Tuesday, January 21 2020
snuggling, cleanliness, energy, and pinball

Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone! Happy Tuesday, and welcome back to the work week. This morning was kind of a strange morning - I woke up when it was still dark outside, and assuming I had more hours of sleep, I got up to get a drink of water, running into a dog crate on the way to the bathroom. The clattering metal scared the dogs out of bed, then seeing me walking around, they immediately assumed it was their breakfast time. So they excitedly followed me as I sleepily trudged to the bathroom. Before climbing into bed, I saw on my phone that it was 6:10 AM - a mere twenty minutes before my alarm normally wakes me for the workday. In defiance to Tuesday mornings everywhere, I gently dragged Ziggy from her spot at the foot of our bed all the way to my side, sharing my pillow with her. I spent the duration of my twenty minutes of freedom snuggling with her. Sure - I could have gotten up early, and maybe did something artsy like sip coffee and stare out the window at the sun coming up. But time spent with your dogs is never time wasted.

But now the time for snuggling has ended, and I’m back in the swing of things. Walking around my house this morning, I couldn’t help but feel satisfied. Marissa and I spent some of last night catching up on chores and tidying up the house, and that time was well spent. This morning, basking in the cleanliness of our kitchen, living room, dining room, and even our basement, it all made me think of a new Dutch phrase I learned earlier this week: Alles staat op zijn plek, meaning Everything stands in its place. Everything was right where it should be, and even though I haven’t even left the house yet, I can’t wait to return.

And even though we have a shorter week ahead of us, it will be a busy one, and I feel the need to savor every minute I feel motivated to do something. Speaking of winter more generally, finding energy to do things is practically impossible. There’s so much to do, and all the while every fiber of your mammalian body is just telling you to load up on carbs and sleep. That’s at least how I’ve felt all winter - like a reluctant, hungry bear. So I think it’s pretty rare that I’m feeling energetic. I wish I could save off that feeling for later.

Yesterday was a pretty nice day. Coming down the stairs after writing my morning journal entry, Marissa pointed out “when I said something crazy, I meant like cleaning the basement or something.” I laughed, then shrugged my shoulders. “Well, I promised we’d do something fun. So which would you rather do?” We went with something fun, of course. Marissa caught a baby cold, and for some reason schlepping trash out of our basement didn’t feel like a good use of a Monday off work.

We spent the rest of the day lounging around the house, and I carved out time to work on my first project card that involved code. I modified our chores tracking tool to send morning reminders, summarizing all the chores that were due that day. Believe it or not, on some days you’re too busy to even check a website, so I could appreciate the need for a friendly proactive reminder. Marissa and I had also joked that our chores tracker is kind of like a manager bearing down on us. “Boss is really giving it to us today, huh?” I’d remark while checking the site at night. Perhaps now that it sends us messages in the morning, we can build on that lore.

We all took a long nap in the afternoon. I dosed off on the couch until dark, then we got our things together to go to the Ale Asylum. And as soon as I uttered the phrase pinball machines within earshot of Rodney’s room, he sprung out of bed. This was the crazy thing we had settled on for our day-off.

At the Ale Asylum, after we ate dinner, Marissa handed Rodney five single dollar bills, which he carefully folded and slipped into his front jean pocket. It was so funny to me, because even though the pinball machines were twenty feet from where we were sitting, he still felt the need to secure the money as if he were going on a long excursion. Rodney led me by the hand to the dark gaming corner, lined wall to wall with blinking lights and reverberating with the exciting sound of shaking metal and electronic melodies. Rodney stood before the machines, carefully selecting one to spend the bills stowed away in his pocket. A group of older guys occupied a Stranger Things pinball machine to our right. A guy waiting with them looked at Rodney and smiled. “Don’t overthink it buddy, just go with the one that has the most lights,” he laughed. Rodney pulled up a chair to a Batman pinball machine pushed all the way against the wall. He slipped a dollar into the front, and off we went.

Marissa closed out our bill and joined us. We played pinball for another half hour, and I even got some cash of my own. And something that really confounded me - Rodney scored much higher than I did, even when I was on my own machine trying my best. Pinball is fickle like that I guess. Maybe I was overthinking it. Maybe pinball is one of those things better approached from the perspective of a child - just follow the lights.

I think that’s a good note to end on. I hope you all have an amazing week. As for me, we are approaching the greatly anticipated Water Slides with Cousins weekend, so I’m sure there will be no shortage of excitement and motivation to get through this short, packed week. What are you looking forward to this weekend?

Thanks for reading, and happy Tuesday.