Wednesday, August 19 2020

baby monitors, hot oil burns, and the sleeping dragon

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone. Happy Wednesday, or as the Dutch would say, woensdag. I'm currently working through "Calendar 1" of Dutch duolingo, learning words that are a little closer to my journaling wheelhouse. The Dutch word for Wednesday is woensdag, and the word for Thursday? It's a good one, but you'll have to tune in vanmorgen to find out.

How's everyone feeling today? I'm off to a solid start this morning, happy to report that the transformation back into a 6:30 AM morning person has been completed. I used the extra time in my day to clean up from last night's messy dinner, take a big bite out of Wednesday chores, and I even had some time leftover to click around on reddit while getting some coffee in me.

I was tempted to use the extra time this morning to work on code. I've been toying around with an interesting side project that organically turned into a minimal markdown parser. For the nerds at home, I'm trying to see how much of the markdown spec I can cover with just simple regular expression replacements, and so far I've taken care of italics, bolds, headings, and even inline links. But there will be time to chip away at that project later.

Sip. Let's talk about Tuesday - dinsdag. The day went on as usual - Rodney played with toys in the living room while Marissa and I talked plans over toast and coffee. Yesterday, the two of us were a stark contrast in the types of mornings you can have. On one end of the table was me - bright eyed, bushy tailed, and after three cups of coffee I had a thousand things I wanted to talk about. And on the other side of the table was Marissa. Miles had been on-and-off crying since the sun came up. In between sips of coffee, she gave up trying to sponge up Miles' spit up with a cloth and instead just surrendered to the wriggling fussy baby on her lap, letting him use her t-shirt instead.

Later that morning, we'd pack the car for a trip to the recycling center, stuffing our trunk with black garbage backs, old painting canvases, and slats of scrap wood. With a packed car, Marissa made a trip to the recycling center, Target, and finally to the UPS store to return the switch we no longer needed.

Back at home, Rodney and I took on a special project - sorting out the baby monitors. We bought two sets of the same baby monitor kit - one for Rodney, and one for Miles. Over time, the separate kits got munged together in one tangled mess.

Rodney and I went from room to room, harvesting the cables and tiny speakers. We cleared the dining room table, and armed with colored stickers and cable ties, we did our best to sort out the madness.

"Come in Rodney, this is dada, do you copy?" I chirped over the speaker from the other room.

"YES, GREAT!" said Rodney.

"Rodney, you gotta say something cool, like ten four or that's a copy," I advised, leaning in through the dining room door.

After Marissa returned, we took her on a tour of the new baby monitor system. Miles was kind enough to scream in his crib for an hour straight, as if he wanted to help create a realistic demo.

"As you can see, we've designed a seamless audio experience," I said as Rodney and I took Marissa on a tour through the house. "You can hear Miles screaming at the same volume in every room, on each floor, with no feedback. It's as if Miles is always with you, screaming right by your side, no matter where you are in the house."

Marissa chuckled, but she wasn't in the mood to play along. I sent Rodney to his room for quiet time and we sat down for a chat.

"It was just a lot of little things while I was out," said Marissa, exhausted. "The guy at the recycling center kind of called me out for not re using my canvases, and the UPS store was really busy."

I noticed the switch we were supposed to return still sitting on the dining room table.

"We needed the return code," said Marissa, following my eyes. "Sorry - I'll try again tomorrow."

"No, that's my bad - I thought I already took care of it," I said.

"I have to do a Zoom class before dinner - mind if I just have some time downstairs to paint and settle down?"

After putting Miles down for nap, the house grew quiet for the rest of the afternoon. I stole a nap of my own on the couch, and later after collecting Rodney from his room, I started on dinner. We were having French bistro style chicken thighs in onion and vinegar sauce, and for dessert I was making Rodney's new favorite treat - "sweet beef donuts" - just without the beef this time.

Rodney played in the living room. Marissa's friendly teaching voice could be heard in the basement. I stood in front of the stove, waiting for the peanut oil to come up to temperature. Without thinking, I dropped in a handful of puff pastry all at once. The hot oil splashed - a fat drop landing on my finger with searing pain.

I swore very loudly. So loudly that I suddenly wondered if I interrupted the art lesson happening downstairs.

"No, we didn't hear you at all," said Marissa over dinner.

"Really?" I laughed. "I feel like I shook the whole house." I held out my finger, where a pale little bubbling blister had formed. "Hey how did the lesson go?"

"It was wonderful," said Marissa. "I feel like I needed that. It was so nice to talk to someone and feel social again. You should have seen how happy she was when it clicked and she figured it out - it was cool to be a part of it."

I put Rodney to bed. After reading him a book and tucking him in, Rodney asked for a story.

"You want a story? But we already read Go Dogs Go" I protested.

"TELL me a story," said Rodney. "Tell me a story about..." Rodney stopped to think for a moment. "The MOUNTAIN."

"The mountain? What mountain?" I asked.

From his blank expression, I surmised that Rodney had confused the mountain with a mountain, and was just trying to get me started. I transitioned smoothly.

"Oh that mountain," I said. "You mean the big, dark mountain that is covered in a thick blanket of fog? The one that is so hollow and deep that you can't see the bottom?"

Rodney gripped his blanket in anticipation.

"They say this mountain was so dark, you wouldn't even be able to see your hand in front of your face. And the only sound that can be heard... is the sound of the sleeping dragon."

I cupped my hand in front of my face and gurgled.

"The dragon sleeps on top of a giant pile of treasure - gold coins, jewels, paw patrol fruit snacks, and marshmallows - the finest treasures in all the land. And they say that if you are extra quiet - extra sneaky - and you are brave enough to find your way into the mountain, you can take some for yourself. But don't wake the dragon."

Rodney gulped. "Pretty scary," he said, his voice cracking. I stood up, and just before closing his door, I growled into my hands again. "G'night dude - have good dreams."

Hope you have a great day today, everyone. Watch out for dragons.