Saturday, July 11 2020

cleaning, super hero masks, and hy-vee pickup

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone! Happy Saturday. It is Saturday, right? I feel like I've been spinning around in a tornado of cleaning, so it's understandable why I might feel a little disoriented this morning.

Today is the first day of the back to back small parties we're throwing for Rodney's birthday. And though coronavirus would see to it that we don't have a giant open invite bash to get ready for, having two small parties so close together seems just as daunting now that we're here.

"I'm going to get up really early - like seven thirty," I yawned climbing into bed last night. "I'd like to have a few hours to myself before I have to get Rodney out of his room and start cooking."

Waking up early today is easier said than done. I technically did have a few hours to myself - I just used them to keep sleeping. With no time for a generous, reflective wind up for the day, we'll have to settle for the abbreviated version of my morning routine - the one where I just throw on a robe, brew coffee, let the dogs out, feed Krang, and start writing the second I sit down at my desk.

Sip. Yesterday was a good day. In the morning, Marissa chipped away at some more shipping, then cleaned the living room. I took care of the kitchen and got a jump on converting our deck into a safe, spacious party zone. Rodney was supposed to hang out on the couch and watch TV, but his natural work ethic had him looking for jobs to do around the house as well. He helped me wash the windows, move things around on the deck, and he tried his best to put his toys away.

We had a short break for lunch. I made a pair of grilled cheese sandwiches and microwaved some leftover rice pilaf. We gobbled our food and returned to work, pushing through until about three in the afternoon when we crowded into the bathroom to get ready to go to the biergarten. We agreed to meet Alex and Cassie there for happy hour, and after an entire day of cleaning, we were feeling deserving of a longer break.

Miles sat in his chair, crying wildly. Marissa and I politely elbowed each other for a spot in front of the mirror. Rodney wandered around with socks on his hands. As Miles' screams continued to fill the air, a dumb joke came to me.

"Do you hear that?" I said to Marissa, putting my ear near the wall. "Quiet a sec, listen." She stared at me holding her breath as Miles continued to scream.

"Do you hear crying?" I said. Marissa's worried look turned to dissapointment. "Good one," she mouthed.

We filled a diaper bag and headed to the biergarten, finding Alex and Cassie on a blanket near the back and rolling out a blanket of our own.

"Can we give Rodney a present?" they asked, presenting him a bag with wrapping paper. Rodney happily dumped out the contents. A set of super hero masks and reversible super hero capes. He sprang to his feet and started stretching a Spider-Man mask around my face.

"Dada - you're Captain America," he said, like he was doling out stage directions.

"Do you like it dude? What do you say," I prodded.

"Thank you, Alex and Cassie," said Rodney without taking his eyes off his work.

"Sorry," Marissa added. "He's got this weird thing about putting on new clothes right away."

"Yeah," I chuckled, wearing Rodney's mask half covering my eyes. "Sometimes we can't even get him to put on a new hoodie or shirt. All new clothes need to hang out in his closet for a few days before he starts to wear it."

Rodney followed behind me while I got me and Marissa a second round from the outdoor bar. I wore a mask and cape, of course.

"DADA," yelled Rodney hopping on the rock path behind me in his socks. "ARMS OUT. FLY!" I nodded, adjusting my mask and extending a strong fist out in front of me. We walked through the sparse biergarten through a wave of head turns and quiet chuckles. Isn't it great how having a four year old gives you license to be a jackass in public any time you want?

As Rodney played on the blanket with his new super-hero masks and capes, we talked. Work, politics, pandemic numbers, hot takes about Hamilton. I tapped my phone screen and glanced at the time.

"We're officially in our Hy-Vee online pick-up window," I announced. I sent Rodney over to the recycling bin to discard our beer glasses, then we folded up the blanket and made our way back to the car.

"Can we pick-up dinner first so we can eat it in the car?" asked Marissa.

"Sure - Hy-Vee's text thing said the order wasn't ready yet anyway. Which is weird, because I had a time slot."

We rolled through the Portillo's drive through to get food, then made our way to Target for a pick-up. I took a ravenous bite of my Italian beef. Miles was sleeping, and the car was silent except for the sounds of mascerating fries and a plastic straw bubbling to the tune of Rodney sipping his chocolate shake.

"Today, I'm thankful for Portillo's," I said staring off into the parking lot. Marissa grunted in agreement through her burger. I crumpled the greasy plastic into a ball and tossed it in the paper bag. "Still nothing from Hy-Vee - I'm just going to park there and ask what's going on," I said putting the car in drive.

Hy-Vee's online pickup was a in shambles. Their designated parking spots were completely filled, everyone with car windows open looking quite annoyed at the handful of employees struggling to catch up.

"We're running about two hours behind," said the woman to us through Marissa's car window. "When was your pick-up time?"

"About two hours ago," I said, my cheekbones making a smile behind my mask. "So I guess we're right on time."

We waited in the parking lot for nearly an hour. Rodney reached the bottom of his chocolate shake and dropped the cup on the floor. We stared at the mess of bins, boxes, and bags strewn around the pick-up station. Marissa got out of the car to ask about her order, then returned to her seat.

"She said it's on the way," said Marissa. My phone chirped.

"Ah dang it," I said, reading the email. "They were out of some things. It looks like I'll have to go back tomorrow. And I can tell you one thing, I'm not using the online order. This was just a disaster."

"To be fair," said Marissa, "this is the first time we've had a problem like this."

Thanks for stopping by today. And to those on the way to our house for Rodney's party, we'll see you soon.