Thursday, February 27 2020

coffee shops, soup from a bag, and a beer with rodney



Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone! Happy Thursday. I’ve just returned from picking up coffee for the morning. Walking up the block and across the street to Willie Street’s Ground Zero Coffee has been a fun little morning routine this week. This morning, while filling to-go cups at the coffee bar, I saw somebody casually walk through the door with a leashed dog and stand in line. I mentally ear marked the occasion, in case I feel like going on an adventure with one or both of the dogs today.

I decided to work remote the rest of the week. Rodney has been doing great here, but it’s tough keeping an eye on the dogs. With no fence between us and the busy intersection of Jenny and Williamson, we’ve had to resort to leashing them up and walking them up the block to the same sad little grass spot to do their business.

I sure do miss just flinging the back door open and letting them tear into the back yard at will, and I’m sure they do to - especially Ziggy. She seems to have a surplus of energy this week, darting around the house randomly, throwing her body on the rug and couch, almost as if she was charging a battery in her tiny body that ran on static electricity. Last night while Marissa and I were trying to corral the dogs into the basement bedroom so we could turn in for the night, Ziggy stubbornly waited at a flight of stairs, wagging her tail. She baited us back upstairs, acting like she had an urgent concern there, then proceeded to run around us in circles, biting Ollie’s neck, trying to entice him to join. I abruptly called a cease fire, scooping Ziggy up in my arm and carrying her to bed like a handbag.

Yesterday morning, Marissa left for agility class with the dogs, leaving Rodney and I to hold it down at home. Just before my 9:30 meeting, I heard Rodney stirring and calling out on the baby monitor. I quickly changed him and set him up on the couch, where he contently picked at a bowl of cereal while watching YouTube. During my stand-up meeting, his head and spacey eyes were barely visible from the corner of my webcam. I got a good chuckle from the team, spinning the laptop around to prove that he does indeed like watching wordless water slide montages on YouTube in lieu of morning cartoons.

After morning stand-up, that was pretty much a wrap for the social component of my day. And after gawking in the morning journal about going on a coffee shop adventure with Rodney, it dawned on me that I had the only house key, and it would be a bit cruel to hit the down and lock the door behind me when Marissa would be back within the hour. And Rodney was pretty content with his never ending water slide montage playlist. So we laid low the rest of the morning until Marissa returned.

For lunch, Marissa made PB&J’s. I also heated up some leftover soup. How did I make leftovers? I’ve become something of a professional at rifling through this kitchen for makeshift solutions. I found a few scrap gallon ziploc bags in the back of the cabinet. Once the soup cooled, I poured it into a bag, propped up by a drinking glass. When it was time to heat it up, I snipped the corner off the bag and squeezed it back into the glass, much like one might decorate a cake with a pastry bag. I microwaved the tall cup of soup and proudly joined my family at the table for lunch.

After eating, Marissa left with Rodney to go work on her mural at Canine Sports Zone, this time leaving me home with the dogs. I worked the rest of the afternoon, struggling to find a comfortable combination of room, chair, and shirt. The upstairs of this house feels like a balmy 80 degrees, while the basement is a frigid dungeon. But despite the shuffling around, I managed to get a lot of work done. I cruised through some backlog tickets, and for the first time I had a chance to kick the tires on our new deployment tool.

Marissa returned and put Rodney down for a nap. I packed my laptop and took a walk to the grocery store. I love the long, straight walk to the Willie Street Co-op. And sticking to simple stamppot ingredients, I didn’t rack up the kind of tab I’ve come to associate with the hip & healthy neighborhood grocery store. I grabbed some potatoes, a beautiful head of kale, some locally farmed sausage, and a loaf of parmesan & peppercorn sourdough bread before making the exhilarating and chilly walk back to the house.

It only took a few minutes to peel the potatoes, rinse the kale, and get it in the dutch oven with water. On an impulse, I also sliced up a leftover shallot and added it to the pot before laying the sausages on top. I brought the Dutch oven to a simmer and covered it. Rodney strolled into the kitchen, and I suddenly grew fascinated with how he was dealing with his boredom. He leaned up against the fridge with his hands in his pockets, waiting for me to ask about his day.

“Did you have a good day, dude?” I asked. Rodney’s eyes lit up. “Yeah… sports zone… talked to Shawna’jess… working.” His voice trailed off as he looked at the near empty beer. “Hey… wanna beercha?” said Rodney gesturing at me.

“Sure dude, I’d love another,” I said, slamming the rest of it. Rodney heaved the fridge open and gingerly took my empty bottle, placing on the fridge in the shelf. He handed me another, then helped himself to his milk. He raised his glass to me and smirked. We toasted, then he strolled away to play with his toys in the living room.

Hope you have a great Thursday today. Here’s to one more day in the temporary house, and one more day of the work week.