Monday, March 9 2020

ollie's birthday, lunch on the patio, and planning



Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone! Hope you're feeling good today on this Monday morning. It's really dark outside today, no doubt a result of the time change. The older I get, the more this whole daylight savings thing seems to baffle me. If we just left everything alone, the days would slowly and gradually wax and wane, and we wouldn't have to deal with sudden changers like this. But here we are, instead the clocks lurching forward all in a single day, and now it feels like I woke up in the middle of the night. The sun is slowly starting to creep in the house now, so at least I have some daylight to help wake me up.

I had a wonderful day yesterday. In the morning, Marissa left for Rockford with Ziggy, leaving me, Rodney, and Ollie seated around the table. "OK, dude. Let's come up with a plan," I began, moving seats to the computer. Rodney looked up in confusion, mid chewing an apple cereal bar. "Top priority is making sure Ollie has a special birthday," I continued. Ollie, who was splayed out on the wood floor beneath the table, perked his head up attentively.

Rodney and I got ready for the day, then after brewing a quick pot of coffee to-go, headed down the sidewalk. Ollie was already carrying himself differently - more proudly - as if he knew he was the star of the show. Rodney tagged along behind us with shuffling steps, carrying the football in his arms.

We first made our way to the dog treat shop in Atwood, which is a lengthy walk, especially without our wagon. Heading inside, Ollie was mobbed with attention from people in the store. "It's his birthday," I announced. A girl from behind the counter offered him a treat, and Rodney wandered off into the tiny shop digging through the shelves. We picked Ollie up a braided bone chew and a special dog friendly cupcake.

"And how old are you today?" asked the girl behind the counter, bending down toward Ollie. I froze up, arriving at a mental block, distracted by holding Ollie's leash and keeping Rodney out of trouble.

"He is…" I froze. "I have no idea. I want to say six-ish." I quickly bailed, using Rodney as an awkward situation buffer. "OK, Rodney, put that back on the shelf it's time to go. Say buh-bye!"

We wandered out of the shop and continued down the road toward our house, stopping at a bench. I let Ollie finish his cupcake sitting under a shady tree by a park bench. Rodney and I split a chocolate chip granola bar, then tossed the football back and forth.

Realizing it was getting pretty late into the afternoon and that we were still a ways from home, I decided to shift my attention towards finding a place to eat lunch. Remembering that NextDoor had an outdoor patio, we set out toward the familiar brewery. I stood in their front area awkwardly holding Ollie on a leash, following Rodney with my eyes as he walked around me in circles.

"Are you guys dog friendly?" I asked the waiter.

"Yeah, on the patio. Meet me around back," he said. The brewery hadn't yet set-up their outdoor seating, but the waiter was kind enough to pull us up a couple of chairs and let us eat on the broad wooden railing. I latched Ollie to the fence in the corner of the patio and took out his bone. He happily gripped it in his paws and got to chewing. The waiter brought out a beer and a glass of milk for Rodney. Rodney and I ceremoniously clinked glasses.

We called Mom up on the phone while we waited for our phone. Putting the phone on speaker, I handed the phone to Rodney and let him ramble. He set the phone down on the railing and picked up his glass of milk. "Just a second," I said leaning into the phone. "Rodney wants milk, and they brought him a literal pint glass with no lid."

Sensing I was talking about him, Rodney decided to clown it up. He gripped the glass and lapped at it with his tongue. "Now he's drinking it like Kitty Samuel," I said into the phone through chuckles.

Rodney and I split a grilled cheese sandwich, paid our tab, and continued home. Back at the house, I released Ollie into the backyard so he could continue working on his bone in peace. Rodney and I grabbed our skateboards and tooled around our empty driveway. The neighbor kid Derrick from across the street joined us for a bit, taking turns riding our skateboards down the driveway and demonstrating what tricks we've been working on. Rodney took my board and rolled down the driveway on his belly. I trotted ahead of him to stop the board with my foot before he reached the street.

I put Rodney down for a nap, and after some protesting, he fell asleep. I hacked on my website for the rest of the afternoon. I'm pretty excited about turning my blog into a custom, installable jekyll plugin. It's called jekyll-recker, if you want to check on my progress. Funny enough, it's probably the only side project I have at the moment that ships with a nice, readable set of instructions.

Marissa returned home with Ziggy, and after catching up while crashing on the couch, I left for Hy-Vee to pick up dinner and restock the fridge. I returned with food and got to chopping mushrooms into a stuffing, cutting the fresh cod meat into chunks, tossing them in flour, and pan frying them in oil and butter. Also, just for kicks, I fried some tiny shallot rings. The meal was a good idea, but moving too quickly, I got a little heavy handing with the seasoning and the final product came out just a bit too salty. Even my mouth was feeling dry after dinner.

Marissa put Rodney to bed, and after catching up on chores, Marissa and I reconvened upstairs for our Sunday night planning. "This week has been discouraging," I said. "We didn't get a lot done, and it felt like we ran into problems." Marissa tiredly nodded in agreement.

"I think we prioritized too many things," I said pointing at the board. "We got fish tank stuff, Miles' room, the basement. We were kind of all over the place."

"Yeah," said Marissa. "It was hard doing so much work in so many different rooms."

"Let's pick something to focus on this week. Which of these piles is stressing you out the most?" I said, laying the clipped stacks of cards on the floor.

"Definitely the studio," said Marissa. "It's difficult not having a good place to paint right now."

We wrapped up our meeting, loading the board with brand new cards for the week, feeling more encouraged. After watching some YouTube videos on the couch, we turned in for the night. As we were getting ready for bed, we reflected on how wonderful this full remote experiment has already been. "I feel like I have more time to do everything. I can start cooking dinner earlier, and I can put things away around the house as I go," OI said.

"I think the best part it these puppies," said Marissa with Ziggy cradled in their lap. "You pretty much never have to leave them."

"Oh, and I wanted to mention," said Marissa. "Let us know if you need more space or time to focus, I know this is a big change."

I paused from fiddling around with my workstation and shrugged my shoulders. "Thanks, but no difference yet. Only thing I've noticed is we go through way more coffee at home now."

Thanks for stopping by this morning. I hope you have a wonderful day.