Monday, June 08 2020

power outages, yardwork, and video editing




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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone! This morning, we’ve been dealing with a short power outage that started some time around 6 AM. We were immediately woken to the unsettling silence of the air conditioning shutting off as well as the eerie medley of chirping from all the disconnected baby monitors around the house. In a sleepy haze, I immediately sprang to my feet and walked straight over to my server wall. “Oh,” I said after coming to my senses. “I thought it was a computer problem. Just a power outage.”

Marissa and I helplessly shuffled around the house, eyeing the powerless coffee maker in the corner. It’s really hard to wind up for the day without coffee. Nearly impossible. For a minute this morning, I actually contemplated just bashing some coffee beans with my meat tenderizing hammer and soaking them in some hot sink water, but by the time I was working up the nerve to try it, the power clicked back on.

Marissa passed out on the couch, and as I waited for the first pot of coffee to finish, I made my way upstairs to perform the two manual actions required to turn the server wall back on: (1) pressing the tiny button behind the external hard drive bay and (2) shorting the two pins on the NAS motherboard with the tip of a screw driver. The commotion woke Rodney.

“Dada,” he said with his head leaning out into the hallway. “I’m hungry.”

I climbed back down from my chair and scooted it back up against my desk. I had woken up early, gone almost two hours in the morning without coffee, and I hadn’t even started my journal entry yet. This morning was thoroughly off the rails.

I smiled at Rodney. “Want to make some French Toast?”

So that was our move today. Rodney and I powered through the chaos of this morning with some french toast made with stale french bread. And at almost 10:40 in the morning, I think I’m finally at the required level of caffeine to process the day. So here we go.

Sip. We had a great day yesterday. Marissa slept in with Miles, and I set Rodney up at the TV with a cereal bar, giving me plenty of time to finish cleaning up the kitchen and bake a loaf of sourdough bread.

In the sourdough bread department, I think it’s safe to say that I’m back in the swing of things. Yesterday’s loaf was a little dry and dense, but had much better oven spring. I have a feeling that I’m getting to the point where I’ll need to start measuring ingredients by mass, instead of volume. It’s surprising how much variation you can find packing flour into a measuring cup, especially in the summer months, when the flour is extra pillowy in the humid air.

We had a lazy morning, drinking coffee, watching church on the couch, and eating PB&J for lunch. Afterwards, we headed outside as a family to work in the yard. Marissa planted flowers with Rodney, mowed, and replaced the flimsy, broken awning of his sandbox with a much simpler tarp stapled to the frame.

I helped trim some hanging branches off of a tree in our backyard. Clearing the branches out was gratifying, and suddenly I got excited about taking on the much taller tree hanging above our roof.

“Is that the branch, right there?” I asked Marissa, squinting through the bright sunshine.

“Yep,” said Marissa. “It’s probably going to fall soon, so I figured it’s better if we take it down on our own terms - especially with Beverly’s phone line running right underneath it.

“I can climb up on the roof,” I suggested. Marissa made a worried face.

“I’m not sure that’s a good idea,” she said. But I was already behind the shed, clambering up to the roof with the help of our tree and the Burger King fence.

“It feels pretty sturdy up here,” I said, cautiously tamping my foot on the roof.

“Ah…”, sighed Marissa. “Nope, this looks dangerous.” Rodney emerged from his playhouse, craning his head to look at our shed roof.

“MAMA LOOK!” he yelled. “DADA IS ON THE ROOF.”

“It’s not worth it hon - just jump down,” said Marissa.

I began to climb down. “Good call,” I said, leaping off and landing on the grass with a poised crouch. “Rodney was starting to get ideas, anyway.”

“We’ll hire the guys who did our old tree,” said Marissa. “They were so quick, and just a branch won’t cost much.”

“That’s a good idea,” I replied. “Because beyond just getting on the roof, I really didn’t have a plan.”

We concluded our time outside by ceremoniously pulling up the burlap that had been protecting our grass seed all last month. Marissa carefully peeled up the fabric. I held my breath as the tiny grass sprouts pulled taut, then slipped between the holes.

“Look at that,” said Marissa proudly. “The grass is so thick. There are barely any bald spots anymore! I could cry I’m so happy.”

“Our yard looks so open,” I said. “Look at how weird this all looks.”

We ate dinner on the back porch. I rubbed a chuck roast in garlic and peppercorns and braised it in red wine.

I put Rodney to bed, and before wrapping up for the night, Marissa and I did some video editing at my computer. We were discussing a new system of editing where Marissa works the trackpad so she can control the video preview, and I handle the cutting and splicing from the keyboard.

“Do you mind if I just use the trackpad like this?” asked Marissa.

“That’s perfectly fine,” I replied. “Actually, now I literally only need to press the m key and the split button on the touchbar.”

“Oh, like this?” asked Marissa, tapping the button.

“Yep - it turns out editing is pretty easy,” I laughed.

“I don’t need you anymore,” said Marissa, pretending to push me aside and take over editing. But even while pretending to take over, she accidentally nudged the track pad, creating two extra cuts.

“Ope. I broke something,” she said.

“Ah, so sometimes I press a third key. The undo key,” I said, reaching over her to press command-z.

“I guess I still need you,” she laughed.

Thanks for stopping by this morning. Have a wonderful Monday.