Tuesday, May 26 2020

new phones, skate boarding, and bad cooking

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone! Welcome to Tuesday. I hope you are coming off of a relaxing extended weekend, and feeling ready to begin the true work week. And if you're not feeling ready - don't sweat it. We get Monday for free this week, and we're practically half way to the weekend.

To set the scene here, it's another hot, muggy day, and with slow and shuffling steps, I made my way into the kitchen to salvage our coffee pot parts from the little pile of dirty dishes in the sink. There are a few drops of port wine dried on the counter in between a few scraps of shredded cheese. Marissa is sleepily flicking through an app on her phone, and we're both quietly sipping coffee while Miles coos from his crib.

Sip. This morning was phone upgrade day. Marissa and I are trying a new strategy where we upgrade phones together - same device at the same time. That way, we can use each other as a control group if one of our devices start acting up, and not to mention we can use each other's chargers and accessories. And another unexpected benefit of the arrangement is that she is actually getting me excited about a phone upgrade.

Buying new phones normally makes me really grumpy. I have a deep, unprovable suspicion that everything in the smartphone market is horrendously over-priced. New phones agitate my cheapness like a seasonal allergy.

I think part of the problem is that I left my heart with my first phone - my Nextel flip phone, which had free walkie-talkie calls to your family, a battery that would last for three days, and so much rubber stuck to the outside that if you dropped it, it would bounce right back up.

I also have a lot of resentment for phone companies. Between the two of us, Marissa and I have had a lot of disastrous experiences. When Marissa first got her Motorola, it would crash a few times a week. She sent it in for a replacement, and the replacement phone started crashing even more frequently. Some might worry when they call their wife and get an empty dial tone for five minutes, but I know that it's just Marissa's phone rebooting, and I can almost picture her staring down at the Motorola loading screen with bleak disappointment.

I may never again have a phone as good as my old Nextel from high school, but I can get excited about new phone day. And it's probably for the best that I pulled the trigger while still groggy from last night's libations - the less I remember about giving money to Google, the better.

But enough about phones. Let's do yesterday, shall we? In the morning, Rodney greeted me at the door, reminding me that I promised we'd go skate boarding. I remember throwing it out there as a suggestion, but Rodney latched onto it, and was so excited about it that it was top of mind the next morning.

"Dada - wear skate board shirt," Rodney said, pulling on his navy blue Nike shirt. "And skate boarding sokken," he said grabbing at a pair of Paw Patrol socks. This was the outfit that he had chosen for our skate boarding outing.

After a quick omelettedilla breakfast, Rodney and I started down the block. I was slowly coasting on my board, and Rodney was struggling to keep up on his scooter. Each time I'd get more than a few feet ahead of him, Rodney would leap off his board and run after me, yelling "WAIT FOR ME, PETER PARKER!"

"No problem, Miles Spider - I gotchu," I said, letting him catch up to me.

We spent some time kicking around the nearby church parking lot. I rode in wide circles, giving Rodney a high five from the curb each time I passed. Not long after, the rising heat and mugginess zapped our energy, and we tiredly returned home. Rodney kicked off his shoes and skate boarding socks at the door and sank into the couch with a cold apple juice in hand.

I prepared some lunch for us. After putting off Sunday groceries an extra day, our choices were few, but I was determined to make something fun and refreshing. I opened a package of spaghetti and dropped it into boiling salt water.

I'm picturing fresh pasta with something green, I thought. How about canned spinach? I opened a can of spinach, and it rolled into the metal strainer as a solid tangled clump. That's not even green. That just looks like some kind of wig, I thought as I flipped it into the garbage. How about pickled vegetables instead?

I diced up some pickled asparagus and pickled red peppers. I threw them in a pan with a scoop of pickled garlic. After combining the pasta, I went it for a taste. TOO much acid, I thought, puckering my mouth in pain. What was supposed to be a fresh summer pasta dish was looking like spaghetti floating in pickle juice.

"Ah, but grated cheese," I muttered, grabbing for a wedge of pecorino. But the cheese made the mixture even more acidic. I shook my head in disgust.

"Lunch today was so bad," I laughed with Marissa on the porch later that evening, "It tasted like I cracked open a battery on some spaghetti."

"My favorite part was that Rodney actually liked it," laughed Marissa. "He was just slurping it up one noodle at a time." She pretended to hold up an awkward fork and imitate Rodney's curious slurping.

"And I also like how on the way to the table, I heated up a baked potato for his plate. Like, 'I better mellow out this salty, acidic starch with a much more familiar salty starch on top of it'. Today was not a good cooking day - it was a bad cooking day," I laughed.

"At least the fajitas were good," said Marissa.

"Except you kind of grated the cheese weird," I interrupted. Marissa dropped her jaw in shock.

"What's wrong with how I grated the cheese?" she snapped back.

"You used the finest side of the cheese grater. The cheddar looked like little worms," I jeered.

"That was so it would melt faster!" replied Marissa.

"Look," I said shaking my head. "For a taco, I would have made it a little more coarse. Just so we could have avoided reaching into what looked like a bowl of cheese monster acne." The crude imagery made Marissa gag before we both started laughing.

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