Tuesday, June 9 2020


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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone! Happy Tuesday. I hope you're feeling good about this week. If you're like me, and you didn't get a great start to the week, there's still plenty of time to rally. It's only Tuesday, and it's a fine day to step it up and be productive.

Yesterday has a truly awful beginning. Rodney and I did an admirable job trying to bounce back from our hectic power surge morning with some lekker French toast, but Marissa and I still couldn't wake up.

"I've drank almost our entire caraf of coffee," said Marissa. "This morning just sucked so much. It's like I can't wake up now."

"I hear ya," I said. "It took me twice as long to write the entry that morning. It was a real battle getting coherent words out of my head."

"Let's get excited about running some errands. Did you still want to pick up lil' guy today?" said Marissa quietly. But hearing a passing mention of his beloved shrimp, Rodney snapped out of his Blippi daze to join the conversation.

"LIL' GUY? Awww I miss my lil' guy," said Rodney.

"We're picking him up from the vet today, dude," I said. "Want to do some family errands after lunch?"

After polishing off some turkey sandwiches and dinner leftovers at the table, our entire clan slowly migrated outside into the driveway and packed into the car.

"Gosh, it takes us forever to get going places now," I griped. "I forgot about how much crap we have to bring."

There's the diaper bag, the stroller, putting the dogs away, and to add to the irritation, Miles is growing so fast that it seems like his car seat needs a full blown adjustment every time we place him inside.

"The straps are supposed to be up by his shoulders right?" asked Marissa. "This seems too small now."

"Oh geez," I laughed. "Yeah those are down by his belly. What did he double in size this week?"

At last, we were off, and our first stop was Alex and Cassie's place. We met them in front of their building, chatting through our cracked car windows. They waved at Rodney, leaned in to get a good look at Miles, and lamented the condo rooftop chores they had that happened to line up with such a brutally hot day.

"Dude, it was so nice seeing Alex and Cassie," I said to Rod as we backed out of their driveway.

"I think the next stop is the fish store," said Marissa.

We parked, and some time later, Marissa and Rodney returned, carefully making their way through the parking lot with a long cardboard box and a tiny plastic bag. Even from across the parking lot, I could see that Marissa had not gotten another pale cleaning shrimp. This one was bright fire engine red. Rodney pulled the door open and shouted into the car.

"Dada! My friend is RED now," he yelled.

"I see that," I said, delicately taking the bag from Marissa into my lap.

"They were out of cleaner shrimp, so he's a blood fire shrimp," said Marissa.

"Man, look at this guy," I said studying the bag. "He looks so much... meatier."

"I know right?" laughed Marissa. "He almost looks like the kind of shrimp you would eat."

"Are we still going to go with the name Stephane? Somehow it feels sloppy to use the same name for a different species," I asked.

"I agree," replied Marissa. "He doesn't look like a Stephane."

"Since our theme so far has been YouTube chefs, I feel like this one is a Bruno. I could definitely see him staring right through the camera with his gentle, hulkish features and popping a dollop of whipped mascarpone in his mouth."

"Follow me on twee-tare, pin-terest, facebook, and IN-sta-grahm," said Marissa, mimicking his distinct French accent.

Back at home, we began Bruno's tank acclimation. This time, we were much more delicate, adding only a few tablespoons of tank water to his bag every ten minutes for two hours. I anxiously leaned close into the tank to survey for signs of life each time I passed through living room.

"Couldn't you just let him acclimate like all night?" I asked Marissa.

"That's the tricky part," said Marissa. "You can't leave him in the bag too long, or he'll run out of air. But take him out too soon, and the water will shock him."

At last, it came time for us to release Bruno into his tank. He immediately scurried into a comfy space between a live rock and the tank heater.

Meanwhile, I took our new tank light out of the box and began perusing through the instruction manual. "So this thing is really fancy tank light," I said. "I think it was worth the money. It's got bluetooth, and it's programmable through an app."

I flicked a few buttons on my phone, and immediately the tank swelled with gorgeous blue light. Rodney and Marissa ooh'ed and ahh'ed from the living room.

"So it will automatically simulate a 24 hour sunlight cycle," I explained. Watch this, I'll put it in preview mode."

In a sixty second interval, the tank light cycled through a dim orange "sunrise", a sustained period of bright daylight, and a concluded with a sunset, transitioning beautifully into a cool blue nighttime phase.

"This is the coolest thing I've ever seen," said Marissa. "It would be cool, even if we didn't have a live animal inside of it right now."

"Speaking of which," I laughed. "What is Bruno up to?"

Marissa grabbed the turkey baster from the kitchen, and gently poked him. Bruno recoiled in fear.

"He's doing good," she said. "I think he's adjusting to the water, but it's a good sign that he's moving."

We ate dinner. Perhaps an unintentionally cruel choice for the occasion, I made shrimp fried rice. "If Bruno didn't make it through dinner, who knows - he may have joined the other shrimp," I laughed.

I checked on Bruno this morning. Over night, he's burrowed more deeply under the live rock, but he still responds quite well to the turkey baster.

bruno hiding

The mighty Bruno, who probably wishes we would stop basting him and just leave him the hell alone.

Thanks for stopping by this morning. Have a wonderful day today.