Friday, June 05 2020

the sandbox, sink or float, and police funding




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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone! Congratulations on making it to Friday. May your Friday be filled with good coffee in the morning and good wine in the evening, and maybe a little beer somewhere in the middle.

I’m especially excited for this Friday, as today is oven repair day. It feels like so long ago since I scheduled this follow up appointment to fix our oven, and in retrospect, I really underestimated how difficult it would be to go without an oven for a month longer. Curating meals without an oven is nothing short of maddening, and I’m at my wits end - there’s only so many things you can chuck in a pan or in a Dutch oven on the stovetop. Not to mention I’m really looking forward to getting back on the homemade sourdough bread train. All this while, I’ve been feeding my sourdough starter Krang, and after such a long hiatus, he is more bubbly and virile than ever.

Sip. So how was your Thursday? Mine started off in Rodney’s sandbox. Rodney and I spent the morning hanging in the backyard. The sun wasn’t yet in full force, so we got to enjoy some cool morning air, and of course a fresh pot of coffee. Rodney beckoned me over to his sandbox.

“Dada,” he said. “Come play sand with me?”

I felt I was due for some intentional playtime, so I walked across the yard with my coffee mug and sat on a dry corner of his sandbox frame. But that wasn’t enough for Rodney - he wanted me in the sandbox.

“No dada, c’mere… c’mere!” he beckoned, patting the wet, gritty dirt beside him. I took a deep breath, one last sip of hot coffee, and sank my bare feet in the sand beside him. Rodney smiled.

“I don’t know how you put up with all the gnats and the buggies over here, dude,” I said.

“They’re my friends,” replied Rodney. Fair enough. Rodney used a shovel and a castle mold to bury our feet up to our ankles.

“This feels kind of good dude,” I said giving my toes a good stretch. “And it keeps the bugs off your ankles - good move dude.” It was like Rodney was showing me the mysterious ways of adapting to his habitat in the backyard sandbox.

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Sandbox dwellers like Rodney pour sand over their bodies to stay cool and protect them from backyard insect hoards.

Rodney and I spent most of the morning in the sandbox. We played a silly game where we pretended my big toe was a dormant monster, and we’d have to bury it every time it broke through the ground.

“Why don’t we wash up, dude,” I said rising to my feet. “I have to water the grass anyway, I’m going to turn the hose on.”

Standing from our deck, I sprayed Rodney with the hose, hoping to kick off a fun backyard romp much like the one he had with Marissa earlier this week. But Rodney wasn’t feeling it yesterday. He immediately grabbed his arms and scowled at me.

“TOO cold, dada,” he shouted.

“Oh I’m sorry, dude - I thought you would like that,” I said apologetically.

Marissa joined us downstairs as I was getting Rodney changed into a clean set of clothes.

“So I tried to spray him with the hose like you did the other day, but he wasn’t having it today - it must be a mom thing,” I laughed. “Do you guys feel like lunch?”

With Marissa and Rodney relaxing in the living room, I left for the kitchen, and made what was probably the most historically bad lunch I’ve ever made. The most substantive part of this lunch was a fried quesadilla, which along with a few lazy handfuls of sliced turkey, also had way too much mozarella. Coming off the pan, the quesadilla was dripping wet with grease.

And to throw even more poor decisions on this grease fire of a lunch, I got too distracted trying to turn a frozen can of fruit into a ice cream smoothie, which tasted only as good as the amount of ice cream I added.

“OK guys, lunch is ready,” I said, ushering Rodney and Marissa to a table of greasy quesadilla slices and flavored melted ice cream. “Lemme get you some Teddy Grahams for… you know… nutrients.”

After lunch, I disappeared upstairs for an afternoon nap, and soon I was back downstairs, trying to scrub the kitchen clean of cheese grease and mistakes. We ordered takeout from the Great Dane, and Rodney, last at the table with food on his plate, was playing with his dino chicken nuggets.

“Momma,” he said tapping Marissa’s wrist. “Will it SINK… or FLOAT?”

“Sink,” said Marissa, unsure what Rodney was referring to. Rodney raised a dinosaur shaped chicken nugget and dropped it, pretending to plunge it into a tank of water, like Blippi.

“Dude, let’s take this to the next level,” I said getting out of my chair. I returned with a clear plastic pitcher filled with water. “Sink or float - for real!”

We played a few more rounds of sink or float, letting Rodney act as the honorary Blippi. I even provided the music for him, humming the sink or float theme that plays in the background of Blippi’s videos.

“Dude - now the coleslaw,” I said sliding the untouched plastic cup of side coleslaw in Rodney’s direction. The thought alone of coleslaw bobbing around in a pitcher of water made Marissa dry heave.

“OK - that’s it for me,” she said getting up from the table. Our innocent game of sink or float continued to go off the rails - we added chicken nuggets, a few squirts of ketchup, Rodney’s Canada Man toy, and a few generous drips of pink food coloring. We snickered at the dinner table, studying the grotesque mixture in the pitcher.

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"Canada man is going to need a bath after this, dude."

I put Rodney to bed, and as I cleaned the kitchen and gutted our fridge, I listened to an episode of Chapo Trap House. Marissa and I reconvened on the couch with beers in hand, and the political theme spilled over into an evening conversation.

“So they raised a pretty good point in the podcast I listened to,” I began. “So hospitals had such a hard time getting supplies - remember pictures of nurses wearing garbage bags and re-using bloody face masks” Marissa nodded.

“But how did the Police have enough supplies so quickly?” I continued. “I read there were protests in all fifty states. And not only did the cops have masks, but plastic face guards, riot shields and tear gas too. Isn’t that weird?”

“That is a good point,” said Marissa thoughtfully.

“Maybe they do have too much funding,” I continued. “The tanks, rubber bullets, the riot gear. It’s just so over the top. You have to ask, ‘why the hell do we need this stuff’ - and so much of it! You know in some places, the cops don’t even carry guns!”

We discussed the protests, riots, and police funding. Marissa also shared some insights from the audio book she’s listening to.

“It helps to talk about this stuff,” I said, taking a sip of beer. “Things have been happening so quickly, it’s easy to forget to take time and process them. I think it’s important to talk things through, and form opinions.”

Thanks for stopping by today. Have a happy Friday.