Wednesday, April 22 2020

my favorite painting, bodily fluids, and leftover beer



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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone! Happy Wednesday. I’m grateful to arrive at the middle of the week, and I’m grateful we’re a day closer to our due date. I think it’s safe to say that Marissa and I are in the waiting around stage of pregnancy, and if you do enough waiting, it will start to make you antsy. We’re very prepared this time around. Rodney’s go-bag is packed, still sitting in the corner of our bedroom. We’re packing our own go-bags later this week. Provisions have already been made for Rodney and for the dogs while were gone, and I called the hospital and confirmed that our health insurance is squared away. If anything, we’re over-prepared.

But there’s still so much uncertainty, and it can be tough finding ways to bide your time and occupy your mind when you have so many questions about the future. How will coronavirus complicate this birth? What are the chances one of us will get sick a the hospital? What about follow-up appointments? Don’t be deceived - sometimes the waiting around stage is the toughest.

But we’re hanging in there. It’s Wednesday today, and we’re almost at the weekend. The weather outside has been absolutely beautiful, and we have plenty to be thankful for.

Sip. My mood is improving too. I found a nice juicy problem yesterday and spent an hour or two writing a script to automate it. It was nothing fancy - just a page full of BASH commands meant to automate some emergency changes we were rolling out to all of our servers this week, but it cured me of my funk.

“I’m a simple man,” I laughed in a one-on-one meeting with my boss. “I think whenever I’m depressed or in a bad mood, I just need to write some code until I feel better about it.”

Heath and I had a nice one-on-one. Out of official work business to discuss, I got to rambling about the painting on my wall. “Did you see what we added?” I asked. “This painting is called The People of Madison. Marissa painted it a few years ago - I think it was when we first moved into our house and we were dealing with the rat infestation.”

“It’s a little blurry in the camera,” Heath replied. “But I can see the capitol building.”

“It took some convincing to get Marissa to hang it up,” I continued. “She was figuring out a new art style and trying all kinds of different things. I like the faces. It perfectly captures how everyone looks sleepily filing off of the bus and into their offices on a Monday morning. I think it’s my favorite painting.”

I finished out the work day, rewarding my efforts with some quiet YouTube time before getting Rodney out of his room. The lingering smell at his door warned me that something was awry. About four days into our naptime diaper strike, things were starting to get messy, and yesterday’s post-naptime was a particularly spectacular mess.

“It’s messy, but I think it’s starting to click for him,” I said to Marissa later that evening. “He was really uncomfortable and kind of ashamed while I was cleaning him up. But he did say thank you in the tub, he was very gracious and polite.” So let the shit hit the fan, we say. We’ll hold the line.

After cleaning up, Rodney and I headed downstairs to start on dinner. We happened to pass through the living room just as Ziggy was puking on the carpet. To keep the bright yellow puke from leaving its mark on the rug, I sprang into action, sending Rodney to fetch a roll of paper towels and soaking it with warm water and soap. “What is this, the bodily fluids hour?” I exclaimed, dabbing up the stain.

With everything cleaned up, Rodney and I finally made our way into the kitchen to begin cooking. I had a fun activity planned for dinner where Rodney and I would wear latex gloves and cut up the whole chicken together. I figured Rodney would enjoy the fun and gross procedural distraction. He stood eagerly on his ladder at the cutting board, gloved hands holding a butter knife. He gave it a few practice swings while I took the chicken out of the plastic in the sink.

“Ah crap,” I said. “Hard as a rock. Dang it, why isn’t this thing thawed yet? It’s been in the fridge for two days” I said. Rodney echoed my words quietly to himself. “Dang it”.

We stood there for a moment in thought. I stared out the window cradling the frozen chicken. “It’s OK,” I said, sighing. “We’ll stick it back in the fridge and do this tomorrow. We can probably thaw the chicken sausages for tonight instead.”

I’m not used to working with frozen meat, or even heavily relying on my freezer. And if you go to the grocery store every day, why would you ever need your freezer? In pre-corona life, I only needed to keep a few frozen pizzas and waffles on hand for anti-cooking emergencies. Living out of a freezer has been a tedious lifestyle change for me. Frozen meat sucks.

Rodney hung out in the kitchen while I made dinner. We had sliced chicken sausages in mushrooms, a few baked potatoes, some corn, and a loaf of bread. After dinner, we had a Zoom session with my family, and later in the evening, Marissa hung out in the kitchen while I tidied up.

“So we have a dilemma,” I said with a serious tone. “We make beer bread now.”

“Right,” replied Marissa, tracking the topic shift.

“And as you know, beer bread requires beer.” I gestured to the half empty bottle of Amstel light on the counter. “And we have rules about how much we drink during the week, it’s a wonderful and fair system.”

“Yes it is, it’s a good system,” echoed Marissa.

“So my question is, what do we do about the leftover beer? Do I sacrifice one of my two mid week evening drinks?”

Marissa scratched her head in thought. “Well you shouldn’t have to sacrifice your drink to make bread,” she said. “that would be unfair. It’s simple - you round down.”

“Down to… zero?” I asked.

“Yeah. Look, that’s a half of beer. Are we just going to dump it down the drain? No, it’s a freebie,” she explained.

“So are we amending the rule?” I asked.

“Yes, we amend the rule. When you cook with alcohol, the alcohol leftover is fair game. But not if it’s like, you know, a bottle of wine.”

“That’s a good point,” I said. “So…”. I puffed my chest out like I was making a formal academic decree. “For each unit of alcohol made incomplete from cooking, the remainder of the unit is free and does not count toward your midweek evening drink total.”

Marissa nodded in approval. “Just wait until I’m drinking beer again. We’re probably going to be fighting each other for that,” she laughed.

So it’s decided. Leftover beer doesn’t count - swig away. Thanks for stopping by this morning. I hope you have a wonderful day today.