, and for the next thirteen minutes I'd like to keep it that way.

This morning, Marissa and I popped out of bed at the same time as our phones chirped and whirred. We have a busy morning. First, we have a doctors appointment across the street. This is the big appointment where we get to find out if the baby is a boy or a girl, and we also get to take home some more vivid, developed ultrasound scans. So we're pretty excited. After the hospital, the plan is to quickly and accurately pack everything in the car we need for an overnight stay in Chicago. We're driving down, then visiting my Grandma on my mother's side and my Grandpa on my father's side. No doubt it will be a busy day of driving and reconnecting.

Speaking of reconnecting, yesterday was a pretty great day. We had planned on having Grant over in the afternoon as a pit stop, but he got tied up, and we ended up convincing him to stay for dinner. We had a great time, and it was wonderful reconnecting with Grant. As we chatted around the dinner table drinking coffee and letting our dinner digest, Rodney paraded every vehicle and dinosaur in his toy fleet at the table for Uncle Grant to observe.

I had a lot of fun talking to Grant. Having now lived in Wisconsin for a solid five year tenure, I had plenty of questions for him - cheese, football, music, politics, VPNs, and wildlife.

Grant is into some cool stuff these days. During the school year, he teaches music at an international school in China, but he also finds time to run Ironman races, brew his own beer, and play keyboard in a band. Living in China, he gets his coffee and his cheese delivered in bulk. I feel weirdly proud of my college roommates. It's still surreal to me that these people who used to sit around the dorm, cussing at each other while playing Mario Kart and eating junk food are now flung all over the world leading, helping, and teaching. I'm proud to be cut from the same cloth - especially Grant.

We said farewell to Grant, and I quickly turned on the Bears game. I hadn't missed much - the Chiefs were already up by a touchdown and change, and the Bears had yet to score. It was a typical Bears game - the defense holding an otherwise great team under twenty points, and the Bears offense struggling to convert long drives into the red zone into actual touchdowns. Hearing the announcers call fourth and one, leaving the sink running I dashed into the dining room to witness what I thought would be a touchdown. Trubisky dropped back and threw a short fade pass to Robinson, which was incomplete. The Chiefs eventually scored another touchdown, and the Bears at least got on the board with a field goal. I didn't expect us to win this game, but NBC was really making a laughing stock out of our team, constantly dredging up the Mahomes & Trubsisky draft drama and talking about what could have been, and at one point they even sunk so low to show a slow motion replay of Parkey's game losing "double doink" field goal that ended last year's season. I'm seriously considering watching football games on mute - with these awful commentators yammering over the games, I'm not sure how much my melting my brain can take and how much hurting my heart can take at this point.

After the game, I retreated upstairs to lick my wounds and burn some CDs. I printed the mixtape labels, cut them out, and taped them to empty CD jackets. They turned out really cool this year. I decided to embrace the oldschool pirated music aesthetic. The labels are sort of jagged, and there are some wrinkles in the clear packaging tape. I hand wrote "2019" on the disk. Hey - it's a mixtape. It's supposed to look a little rough.

The actual audio itself turned out way better than I expected. Marissa and I listened to the playlist while cleaning the house. Just as I had hoped for, the playlist had great momentum, and none of the song transitions take you out of the moment. And this year, I'm proud to say that some low key audio engineering took place. With Audacity now in my software toolbelt, that opens up the possibility for some really interesting side projects.

I'm looking forward to this coming week - seeing family, celebrating, and relaxing. And tomorrow morning, I'm the designated brunch cook. I finally get to show my family what our famous Recker family morning Dutch baby tastes like. I'm bringing my own cast iron pan from home and a fresh unopened jar of clarified butter.

Between visiting my side and visiting Marissa's side, we have Christmas Eve and Christmas day at our place. I'm excited to watch Rodney come down the stairs and open presents. Marissa put a lot of work into the presents this year. "Who are you most excited to watch open their gift?" She asked as we were going to bed. "I don't even remember what we got everyone," I sleepily replied. "The dogs?"

It's time to jump in the shower, then get Rodney out of bed. In forty five minutes, we have a very important doctors appointment where we'll learn if we're having a little girl or another dumb stinky boy. Truth be told, I'm 100% fine with either. Hope you all have a wonderful Monday today, and if you're driving, stay safe. Happy holidays!