Thursday, December 26 2019

naps, nvgs, bowling, and fried plastic

Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone! Hope you all had a wonderful and relaxing holiday. Our Christmas morning yielded good gifts, good food, and great naps. Isn't it funny how little of the day Christmas morning actually takes up? After Marissa and I spent all morning preparing gifts and a delicious breakfast all to give Rodney that magical coming down the stairs on Christmas morning sensation, it's funny how suddenly you don't know what to do with yourself.

"Christmas is a weird day," I said to Marissa. We were both up in our bedroom putting things away.

"Don't say that about Christmas - it's the best day of the year," Marissa said. I could tell that I had unintentionally slighted her favorite holiday, and I reeled to clarify my stance.

"Look, I'm not a Christmas hater -"

"You're a Christmas hater. You hate Christmas." Marissa stood squarely at her closet door, interrupting me to emphasize her point."

"It's just a weird day - that's all I'm saying," I sheepishly continued. "For an hour in the morning, our house feels like a Norman Rockwell painting, but then afterwards, what do we do with ourselves? It's a whole day!" Marissa finally smirked. "Did you know that while you were napping, I put my apron on and then just paced around looking for things to do?" I said, my voice growing louder.

"It's a weird day, I'll give you that," Marissa nodded.

And that's true - while Marissa slept on the couch, I put my apron on and looked for things to put away. After Marissa woke, I took a three hour nap, and at the end of it all the three of us were vaguely rested, yet groggy, and hungry, yet full. We were on the fence about how to spend our evening. We thought about seeing a movie, but the only viable choice in theaters was Spies in Disguise - which to be frank, sitting through an animated movie where Will Smith voices a talking pigeon sounded worse than Chinese water torture. "We could go bowling," I suggested. Marissa shrugged her shoulders agreeably, and Rodney overhearing the suggestion began to jump up and down. "Bowling bowling bowling," he cried as he bounced around the living room.

We prepared to leave, and as Rodney was putting his shoes on, he made it clear he was bringing his "NVG's". The play tools set we bought - ahem - santa brought him for Christmas included some goggles, and Rodney assumed they were night vision goggles. NVG's for short.

We drove to Dream Lanes on the east side. We ordered a pizza, I got a beer, and we all bowled terribly. Rodney beat Marissa and I by at least thirty points, but he had bumpers and a metal ramp to guide the ball into the middle of the pins. As Marissa and I alternated helping him bowl, I jokingly lined up the metal ramp with the gutter and said, "alright Rod, we're gonna try a new technique here." Marissa - or Prison Mike if we're going to use her bowling scoreboard alias, cackled behind us.

We returned home and put Rodney to bed. Then suddenly feeling energized from all the napping and extra sleep accumulated from the day off, I decided to redo my IT shelf. I ripped all the parts off the wall and got to assembling my new mini ITX case I got for my router. I hit a few snags. As these things usually work out, the back panel obstructed half the plugs behind the motherboard, and with Marissa's help, we had to cut the metal. Marissa's natural craftsmanship took over, and not wanting to leave shoddy work to her name, she took extra time to bend the jagged edges and round them off.

With the motherboard and loose SSD buttoned up in a case, I reassembled my shelf. This time around, the cable management clicked. I was more patient this time around, and while wrapping cables in velcro, it suddenly occurred to me that good cable management is a lot like training vines in a garden. You can't bend every cable to your will, and sometimes it works out if you first see where each cable wants to lie before securing it.

Feeling much better about the arrangement, it was finally time to hit the big red switch on my surge protector. The wall whirred to life, but then suddenly I heard a fizz and a pop behind the Charter modem. Upon further inspection, I had accidentally switched the power cables between the modem and my switch. While my switch seemed to adapt fine, the unexpected difference in voltage appeared to fry my modem. As irony would have it everything about my home network worked perfectly, only there was no Internet. I fished the fried modem out of the wall and brought it to Marissa. "It even kind of smells like fried plastic," she laughed.

So with no connection to the outside world, Marissa and I spent the rest of the night listening to music, and I even played some Splinter Cell on the couch. You can do more without Internet than I remember.

This morning, we're barreling down the high way blaring Rodney's favorite car CD, bound for Minnesota. We're beginning the second half of our holiday duties, this time visiting Marissa's family. At this point, it's hard to tell if we're tired from too much sleep or not quite enough. I'm holding out in hope that after getting some fast food and a crisp diet coke, I'll perk up and be ready to mingle with more extended family.

So that's what we're up to today. I still hold by my stance that Christmas is a weird day. Don't get me wrong - it's great, but at some point I find rhythm and routine more relaxing than a sudden bing of presents and rest. But I don't think that makes me a Christmas hater.

I hope you all have a wonderful post Christmas, whatever that means for you. If you have no plans, and you suddenly find yourself pacing around your house looking for something to do, allow me to recommend bowling. That just might be a new Recker family Christmas tradition.

Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful day.