Good morning, everyone! Happy Sunday morning. The Recker family is taking it slowly today - almost every member of our family is at least an hour late in the usual morning routine. On top of that, Marissa woke me up with a cup of coffee in bed, and I was pretty much obligated to stay in bed a little longer to enjoy it. Is there anything more debaucherous than using the first wave of energy from the first cup of coffee to just sit in bed and browse the Internet on your phone?
I suppose we’re still resting from yesterday. We had my parents over for our first social distancing get-together. Before they arrived, I spent the morning tidying up and finishing up some bread in the oven. I baked a loaf of beer bread for my parents to take home, which turned out great, but the sourdough loaf I wanted to send home with them for my sister was a different story.
“Look at this mess,” I laughed, holding out the golden brown, dense disk of dough for Marissa to admire. “This thing is like the weight of a dying star.”
“Oh no, what happened?” asked Marissa empathetically.
“I’m not sure,” I said puzzled, looking at the loaf. “Maybe it’s just been a while since I’ve done one of these. Or Maybe Krang is mad at me because I’m back to baking bread, and as we all know, Krang thinks my bread sucks.”
My parents arrived in the morning, filing into our backyard with a cooler of beer and a to-go bag of Portillo’s.
“This is weird!” laughed my mom, giving us an awkward wave from six feet away. Rodney ran out to meet them.
“Remember dude,” I said, grabbing him by the shirt sleeve. “No touching. Just a weird rule right now.” Rodney nodded. Luckily, Rodney isn’t at the age where he asks why about things.
Once we were set up with food and drinks, the social distancing didn’t feel so weird anymore. We chatted about the pandemic, the protests - how life has changed, and what adapting to quarantine has been like.
“It was hard to work up to doing something like this,” said Marissa. “All the while, we had been telling ourselves It will feel right when it’s time to go back to normal life…”
“But we were wrong,” I added. “It still doesn’t feel right. And the scary thing about quarantine is that in some ways, we’ve adapted so well to this much quieter lifestyle, it feels like a permanent change.”
“Yeah, in some ways, we actually kind of like it!” laughed my dad.
“And we’ll definitely keep some aspects of our quarantine life around,” I replied. “Cooking, baking bread, taking advantage of remote work. But we’ve had to challenge ourselves to start slowly returning to real life - which is why we invited you guys out.”
“Do you want me to bring out Miles?” asked Marissa beaming. My parents eagerly nodded. Marissa disappeared into our kitchen, and a moment later she returned with Miles, laying him in his baby chair in a shady corner of the deck. We stared at him like he was a decoration.
“He looks so much different up close,” laughed my mom. “He’s cute in pictures, but he’s so cute in person too.”
My parents snapped a picture of us. “I think this is the first updated family photo we’ve taken,” said Marissa.
After putting on our masks, we gave them a cautious tour of our house. Marissa and I realized it had been so long since they were last inside, there were a lot of new changes to show them - both big and small.
“It’s so much fun showing you everything we did,” said Marissa taking them around, beaming with pride.
After a few globs of hand sanitizer, we bid my parents farewell. As awkward as it was to greet them without embracing, it was even stranger to wave while they just walked out the door.
“And then we just walk away - how weird is this!” laughed my mom.
After cleaning up from entertaining, our entire family shut down, taking a long afternoon nap. Marissa slept. Miles slept. The dogs slept. Rodney slept. Even I dozed off on the couch while trying to watch a new recipe video on YouTube.
“See - this is what I’m worried about,” I laughed, as Marissa started to stir out of her afternoon hiberation. “See how tired we are from just having someone over for lunch? How are we ever going to go back to throwing parties and having people overnight?”
“Geez, no kidding,” laughed Marissa. “Miles even slept through his feeding. He must have been so tired from being outside with us.”
Collecting Rodney from his room to end quiet time, I found him peeking his head out of his door. He showed me his hands, which he had covered with a pair of socks.
“See dada! Look, now I can touch Grandma Jane and Grandpa Dirk!” Rodney wiggled his cover fingers in front of my face.
“Sock hands - nice, dude!” I chuckled. “You know I gotta hand it to you. You just kind of independently invented the concept of protective gloves. Maybe next time we have them over, you can wear gloves and give them a high five.”
Rodney watched TV on the couch while I heated up leftovers. Through the mysterious forces of YouTube auto recommendations, Rodney discovered this strange channel where kids make home videos using their superhero halloween costumes. Rodney simply refers to it as Spider-Man Kids.
“It’s weird,” said Marissa, who was half paying attention to the show. “But it’s kind of funny sometimes, and Rodney likes it. Why not?”
Before putting Rodney to bed, Marissa crashed our story time and climbed into bed with us. The dogs joined us as well. I turned the light off, and pretended that we were all going to fall asleep in Rodney’s bed for the night.
“That was cute,” laughed Marissa as we drank a beer on the deck. “I like to think that in his little head, he was hoping that we were all really going to sleep in his room that night.” I smiled, taking a swig of beer.
Hey - can I ask you something,” said Marissa changing the subject, resting the garden hose on the deck. “Can I pull off this hoodie?”
Marissa, who was sporting a new pink adidas hoodie that arrived in the mail, twirled so I could make a fair, comprehensive judgment.
“Of course you can,” I laughed. “It’s a cool hoodie.”
“It feels too hip for me,” said Marissa.
“Too hip? You’re 27 years old. That stuff is made for you!” I laughed. “You should get a pair of Adidas flip flops too, since you are out in the yard so much.”
“You don’t think I look like a poser? I really like Adidas stuff, but is that too many Adidas things?” she asked.
“Nah, that doesn’t matter. Just follow the three logos rule,” I said.
“Three logos?” asked Marissa.
“Yeah,” I said, nodding. “There’s a rule that you can’t have three visible logos of the same clothing brand. So you can’t wear like that hoodie, a hat, and Adidas flip flops.”
“What about a t-shirt under my hoodie?” asked Marissa.
“I think that’s OK,” I said. “It’s not visible. The goal is to not look like an Adidas shill just walking down the street.” I set my beer down to explain.
“For some reason, it feels easier to explain with the Monster energy drink logo. So if you saw someone wearing a Monster hat, what would you think of them?”
“That’s not a big deal, I guess that’s fine,” replied Marissa.
“OK, what about somebody who is wearing a Monster hat, a Monster t shirt, and a pair of Monster athletic sweats?”
Marissa paused, staring out into the yard to think.
“I would think they were… a monstrous asshole,” she said. We both broke out into wild laughter.
“I didn’t expect that,” I said, composing myself. “But sure. I think you get it now.”