Saturday, May 9 2020

sidewalk chalk, sourdough starter, and biertje



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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone! Aren't Saturday's the best? This morning, Rodney and I are polishing off the last few pieces of bacon I made while cleaning up the kitchen, contently taking in some Dinotrux episodes on the couch. The dogs are sleeping with one eye open as close to Rodney's plate as possible. Miles and his momma had a rough time sleeping last night, so they're hitting the snooze button and padding the morning with a few more ours of rest. And as usual, I'm drinking coffee as if my life depended on it.

Sip. We had a wonderful day yesterday. In the morning, I carved out some time to work on code while a very mellow Rodney played with toys in the living room. Meanwhile, Marissa was scurrying around the house, trying to get out the door in time for her doctor's appointment.

"Geez," she sighed. "I forgot how much work it was getting a newborn out the door. Would you mind helping me get stuff together?"

Rodney and I sprang to action, strapping Miles into his car seat. "Maybe you guys can try out the sidewalk chalk this morning?" suggested Marissa. I sighed and made a funny face.

"Sorry," said Marissa. "I didn't mean to commit you to anything."

"No you're right, I'm being a brat," I said. "I'll hit a stopping point, and then we'll get outside dude, that's a great idea."

Marissa left, and I worked for another twenty minutes before shutting my laptop for the morning. "Let's go check out that chalk dude," I said rising to my feet.

With my head still swimming from working on code, I first was content to just watch Rodney on the front step while he aimlessly colored with chalk on the driveway. But after a few minutes of solo work, he began to nag me.

"Dada, draw chalk-walk with me?" he pleaded. "Draw a flower?"

I took a final sip of coffee and climbed onto my knees, drawing a simple flower with blue petals.

"Now draw a spider-man?" asked Rodney.

"Oh a Spider-Man?" I asked, perking up. "Dude I can actually do that, watch this." With ease, I used a red and blue stick of chalk to draw a smooth head, angular eyes, and delicate webbing over the face mask.

"Now draw the neck! Draw the neck!" said Rodney jumping up and down. I drew a wide neck meeting broad shoulders, rounded out with some arm muscles. Before I knew it, the two of us were drawing a life-sized, full color Spider-Man in the driveway. I got so carried away that I even forgot about our weekly story time with the cousins.y

"Let's write something next to it, dude," I said, standing back to admire our work. I grabbed another stick of chalk and wrote HANG IN THERE MADISON - that seemed like a quaint, encouraging message, and it fit the Spider-Man theme. As I was putting the finishing touches on our master piece, Rodney grabbed another piece of chalk and waved his arms to get my attention.

"Now we make MILES SPIDER," he yelled, pretending to paint up the driveway. "AND HE'S FIGHTING BAD GUYS, AND THERE'S THE X JET, AND THE GREEN GOBLIN..."

"Dude," I laughed. "It sounds like you're describing a whole comic book, I don't think we have enough chalk for that. We already used half of it to draw this Spider-Man."

Some time later, Marissa returned from her appointment. "It turned out really great," she said throwing her diaper bag on the table. "I can tell you used to spend a lot of time drawing Spider-Man."

"I did," I said taking a sip of coffee. "It was my go-to doodle in school. But I could never master perspective, or drawing him doing something athletic, which is why I can pretty much only draw him standing straight up in anatomical position."

After putting Rodney in his room for some quiet time, I got started on dinner. I was eager to bake the loaf of bread that had been proofing in the oven all day. This was our first batch of bread using the homemade sourdough starter I made from wheat flour - the unsightly science experiment that has been silently frothing and bubbling in the corner of our dining room for almost a full week. Our neighbors were kind enough to feed it while we in the hospital having Miles. Being a living culture, it has to be fed flour and water every night. We also decided to name it Krang honoring the fleshy brain bad guy from teenage mutant ninja turtles.

And even his first week of life, Krang has undergone a fascinating transformation. After the first few feedings, Krang smelled like my eighth grade gym locker. But over the next few days, his good bacteria began to thrive, kicking out the bad bacteria and taking on a much happier, fruiter bouquet.

The bread didn't quite turn out. The dough ball flattened into a disc, and after twenty five minutes in a hot oven, it remained a dense unleavened frisbee. I ripped off a piece for us to sample at the dinner table.

"Actually," said Marissa thoughtfully chewing the first bite. "It tastes really good. It tastes like sourdough."

"Yeah," I chimed in. "The taste is 100% there. It's just the texture that needs work. I think if I just use a little more starter next time - a bigger scoop of Krang - it will be perfect."

After dinner, we suited up for a family walk. I clambered into the back corner of the basement to retrieve our stroller. Before we headed out the door, Rodney grabbed an Amstel Light out of the fridge and gently placed it in the bottom compartment.

"What's that, dude?" I asked pointing down at the beer.

"That's a biertje," he replied looking back up at me. "Daddy gets a biertje on walks."

"Well dude," I said smiling. "We're just doing a short walk around the block to wake up baby Miles, but I really like the way you think."

Marissa and I looked at each other and laughed. "Really," I said, "this is good, I'm going to choose not to correct this assumption he's made."

Thanks for stopping by this morning. Have a wonderful Saturday, and a relaxing weekend.