Thursday, August 20 2020

the puke-ocalypse, the pool, and kale on pizza

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone. Happy donderdag. Along with being the only Dutch day of the week that sounds nothing like it's English counterpart, it's also really fun to say. Try it quietly to yourself: DOHN-DER-DACCCHHH. And from what duolingo tells me, you have full license to get as guttural and throaty with that tailing 'g' as you'd like. Some days mine sounds like a bad Arnold Schwarzenegger impression.

I'm not going to lie to you - I'm struggling today. I woke up last night at 4 AM to a bad back spasm. It's been a while since I've had one of those, but I still remember the routine all to well. Stretch, pace around, take a hot shower, and just wait it out until you can fall back asleep. Things finally quieted down around 4:30, aided by a heat pack. But this morning, I'm still feeling a little tight. My back feels like a punching bag. My elbows feel like rusted metal joints. My wrists feel like they're double wrapped tightly with rubber bands. But I'm hanging in there, taking plenty of time to stretch and move between paragraphs. And of course, I'm bathing my sleepy brain in coffee.

At least my chores are in good shape for the week. I gutted through cleaning the fridge and cabinet this morning, which means the last official responsibilities of the day are just writing this journal entry, and maybe taking Rod to the grocery store later for a pickup.

Sip. Allow me to paint you a gruesome word picture from yesterday. Upstairs, the smell of a soiled pull-up wafts through the air around Rodney's room. On the main floor, Miles angrily kicks and screams in his crib, soaked in drool and spit up. Our dog Ziggy, who helped herself to an extra meal comprised entirely of rotting walnuts in our backyard, paces around the living room, puking in various spots on the play rug. This is the scene I beheld coming downstairs from a short afternoon nap. Marissa handed the baby to me, joining me at the dining room table with a thousand yard stare.

"Ah, I think you missed a spot," I said gesturing at a crusted over mound of dog puke. Marissa's head shot up.

"Is she puking again?" she said.

"Nah," I said, studying the stain from a distance. "Looks like an old one from like an hour ago. Don't worry, it's not going anywhere."

"She must have puked eight times," said Marissa. "I think she was eating walnuts outside and they upset her stomach."

"What an idiot," I said sharply.

Before things delved into chaos, crying, and body fluids, our Wednesday was going pretty good. We cleaned up some lawn waste around the yard and made a trip to the recycling center. We dug out the refund email out of my inbox and finally dropped off that damn networking switch to the UPS store. We picked up Portillo's for lunch, and in the Home Depot parking lot before Marissa ran in for some supplies, I had a burger that mentally transported me to a place of pure bliss.

When we returned home, Rodney's inflatable pool awaited us in a tightly taped package on the front porch. The pool, which was a birthday gift from his Gigi, had been delayed in the mail all summer, and you can imagine Rodney's excitement when it finally arrived.

"Rodney was absolutely losing it," Marissa tells me. "We played 'sink or float' with pretty much everything in the backyard, and he wanted me to spray the chair to make a water slide."

"Ugh," I chuckled. "The poor kid hasn't seen a single water slide all summer. He's probably going nuts."

"Oh yeah," said Marissa. "After an hour his teeth were chattering. 'NO I'M N-N-N-NOOOT C-C-C-C-OLD'," she imitated.

rodneys pool 2020 08 20

With some imagination, it's as good as any water park.

After Marissa cleaned up the evidence from the puke-ocalypse, she joined me in the kitchen to paint. I was already at work on the pizza dough and pizza sauce. For dinner, I was taking another whack at thin crust pizza. This time instead of making four small pizzas, I planned on making two medium sized pizzas, thus remedying the problems I had waiting for each individual pizza to cook on my single pizza stone.

Rodney joined us in the living room. I set him up at the computer with a pillow from the living room, propping him up high enough so he could see the screen. He was enjoying a spare chunk of mozzarella I gave him while watching Blue's Clues. Both Marissa and I spaced out, and began watching it with him.

"Is that the new... uh, Steve?" I asked. Marissa nodded. "He's good," I continued. "He's got good energy, and he's really careful with his words."

"Did you know that Blue is a girl?" said Marissa.

"Yeah, I don't think they acknowledge it until the later episodes, right?" I replied. "It's kind of impressive that they didn't let any pronouns slip until then."

I formed the pizzas and slid them into the oven. Our toppings were crispy little strips of pancietta with some chopped kale. Rodney had unapologetic opinions about the kale.

"I don't like these pieces," he said, fishing a little roasted green ribbon from his wedge of pizza. "What is this?"

"That's kale," I said. "Honestly dude, it's just there for extra points." I turned to Marissa to finish my thought. "I don't know if I was just imagining this or not, but the kale at Woodamn's is a lot more bitter than Hy-Vee's."

"Is that right?" asked Marissa.

"Yeah, while I'm rinsing it off in the sink, I usually like to snack on the smaller pieces that fall off. But this stuff was just too bitter for me to eat raw."

"Is that a good thing?" asked Marissa.

"I don't know," I shrugged. "Probably? I thought the worse something tastes, the better it is for you. Isn't that like a basic pillar of nutritional science?"

After dinner, we put more work into the roller coaster. Last night we finished the loop, meaning we have only one more page left in the instruction manual.

the loop 2020 08 20

'Jobsite Rodney' attaches the highly anticipated loop-de-loop.

Thanks for stopping by today. I hope you have a wonderful day.