Thursday, February 20 2020

4 am, trips to the dump, and baked beans



Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone! Hope you’re feeling good today. We have a lot to be thankful for today. The only thing standing between us and a well-deserved weekend is just this measly Thursday. I don’t know about you, but I eat Thursdays for breakfast.

So there’s a bit of gritty motivation to get you started. I slept pretty well, despite waking up at 4 AM. I don’t know if I woke up first, or if Rodney woke me up somehow, but we had a funny little interaction a few hours ago where I sat down in his bed and gave him a sip of water. He emptied the plastic cup, and his head hit the pillow immediately after. I could have sworn he was already snoring by the time I cracked his door and said g’night, dude. I too, of course, fell right back asleep until my usual wake up time.

At the moment, everyone who is supposed to be sleeping is contentedly sleeping. I’m seated comfortably at my desk, wearing my favorite hoodie and a worn pair of blue jeans. My desktop wallpaper is the ceiling of an outdoor tent packed with hanging paper Asian lamps - a picture we took last time we were in Amsterdam.

Yesterday was a pretty good day. Working from home, I warmed up for the day with a cup of coffee, setting Rodney up on the couch with a cereal bar, some juice, and some Paw Patrol re-runs. I attended our morning stand-up from the dining room table. Rodney, curious as to what I was up to, wandered over and joined me at the table, craning his neck into my webcam before the meeting ended and we all bid farewell. My morning rolled into a second meeting with my tech lead, where we filled out a google doc’s worth of questions dredged from my research that week. He demonstrated admirable patience, taking the time to answer each question in my bullet-pointed list spewed from my stream of conscious. It was a great discussion.

By the time Marissa had returned from dog class, I felt like I had done over an hour of talking. Marissa needed my help loading garbage into the car for a trip to the dump, and the physical labor sounded like a nice change of pace. “We can drop the stuff off at the dump before lunch,” she explained. “Nothing feels better than returning from the dump with an empty car, and that will make lunch so much better.”

We started with the old resin table. Remember the one caked with old resin, latex gloves and plastic gloves stuck to the surface like a post-modern art installation? Well that post-modern piece has camping out on our deck, too large to fit into the shed. We hauled it into the trunk, followed by bags of garbage, pvc poles, and the remaining wood from the basement bookshelf that I tore down. With the car packed, we made our way behind Hy-Vee and pulled into the dump. Rodney was on high alert, vigilantly watching out the window, waiting to point out every police car, bucket truck, and bulldozer that came into view. “We found out yesterday that sometimes ambulances, fire trucks, and police cars fill up on gas here,” said Marissa. “So really you need to be ready to see anything at the dump.”

We parked, got out, and flung each piece of garbage into the appropriate dumpster. Last to leave was the resin table. Marissa started to flag down an attendee for help, but before she could find someone, I hoisted the table into the dumpster myself, grunting as the wood slammed against the metal floor. “You know how you read about those mothers that have so much adrenaline, that they can lift a car by themselves to save their baby or something,” I explained as we pulled out of the dump. “I think that’s what happened to me back there. I hated that table so much, I was able to channel that hate and, in the heat of the moment, pick it up by myself.”

We parked the car at glass nickel to head inside for lunch. “You’re right,” I said jumping out of the passenger seat scanning the empty trunk. “This is the best feeling in the world. I’m excited for lunch now.” Marissa smiled as we headed inside.

We enjoyed a easy, long lunch at Glass Nickel, though we were dissapointed to hear that our favorite waitress no longer works there. Rodney still acted like he owned the place, flagging down our waiter to show him crayon drawings and the toy planes he took with him. I enjoyed a beer while we talked about the week.

We returned home, and I worked through the rest of the afternoon while Rodney and Marissa napped. At 5, I crept into Rodney’s room to wake him up. The two of us went to Hy-Vee, and I had only the faintest idea of what to make for dinner. My grocery list just said “meat” and “vegetables”. Together, we ended up picking up some cod, shallots, brussels sprouts, and a can of baked beans. “I think tonight we can make a mignonette sauce,” I said to Rod, remembering we had a can of cream in the fridge. Back at home, I did my best to wrestle Rodney away from the counter while I cooked the cream sauce, roasted the sprouts, and seared the lightly breaded fish. I had a plate of cold butter chunks on the counter, and Rodney swiped one of the cubes off the plate, thinking it was cheese. I kicked him out of the kitchen until dinner was ready.

“The baked beans are a bit of a non sequitur,” I said plating up the food at the table. “But I know I mentioned them this afternoon before falling asleep, and you were probably excited about them.” I suppose there’s worse things you can pair. The sweet, sugary baked beans went pretty well with the tart cream sauce. And as always, cooking the fish to a delicious crisp was effortless, thanks to my new battle axe of the kitchen, my 14 inch non stick skillet.

Marissa put Rodney to bed so I could get a jump on some code. Last night, I wrapped up the new wallpaper manager I added to our family website. I put on a little demo for Marissa in our room, showing how you could upload family photos to the site, and how they automatically get added to the desktop wallpaper rotation. “Each computer in the house runs a little script that asks for a random photo from our NAS and updates the wallpaper every ten minutes,” I explained. With the extra time after dinner, I also wired up an RSS feed. “My goal is to make this website useful for pretty much everything we do.” We spent the rest of the night working on chores. Marissa painted the basement floor, which after our hard work, dried beautifully smooth and level. We crashed on the couch with snacks and drinks at the ready. It was a good night.

Hope you have a happy Thursday, and thanks for reading.