Wednesday, June 17 2020

snacking, sleep sounds, and the beercha store

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone! Happy Wednesday. Today, I hope you take the time to reflect on the half week you've had so far. There's still plenty of time to adjust course before the weekend, so be forgiving to yourself.

I'm feeling really good today. I got a great night of sleep, and I think I have to credit that to easing up on the evening snacking. I normally take little snacks to the couch around eleven before Marissa and I watch TV or start a movie. On most days it's something small - like a ramekin of sliced cheese, or some buttered toast. But lately, the habit has kind of spun out of control. If you're not careful, an evening snacking ritual can turn into an excuse to just clean your pantry and fridge out. Small ramekins of cheese turn into bowls of icecream, bags of chips, chocolate, and dinner leftovers right out of the tupperware. In easing up on the snacking habit, I was only trying to get things under control to avoid the quarantine 15. I didn't expect to get better sleep and notice a change in my mood so soon.

It's funny how snacking can turn into an anesthetizing drug, isn't it? Perhaps I was using evening snacks to deal with the stress of everything going on in the news.

Sip. Yesterday was a self-care day, as we millenials call it. The only cooking I did all day was toasting a pair of bread slices with butter. From that point forward, we stuck to leftovers for lunch, and decided early in the day that we would end up at the biargarten in the evening and order a pizza for dinner.

And Rodney would go to the biergarten every day if he could. While we were sitting on the couch, Rodney started to puppet a pretend conversation between himself and Miles, gently shaking Miles' hand and throwing his voice as a high pitched baby character on behalf of his brother.

"What's that Miles? What were you saying?" said Rodney, leaning in close to Miles.

"'Hmmyah hmmyeah hmmeah... beercha'," he squeaked for his brother.

"You want to go to the... beercha store?" asked Rodney rhetorically?

"'HMMYAH HMMYISH HYMMMAH!'" replied Miles.

"Ohhh," said Rodney rocking back in his seat. "You want to go to the biergart."

And you know I love the irony in this skit between Rodney mispronouncing "biergarten" while pretending to correct Miles. No, Miles. It's not the "beercha store" - it's the biergart.

As we hung around the house in the morning, Rodney reached his mental TV quota and decided to relocate to the family computer. Usually, I open up Nick Jr's website, and Rodney will just continue to watch miniature versions of the same shows with a slackjawed gaze, but I decided to throw him a curveball.

"Want to try a new game?" I asked. Rodney nodded, and the two of us scrolled through my Steam account.

"That one," said Rodney, jabbing at the screen with his little index finger.

"Perfect dude," I said. "That's kind of a retro game. Good choice, since this computer is a little lacking in the graphics department."

Rodney picked a silly, retro arcade platformer. I read the dialog aloud with my dramatic bedtime story voice while Rodney keyed through the intro, and then he was off. Just him, the arrow keys, and a little blue character trying to jump over a pixelated spike pit. Rodney sent the character right into the spikes and cackled. I knew he would be entertained for at least a half hour.

But moments after Rodney reached peak contentment, after I had turned around to pour another glorious cup of hot black coffee, the computer fan went silent. The screen fizzed to black. "Uh oh," said Rodney.

"Dada, fix it?" asked Rodney as I mashed the unresponsive power button with my finger.

"Sorry dude," I said, setting down my coffee. "Computer is broken. Why don't you go play in the living room." And with that, a potentially precious early computer memory fizzled and faded to black, like our dud family room computer.

Despite my bad mood, I stuck it out and watched the kids for another hour so Marissa could attend a remote agility class with Ziggy in the backyard, and in gratitude, Marissa gave me the afternoon off. After sending Rodney upstairs for quite time, I settled in on the couch under a blanket and put on some relaxing sleep sounds.

You remember those ambient sleep sounds, don't you? It's sort of like themed white noise designed for relaxation. If you don't know, there are tons of free videos on YouTube - just 10 hour long videos of crackling fire and gentle rain. My personal favorite is "deep space travel" - just the deep insulated rumbling of a spaceship. Sometimes the sound of a space ship engine makes me so relaxed, I end up thinking too much to sleep.

After some recharging time, we all walked to the biergarten together. And despite bringing a football and a basketball, by the time we completed the long walk in the hot sun, we were too tired to do anything but flop down onto the blanket in the shade and sip on beer. The biergarten - as Rodney would call it, the "biergart", or as Rodney would say that Miles calls it, the "beercha store", was beautiful. We talked, and watched the sun set over the lake. After recovering from the long walk, I chased Rodney around the field just to make sure he was as tired as we were.

And so after a self-care day, I once again have some catching up to. And luckily our computer is back up and running again. I forgot about it all day, then just before turning in for the night, I absentmindedly tried the power button one last time, and wouldn't you know it? The damn thing booted right up.

Thanks for stopping by today. This afternoon, I'd recommend you too take a nap to the sounds of deep space travel, a crackling fire, or a gentle rain, if that's what you're into. Happy Wednesday, everyone.