Saturday, May 30 2020

grocery shopping, new plants, and poulet creme champignons

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone! How are you feeling today? I'm moving pretty slowly this morning. Remember that bottle of port I was so excited about? Well, I did solid work last night putting away most of the bottle, and this morning I have a metaphorical axe wedged in my forehead, but it's nothing that hot coffee and a cheesy, greasy breakfast can't fix.

At the moment, Rodney and I are hanging out on the couch watching Dude Perfect, and the only thing still stealing my focus from reflecting on yesterday is a web chat I have open with Google's customer support about the new phones Marissa and I ordered.

"Sir, I have a package that was delivered to you at [my old Schaumburg address]," a lady at FedEx told me yesterday over the phone.

"HA!" I laughed haughtily. "I haven't lived there in a while, whoever sent that package is clearly lost. Just send it back to them!"

It turns out the lost package I was mocking contained our new phones, and I hadn't updated my address in the Google store. Looks like I'll be rocking the cracked screen Moto X for another week.

Sip. The phone shipping mix-up is just a small hiccup in an otherwise wonderful weekend. We had a wonderful day yesterday. In the morning, I had no trouble getting Rodney out of bed. We had an exciting adventure planned.

"Dude, today we're going to the grocery store," I said after shuffling into his bedroom. Rodney sprang up, threw on a new outfit, and soon the two of us were huddled around a sheet of paper, penning a grocery list.

"Cheese, chicken breasts, cream... some stock...," I muttered to myself.

"Mac 'N Cheese, crappy bars, pahtrol fruit snacks," said Rodney, trying to complete my thought. I nodded, pretending to write down his items as well.

Aside from a short stay at a friend's house while we were having Miles, Rodney hadn't been anywhere since the quarantine started, and he was still feeling iffy about wearing a face mask. In all the conversations we had priming him for the first comeback grocery trip, Rodney seemed to think that he could wear his bike helmet instead.

"And you're going to wear your mask, right dude?" I asked as we strapped our shoes on.

"Wear mask later. I can wear my helmet," said Rodney.

"No dude, no helmet. It's gotta be your mask," I said assertively. Rodney sighed, and stuffed his little face mask in his back pocket before we slipped out the back door.

A few blocks before reaching the grocery store, Rodney piped up, raising his voice over our quiet summer tunes.

"Hey, Peter Parker," he said. "I try mask on." I gave him a quick thumbs up over my shoulder while waiting at the stop light.

Our shopping trip was incredible. Rodney was so happy to be back at Hy-Vee that he pretty much forgot he was wearing a mask. He was more concerned about crossing everything off on our grocery list.

shopping with a mask

A masked Rodney diligently checks our grocery list in the Hy-Vee cheese aisle.

Out of gratitude for his good behavior, I bought pretty much everything Rodney pointed at. With our usual grocery haul, we picked up a new red ball and a chocolate egg.

"Thank you very much," he said to the cashier as she printed our receipt. I could see the cashier's cheek bones form a smile from behind her black cloth mask.

"You're so cute," she said.

I was impressed. Even after a few months apart from our grocery shopping ritual and coming back to a very different looking Hy-Vee, Rodney still remembered everything. The world's best shopping buddy was out of retirement with very little dust to shake off.

"Rodney is in such a good mood," said Marissa, beaming with delight as we picked over leftovers for lunch. "He hasn't watched TV all morning, and he's been really well-behaved. I think that grocery trip made a huge difference in his day."

And yesterday was a first for Marissa as well. In the afternoon, she took a quick run to the nearby flower store to pick up some plants for our backyard.

"It wasn't very busy, so that was good," she recounted. "Waiting in line is the worst. The line is so much longer and more daunting, since everyone is standing six feet apart."

She and Rodney set up the new haul of plants on the deck while I prepared dinner. She picked up some basil, cherry tomatoes, rosemary, thyme, parsley, celery, and most exciting of all, a new lemon tree.

Rodney, still riding the high from a successful grocery trip in the morning, was relentlessly helpful. He helped Marissa pack soil around the plants in new pots, stopping only when he tragically got a speck of dirt lodged in his eye.

For dinner, I took a page from my French cooking class and prepared a Poulet Creme Champignons, or a seared chicken breast in a creamy mushroom pan sauce.

"It's beautiful," said Marissa snapping a photo of the finished ensemble.

"You know what's weird? It wasn't much work," I chuckled. "It looks amazing, but I spent most of the time just watching you guys work on the plants out the window."

"Dude - ", I said turning to Rodney. "What got stuck in your eye? That looked like a big fiasco."

"Yeah!" replied Rodney. "wannna wanna dayys," he said with a shrug. That's his new seasonal indecipherable filler phrase, and from what we can tell, it means Yeah, what are you gonna do, right?

After a short walk around the block, I put Rodney to bed. "We're going to try something a little different tonight, dude," I said as he sat on the couch taking a few final swigs of milk. "Everything is all ready for you - I laid out your pajamas and put some toothpaste on your toothbrush. You're going to get yourself ready, then call me up when you're ready for a story."

Rodney disappeared upstairs, and Marissa and I listened with amusement to the thumping and rustling in his room. Minutes later, Rodney's small voice called me upstairs.

"Let's see," I said pacing into the bathroom for an inspection. "Toothbrush is wet, there's some pee in your toilet. Pajamas are on. Dude I think you got everything - A+."

Rodney clapped his hands.

"Ope, but what about the pull-ups?" I said interrupting his victory dance. Rodney speedily lifted his shirt, flashing the waist band of his new diaper. The label peeking out of his pajama shorts read BACK."

"OK, A minus. The pull-ups are on backwards," I laughed.

Have a great day today, everyone.