Saturday, June 6 2020

groceries, the oven, and recorder music

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone! I hope this beautiful Saturday morning finds you well. This morning, I'm moving slowly, chipping away at the dirty dishes at the sink and leaving plenty of time for coffee. That's the way Saturday mornings should be done. Rodney, on the other and, is eager to get started. As I was climbing the stairs to deliver Marissa her first cup of coffee, his face was pressed in the door, casting yearning, expecting eyes in my direction.

"Back in your room, dude. Not time to come out yet," I said, met with a childish sigh from Rodney before he disappeared back into his dark room. Perhaps if Rodney were a coffee drinker, he wouldn't be so eager to get going.

Sip. Pretty much all of yesterday morning felt like it was on hold, waiting for the oven repair guy. Don't you hate those long appointment windows? Yesterday, I feel like Sears had my focus suspended indefinitely, and even though I bounced around from tidying up around the house, entertaining Rodney, and soothing a fussy Miles, I felt like I couldn't summon the focus to do anything meaningful.

The hours ticked by, and morning rolled into the afternoon. Rodney and I attended story time with his cousins from my upstairs office, and reading a good Dr. Seuss book helped take my mind of the maddening state of readiness I had been in all day.

Marissa returned from Home Depot. She had bought some planters for our herb garden, and on the way, picked up Jimmy John's for us. Rodney and I hungrily gathered at the table.

"Look at this," chuckled Marissa. "Look what they did to Rodney's sandwich." Marissa presented two slices of absolutely bare bread.

"You're kidding me," I guffawed. "They just straight up forgot to make his sandwich!" I sighed, rolling out of my chair to my feet, lazily finishing Rodney's sandwich with a swipe of peanut butter and jelly in the kitchen.

"I take it the oven guy isn't here yet," said Marissa.

"That's affirmative," I said, chewing a mouthful of BLT like a cow. "I have a feeling this guy is going to show up at the very end of the appointment window."

"I'll take a turn waiting for him," said Marissa.

"Thank you - that makes me happy," I said sincerely. "You are better at dealing with those dudes than I am. I think all repairmen can just look at me and know that I have no idea what I'm talking about. It's like they can smell it on me."

With Marissa home to take a shift waiting for the oven repair guy, Rodney and I slapped together a hasty grocery list.

"OK, so if the oven is fixed, we'll make a sfinicione," I said, balancing a squirming Rodney on my lap at the computer. While muttering aloud, I typed out a bullet point list. "... and if the oven is not working..."

My voice trailed off as I got lost in thought, trying to imagine what was in our pantry without getting up from the chair. "I don't know - just bacon and potatoes or something I guess."

Rodney and I swiftly filed up and down the aisles at Hy-Vee, filling our cart with vegetables, meat, bread crumbs, milk, and wine. We queued up at a register.

"Do you have your ID on you?" asked the store manager, scanning my wine. My face turned flush.

"I don't have it on me," I replied. The store manager narrowed his eyes, then smiled.

"I'll let it go today - that kid of yours looks pretty old," he laughed. Rodney nodded at him.

"Thank you - I hate being this guy, I'll have it on me next time," I said, pulling the cart away.

"Thank you grocery store!" called out Rodney as we left.

Back at home, Marissa greeted us in the kitchen. Her wry smile told me she had good news, but she had a worried look in her eyes that made me thing there was some bad news as well.

"Please tell me the oven is fixed," I said, hoisting a haul of plastic grocery bags over our fence to unlock the gate.

"You better come inside," said Marissa. "Here - turn the oven on."

With my eyes, I scanned around the kitchen. There was a fire extinguisher on the counter, but nothing else looked out of place. I hesitantly hit the on button. Click-POOF.

"I fixed the oven!" said Marissa, fist pumping. "I installed the new igniter myself. I googled it! It turns out any idiot with a screwdriver can do it! But just in case I screwed something up, I had the fire extinguisher here. OH and Miles was sleeping in his chair right there while I was working on it."

"OH my gosh," I said, celebrating. "You're amazing! Wait - so the guy didn't show up?"

"No, and it's a weird story," said Marissa. "Remember we ordered another burner cap from Whirlpool? Somehow Sears knew about that, and they wrongly assumed that the parts of the job hadn't arrived yet. So without telling us, they rescheduled the appointment another three weeks from now."

I recoiled in disgust. "GOD!" I shouted. "They're just... terrible!"

"Terrible," nodded Marissa. "Use it for a week, and if there are no problems, I'll cancel the appointment."

"That call needs to be a conference call. I want to hear you tell the guy to just did it yourself," I laughed. "What a victory. Here's to the YouTube generation, right?"

I baked a sfincione. And perhaps I was just imagining things or projecting positive feelings, but our oven smelled better - cleaner. As we waited for the pizza, Marissa and I enjoyed a glass of wine on the porch. Through the baby monitor, we could hear Rodney incessantly bleating his tiny wooden recorder.

"Miles is probably so mad," laughed Marissa.

"Does this count as cruel and unusual punishment?" I added. "Hey Rodney," I said, holding the talk button on the baby monitor. "Momma wants to hear you play some tunes - get out here with your recorder."

Together, Rodney and I serenaded and annoyed Marissa until the pizza was ready.

It's nice to have my oven back - and it's back in full force. I have two loaves of bread proofing, and also some eggs warming up for a Dutch Baby.

Thanks for stopping by this morning. Have a wonderful Saturday. Go bake something in your oven.