Sunday, April 5 2020

birth plans, playing outside, and setting things on fire

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone, and happy palm Sunday! I hope you have the means to make a good breakfast and brew a lot of coffee before joining your family on the couch for some asynchronous, virtual church fellowship. We're taking it easy this morning. I've been up with Rodney for a few hours, fending his curious hands off the keyboard at the dining room computer while I draft up my morning entry. A moment ago I sent him upstairs to bring Momma a cup of coffee. Don't worry, it was in a spill proof coffee traveler. In carrying an open mug of hot coffee, I don't trust Rodney as far as I can throw him. Or maybe that doesn't apply - I can actually throw him pretty far. We practiced yesterday in our bedroom. Standing from my bookshelf, I can launch him all the way to our bed on the other side of the room.

We had a wonderful day yesterday. This past Saturday was restful and low-key - a great addition to the relaxing weekend. In the morning, I woke the family up with a Dutch baby. Rodney and I assembled it in the kitchen, and while it baked, I set him up on the couch with Mr. Rogers. The good news is that not even the civil war flour we're still working through was able to thwart the Recker family's favorite Saturday morning breakfast staple. "I wouldn't have even known it was wheat flour unless you told me," said Marissa in a ringing endorsement.

After Breakfast, we let Rodney scurry off into the living room. Marissa and I remained at the table, polishing off the pot of coffee and chatting. She had the baby on her mind. As you could imagine, coronavirus is making for a complicated birth plan. We learned from the doctor that I would be the only one allowed in the hospital room with her while she gave birth. But there is a small chance that not even I would be able to attend. "If Madison got as bad as, say, New York, then the doctor thinks they would consider even stricter measures. Not even you would be allowed. But so far, she thinks Madison is handling the capacity really well. So that probably won't happen."

"That's a reasonable worry, even if it might not happen, it's still troubling to think about," I said taking a sip of coffee. "So it would be a birth over a Zoom call," I added. We decided to set aside some time that night to do a test Zoom call from Marissa's laptop. And it just figures that as an IT person, the first place I look when consoling someone in an uncertain circumstance is to make the software in their life work a little better.

Rodney ran into the dining room, flinging a football over the dining room table. It narrowly missed my head and my hot cup of coffee. "I think we need to get you outside and burn some energy off, dude," said Marissa.

After getting ready for the day, Marissa, Rodney, and I wandered outside into the backyard. The dogs trotted happily behind us. And for the next few hours of the afternoon, we looked like an advertisement for family outdoor activities. Marissa and I tossed around the football, Rodney and I played soccer, and the dogs chased each other around the backyard.

We took a quick break for lunch. Rodney and Marissa had a PB&J. Unsurprisingly, a PB&J wasn't going to cut it for me. I don't feel like I've made a real sandwich unless I've gotten at least one pan dirty. I grated some cheddar cheese, melting it in and around the bread of a tuna, mayo, and mustard sandwich. After scarfing down my fishy and crispy abomination, we made our way outside again. Rodney grabbed his bike, riding up and down the sidewalk proudly. I rode around him on my skateboard.

Craving more variety, Rodney set his bike aside and ran into the shed, digging out the hockey sticks. We played some hockey in the driveway. Each time Rodney flung the ball past me out the end of the driveway and into the street, he celebrated it like a goal. "LET'S GOOOOO," he said, throwing his stick into the air and running around the front yard.

"Do you see this?" I said to Marissa, who was raking grass in the front yard. "Apparently the entire driveway and the neighbor's yard counts as a goal."

"Sounds fair to me," she shrugged.

We took a break, joining Marissa on the front porch. Rodney grabbed a pack of bubbles, and being out of beer for the weekend, I poured a small glass of tequila. Marissa was wrapping extension chords, enjoying the cool air, sunshine, and company.

"I feel like it's obvious to everyone walking by that I've run out things to do. I'm literally just sitting outside wrapping cables," she said laughing.

"Hey, I get it," I replied, leaning back against the hand railing. "It's therapeutic. Wrapping cables gives you a nice feeling of control over something small."

We went inside for quiet time, putting Rodney down for a nap. I joined Marissa in the living room to work on some code while The Office quietly played in the background. "What have you been working on," asked Marissa a few minutes later.

"Actually, I have no idea. Just moving things around on my blog I guess," I chuckled. It's amazing how much you can work on code without actually changing what it does. Shuffling deck chairs. Kicking the tires. Here's a tip - if you don't know what to do with all your extra time during this quarantine, start writing code. It's an endless time sink.

In the early evening, I shut my laptop and got Rodney out of his room. I started fixing dinner in the kitchen while Rodney played with his blocks at the table. He called me over every time he made a new chain, snake, or tower. As I usually err on the side of 'anti-doting', I'm trying to do a better job acknowledging Rodney when he's proud of something.

"LOOK DADA," Rodney said, presenting his tall stack of blocks.

"Wow, dude. This is awesome," I said joining him at the table, studying the structure. Rodney leapt off his chair. "ONE SEC," he yelled. Rodney's tiny feet pattered on the wood floor as he disappeared into the kitchen. The sound of silverware clanking and drawers flinging open was heard. Rodney returned holding a lighter.

"NOW RODNEY LIGHT IT ON FIRE," he said, returning to the dining room triumphantly.

"NO. No, you will not light it on fire, put that back," I said calmly. Rodney hung his head low and slinked back into the kitchen, placing the lighter back in the drawer.

"Hey. Look at me," I said pointing to my nose. "No fire."

"No fire", Rodney repeated. "Sorry, dada."

I felt bad for him. It's not like he wanted to do something dangerous. He's a boy drawn to interesting things, and I think we can all agree that fire is interesting.

After putting Rodney to bed, I retold the story to Marissa. She held her mouth in shock. "So we're just going to block this out, right?" I laughed. "There's too much to think about with COVID-19 and everything."

"Agreed. We block it out," said Marissa.

Thanks for stopping by this morning. Hope you have a wonderful day today. Play outside, sit on your porch, and maybe hide your lighter in a better spot.