Sunday, February 2 2020

crafty fair, grocery shopping, and a good cleaning tip

Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone! We're feeling a bit rushed this morning. Both Marissa and I slept in a mere half hour past our alarm, but it's funny how so few minutes can change how a whole morning feels, isn't it? It's going to be tight, and there's little room for error, but I think we're going to make it. I've got a cup of coffee, Rodney is eating a bowl of cereal by the TV with some cut up strawberries (Rodney's Favorites, Item #5), and I'm next in line for a shower.

Yesterday was a much slower, more relaxing morning. We slept in, and I let Rodney eat some cut up Eggo waffles on the couch while watching water slide videos. After breakfast, I cleaned him up, and Marissa set him up with toys and a movie before leaving for agility. I'd be able to code the rest of the morning in the dining room.

I'm definitely in a coding phase these days. Over the past few days, I've even left some code on the screen in the dining room, chipping away at it sometimes whenever I walk by. It's funny how I go through phases like that.

Finally as it started to approach the middle of the day, Rodney got bored with his movie and started to bother me. He brought toys from the living room one by one and shoved them onto the desk. I brought you prizes, he'd say, then run back and get more. I've often wondered at how his toys end up in piles on the computer desk, but thanks to yesterday, that's no longer a mystery.

"You can always tell the days where I pay bills and I'm really productive on the family computer," Marissa told me. "Because there's usually a big stack of Rodney's toys from when he brings me prizes and tries to get me to play with him." Mystery solved.

Rodney and I made some lunch. He helped me assemble a peanut butter and jelly for his plate, and I heated up leftover chicken and potatoes for mine. Rodney watched with concern as I dabbed hot sauce all over my bowl. "Careful Dada," he said, gesturing at me. "Spicy."

"Thanks for the heads up dude," I said nodding.

"Drink your biertje," Rodney replied, pointing at my beer. I obediently took a swig from the bottle. "All better," commented Rodney.

We cleaned up from lunch, showered, and got ready for the day, dressing in some warm clothes in preparation for our long walk. Even though it was barely above freezing temperature, the sun, warmer air, and melting ice made it feel like the first spring day all year. We jumped in Rodney's big blue wagon and headed down our street. Rodney sat in the wagon with his fists stuffed in his coat pocket.

As we passed the community center in our neighborhood, I noticed a sign that said Crafty Fair, 10-4. "Let's check it out dude," I said to Rodney. "If anything, we can just walk around and warm up for a few minutes." We parked our wagon out front, hung our coats up, and wandered between the crowded craft booths. Rodney liked looking at the tiny succulent plants, paintings, and pottery. In the upper level, there was a vendor selling vintage clothes.

"What are vintage clothes?" Marissa asked later. I started a waffled explanation. "You know… like if you want a bright red windbreaker with the Nintendo logo, or an 80's batman graphic T shirt." Marissa laughed, "Oh, so it's basically good will."

Rodney and I braved some more light sales pressure to buy handmade soaps and homemade popcorn, but we resisted, and headed outside to stretch our legs on the playground. The park whipped him into a frenzy of childish excitement, leaping through the wet snow from one play fixture to the next, yelling at the top of his lungs. "DADA WATCH THIS" he yelled, spinning in fast circles on a seat fixed to a metal pole. "DADA WATCH THIS," now running dizzily to the slide.

Soon, the sun went down behind some clouds, and it started to get cold. We jumped back in our wagon and finally got back on track to walk to the grocery store. Well past his usual naptime, Rodney started to crash, quietly slumping back in his wagon.

The grocery store was busy. As we stood waiting to pick up our steaks from the meat counter, Rodney left the lobster tank and rejoined me, standing patiently with his hands at his side. "Did you get sick of looking at the lobsters?" I asked. "Ah, the lobsters must be sleeping or something," I said, answering my own question.

While making the final rounds to pick up cream and milk, Rodney fell off the cart, bumping his head on the juice shelf. Rodney shed brief tears, but after a quick hug and a chocolate milk from the shelf, we were back on our way, checking out and packing the wagon with groceries. By the time we got home, Rodney was so tired that he offered to put himself to bed. "Rodney do it, I can do it myself," he said, scooping up his blanket and stuffed animals off the couch and slowly trudging upstairs. I still joined him upstairs to check his work, and get him into a diaper.

Rodney slept, and after putting on a Marvin Gaye album, I got to cooking dinner. I was preparing steak with mushroom sauce, and a side of brown butter potatoes. The steak and mushroom sauce was a tried and true recipe - butter, shallots, forest mushrooms, cream, reduced stock and leftover water from soaking the mushrooms. But the potatoes fell apart on me. It turns out that if you cook peeled potatoes in a saucepan with butter, it had better be non stick. Over an hour, after continuous frying and detaching, they had left a nasty layer of burnt starch and butter caked to the bottom. Though I was still able to salvage some pretty decent buttery mashed potatoes from the wreckage, cleaning that pan would be a problem later. "As a final step," I said in my best food blogger personality voice, "just throw that pan in the garbage, because it's ruined and you will never use it again."

I didn't throw the pan away. Quite the opposite actually - last night I discovered a great way to clean pans afflicted with tough, burnt residue. I filled it with water, added a drop of dish soap, and got it up to a rolling boil on the stove. After only fifteen minutes, I was able to scrape the bottom of the pan with a heat proof rubber spatula, and the residue came off immediately. So that's my current favorite cleaning tip, and I hope it saves you the same twenty minutes of scraping and scrubbing in the sink that it saved me.

After dinner, we put Rodney to bed, and I caught up on chores while Marissa did a resin session in the basement. Ziggy was so tired from agility that she stayed curled up in the same spot in the armchair. Checking on her periodically through the night, she looked like a tiny fuzzy throw pillow.

That's what I got today. This morning, we're going to church, picking up groceries, and having some friends over to watch the super bowl. I was tempted to wear my Bears jersey to church, and just the thought of how inappropriate and controversial that would be still makes me laugh, but I think I'll abstain and just wait until I get home.

Hope you all have a wonderful day, and here's to an entertaining super bowl. Have a great Sunday - thanks for reading!