Thursday, May 14 2020

social distancing, space jam, and a backyard picnic




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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everybody. I hope your Thursday is off to a good start. By us, it’s cold and drizzly, and it’s shaping up to be a great day to catch up on work and do something fun and relaxing in doors. This morning, I padded my wake up time with a generous hour, getting up with just enough time brew a pot of coffee and relocate a dough ball from the fridge into the oven. Today, with Marissa’s hesitant approval, I brewed a pot of rum flavor infused coffee. As I drafted my journal notes upstairs, Marissa wrinkled her nose as he scrupulously sampled the strange brew from a mug.

“It’s weird,” she said over the sound of my furious keyboard yammering. “It tastes the same, but it just smells boozy.” I paused and looked up at her.

“Then just plug your nose while you drink it,” I retorted. When it comes to coffee, she would rather drink the same roast every day, and I don’t mind some variety every once in a while, so naturally there’s some strife. But in the case of this rum coffee, I’d have to agree with her. Rum flavor isn’t distinct enough to add much to coffee. If anything, it just tastes like I’m drinking coffee out of a rum and coke glass without having washed it first.

Sip. So Facebook, reddit, and Twitter are ablaze this morning from politics. Yesterday the Wisconsin supreme court challenged our governor’s stay at home order. The court voted 4-3 that his order to close schools, churches, and public gatherings went beyond the extend of the law. With some googling, I found the relevant snippet.

From Wis. Stat. § 252.02:

(3) The department may close schools and forbid public gatherings in schools, churches, and other places to control outbreaks and epidemics.

(6) The department may authorize and implement all emergency measures necessary to control communicable diseases.

I really don’t know what to make of that. If those words don’t mean that Governor Evers can close things down to contain a public health threat - which is exactly what so many other states did - then what’s the point of even writing laws down? Politics can be really stupid.

It’s frustrating. Our federal government would rather give states the “freedom” to do what they want, and in the case of Wisconsin, the state would rather pass this “freedom” along to the counties. It’s no wonder why, maddeningly, everyone seems to have their own interpretation of what social distancing means. Some people are completely avoiding outside personal contact. Some people are practicing limited contact with a designated social distancing circle of friends. Some people just wear a mask while shopping or taking Instagram pictures.

I think opening up the state now is a bad idea, but this decision is also just petty. Evers order was set to expire in two weeks anyway, and that just means that Dane county will put in the same order locally while the rest of the Wisconsin happily bar hops and rubs shoulders at Costco as if nothing was wrong in the world.

So I guess apart from all the arguing on Facebook and Twitter, nothing has changed for me. Social distancing is still in effect in my county, and I think they made the right call. Well done, Madison.

In other news, I introduced Rodney to the cultural touchstone that it Space Jam. We have the same discussion each time I try to get him to watch something new:

Me: “Want to watch something? Hey dude, I have something new for you to try. Check it out, want to watch Space Jam?

Rodney: “Nooooooooo - no Space Jam. Dinotrux.”

Me: “No, we’re going to try Space Jam today. You’ll like it.”

Rodney: “No Space Jam.”

Then out of protest to Rodney’s cruel four year old logic, I proceed to play the movie Space Jam anyway, and Rodney is instantly sucked in. Rest assured, the next time we have this conversation, it will be me trying to convince him to watch something other than Space Jam. Rodney should really show some respect for the quality children’s programming I’ve been able to curate for him. It’s almost like I need to prequel each new addition to his finicky catalog with some drummed up enthusiasm.

From the DAD who brought you such cherished classics as DINOTRUX, PAW PATROL, and SING… introducing your new favorite movie for the next three months… SPACE JAM!

And Space Jam holds up by the way. Both Rodney and I were sucked into the movie in the first few minutes. And Michael Jordan is a decent actor, as far as acting Basketball players are concerned. He mumbles through most of his lines and gives the same canned smirk & dissapointed head shake reaction to each green screened interaction, but truth be told, Michael Jordan has so much charisma that it doesn’t matter.

As Rodney took in the rest of the movie, I prepared us a special backyard picnic lunch. The sourdough bread didn’t spring as much as I would have liked, but it was good enough to make some great finger sized PB&J sandwiches. I arranged the sandwiches on a tray, flanked by sliced gouda cheese, bananas, bears, and an icy Amstel Light split into two miniature tasters.

“I have a surprise for you guys,” I said to Rodney and Marissa, who had since joined Rodney on the couch with Miles. I folded one arm in front of me like a French waiter. “If you will join me in the back, I have something prepared,” said turning on my heels.

We ate lunch on the back porch, polishing off everything on the tray. Marissa and I even finished the rest of the sourdough loaf. After the dough ball got stuck to my kitchen towel in the fridge, then failed to rise more than 2 inches in the oven, it was by no means ready for a close-up on Instagram, but what it lacked in visual appeal it made up for in taste and texture.

“Tonight,” I said while chewing. “The same dough, but I’m going to skip the towel, and I’m going to skip the dough ball. I’m just going to pour it into a bread pan.”

Marissa flashed a thumbs up, filling her mouth with another cut of PB&J.

We went for a walk around the block, and after a long nap during quiet time, Rodney and I jumped in the car to pick up dinner. I rolled down his window, and thinking we were racing the other cars stopped at the stop lights on East Washington, he goaded me to rev my engine.

VRRRRRR VRRRR VRRRRR VRRRRGRBLBBGRBLBLBL. I obliged him, but of course I just made the noises with my mouth, since to Rodney’s world it was all the same. And so together we made loud sputtering car engine noises with our mouths all the way to Portillo’s.

Thanks for stopping by this morning. I hope you have a wonderful day today.