Friday, July 24 2020

taylor swift, shrimp toast, and groceries for the job site

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone. How are you feeling today? From my computer screen to yours, I'd like to wish you a happy Friday, and a happy new Taylor Swift album day. Have you listened to folklore yet? I decided to use this idyllic morning to take it in for the first time. I had a full pot of coffee, a put together kitchen, and a full hour alone at the computer with my notes before Rodney's day started. I couldn't have asked for a better listening experience.

In spite of the perfect stage, the album disappointed. After a first pass, it didn't really mentally take me anywhere. Don't get me wrong - I've come around to Taylor Swift. Last night, Marissa and I even bumped Lover in the kitchen. That album has become one of my prized, go-to "guilty pleasure" listens when I have lots of work to do. But as for this lengthy, sleepy, moody track list, I'm just not feeling it.

I think casual Taylor Swift fans might like it. Like every album, there are plenty of tired relationship metaphors and break up drama for you to sink your teeth into. There's even a decent Bon Iver feature and a song about her cardigan.

"The problem with Taylor Swift is that it feels like she just accepts the first rhyming word that leaps into her head and builds a sentence around it," went last night's rant. Channeling my inner Taylor Swift, I tried to reverse engineer the first verse of I Think He Knows.

"He got that boyish look that I like in a man." That's good, Taylor. Now what rhymes with 'man' - PLAN. Got to think of something with PLAN. Who has plans? Who draws up plans? An ARCHITECT! How about, "I am an ARCHITECT, I'm drawing up the PLANS."

At least Taylor Swift puts out music. I'm looking at you, Kanye West. If Taylor Swift truly was trying to worsen the sense of rejection felt in Kanye's camp this morning with her own surprise album drop, she succeeded. I've been in an abusive fan/artist relationship with Kanye for several years now, and I've come to expect all the drama, fake outs, and last minute nonsense that surrounds his album roll-outs - but it doesn't make them hurt any less. And even though there are still plenty of hours left in the day for Kanye to fulfill his Friday album drop promise, I'm not holding my breath.

Sip. We had a great day yesterday. The family laid low in the house all morning. Rodney watched TV, Marissa worked at the table, and I cleaned out the fridge while making a big grocery list for this weekend.

"What do you feel like for lunch?" I asked.

Marissa shrugged. "Do we still have turkey? I'll take a sandwich," she said, without looking up. Meanwhile, I stood in front of an open fridge, my eyes fixated on a thawed bag of shrimp in the bottom drawer.

"I'd really like to do something with the shrimp. It's like I'm physically incapable of throwing it out," I said. "Look - it's not even opened yet."

In our house, shrimp has always had a lukewarm appeal. For the longest time, Marissa was convinced she might be allergic to it, and even after disproving her suspicions with some cautious experimentation, she still wasn't crazy about it. And of course Rodney feels lukewarm about anything that isn't mac and cheese, peanut butter & jelly, or a Hy-Vee brand apple flavored breakfast bar.

Paella opened the door to more shrimp in our diet. "It's weird," says Marissa. "It's like my two least favorite proteins - sausage and shrimp - but I just feel like eating it all the time."

But without sausage and the rest of the paella, the thawed bag of shrimp was a sinking ship, and I felt compelled to save it. Going against everyone's lunch wishes, I peeled the shrimp and threw it in a pan with butter and the scraps from a clove of garlic. After the shrimp curled and took on a nice color, I dumped it into a bowl and used the rest of the butter to fry some old chunks of bread.

"Shrimp toast," I announced, laying the bowl on the table. Marissa and Rodney took a few hesitant bites, which turned into more cadent, confident chewing. By the end of lunch, Rodney was lunging across the table, shoveling handfuls of shrimp into his mouth, contending with Marissa over the last few wedges of garlic buttered bread. Meanwhile, the turkey sandwich sat beside the wreckage on its own plate undisturbed.

"Can somebody explain what just happened?" I asked, flabbergasted.

"We like shrimp now," said Marissa. "We're a shrimp family now."

"Well I guess so!" I laughed. "Weapons free on the shrimp then, huh?"

"Yes, more shrimp" laughed Marissa wiping her hands. Rodney nodded, and with his mouth full, flashed a buttery thumbs up in approval.

After cleaning up from lunch, Marissa worked outside while Rodney and I tried out his new bike again.

"How's he doing with his bike?" asked Marissa.

"Rod, how does your bike make you feel?" I asked.

"HAPPY!" yelled Rodney, letting a grin spread across his face. Rodney gripped my hand, and after climbing on his bike, he began to dole out orders.

"OK DADA," said Rodney. "What do we need from the grocery store?" He flexed his tiny calve muscles, moving the pedals and rolling down the driveway. I shuffled after him with a coffee cup in hand.

"Oh man, groceries?" I replied. "We're going to the grocery store?"

"Yeah!" said Rodney, eyes focused on the road. "We gotta get groceries for the job site." He gestured behind us, where Marissa was staining wood slats for the fence. "We need crappy bars, pocky, beercha...".

Rodney and I made several trips to the grocery store in his head, riding up and down the side walk. He even fell off his bike once or twice, but his self-appointed responsibility of keeping the jobsite stocked with beer, cereal bars, and pocky kept him focused.

Thanks for stopping by today. Have a wonderful Friday, everyone.