Thursday, May 28 2020

the print server, types of cheese, and frozen milk

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone! How are you feeling on this quiet, drizzly Thursday? I'm grateful for today's rain. Not only do I get out of my morning grass watering chore, but the rain always seems to have a calming effect on Rodney, and that makes the morning shift with him even easier than it normally is. Instead of working up a sweat playing outside, or doing something high impact, he'll probably be just content to sit on the couch under a blanket and watch a movie. The rain has that effect on me too.

"Can I have a top off?" asked Marissa, holding her coffee mug out to me. She was balancing a sleepy Miles on her knee.

"I don't know how you drink coffee then go back to sleep," I quietly chuckled while refilling her mug. "The morning is when I feel most productive and focused - it's a shame these days that gets waisted on just screwing around with Rodney," I laughed.

Sip. We had a great day yesterday. While tidying up the house and hanging around with Rodney, we heard a shuffle and a thud at the door.

"Dada, the mail's here!" shouted Rodney, without getting up from his seat on the couch. I cracked open the door, and using my leg to block Ziggy from peeking her head out, I collected the small packages from our front step.

"Dude, I think our little computer arrived. Want to work on a project with me?" I asked.

But Rodney, curious as always, was already circling the dining room table, curious to see what we got in the mail.

"Check it out, dude," I said, cutting open the padded envelope and dumping the contents out. I had ordered a Raspberry Pi Zero, the low powered miniature computer that was slightly smaller than a business card. Along with the computer, we got a tiny plastic case, a sticky heat sink, and an assortment of interesting cables and dongles.

"Why are you just getting the miniature one?" Marissa had asked a few days ago. "If you want, you can just get the full sized one."

"I think for just a remote printer, we can get away with the smaller one. It's kind of a cool use case, and I've been looking for an excuse to play around with one of these," I told her.

Rodney and I assembled the case. He sat on my lap while I flashed the mini SD card. Together, we carefully plugged in the tiny computer to the power strip and monitor in our dining room. We held our breath as colors flashed on the screen. The tiny computer was booting.

"Here dude," I said. "There's only one USB port, so we have to alternate between the mouse and the keyboard while we set it up, OK?" After clicking our way through the installer, Rodney studied the demo pictures while we watched the big blue loading bar creep across the screen. The little computer rebooted. We were greeted by a bright red raspberry, and a long stream of pale typewritten text that tumbled down an empty black screen.

"Check it out, dude, it's booting," I said pointing to the output. With nothing left in this little morning project of ours but to configure some network printer software, I dismissed Rodney. He was just starting to get bored with all of this anyway. Rodney spent the rest of the morning contently watching TV on the couch while installed and configured a CUPS server, then tucked the tiny computer behind the basement printer.

"Success!" I said into an empty dining room, sending the maiden print job to the new server. I printed a new label for Krang's slimmer glass jar, and I also printed some photographs of Marissa's paintings she had left on the desktop.

Marissa joined Rodney on the couch with Miles, and I started fixing a giant quesadilla and some leftovers for us all to share. We gathered on the back porch for lunch.

"I have an apology for you," I said to Marissa. Her eyes widened, intrigued. "Remember I used to shame you for using the wrong type of cheese on tacos and quesadillas?"

"Yes, I do," laughed Marissa. "It's just supposed to be... Mexican cheese, right?"

"Well here's the thing," I replied. "I think that's all nonsense. I'm starting to think you can use whatever cheese you want. I made these with fresh mozzarella and gruyere, and these are literally the best quesadillas I've ever made for myself." Marissa nodded in gratitude and took a bite, studying the combination.

After a long nap, some French cooking classes, and a few Dutch lessons on Duolingo, I made my way back into the kitchen to start on dinner. I lit the grill, spatchcocked a chicken, made some mashed ricotta sweet potatoes, and finished it with a mushroom butter pan sauce. "And we can't forget the most important part," I said circling Marissa and Rodney at the table, dropping parsley on their plates. Before taking my apron off, I playfully sprinkled some parsley on Rodney's head too.

As we ate, we did a family check-in, starting with Marissa. Marissa shared how tired she's been feeling.

"It's got to be all the breast feeding," I said. "I bet that takes a lot out of you."

"It does," Marissa nodded. "It takes a lot of energy, then I have a hard time getting to sleep, and I just feel like I'm not dealing with it very well."

"And you're still freezing some of it? How long is that good for?" I asked.

"It can keep frozen for six months," said Marissa. "And I'm almost there."

"Great!" I replied. "That's just six months where you can stop early - a nice little buffer. That supply of frozen milk is kind of like the tunnel you're burrowing in your cell at night, like in The Shawshank Redemption. It's only a matter of time before you make your prison break."

Marissa laughed. "It feels like that," she said.

"Want to take the honden for a little walk?" I suggested. "You can go now if you want." Marissa took her plate to the sink, and moments later, she disappeared out the back door. Rodney and I were alone.

"Dada, we go play hockey now?" asked Rodney, still poking at his chicken and mashed potatoes.

"No dude," I replied. "We have to wait until Momma gets back first." I swigged the last of my La Croix and dropped the empty can on the table. "Dude - if we leave the house, who is going to watch baby Miles?

"Blippi can," replied Rodney. We stared at each other blankly.

"Blippi?" I repeated.

"Yeah!" said Rodney. "Blippi watch baby Miles."

"I don't even want to unpack that," I laughed, grabbing Rodney's plate. The back door cracked open, and the dogs came rushing into the house, followed by Marissa.

"Do you feel better?" I asked as she was putting her shoes away.

"Yeah - I do," she said. "You guys can go play hockey now."

"You know Rodney wanted to leave while you were gone," I laughed. "He said Blippi could watch baby Miles for us."

Marissa shook her head in disappointment. "Well it didn't long for me to start despising Blippi again," said Marissa. "Blippi is on thin ice."

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