Tuesday, February 18 2020

wallpapers, blacklists, and snowballs through windows

Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone! Happy Tuesday. I hope that you're feeling good today and ready to return to work. I probably relaxed a little too hard this weekend. Whether the extra weekend snacking, the junk food, or the sleeping in is to blame, I'm having a hard time waking up this morning. But I'll get there. The promise of more coffee keeps me interested in getting out the door and on my way to work, and in the end, that's all I need as motivation.

Speaking of relaxation, yesterday was a great day. In the late morning, Marissa surprised me by taking Rodney to Home Depot - leaving me to hang out in the dining room and continue working on code. This week as my IT task, I'm bolting on a photo manager to our internal website where you can quickly upload photos to be added into the random desktop wallpapers and screensavers that appear throughout the house. Using random, regularly rotating photos as the computer wallpaper started out as a small, spontaneous thing that I slapped together one day on our family computer, but it's turned into a real source of joy for me, and I'm happy to invest more time into it. It also felt great to get a long coding session in. It felt good to be alone with my thoughts and clean things up on the homefront.

Marissa and Rodney returned, and while they were out, they picked me up an iced coffee from mocha. Rodney sat at the table with his mango smoothie. For lunch, I made Marissa and Rodney a double batch of Paw Patrol Mac n Cheese. As this is Rodney's favorite meal, there was a lot of pressure on me to make it right. I was under strict orders to skip adding the milk, and not add anything extra like meat or pickles. In the end, my batch was acceptable, and I showed that I could be relied upon for a straight up, no frills bowl of Paw Patrol Mac n Cheese. I heated up a bowl of ramen and joined them at the table for lunch. We toasted our Mocha beverages.

After lunch, I put Rodney down for a nap. I was tempted to return to coding, but as the snow was starting to pickup, I thought it was a good time to do some shoveling. I cleared the deck, porch, and the driveway while the puppies frolicked outside. Despite the accumulating snow, it was a warmer day. I barely felt the need to wear a coat. The snow was also damp and fluffy, and just about perfect for making snowballs. While shoveling, I got distracted by trying to get a snowball onto East Washington from our back deck.

After the sun went down, Marissa slowly woke up from her nap on the couch, and I got Rodney out of his room. The plan was to spend the evening bowling at our usual place. While Marissa got put the dogs away and locked up the house, Rodney and I headed outside to the back porch to play in the snow. Rodney ran around the backyard while I lobbed snowballs at him. Then he started to point to things he wanted me to hit. I threw a snowball at the brick side of our house, his bedroom window, his swingset, and the back door.

"Dude, let me see if I can hit the garage window from here," I said, packing another snowball together. Rodney stood by in anticipation as I cocked my arm and launched the snowball. It struck squarely on the window pane, shattering the glass. A few shards of glass tumbled to the ground. Rodney's mouth dropped. "Uh Oh", he said. Even though it would have been fun to build the moment up and see if Rodney would snitch on me, I instead chose to alleviate his conscience. "It's OK dude," I said. "That window was already broken. Here - let's get the pieces so the dogs don't step on 'em." Marissa came outside as we were picking up the mess. No explanation was needed.

We jumped in the car, drove to Dream Lanes, and found our way to an empty lane. While renting a lane and ordering food, we had an important moment of clarity about our usual bowling alley. "I don't have any working lanes open," said the guy at the counter. "The bumpers don't work, they'll either have to be all up or all down."

"Isn't it weird how we always get stuck with a broken lane?" I asked Marissa after the guy walked back to the counter. "It felt like we walked by several good, empty lanes. And while we're at it, why does it always feel like 75% of this place is booked out for leagues every night?" We started to notice a pattern. Casual, non-league bowlers like us were always assigned lanes 1 through 6. At the other end of the alley, was a group of much more serious players. "They don't even look like they're having fun," commented Marissa.

Our food arrived. They got our order wrong, and they brought us the wrong sized pizza. Instead of asking them to remake it, I instead went back to the counter to order a side of pig wings. "The pig wings are \$10 now," said the kid at the counter. "That's ridiculous," I replied. "Yeah, I know," said the kid at the counter. "I wish I could give you a discount, but I can't."

"Dream Lanes is black listed," I announced, returning from food counter and holding a resolute finger in the air. Black listing is a very serious matter for our family. It happens when enough goes wrong all at once to make us so angry at a restaurant or establishment that we can never go back. By the end of the night, we even had Rodney yelling Ya BLACKLISTED. So to sum up, the Recker family is now officially interviewing for a new bowling alley.

Today should be a good day. This is the final week before we temporarily move out of our house. While we're right on track productivity wise, this is an important week to stay the course. Our house will start to feel really empty as we approach Sunday.

Thanks for reading. Hope you have a wonderful day.