Monday, September 7 2020

partying, my plastic pitcher, and ping-pong

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone! Happy Labor day. I hope you took the opportunity to use the extra day in our weekend to catch up on sleep, or at least do something that you enjoy.

We're operating on lazy holiday hours this morning. No getting out of bed until at least 9:30, and even then no labor of any kind will be even considered until lunch time. I'm grateful to have a morning to take it easy. Marissa and I stayed up pretty late last night partying. I use the term "partying" loosely of course. Our rendition of a labor day weekend rager is just putting the kids to bed, hanging out in the art studio, and drinking beer. After we had finally emerged from the basement to go to bed, we were distracted by a last minute game of ping-pong. More beer and ping-pong thwarted any chance of a reasonable bedtime, and when we finally finished playing, we forgot about bedtime all together and just started a movie instead.

This morning, I collected Rodney from his room and put him to work helping with my morning routine. He fed the dogs and put a few dishes away. He finished his breakfast in the time it took me to brew a pot of coffee, and after we took a cozy corner of the couch and watched some water slide videos.

Water slide videos were his second choice after Blippi. I appreciated his willingness to humor we with a throwback. Sitting on the couch with him under a blanket watching laid back GoPro footage of various European water slides took me back to a much simpler time when we only had one child to worry about and "corona" was just a beer that I drink on vacation.

Sip. The coffee tastes good today. Yesterday I ran a cycle of de-scaling solution, which is supposed to purge all that chalky calcium build-up from the system. Doing it on a monthly basis, I have a pretty good system now. I've even drawn a thick black line with a sharpie on our plastic pitcher, marking the correct level of water. I have a hand drawn line at 32 ounces for making de-scaling solution, 3 cups for making sticky rice, and one marking 548 grams for making bread. I aspire to one day be able to measure everything with that pitcher. Why even stop at water? I should have a marking for coffee beans, dog food, the appropriate amount of milk in a bowl of cereal, or perhaps even the recommended amount of toothpaste for my brush. I kid, of course, but Marissa teases me for my weird defaulting preference for this clear plastic pitcher. We joke that it's kind of like the pig character from Secret Life of Pets - the one that is covered in ink from being used as practice at a tattoo parlor.

So happy labor day, everyone. What are we eating today? In the last leg of meal planning, I forgot to account for a classic grilled food to make today. We were faced with a tough decision. Either we brave the grocery store on a holiday weekend afternoon, or make due with whatever is in the freezer. We're going with the latter. The plan is to use some backup frozen ground beef to make burgers, and Marissa will pick up a bag of chips and bag of hamburger buns from Target to pad things.

As I write, Rodney has lost interest in YouTube and has instead taken to chasing a ping-pong ball around the room. Ping-pong continues to be the seasonal distraction in our home. The more we play, the harder and harder it gets to hide how competitive I am about ping-pong. I didn't know I was such a stickler for the rules. As Marissa and I scrimmaged last night, my pedantic nature kicked in.

"What was wrong with that one?" asked Marissa after I caught her serve and rolled it back across the table.

"A legal serve is paddle, table, table," I said. "It has to hit your side of the table immediately before it hits mine."

"Why is that important?" she asked.

"Well, because otherwise you could just smash every serve as hard as you wanted and make it impossible for the other person to score," I replied.

"But we're not even keeping score," she laughed.

I channeled my inner Walter Sobchak. "Has the whole world gone crazy? Am I the only one around here who gives a shit about the rules?"

We continued playing. Marissa chopped at the ball midair, sending it sailing across the table. It missed my paddle by an inch.

"Ah, well that would be my point," she said.

"Uh... nope dayss," I replied, mimicking Rodney.

"Yeah-huh," insisted Marissa. "If you swing at it while it's going out of bounds, that's my point."

"No, I would actually have to hit it," I said.

"Ehhh, I'm pretty sure it's my point if you swing for it," said Marissa, digging in. She wheeled over to the computer to consult the Internet.

"That can't be the rule," I continued. "If intent had anything to do with it, you would need some kind of ping-pong referee to watch each ball and judge if I intended to swing at it or not. What if my arm just moved that way from momentum?"

"Oh momentum," sneered Marissa. "Wow this website is ugly. But it has all the rules." Her index finger flicked the scrollwheel, and we scanned the webpage with our eyes. We spent a few minutes silently reading.

"I think you're right," said Marissa.

"Of course, we can make our own house rules," I said. "I like rules that err on the side of keeping the game going. Like I've always played it that if the ball is going out of bounds, you can choose to keep it in play and volley it back."

Marissa got up from her chair. "There are way more rules to ping-pong than I thought," she said tiredly. "I literally thought the only rule was just hit it back."

"NOPE DAYSSS," I interrupted. "It's really complicated. There's lots of rules, and I care deeply about all of them because you married a man-child." We laughed.

Thanks for stopping by today. Have a great Monday, everyone.