Wednesday, May 20 2020

fart talk, the target parking lot, quiche, and enrichment

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone. How are you feeling on this Wednesday? Maybe you're feeling burnt out, and you're just grateful the week is halfway over. Or perhaps you are feeling like Rodney is this morning, who is feeling so good that he's belting out the alphabet song from bed with a pride that one might reserve for the national anthem. Wherever you land on the spectrum today, welcome to Wednesday.

How about a Miles update? He's doing well, and filling out into a happy, chubby little baby. He likes to pick his head up and look around the room before dropping it back down to Marissa's shoulder in exhaustion. He also likes to make this little noises with his throat that sort of sound like a chuckle, and I choose to imagine that he's laughing at his own joke. And, pardon me for being crass, but the loudest thing about my baby are still his farts. On several occasions already, he's interrupted our dinner with a fart from the other room.

"Miles farts like... that fat guy in the urinal beside you at the train station," I said at the dinner table squinting, trying to imagine an apt simile.

Sip. It's probably too early for fart talk. I won't dwell any longer on the details. How about we recap our Tuesday instead? With some time to kill in the morning before my bread finished its second rise, I wanted to take Rodney somewhere scenic to eat breakfast. But I didn't quite think it through, and as we were rambling down the road, I had a sudden horrific realization that I was unconsciously driving to Target. Rodney, wearing a crisp, clean pair of pants and his Bears hoodie excitedly scanned the scene, pivoting his head around the car.

"Here we are dude!" I exclaimed, braking the car. "Our mystery location is... the Target parking lot."

It was hardly a scenic place to eat breakfast, but Rodney and I made the most of it. I let him climb into the front seat of the car, and the two of us bobbed our heads to Rodney's favorite CD and sipped on our morning beverages like a couple of high school seniors killing time before class.

"DADA! EAGLE!" Rodney extended a tiny finger at the window, pointing to a hawk gracefully circling a distant corner of the Target parking lot.

"Oh nice, dude. That's a hawk," I said, taking a swig of coffee.

"No dada," said Rodney, gravely serious. "Eagle."

"OK, dude - I'm not here to argue. Sure, it's an eagle," I replied, nodding my head.

Rodney and I finished our breakfast, and after letting him honk the horn a few times in the front seat and stretch our legs outside, we headed back home. We spent the rest of the afternoon hanging around the house.

"Rodney and I had kind of a crazy morning," I said to Marissa sarcastically. "He probably needs to wind down with Blippi or something."

Marissa took over Rodney duty, leaving me to take a nap, then watch some French cooking videos. Yesterday was quiche day, and to sum up - I am excited about quiche.

"Are you going to make us a quiche tomorrow?" asked Marissa.

"Oh, I'm making a quiche tomorrow, as well as every day after that," I replied. "It's the quiche-a-day challenge." Marissa rolled her eyes, but I continued the bit anyway. "So along with baking a loaf of bread every day, we're also going to eat a quiche every day. And the quiche we don't eat, I'm going to mail around the country to all my friends and family as kind of like an invitation for them to join the quiche a day challenge. So you're going to be mailing and eating a lot of quiche this month - prepare yourself."

We packed the family back in the car to run some errands. Ironically, our first stop was Target. "Dude, what a crazy day," I said to Rodney into the back seat. "I can't believe we went to Target twice today." I parked the car for an online order, and soon, a masked Target employee wandered out to fill our car with a few bags. I knew about the parchment paper and dishwasher pods, but Marissa snuck in a few extras.

"OK, and then I got the bag of licorice and the inflatable dinosaur," said the employee. "You want that in the back too?" I gave Marissa a smile.

"Inflatable dinosaur?" I said widening my eyes. Marissa put her finger to her mouth, wordlessly saying "quiet - Rodney doesn't know about it yet."

We grabbed Portillo's on the way home for a quick dinner before our Tuesday Recker family evening Zoom. I joined the Zoom session holding Miles close up to camera to my cooing, adoring family. And like a perfect living diorama illustrating the transition to being a second child, a bored Rodney recklessly threw a ball around the bedroom, out of focus and eclipsed by his baby brother's head.

"We feel bad for Rodney," shared Marissa in the zoom room. "We feel like we just yell at him all day, but he's a good boy and he's trying his best to be a good older brother."

After putting Rodney to bed, Marissa and I shared a beer in her basement studio. "Are you OK with being teased about how little you have to do these days?" asked Marissa.

"Oh definitely," I replied. "I would be the first to tease myself. I fill my day, but it's all just chores, creative hobbies, and self-enrichment. I really don't have much going on."

"Enrichment!" said Marissa. "Like what they do for animals at the zoo." After watching so many of Brookfield Zoo's Bring the Zoo to You videos, the word painted a vivid analogy.

"That's actually an apt metaphor. I don't need to make bread, do push-ups, or practice Dutch, but it makes me feel like I have stuff to do," I said. "Like how the zoo lets a lion play with it's food to make it feel like a hunt."

Journaling is probably a form of enrichment too. And with the quarantine probably making us all feel a bit like a caged animal, I hope you have some special hobbies or routines in your life to make you feel enriched as well. Thanks for stopping by this morning - have a great Wednesday.