Friday, March 13 2020

apple crappies, water bottle flips, and a note on hoarding



Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone. We finally made it through another week. I know I normally kick things off with a tongue in cheek congratulatory we made it through a week, but this week there is an uncomfortable amount of truth in that. It’s been a crazy week, and more than ever I’m feeling grateful to be here writing at my desk on a Friday. One more work day, than we’ll have a weekend to re-cooperate and figure things out.

Yesterday was a busy, social day. Rodney stirred from his room in the early morning, sending his quiet Guys? Hello? out into the hallway. I got him out of bed and changed him, then together we headed downstairs so I could set him up with some breakfast.

“What do you want to eat, dude?” I asked.

“Ummm… apple crappy,” he replied, plopping down in his usual spot on the couch beside his stuffed animal. I suppose that requires some context. Rodney used to love Rice Crispy bars. He refers to them as rice crappies, and from then on, any kind of snack just because a form of a crappy - including the Dutch Apple Fruit bars I started buying from Jenny Street. In our home, they’re now known simply as apple crappy.

As Rodney remained on the couch and watched the ninja turtles, I returned upstairs with a big cup of coffee and commenced a very social, meeting heavy work day. Marissa, Rodney, and the dogs filed in and out of my room throughout their morning routine as I attended morning stand-up, a design session, and an all-company meeting about the pandemic. I flung my headphones off at 12 and trotted down the stairs to make some lunch.

“Want some lunch, dude?” I asked Rodney boisterously while hopping off the last step of our staircase. Rodney paused the TV and followed me into the kitchen. I grabbed some slices of wheat bread and grated a block of white cheddar. Using fresh mozzarella leftover from the pizzas, I made two grilled cheese sandwiches. Also borrowing from a play out of Chef John’s playbook, I sprinkled cheddar cheese on the outside faces of the sandwich. As the bread toasted in the butter, the cheese melted into the bread and turned crispy. I joined Marissa and Rodney at the table with my own sandwich and plate of leftover brussels sprouts.

“So I’m a little salty, family. I thought these sandwiches would be a bigger hit,” I said while chewing. “Look at this!” I pulled two slices of bread apart, revealing a gooey, melty center. “Hey I’m sorry,” I continued. “I just expected you bingisses to be raving about these sandwiches, but nobody is making a big deal out of them.” Marissa laughed, and Rodney picked up a wedge of his sanwich, nibbling off the corner.

After lunch, I headed back upstairs to finish out my workday. Ollie followed close behind. A half hour later, Marissa wandered into our bedroom looking for Ollie. She stopped in her tracks, seeing Ollie contently curled up in my lap.

“This is so funny,” said Marissa. “I think he really does like working. He’s office dog.”

“YEAH, maybe it’s time to get back to work, dad,” I said throwing my voice on Ollie’s behalf.

And it’s true. Ollie being the office dog was part joke and part wishful thinking, but he dutifully lingered around my desk most of yesterday, his head perched attentively. There’s a new slack channel at work where people are sharing pictures of their remote work setups. I stood on a chair to get a shot of my proud war room corner in our bedroom, and sure enough, Ollie can be seen laying beneath my chair. In the photo, he even looks a little annoyed with me that I paused work.

At quitting time, I locked my laptop screen and crawled into bed, hoping to steal a few minutes for a nap. As soon as my head hit the pillow, I heard Rodney’s still, small voice in the hallway. Anyone? Guys?

“You wanna get up, dude?” I called back in the hallway. Rodney appeared at the door in his pajamas, and after getting out of bed, we both made our way down the stairs. Marissa ordered some Portillo’s delivery, and Rodney and I sat on the couch and watched YouTube videos.

“Hey mamma, watch this trick shot,” I said to Marissa getting up off the couch. I grabbed a half empty water bottle of the table and flipped it towards the mantle. It flopped on its side and tumbled to the floor. I bent down to pick it up and try again.

Even thought water bottle flipping was only cool back in… 2012? It has returned full force in our house. Waiting for our food to arrive, we wandered around the living room with water bottles, calling out ledges and surfaces for trick shots. Things even got a little out of hand while eating dinner. “OK, NO MORE WATER BOTTLES,” shouted Marissa, collecting them from me and Rodney and hiding them in her lap for the rest of dinner.

After dinner, Marissa put Rodney to bed and I skated over to the Walgreen’s to pick up a prescription. When I returned, Marissa was giving Rodney a bath upstairs.

“Toilet paper is in full stock over there,” I said. Marissa pursed her lips and shook her head. Of course we haven’t joined the panicked stock piling, supply hoarding crowd, but we’ve been keeping tabs on the situation for when we run out of toilet paper and need to buy a single pack - not for irrational end-of-the-world reasons - but for normal toilet paper reasons. We had a working theory that the toilet paper stock would only be affected in stores where wealthier people shopped, and sure enough our lovable, sketchy Walgreen’s on the corner was unaffected.

While Marissa finished putting Rodney to bed, I practiced Dutch and flopped down on the couch besides Ziggy. I sailed off to sleep for a glorious hour. It was a much needed cheat for an exhausting week. Later that night, my internal bedtime skewed from the evening nap, Marissa and I sat up and chatted in bed.

“We’re probably going to get sick, but we’re probably not going to die,” I said, putting my phone down in frustration. “It’s so hard. I want to stay informed of what’s going on, but there’s just too much commentary and here-say and people high-jacking this for their own shitty opinions.” Marissa listened empathetically.

“I’m worried,” she replied. “And it’s even got to my Facebook timeline.” Marissa has always bragged about how she curated her Facebook follows to the point that, no matter what is going on in the world, her feed is limited to strictly happy dog related things. “But even the dog people are going nuts about it,” she continued.

This is a scary time. Even though the mortality numbers are dwindling, the whole thing has made me dissappointed in our behavior as a human race. A few days ago, I made a salty tweet teasing the toilet paper hoarders for buying out stores, but I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t a real bitterness and frustration under that. I’m disgusted with the people hoarding supplies. The day I made that tweet, Marissa witnessed an old guy wandering around Target looking for toilet paper. “I’m not stock-piling,” he said. “I’m out, and I just need one pack.” And I think that story made me so angry, I had to make light of it so it wouldn’t eat away at me.

And the most evil thing about it is that the selfishness just leads to more fear. People who normally wouldn’t think to hoard supplies in their basement see an empty shelf at Target or Costco, and an irrational fear is triggered, and soon their contributing to the problem.

Imagine studying a species at the zoo. An animal that, at the first sign of danger, hoards provisions at the expense of the animals living around it is a dumb and selfish animal. That doesn’t make for a very durable and adaptive species, does it? Whether you’re a God fearing Christian and you think we serve a higher purpose to live meekly and care for people around us, or you just think humans are better animals than this, we all have plenty of reasons to show some courage and resist the urge to hoard supplies.

Please don’t hoard. Stores like Target and Costco exist to distribute supplies in our society. Maybe they shouldn’t be profiting off of that, but I think emptying out these stores is an early, needless declaration of selfishness, and chances are if you were healthy and wealthy enough to stock pile essentials in your home, then you probably screwed somebody over who wasn’t.

Thanks for stopping by this morning. Stay safe, and be a good comrade - only buy what you need.