Monday, July 20 2020

couch church, leftovers, and old youtube videos

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone. Happy Monday. I hope you're feeling good today, and ready to begin another work week. Monday is a day for chipping away at the weekend mess, squeezing as much garbage into the can as possible before garbage day, and of course drinking plenty of fresh coffee along the way.

To set the scene here, the house is lit ablaze by the bright summer sun. And even though it's a quiet scene, I know from experience that I probably have only about twenty minutes of tranquility before Rodney starts heckling me from across the hallway. After I get to that point, I'll have about ten minutes before he'll start throwing LEGO's and playing cards at me out of protest for keeping him in his room so late.

The only sound that can be heard in the house is Ollie's quiet licking. He's found an especially salty spot on my left foot. I'm not going to lie to you - our dog Ollie has a weird fascination with feet. For Ollie, cleaning feet is a meditative experience, and he gets so into it that we find it a little perturbing. But in the morning while I'm seated at my desk staring either at the computer screen or off into space, I'm too distracted to care and we make a great team.

Sip. We had a good day yesterday. Our Sunday had a long slow wind-up, and sometime around lunch we were finally ready for "couch church".

"Couch church" of course is when we watch our Church's weekly YouTube production from our couch. And since we sleep in on Wednesdays, couch church is usually accompanied by lunch. While Marissa was getting settled in with Rodney under a heaping pile of blankets, pillows, and dogs, I was in the kitchen warming up some leftover sweet potato and bacon gnocchi in chicken broth. And to help spread it out, I fried some rice in diced up sausage.

I live for the moments when you find a way to use up leftovers in the fridge. An off-cut of sausage, a half of an onion that was nearly past its prime, a small tupperware container filled with purposeless white rice. Combining these misfit ingredients into a single hot meal gave me the same kind of thrill you might get from triple jumping somebody in a game of checkers.

Marissa had a pot of coffee at the ready. I distributed our hot bowls of leftover soup. The dogs perched on our wide Ottoman at the ready to catch any scraps that Rodney dropped. I fished out the remote from in between the couch cushions and pressed 'play'. Organ music filled our living room.

"Sorry," said Marissa. "Can we fast forward through the organ music into?"

"Way ahead of you," I laughed, as I picked up the remote to skip ahead.

Couch church concluded, and finishing the video, the YouTube app took me back to my profile page. At a whim, I started scrolling through old videos.

"How about we watch..." my voice trailed off.

"TRICK SHOTS," said Rodney, completing my thought.

"Not trick shots," I grumbled. "How about some marissagility."

I played an old video from my library called Ziggy's (2nd) Debut. "Ah, this was Ziggy's second trial," commented Marissa.

Hearing the familiar sounds of the large, echoing dog agility facility, Ziggy sprang up beneath a blanket and lunged at the TV. She stood, neck hair frayed, watching the screen intently.

"Ziggy, c'mon," said Marissa. "That's you! You don't have to bark at yourself!"

barking at herself

This is why we have to limit her screen time.

Ziggy leaping at the TV to bark at dogs, rabbits, and other animals on the screen is a common occurance, but barking at footage of herself was a new low for her self awareness. With her ears perked, she followed her motions on the screen, neck and eyes moving with laser precision. The video concluded and selected another.

I played a video in my library called "scat", in which I run after Ollie through the upstairs of our house singing a half improvised nonsense jazz song. SKIDDLY POW POW POW BA DOO. In the video, Ollie's tiny panicked feed dash along our wood floor, and the video ends with a single squeak from his dog toy.

"Is that where you came up with that song?" asked Marissa. The skiddly pow pow pow song has since become an inside joke in our family, with slow variations, fast variations, and even versions with lyrics about changing diapers and cleaning up dog poop in the yard.

"I don't know where the song came from," I chuckled. "I'm pretty sure I invented it. But this is certainly the earliest known footage."

I selected another video, a gem from my unlisted videos entitled "sneaking up on rob". A few years ago, my friend Rob and I were staying in San Francisco for a work trip. Our hotel had this wild layout where the rooms all centered around a wide open cavern, connected by these long walkways around the circumference of the building. And while the hotel was impressive at first, making the five minute walk from our rooms to the elevator got old. Out of sheer boredom, I began sprinting to the elevator from my room. In the video, I take a self-recording making the 100 yard dash from my room, and appropriately, the video ends with Rob calling me an idiot.

"Ah, and we might as well watch the hungry man review," I laughed. Before the days of home cooking, we got by on more frozen meals than I'd like to admit. I went through a brief, shameful phase of experimenting with Hungry Man meals. I recorded this video at the tail end of a long bout of laughter over the "fudge brownie dessert", which was in reality just a puddle of chocolate syrup.

Looking through old YouTube videos is a lot of fun, isn't it? Thanks for stopping by today. I hope you have a wonderful day.