Wednesday, July 1 2020

a dead car battery, hash, and bread in bed

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone! Happy Wednesday. As we greet the first day of July, I hope you're staying safe, masked, and socially distant.

This week I've found a good rhythm for work and rest. I've started to complete my daily chores in the morning while Rodney watches TV and plays, suppressing my urge to spend the morning lounging around, drinking coffee, and scrolling through twitter. Finishing my work in the morning really frees up the rest of the day, giving me time for other pursuits like baking bread and writing code. Yesterday, by the time Marissa sauntered into the dining room with baby Miles, I was putting the finishing touches on the counters and cabinets in a sparkling, glistening kitchen.

"I'm going to pick up the topsoil and the grass seed from Home Depot," said Marissa. "I think I'll take Rodney with. Want some alone time?"

"I think I would like that very much," I said through a tired smile. I began to mentally chart out my precious time without Rodney. I would slip a loaf of bread into the oven, then maybe write some code. Or perhaps listen to a salty podcast. I could watch YouTube on the couch without fear of interrupting the daily Blippi morning marathon.

The kitchen door snapped shut behind Marissa and Rodney as they headed outside. I poured another cup of coffee and sank into the dining room computer chair. Fifteen minutes later, the kitchen door opened.

"The battery is dead," said Marissa.

"Crap," I sighed, leaning back into my chair and rubbing my eyes. "Did you text Trent?"

"That's a good idea," said Marissa. "I'll text him now. I don't think they're home, but I'll ask him if he can charge it for us."

"Want to pay him off with the bread I just stuck in the oven?" I asked.

Marissa looked up from her phone, her eyes widening. "Good idea." I was excited to eat that one, but a loaf of bread in exchange for free, immediate car repair was more than a fair trade. And I was honored to spread the love of Krang.

"Thanks so much," said Marissa from the driver seat of our car, looking for the hood release. Alyssa, our neighbor, made her way across the driveway with a charger and a pair of clamps.

"Oh it's no problem," she said.

"We have a loaf of bread in the oven for you as a thank-you," said Marissa.

Alyssa smiled. "We ate the last one in one sitting - it was embarrassing." While that's feasible with the smaller dome shaped boules I used to make, I nearly laughed aloud trying to picture someone finishing off a whole dense, boxy loaf of Krang Bread in one sitting.

Since Marissa and Rod were stranded at home, I started on lunch, throwing together some sticky rice to eat with the leftover empenada filling along with the rest of the empenada garnish. Marissa scarfed down her lunch just in time to join her remote agility class over Zoom. I cleaned up from lunch, avoiding her webcam as much as possible while silently scolding Rodney with hand gestures and snapping fingers to finish his food.

With the car battery charged and happy, Rodney and I left for Home Depot. As Rodney climbed into the car, I noticed he was still wearing his pajamas from that morning.

"Dada, we walk around Orange Store?" asked Rodney.

"This is just a pick-up. We're going to stay in the car," I replied. Rodney sighed as I buckled him into his car seat. I took my time, driving in the slowest lane all the way to Home Depot, giving Rodney plenty of time to spot motorcycles.

"Dada - there's a red motorcycle," said Rodney.

"Oh yeah?" I replied blankly.

"Dada I love motorcycles. And I love monster trucks," said Rodney as he stared out the window.

After getting our supplies from Home Depot, we headed home. I sent Rodney to his room for some quiet time, and Marissa and I got to work cutting the topsoil with grass seed and shaking it onto the few remaining bare spots in our back yard.

When our work was finished, I headed inside to cool off before making my way into the kitchen to start dinner. I made sweet potato hash. With Miles propped up in his colorful chair in the corner of the kitchen, I cut a few russet potatoes and sweet potatoes into delicate cubes, taking care to make the sweet potato cubes just slightly smaller, since I noticed they seemed to cook more slowly last time. While the potato cubes browned in bacon fat, I raided our vegetable drawer, harvesting an off cut of yellow onion, carrots, celery, shallots, and some trimmed wedges of cabbage. I finished it with a handful of that glorious Hook's white cheddar. It melted, forming a beautiful, sticky web between the crispy potato chunks and glistening slices of vegetables. Marissa and I cleaned our bowls and finished things off with a slice of buttered bread.

"Mama, I want bread too," demanded Rodney.

"You have to finish your bowl," replied Marissa sharply.

"Dude, you've barely touched it," I added. "Momma's right - no bread until your done."

Seeing we only had five minutes before our family Zoom call, we hurriedly packed up the leftovers and cleaned up Rodney before heading upstairs. Afterwards, I put Rodney to bed. While grabbing him a sippie cup of water from the kitchen, I saw Rodney's slice of bread sitting on the cutting board. We must have forgotten about it while in a frenzy to get upstairs and set up for a Zoom call in time.

"I feel like I didn't have a lot of patience with Rodney today," said Marissa.

"Me too," I added. "It was one of those days where I feel like the only time I talked to him, I was yelling at him - but I'm still putting him to bed, we'll talk after." I picked up Rodney's slice of bread, buttered it, and carried it upstairs.

"Want a snack, dude?" I asked. Rodney's eyes lit up, and he hungrily looked at the slice of bread in my hand. "Try not to get too many crumbs in your bed."

With a mouthful of buttered bread, I read a story to Rodney. Holding in his hand the perfect excuse to stretch out his favorite part of bedtime indefinitely, I have a feeling he was eating even more slowly than usual. But I let him win that one.

"You still got some brood left," I said pointing to the nibbled crust in his hand. "Let's just read another book while you finish."

Thanks for stopping by today. Have a great Wednesday, everyone.