Tuesday, January 7 2020

old scallops, peppermint chocolate, and a glass of water

1031 words

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone! How is everybody doing today on this wonderful winter morning? I checked the forecast this morning before heading downstairs, as I usually do, and “light snow” caught my attention. Remember to bundle up today, it looks like today might actually feel like a mid January winter day. Realistically, we seem to get most of our snow in the early spring don’t we? This past December, we barely had any snow, so now these days I just expect to get buried in January, February, and maybe even March.

I’m not going to lie to you, reader. I’m having a hard time waking up this morning - as if talking about the weather and snow is going to help. Something about this early January has been really tiring me out. I’m actually tempted to blame the same cold that we all caught during our holiday travels. My nose was pretty stuffed up this morning, and I have to wonder if the effects are still lingering. But colds be damned - the only remedy for unexplained tiredness is just to keep marching on and hope something changes.

Yesterday, to my advantage, was not as busy as I thought it would be. My only code screen of the day was a no-show. Someone not showing up to an interview doesn’t always necessitate a tragic misunderstanding. I bet some of these college kids must apply to a whole slew of internships, and when they accept one, they might not have time to cancel all the other outstanding offers and interviewers. And believe me, I absolutely don’t mind a no-show either. As I told our recruiter, all it means for me is I get thirty free minutes to work on something alone in a private room, or better yet just sit back in my chair and not think about anything. I’m reminded of the classic John Mulaney bit - “cancelling plans is like heroine - it’s instant relief.”

So yesterday worked out just fine, and it wasn’t as busy of a work day as I anticipated. Today should be kind to me too. I have some meetings in the morning, and assuming I can find something juicy to work on, I should have plenty of quiet coding time for the rest of the day.

After work, I took Rodney to Hy-Vee, as we usually do. We picked up pasta, garlic, and a half pound of scallops from the meat counter. I left the card pressed up against the lobster tank to Rodney to peak his head in. “Lobsters are sleeping,” Rodney reported back with disappointment in his voice. Ever since he happened to witness a passionate lobster fight at the Jenny Street market, just seeing lobsters chilling in a tank of water doesn’t do it for him anymore.

Heading up to the checkout, we stopped by the big basket of chocolate Kinder eggs, as we normally do. While digging around for an egg, Rodney found a misplaced peppermint white chocolate bar. He held it in front of me, signaling that he made his choice. “Are you sure dude,” I questioned. “This is peppermint, it might not taste like what you’d expect.” Rodney held it closer to my face, persisting. We unwrapped it in the car, and taking the first bite, he declared “SO TASTY.” So I guess it worked out.

At home, Rodney played with his toys in the living room while I prepared dinner. The plan was to make garlic pasta, then somewhere in the mix, find time and stovetop space to fry some scallops in brown butter. As I opened the bag of scallops over the sink, a very funky puff of old fish filled my nostrils and made me wince. I rolled me eyes. Sometimes, I don’t even know why I bother with Hy-Vee’s scallops. For most items - beef, chicken, pork, even white fish - they do a pretty good job of making sure everything is fresh and edible. But I knew I shouldn’t have rolled the dice on the bucket of tiny limp scallops sitting in murky water. I know a savvy fish shopper would have asked to smell them before buying, but I go to Hy-Vee every day, and I don’t want to be marked as that guy who asks to smell the fish. “Whatever,” I thought. “They might not be fresh, but I trust Hy-Vee just enough to not make us sick.”

The meal turned out just fine. Brown butter, lemon zest, and garlic cover a multitude of old seafood sins. I even toasted some slices of leftover french bread in the butter and smeared it with tomato pesto. As we ate, Marissa told me about all the projects she got done around the house. “I saw what you did to our bedroom,” I remarked. “It’s so cozy now, I almost feel lucky I get to sleep there.” Marissa nodded. Earlier that day, we reflected on the state of things. We’ve put a lot of work into this house, but sometimes our bedroom goes unnoticed. For the longest time, we didn’t even have a bed - it was just a mattress on the corner.

I led Rodney upstairs to bed. We had a small confrontation that led me to raise my voice. “Dada go drink water you’ll feel better,” he said drying up his tears. “You want a glass of water?” I asked. “No,” he insisted. “Dada drink water and feel better.” He led me by the hand over to the sink, and poured me a half glass of water from the sink, handing it to me. “See? All better.”

Though sweet, that moment was kind of puzzling to me. Later Marissa clarified. “He woke up crying one night, and I told him drinking a glass of water would make him feel better,” she explained. It’s sweet that he took it as life advice. And he’s not wrong, is he? Getting a glass of water always makes you feel better.

That’s what I got today. Hope you have a wonderful Tuesday. Rodney reminds you that if you’re upset about something today, take time to get a glass of water. It will make you feel better.