Wednesday, January 15 2020

taco tuesday, pasta disagreements, and bath time dancing

Dear Journal,

Well, good morning, everyone. Thanks for stopping by my journal this morning. I hope you're feeling well-rested and ready to attack this bright, chilly Wednesday. As for me, I'm feeling grateful to finally have a regular-feeling day under my belt for this week. Tuesday was absolutely normal. I woke up on time, let the dogs out, had a cup of coffee while I got my notes together for my journal entry, took a shower, got changed, cranked out a journal entry, and jumped on the 8 o'clock bus just as it was turning left onto East Washington. At work, my team postponed our Monday morning team meeting, so I barely felt like I missed anything from the day before.

I spent the rest of the morning working on a document when my coworker Alex messaged me about lunch. Earlier that morning, he told me he wanted to talk work stuff, and I suggested a lunch date. As we got up to get our coats, we simultaneously remembered it was Tuesday - Taco Tuesday. "We can't waste a Taco Tuesday," said Alex.

Bundled up, we briskly paced up the square to Bell Air. The place was just about empty. "You think we'll get in?" I joked. Alex asked for a table for two. "And make it the most romantic table you have," he added.

After ordering a beer and getting a basket of chips, we did some work talk. Alex is our team's technical lead, and while I don't officially report to him as a manager, as I do to Heath, he serves as our team's guide and tiebreaker in all technical matters. I think he's kind of like the oracle in The Matrix - he provides direction without dispensing authority. He asked me about my goals for the team, and where I pictured myself heading. We peppered in plenty of jokes about secretly finding ways to shed responsibility at work, or giving up on all technology to work the rest of our days as fish mongers or farmers.

"Alright, work talk is officially done," said Alex before beginning a new topic. "So what are those types of drums where it's like rubber or plastic instead of a drum?" he asked.

"Ah, those are electric kits. I've never had a set, but they are a lot of fun to play with at guitar center." Mentioning guitar center piqued his interest. "So at guitar center, they pretty much let you do whatever you want without buying anything?" he asked.

"Oh yeah," I replied. "They just hand you a pair of sticks and let you go to town. And those guys are in that room all day, everyday, so it takes a lot to annoy them. We should go screw around with instruments at guitar center sometime, I love doing that."

Alex leaned back in thought. "You know we could make a whole day of this - just trying things without buying them. We could go to a dealership and test drive a really nice car, then go to guitar center and play a bunch of instruments. Then…" His voice trailed off, trying to think of another example.

"Try on a wedding dress?" I suggested. Alex laughed while taking a sip of water.

We wrapped up lunch and walked back to the office. I worked for a little longer, then I had another one on one with my manager, Heath. He asked the usual check-in questions, and followed up on his book recommendation. "Are you still reading that difficult conversations book?" he asked.

"Actually yeah. I have one chapter left. I have a tough time finishing books, so it really says something that I'm actually going to finish this one." I replied. It's true, once I feel like I get the gist of a book, it's hard for me to find the motivation to read to the last page.

"The book is really compelling," I continued. "Now I think about it so much, it's become a challenge to make the words and ideas sound like my own when I put them into practice." Heath nodded along.

That's been true for this book, dealing with conflict, dealing with my anger, and in any other way I've worked on myself. People might notice that you're trying to do something different. People you deal with might feel like you're coaching them, analyzing them, or reading something out of a book, and that can be off-putting. Learning a new perspective is only half the battle. The other half is implementing the perspective in your day to day life, and getting people to trust that you're not just using them to practice something.

I worked through the rest of the afternoon, then booted off my laptop to jump on the bus. Back at home, I retrieved Rodney from his bedroom so we could go to Hy-Vee. On the drive over, Rodney told me about his day. He went with mom to Canine Sports Zone, and Shawna's dad showed him some of the tools in his shop.

We shopped, eventually ending up in the pasta section. Rodney and I get in disagreements over pasta, and sometimes it gets a little difficult to navigate. I wanted him to choose between spirals, wagon wheels, and maybe even macaroni - all great choices for fazool - but Rodney had other ideas. "THIS ONE," he said, holding up a bag of long spooled up egg noodles. "No dude, not that one," I said. "Why not?" he fired back. He wore a look of betrayal on his face, as if he were thinking, "but I thought I would get to pick which pasta we use."

"This one," said Rodney less enthusiastically, holding up a bag of spirals. "Now we're talking," I replied, dropping it in the cart.

Before leaving the store, we queued up in front of the Hy-Vee customer service counter so I could buy a bus pass. We ended up waiting there for ten minutes. Somebody in the front of the line was dealing with a money order. Rodney entertained himself admirably, playing with his boots, tossing around his chocolate egg, and playing high five games with me.

Back at home, Rodney stayed on the porch to shovel snow with his new snow shovel while I cooked. Marissa too lingered in the kitchen to enjoy the free smells of bacon, onions, and garlic. We ate dinner, then Marissa gave Rodney a bath. On an impulse, I wandered into the bathroom with my guitar and started singing Purple Haze, using my own Rodney bath time lyrics. Rodney stood up and danced in the bathtub. Sorry, Internet - that home video is for our eyes only.

It was a good day, and I had plenty to be thankful for. This morning, I'm working from home. I'm looking forward to getting some quiet time to work while lounging around the house. I also have my doctor's appointment this morning, and as you could imagine, I'm eager to see how things are doing.

Hope you all have a wonderful day.