Saturday, July 4 2020

school, cousins, jojo, and candy land

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone. How are you feeling today? I hope your taking it slow, staying cool, and prepared to soak up some relaxation on America's birthday. To set the scene here, we slept in as much as our fussy baby would allow us, sponging up the missing hours of sleep with crispy bacon. Marissa and I are at the dining room table quietly working on laptops, trying to wash away low grade headaches with fresh black coffee. On the mind, I'm thinking about the grocery list today. This morning's coffee is leaving a weird, slimy hard water coating on the inside of my mouth, and I'm wondering how our water softener ran out of salt so soon in the month. I'm feeling grateful that we have a hot holiday weekend with nothing pressing and nowhere to go. And I'm feeling just a tinge of regret for deciding to stay up so late to finish our screening of Hamilton.

Rodney is in the living room, playing school, and Rodney's version of school is nothing like the real version. Our version is just a weird combination of formally addressing each other as sir and letting Rodney eat his breakfast on the couch with Blippi. Rodney brings a backpack and books with him, but these are just props that merely sit on the couch while Rodney enjoys the luxurious "school" lifestyle.

"So Rodney thinks this is 'school'," asked Marissa.

"Yeah," I answered after a big gulp of coffee. "I get him his breakfast like usual, except we call each other sir and we make an effort to be extra fancy about everything. I'm pretty sure he thinks 'school' means having his own personal butler."

"Rodney is in for a rude awakening," laughed Marissa.

"DAD!" yells Rodney from the other room. "NEED ANYTHING?" This sounds like a sweet gesture coming from a three year old boy, but with Rodney, this is a trap. He's just trying to get me to ask him if he needs anything, and if I reply, he'll either ask for a milk refill or something in the realm of fantasy and nonsense, like a water slide glasses.

Sip. Yesterday was a good day. In the morning, Rodney opened a handwritten letter from his cousin Alice, and on the other side was a beautiful drawing captioned "A Car".

card from alice

I don't quite see it. It must be one of those new electric self-driving cars.

In the strangest coincidence, Uncle Jeremy and Auntie Kelly pulled into our driveway minutes after we hung Alice's masterpiece on our fridge. We hurriedly donned our masks and met them at the door. Rodney waved with glee at his cousins through the window. Rodney didn't seem to mind the social distance. Just the fact that Alice was standing on his front porch seemed to be enough for him, and that was really sweet. And after swooping Miles into frame, we snapped what was officially the first picture of all the cousins together.

four cousins

Maybe not Christmas Card quality, but it counts.

Rodney was sad to see his cousins leave so quickly, but having Jojo, a brand new dog guest wandering around our house, seemed to help curb his disappointment. Rodney joined the dogs in the backyard for an introductory romp.

After heating up some leftovers for lunch, things mellowed out in our house for the afternoon. Rodney retreated into his bedroom for quiet time, Marissa hunkered down in the studio, and I napped on the couch.

Meanwhile, Jojo politely wandered around our house. She sniffed all over the living room, picked up some more free smells in the kitchen, and for a minute she got turned around and found herself in our basement. But after putting on some deep ocean ambient sound on the living room TV, the soothing tones of bubbles and swirling water seemed to lure her into the living room for a nap of her own. She found a humble, cozy spot on our living room rug.

Meanwhile, Ziggy perched herself high up on our rolled up living room blanket, as if being on our couch still wasn't high enough for her. And even though she was positioned for a nap, her ears were angled up in attention, and like a contemptuous princess she couldn't help but cast jealous looks at Jojo, the indifferent sleeping giant in the corner.

jojo stare

I'm a dog.

Jojo is an easy house guest. Even as the loudest firework cracks and fizzles echoed down our street, she politely excused herself into the upstairs bathroom. Just as Auntie Kelly had warned us, she sheepishly climbed into our bathtub and put her head down on the cold porcelain for a nap. Marissa fixed her up with a pillow and a blanket. Jojo shifted her body off of the blanket, but kept the pillow.

"Ah, we have our answer," I said. "So she likes the cold part of the tub."

"But she kept the pillow," said Marissa finishing my thought. "How interesting."

After dinner, we busted out our brand new copy of Candy Land. On Rodney's first draw of his first game, he produced the coveted "ice cream" card and whizzed to the end of the board. Rodney reached the candy castle a mere two turns later.

"That's some beginner's luck - let's see you do that again, dude," I heckled.

Rodney did do it again - he trounced me for four straight games. He got so confident with his Candy Land performance that he started to act out little skits with our characters on the board, adding even more sting to the my relentless defeat.

"Somehow, you are bad at Candy Land," laughed Marissa.

"I think I need to rethink my strategy," I said. "Or maybe just cheat."

Thanks for stopping by today. Have a great 4th of July, everyone.