Monday, March 23 2020

hash, old medicine, and clothes folding hell



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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone. Hope you're doing well today. Coming off a long weekend filled with plenty of lounging, napping, and feasting of leftovers, I'm feeling good today, and I'm looking forward to jumping into another work week. Seriously, I even showered and everything. I'll tell you - one of the problems with this quarantine lifestyle is how pointless showers seem, as well as the growing temptation to skip it altogether.

Yesterday was a wonderful day. I got a nice, early jump on the morning. By the time Rodney woke up, I had already published my journal entry for the day and cleaned the kitchen. I ushered him downstairs and set him up on the couch with some ninja turtles, but soon he wanted to join me in the kitchen. I was making a classic breakfast hash, beginning with peeling and carefully cutting three russet potatoes into cubes. With Rodney's help, I diced a half of onion and mixed it with some cabbage. I fried some bacon, set it aside, and using the fat, tossed the potato cubes and began slowly browning them.

One unsuspecting hero I've come across while planning meals to eat during quarantine is the cabbage. A cabbage, even sliced up, lasts way longer than I thought it would. I've never been able to use up anywhere close to a whole head of cabbage in a single recipe, and foolishly I've always just discarded the rest of it. A head of cabbage is so cheap, it's only a few dollars, I'd rationalize. Nothing that cheap could possibly last very long in the fridge. I was wrong. We're still working on the same head of cabbage I sliced up at the beginning of our quarantine, and it makes everything delicious.

Together, Rodney and I dumped the onions and cabbage into the potatoes. Rodney added the butter, using a new trick I showed him wherein you use the side of the pan to scrape the pad of butter free. "Oh, I get it," said Rodney in his signature way.

Marissa joined us at the table just in time. We each ate a bowl of hash, and while Rodney finished his breakfast, I began schlepping boxes from the basement. Today we were going to go through the bins of Rodney's old clothes with the goal of stocking up Miles' wardrobe for week zero, and maybe finding some clothes to donate along the way. I lined up the blue bins in a long wall spanning across the living room. We put on a movie and began sorting.

After about twenty minutes, the novelty of looking at old clothes wore off on me. My legs started to fall asleep, and suddenly I was overcome with the sensation that I was trapped in clothes folding hell. "I'm getting a little discouraged," I said. "I feel like it's going to take us all day to get through these bins." Marissa shook her head without looking up from her pile of clothes.

"Nah, we'll be done before the movie ends," she assured me. We put on the Emperor's New Groove for Rodney to enjoy. He had also broken into a bin of his old baby toys, and was content reliving the early years of his childhood. He sat with his old alphabet song laptop, fingers at the keys like he was composing a master piece.

"I don't understand," I complained. "This would take me two days to do on my own. Am I folding too slowly?" Marissa sat quietly, giving me time to answer my own question.

"Oh my gosh," I said, putting my hand to my mouth. "I'm a slow folder, aren't I?"

"You're a good folder," interrupted Marissa. "But yes, you're very particular. I like the way you fold clothes though." I rose to my feet to pour another cup of coffee and stretch my legs.

"I'll tell you what," said Marissa. "Rodney is content playing with his old toys. And I'm actually having a lot of fun here too. You can hang out on the couch until I'm done, just move the boxes when we're done," said Marissa. My eyes widened in astonishment.

"Is that really an option? I feel bad, we were supposed to do this together, but I guess if I move everything back, I'd feel good about that," I reasoned aloud. "I might be a terrible folder, but I can schlepp like nobody's business."

"You are schleppman after all," added Marissa.

"Thank you," I said. "I didn't want to say anything, but this last twenty minutes was probably my personal clothes folding hell. I hate it when I can sense that I'm going way more slowly with something than I should be."

Marissa finished folding clothes while I finished the movie with Rodney. Shortly after, we moved the kitchen to make Rodney a snack. Rodney and I made a pair of soft boiled eggs and heated up some fries. While Rodney finished eating, I schlepped all the boxes of sorted and folded clothes upstairs. I put Rodney down for a nap, and joined Marissa at the table.

"I'm having a blueberry muffin," declared Marissa.

"Then I'm having a beer," I replied. Marissa also brought over two grapefruit halves for us. We sat at the table, waiting for a moment to let the quiet wash over us while we cut into our snacks.

"I'm starting to like this lifestyle," I said. "The disease sucks, but it's so funny to me right now that everyone is just at home chilling out. It's like a big reset button, you know?"

"Yeah," replied Marissa. "This is probably going to have a lasting impact socially."

Marissa and I dozed off on the couch. I awoke to Rodney crying upstairs. I ushered him downstairs, and he sat on my lap while we watched an episode of Mr. Rogers. After the episode ended, we all wandered into the kitchen to heat up more leftovers. Marissa lay claim to the hash, and Rodney and I shared some pizza.

After putting Rodney to bed, Marissa and I gathered in the bathroom to clean out our bathroom closet - our final task for the week. She had already finished the first two shelves, and all that was left to do was to go through the top shelf, which held our stash of medicine. I began sorting the bottles with a garbage can at the ready.

"This stuff expired in... 2014," said Marissa reading a label. "I feel like some of this stuff expired before we even knew each other," I laughed. "How is that even possible? This allergy medicine has probably seen some things."

We consolidated all of our medicine down to a much smaller pile. Marissa stuck everything in one bin. "See, look how compact it is?" I furrowed my brow with concern.

"Well, I don't like how the stuff we use every day is kept so close to the stuff we never use," I said. Having difficulty explaining my angle, I decided to just act it out instead.

"Oh shit, I cut my finger," I said, pretending to hold my injured hand. "OK let's find the bandaids." I reached my hand into the bin and pretended to rifle through the supplies. "Ear wax removal? Nope, not it. How about this? Nope, that's a bottle of peroxide. I'm getting blood all over everything right now by the way..."

"OK, what would you do," asked Marissa. I paused for a moment, staring at the bin. I grabbed a smaller empty bin, relocating the ibuprofen, thermometer, and bandaids.

"Here," I said, gesturing to the smaller bin. "This is the oh shit bin. Just a few things that we either use all the time or would need to grab in a pinch. And this bin for things that we might use once a year. Hot storage - cold storage," I clarified, patting the two pins beside each other. Marissa nodded and smiled, then together we stuck everything back in the closet. We closed our final project card for the week.

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