Thursday, March 26 2020

boy shows, civil war flour, and grocery store etiquette




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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone! Hope you are having a good Thursday thus far. It’s a beautiful day outside. The smell of spring is always exhilarating. I know it’s been raining a lot this week, but at least for a change we’re getting some weather that’s appropriate for the current season.

I’m grateful for this Thursday. Before turning in for the night, Marissa and I made plans to order food. And the nice thing about the ‘Safer At Home’ order is that ordering food makes you feel like a hero. I’m just trying to support my local restaurants, I assure you it has nothing to do with the fantastic nap I’ll be able to take this afternoon. In case you couldn’t tell, Thursdays are the Recker family’s lazy days.

Lazy for good reason, too. I had a busy day yesterday, pretty much writing code in my room all day like a mad man. Every hour or so, I’d get up to stretch my legs, refill on coffee, or just say ‘hi’ to Rodney. I got him into X-men: Evolution this week, which is a pretty decent cartoon rendition that I used to watch in high school.

“I’m still getting used to all the boy shows,” said Marissa. “When they say stuff like We’re gonna take you DOWN and you’re not getting away THAT easy.” Marissa grew up in a house with all sisters, and it’s easy to imagine why the sounds of exploding tanks and slashing swords don’t yet blend seamlessly into the background for her. At least with another infant on the way, we’ll get to take one more tour through the golden years of sleepy background noise TV - except for Blippi. We don’t like Blippi anymore, and we don’t watch Blippi either.

In the late afternoon, I finally got my code working. After happily posting the output in my team channel and setting up a code review for the next day, I headed downstairs to join Marissa in the studio. I booted up the Xbox, and we got to chatting while I played Skate.

“You know this morning, in the first draft of my journal entry, I had like three paragraphs about Skate,” I said. Marissa laughed.

“Yeah,” I continued. “I sort of felt like that Mike Wazowski meme where he’s sitting on a stool rambling about something nobody cares about, except I was literally typing the evidence is clear - the first Skate game is superior to the other titles both technically and creatively….”

After getting Rodney out of bed, the two of us set up in the kitchen to make pizza dough. I was finally breaking into the new kind of flour we had to buy when Hy-Vee ran out during the week of panic buying. “I’m nervous about this flour,” I said to Marissa as she was passing through the kitchen. “I think it should work the same, but it feels different in the bowl.” Being our first tour with natural, unbleached flour, the difference is lost on me. In fact, I’ve just been referring to it as civil war flour.

After leaving the pizza dough in the oven to rise, I jumped in the car and headed to Jenny street. I needed to pick up some paper towels, but I was also going to quickly grab some fresh mozzarella and basil. Jenny street is almost completely back to normal. People were chatting with the butcher about weekend plans. The younger kids working at the register were complaining about online classes. I appreciate how everyone has done what they can to push the pandemic collectively to the back of our minds. The only time you would have noticed something was different was while walking past someone.

“First you meet eyes with the person,” I explained to Marissa. “Then you stop in your tracks, and after nodding, you walk around a six foot wide circle together like you’re about to sword fight.” I walked slowly around Marissa, acting out the motion. “And then you both keep walking! And that’s polite grocery store etiquette now.”

Back in the kitchen, after re-stocking our paper towels and cutting up the dough into smaller dough balls, I earned myself another half hour of free time before dinner.

“Dada. Wann’watch X Man with me?” said Rodney tugging on my apron. “Oh sure dude,” I replied. “That sounds awesome!” I followed Rodney into the living room and joined him on the couch. Rodney started to fiddle with things, first making me wear Marissa’s headband. He then draped a Paw Patrol boat tow & anchor around the frame of my glasses, and sheathed a ninja sword in the neckhole of my shirt. Lastly, he stuffed the tail of his toy dinosaur down the front of my sweater. Marissa laughed, seeing me decorated in toys, still browsing Twitter on my phone like nothing was different.

“Hey,” I said to the family sitting on the couch in the living room. “Do you guys wanna make your own pizza?” After some convincing, we gathered around the dining room table, moving the chairs out of the way. I set out the ingredients on the table, and together we patted down our pizzas and assembled the ingredients. “I’m curious to see how these turn out with the civil war flour,” I said. I helped Rodney get his pizza on the spatula and slide it onto the pizza stone. After two waves of pizzas, we gathered around the table to eat.

“The new flour tastes better than I thought it would,” said Marissa chewing a mouthful of crust.

“Yeah the brown, greyish color makes you think it’s going to taste healthy. If you close your eyes and don’t think about the color, it’s not too bad.”

After putting Rodney to bed, Marissa and I gathered at the project board. “We’re having a hard time getting stuff done this week, huh?” I asked. Most of our cards were still in the TODO column. “Maybe we’re having the same prioritization problem we did that one week. Or maybe we just need to give ourselves an easy week every now and then.” Marissa nodded while flipping through the cards.

“Yeah,” she replied. “I don’t feel like doing any of these right now.”

We headed outside to stand on the deck for a few minutes, enjoying the cool evening air. “You know I’m starting to like this lifestyle,” I said. “The quarantine life is a drastic change - I feel like I just suddenly went vegan or something. But it’s not so bad. I’m starting to appreciate all the extra space we’re getting. I feel like I’m a lot more clear headed now.”

Marissa nodded, but I could tell she wasn’t feeling the same. “I really miss doing agility with the dogs.”

“We’ll figure out a way for them to get some energy out,” I consoled her. “Maybe we can do something in the back yard. Or maybe you can rent the ring for an hour by yourself.”

Thanks for stopping by this morning. If you want to celebrate Thursday like we do, take it easy this evening. Order something for delivery, and maybe finally catch up on this Tiger King show that everyone keeps telling us about. Hope you have a wonderful day today.