Saturday, March 7 2020

remote work, mattress store stories, and new shoes

Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone! Hope you're having a wonderful Saturday. The weather outside is absolutely beautiful, and I'm thinking about taking Rodney out to tool around on our skateboards. But I made the fateful mistake of divulging these tentative plans to him too early in the morning. For the first hour or so while I let the dogs out, made coffee, and cleaned up the kitchen, Rodney didn't leave my side.

"Rod, do you want to go watch TV or something?" I asked, looking down at Rodney who was limply holding onto my leg and fiddling with a cabinet nob."

"NO," said Rodney. "Ummm…. first we go SKATEBOARDING."

I decided to make the most of his time and put him to work in the kitchen. He helped me fry a pair of eggs for breakfast, empty the dishwasher, and reload the paper towels. All the morning chores must have temporarily made him forget about skateboarding. Don't worry, we'll head out once I'm doing with the morning journal entry.

Let's do a recap of yesterday, shall we? Yesterday was a wonderful day. My decision to work from home made for a funny coincidence. Before our morning meeting, my manager pulled me into a quick 1-on-1 over Zoom. "With this whole health scare thing getting incrementally more serious," he began. "I expect the recommendations to employees to avoid travel and work remotely to get more and more intentional and prescriptive." I nodded and Heath continued.

"I'd like our team to get ahead of things and just commit to working remotely indefinitely." Heath continued. My eyes lit up and I smalled. "I think that's a great idea," I chimed in. "There's a lot of wisdom in that. That seems to be the direction things are headed in, so we may as well start figuring out how to do that now."

I finished the call with Heath, then headed downstairs to refill on coffee. Marissa awoke and joined Rodney on the couch. "So it looks like I'm going full remote for the foreseeable future," I said to Marissa, beaming with good news. I grabbed a foam sword for a celebratory sparring session with Rodney. Seeing Marissa take out her phone to send a snapchat, I continued to run through our living room yelling I'M NEVER LEAVING THE HOUSE AGAIN.

Marissa took Ziggy to Sports Zone to work on her mural. Rodney and I shared some leftover hash at the table, then I returned to work. I worked the rest of the afternoon with a renewed enthusiasm and motivation. Before our final meeting of the day, I fixed a hot cup of ginseng tea and put Rodney down for a nap.

The work day ended, and while waiting for Marissa to return from Sports Zone, I decided to take another stab at getting the new server to boot. After watching an instructional video for clearing the CMOS on an ASRock board, I really thought I was onto something. In a last ditch effort to diagnose this motherboard, I took my router apart, swapping the parts in to test. I narrowed it down to either the memory or the board itself. Marissa peeked her head in the door. "Sorry, I need like five minutes," I said sitting amongst computer parts and cables scattered on the floor. "I need a few minutes to put everything away and calm down a bit, this really worked me up," I said calmly.

After cleaning up my mess, I joined my family downstairs. We jumped in the car to run some Friday errands. First stop was the mattress store, which was a quiet little shop on the way to the mall. We chatted with the salesman and, after some deliberation about our budget, picked a twin bed for Rodney.

While ringing us up, the topic of kids came up. "I was a youngest child, and let me tell you how I got my nickname." Taking a step back from his computer, he delved into a lengthy story about how he earned the nickname varmint, and how his nieces and extended family still call him that. "I would have spent the extra \$50 to skip that story," muttered Marissa to me as we returned to our car, the new twin mattress wedged tightly against the roof above our heads.

Next stop was the mall. We parked and headed inside, Rodney taking his Ninja Turtle action figure with him. We found a seat at the food court and ordered from the Chinese Cajun place - our favorite hidden gem in Madison. "It's so funny how this is literally the best Chinese food we've found in the city," said Marissa as we dug into chicken, rice, lo mein, and a bag of hot crab rangoons.

After eating and leaving the food court behind, we began our hunt for new shoes. We had a hard time committing to a shoe store, drifting in and out of various athletic department stores. Rodney was feeling especially social, smiling, greeting, and waving at people like he owned the place. I also noticed that he still yells Happy Holidays to people as parting words.

Marissa found a pair of light up spider-man shoes at Shoe Carnival. It was love at first site for Rodney. As soon as we strapped him in, he took off running, jumping, and swinging around the shoe store. Marissa also picked out a new pair of shoes.

Not seeing anything I liked at Shoe Carnival, we returned to the Zumiez store on the other side of the mall. I went right for the sleek black adidas shoes I was eyeing earlier in the evening. A younger girl with piercings, wearing ratty skate clothes rung us up at the counter. "I like your turtle," she said to Rodney. "Want a sticker?" Rodney eagerly peaked his head into the bucket, fished out a sticker, and planted it on his cheek. "That's a great place for a sticker," she laughed.

"HEY - WATCH THIS!" Rodney yelled. He strained to contort his fingers into a new shape, then held out his hand to show her. "That's awesome, dude. I don't think I can do that." She and Rodney chatted for a few minutes while I rang up my card, entered my pin, and signed. "Come visit me, OK dude? I think you're funny," she said.

"Thanks," replied Rodney. "Happy Holidays." We waved and left the store returning to our car. "This is an exciting day for us," I said. "Is there anything better than new shoe day?"

Thanks for stopping by this morning. As for me, I need to follow up on my promise and get Rodney to the skate park. He's lost interest with story bots and started to, in a very literal sense, bounce of the walls. Have a great Saturday, everyone.