Monday, June 1 2020

looting, water testing, and high altitude goat farmers

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone. Happy Monday, and happy first day of June. Regrettably, it seems the theme of at least the early stages of Summer will be rioting. Last night was day 2 of the violent protesting. Marissa and I gathered in the dining room this morning, filling up our mugs with first sips of coffee while we sleepily flicked through the news on our phones.

"Looks like more looting happened last night - and more arrests," I said.

"Did you think it would go on this long?" asked Marissa.

I nodded, taking a swig of coffee. "I'm a little surprised - I didn't think we had it in us to stretch this out another day."

I have mixed feelings about the protest. It's sad to watch your city struggle under these conditions. There's a palpable feeling of unrest, even just sitting outside in our backyard. But I can't help but feel a sense of camaraderie with how frustrated the younger generation is feeling amidst this crisis.

And we found the city's response somewhat disappointing as well. Marissa and I turned on the live feed of the mayor's address during the first night, expecting to hear answers and facts. When did this start? What areas are at risk? Who made the first move? What is the escalation plan? But the mayor only offered stern, lecturing words. Violence will not be tolerated. Looting will be punished.

"What do you think about the all the looting going on?" asked Marissa, as we all sat in the car on the way to Pet World. Rodney cradled our dead... erm sick... shrimp friend in a plastic bag in his lap in the back seat, quietly listening and watching out the window.

"Oof, it feels a lot different when it's your city," I sighed. "I'm going to be honest with you, I don't really feel much sympathy for, like, Underarmor and Target. All there stuff is insured, so it's more just an attack on insurance companies. But the smaller shops getting hit - the ones that are just run by one family..."

"That makes me sad," said Marissa, finishing my thought.

"Exactly - that sucks," I said, nodding. "The fact that they got caught up in this seems a little misguided."

"Should we take a drive by State street and check it out?" asked Marissa.

We slowly circled the capital building. As we passed by State Street, we craned our necks to get a good view of the carnage.

"There's nothing there," I chuckled. "Of course Madison had it all cleaned up already. I read that there were something like a thousand volunteers to show up to help."

"There there, lil' guy," said Rodney in the back seat. I turned to face him. Rodney was patting the plastic bag with a gentle hand, whispering comforting words to our shrimp friend, whose rigid body was now turned upside down at the bottom of the bag.

"It's alright dude," I said. "We're gonna get your little guy to the doctor, he's just feeling a little sick right now."

We picked up some Culver's, and after scarfing down our food in the parking lot, Marissa and Rodney masked up and headed inside to Pet World, Rodney still gently cupping the plastic bag with two careful hands. I bobbed Miles on my lap in the front seed, propping him up on my knee to shield his eyes from the bright afternoon sun. Marissa returned empty handed with Rodney some time later.

"So that was a little disappointing," said Marissa. "Their free water test was the exact same test kit we had at home, and of course, we passed."

"Interesting," said, tracking the story while strapping Miles back in his car seat.

"And I don't know if the guy working today was incompetent or what, but he just blankly stared at me and told me that normally 'usually people have more obvious problems'," she continued, putting the car in drive and creeping out into the nearby intersection. "The guy said our calcium was high, so we can keep an eye on that. But personally, I think the acclimation process did him in - we need to stretch that out," said Marissa.

And so the quest for a saltwater fish tank continues, this week giving us new threads to pull on. After a water change and a few days of fine tuning the pH, we're going to try another shrimp, this time extending the acclimation process. "The guy told me to use two cups over an hour, but that felt like the shorter end of the spectrum, you know?" explained Marissa. "I feel like little guy could have used at least two to three hours."

I cooked dinner as Rodney and Marissa napped, waking them up to a rustic bowl of pinto beans, pork, cabbage, and vegetable mash. I goaded Rodney into cleaning his bowl, but I noticed Marissa stopped eating her bowl a little too soon.

"So tell me what happened here, why didn't you like this food?" I said to Marissa, tipping her bowl to see the pile of uneaten food balled up in the corner. Marissa cracked a smile as I continued to pretend-berate her. "What? Not enough vegetables for you? We're eating like freaking high altitude goat farmers tonight, look at all the freakin' veggies I put in here," I exclaimed.

"OK, you got me excited about carbonara - you mentioned it in passing last night."

"CARBONARA?" I shot back. "You don't like carbonara - I thought the eggs bothered you?"

"I don't like carbonara, but I got excited about trying it again. Then I had to shift gears for..." Marissa pushed her fork around her near empty bowl.

"... high altitude goat farmer mash?" I added. "Rodney is having some more tummix issues lately, so I'm trying to lay off the fatty stuff until he gets regular again. Carbonara would have been the, um, cork in the bottle so to speak."

"I'm sorry," said Marissa. "It was good, just not expecting it."

"No, it's OK. I understand, and I'll happily snack on something with you tonight after Rodney goes to bed," I replied. "The cabbage, celery, and pork were kind of fun, I accidentally recreated a nostalgic taste for me. Doesn't that just immediately make you think of Chinese takeout?"

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