Tuesday, March 03 2020

planning, packages, tacos, and growth spurts



Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone! Thanks for stopping by. I’m feeling good today, and eager to begin another work day. This week is so regular, it’s refreshing. Sitting in our dining room at the computer, I’m relishing just how incredibly normal our life feels, I’m and absolutely loving it.

Yesterday was a busy morning. On Friday, I had learned I’d be pinch hitting for Heath and Nate, running the planning meeting in the morning for the rest of the team. The Monday morning planning meeting is important, as it sets our trajectory for the rest of the week. So wanting to bring lots of energy and focus, I spent the first 45 minutes of work quietly reviewing tickets and writing notes at my desk. Julia, Fong, and I met in a corner room and went over everything. “It’s still hard to say how much time we’ll have to work on stuff this week,” I opened. “With the visiting teams in town, priority probably goes to making the most out of their time. But our only other instructions are to Keep this train rolling.”

We went over work, amended my notes, then wrapped up early, filling the rest of the meeting with some cordial chit chat about the weekend. Working in an office, I enjoy asking people about their weekend. Watching them fondly remember how they spent their free time is like a brief window into their true self. “I broke out the grill for the first time this year,” I proudly recapped. “I was out there with just a hoodie on, and loving every minute of it. It was good to be outside.”

After our time ran out, we disbanded, closing the meeting room door behind us. I dropped my laptop off, then got to running some petty errands around the office. First stop was picking up a new trackpad for my desk. Coming back to my desk this week, my trackpad was behaving weirdly, and I had also lost the charging cable. I trotted up to the seventh floor where I used our nifty little technology vending machine to spit out a new one.

Next, I had to pick up some mail. Out of gratitude for my help in setting up Marissa’s basement art studio, Marissa ordered me a little gift in the mail. But I accidentally left my old office building as one of our primary addresses, and there was a different office there now. It had been so long since I reported to the old building for work that I forgot which floor I used to work on. “I just had to go by instinct,” I’d later recap to my team over lunch. “I was like a salmon returning to the spawning grounds.”

I wandered into the six floor, where a heavy set guy in a Jets hoodie met me at the door. “We don’t have anyone at the desk, but I’ll get it for ya, no problem,” he assured me throwing his heavy back pack down on the ground. He later returned with a tiny box addressed to me. I thanked him, then eagerly opened the box standing on the sidewalk outside the building. It was a Bears mug! Sleek navy color and logo on the outside with a sharp bright orange interior on the inside. I proudly brought it back to my office, and I used it to drink water the rest of the day. The bears mug is home with me now - in the end, I decided I couldn’t supplant my long time Seinfeld mug from the office. Perhaps one day the Seinfeld mug can look forward to retiring to a cushy life serving coffee to me on the weekends at home, but not this day.

At noon, I left my desk and made my way upstairs, where the visiting teams were meeting in a large room passing a microphone around. After they adjourned, I joined them in line at the hot taco bar, helping myself to corn tortillas, fajitas, chicken, and some churros for dessert. As I nibbled on my plate from a corner chair, I chatted with Chris and Julia, who had joined me at the table. Chris was visiting from our Melbourne office, and having hung out the last time he was in town, we had a comfortable rapport. “So how’s your puppy?” he asked. “Still winning awards in the agility ring?”

After some pleasant chat and banter over tacos, I packed my plate up and made my way back to my desk, grabbing an extra churro for the road. I took a long walk around the square, then found a quiet spot in the cafeteria to work for the rest of the afternoon. As the day was wrapping up, my phone rang.

“Want a ride home?” asked Marissa through the phone. She was wrapping up a baby appointment downtown and would be passing by the same time the bus would have. “Sure!” I replied.

“OK, Rodney wants to talk. As always, just hang up when your bored.” I heard some rustling on the other end of the line before Rodney picked up the phone and started to happily babble into the speaker. Before I managed to get more than a few words in, he muttered something about showing me the fish tank in the waiting room. I heard the phone speaker gently wrap on the glass as Rodney paused so I could “see” into the fish tank. Quiet laughter from other people in the waiting room could be heard as Rodney put the phone up to his ear again. “SEE IT? Dada, SEE IT?”

“Yeah dude,” I replied. “That’s awesome.” Rodney hung up, and soon I joined them in the car outside at our pick up spot. We dropped Mom off and continued onto Hy-Vee.

Rodney has lots of energy these days. He brought a toy motorcycle and racecar with him as props, and the entire way to the grocery store, he puppeted a spirited conversation between them, throwing his high pitched voice to speak on their behalf.

“Motorcycle and racecar are actually pretty good,” Marissa later advised me in the kitchen. “At least they can be responsible - earlier at Sports Zone I asked them to help put the other toys away. It’s dinosaur hand that’s trouble. He won’t do anything you ask him.”

As much as I miss Rodney’s timid chit chat on the way to Hy-Vee, I’m assured that it’s probably a phase. Maybe it’s his bursty boyish metabolism. Maybe it’s just being cooped up inside all winter. For every phase we went through that was difficult, it didn’t last long, and it usually marked the beginning of a growth spurt. For now, I’m fine arguing with a toy racecar and motorcycle, and maybe even a dinosaur hand.

Thanks for stopping by today. Hope you have a wonderful Tuesday. Let’s get to it!