Wednesday, April 29 2020

scripts, baseball, ciabatta bread, and walks



banners/2020 04 29

Dear Journal,

Good morning everyone! Happy Wednesday. Today is a good day to celebrate the halfway point of the week. Perhaps a walk around the neighborhood in the drizzling rain is in order. Or what about a brief nap on the couch during lunch?

My work started doing this thing called well-being Wednesdays, reserving the middle of the week for self care and creativity. We're encouraged to avoid scheduling meetings on Wednesday, instead using the time to read, learn, and experiment with things you wouldn't normally have time for. And I don't see why I can't pass the sentiment on to you, reader.

Sip. Yesterday was a pretty good day. Remember how in the morning I was hemming and hawing about whether or not to write a script for the work we were doing? Well I ended up sinking a few hours into writing that script. And feeling a profound urgency to buy back the time I spent writing it, I rushed it out the door. And by the time I ran it a few times, I realized that I didn't study the requirements carefully enough and messed up some of the data we were moving.

In a funny way, yesterday's writing kind of foreshadowed the outcome. I did, after all, joke that it would take more time to clean up the mess it would make after it broke the first time. So the cynical generalization held true, and at least I can hang my hat on that accomplishment.

We paused on the work, and I shifted focus to the more administrative side of my work life. Marissa finally got a day scheduled for her induced labor, which is now this coming Monday, making this my final week of work before a long sixteen week paternity leave. Seeing that on our family calendar was a bit of a wake up call. I still had to set up my work calendar, close out my assigned tickets, modify the on-call schedule, and finish documenting my projects for the team to carry forward this summer.

At the halfway point in the day, I made my way downstairs to the kitchen. I had started a loaf of bread the day before, and it was time to move the dough into the proofing stage. I made this batch into a ciabatta, stretching it out into a long oval shape onto some well-floured plastic wrap.

As the bread baked in the oven, I joined Marissa and Rodney outside on the porch. Rodney was practicing baseball with Marissa.

"Dada - we need you to weigh in on something," said Marissa as I leaned onto the porch railing. "Is my pitching good enough to hit?"

Marissa lobbed the ball to Rodney, who swung the plastic bad, twirling on his heels. The ball hit the fence behind him and rolled to the ground.

"Well, I think it was in his strike zone," I said. "But he's a little kid, his strike zone is pretty small. He actually might have an easier time hitting it if you throw it faster."

Marissa made a gesture with her hand, sending Ollie over to the ball. He obediently pushed it back to her with his nose. Marissa lobbed the ball again. Rodney swung the bat and made solid contact, sending a line drive that struck the side of the shed with a loud crack.

"Nice swing, dude," I said. "You crushed that one."

"He can hit pretty far," said Marissa squinting up at me. "We might have to start worrying about the neighbors house."

The oven timer rang, and we headed inside to enjoy lunch. The ciabatta loaf was probably our best batch yet. And do you know what's the best part of homemade bread? It's completely within your right to effectively ruin it by turning it into one giant party style PB&J.

Marissa looked hungrily add the sandwich while I set it up on the cutting board and wiped it with peanut butter. "Do you want some mustard?" I asked. "I know from the other night, you really like mustard."

We ate lunch, and I finished out the work day while Rodney napped. When he was ready to come out of his room, we suited up to take a walk around the neighborhood and drop off that pesky mis-delivered letter that has been sitting on my desk.

Rodney and I headed outside. He dragged his green scooter out of the shed, kicking it behind me. "When did you learn how to use the scooter by yourself, dude?" I asked. Rodney shrugged, and continued coasting up the sidewalk. The last time I had seen his green scooter, he needed me to stand on the tail and help him push, so you can imagine how surprised I was to see him now autonomously coasting. I really hate these sudden, lurching developmental milestones.

Rodney and I slowly made our way up the block. And even though our errand was straight forward, he was determined to squeeze as much adventure into it as possible. Rodney shouted over the street to neighbors has we passed, yelling "Hey guys! Check out my skateboard! WE have a letter!"

Rodney also took the opportunity to beef up his growing stick collection. But with so many sticks to carry, riding the scooter was difficult. So I carried the sticks, and for the remainder of the walk back to our house, I was Rodney's stick caddy.

About a block from our house, Rodney retrieved a small sprig of branches. It didn't have a hilt, nor a rifle handle - this was a serious departure from his usual criteria for stick collecting.

"This one is for momma," he said gently handing me the branch.

"Nice one, dude," I said. "She'll love it. And I'm serious, she'll probably cry too, so get ready for that."

We arrived home just as our pizza was delivered, and before sitting down to eat, Rodney held his stick awarding ceremony. Marissa put it in a thin vase for the table.

"I think it actually looks pretty good," I said as we admired the fixture. "Rodney has a good eye."

Thanks for stopping by today. I hope you have a wonderful Wednesday.