Tuesday, September 8 2020

glamour shots, grilling, and smores



banners/2020 09 08

Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone. Hope your dinsdag is going swimmingly so far. After a full, debaucherous, slothful holiday weekend, getting out of bed early for a regular weekday morning stung a bit; but there is plenty to be grateful for today. I'm grateful my tired body didn't sleep past my alarm. I'm grateful to enter into a stretch of some cool, rainy weather. I'm grateful to bust out some hoodies and long sleeve shirts. I'm grateful for the option to spend ten minutes out on my back porch without feeling like a tapas spread for a mosquito social mixer.

I'm feeling good today. A little creaky getting out of bed today, but I place solace in this work week being a day shorter. It's OK if you don't feel like getting back to work yet. Just fake it for four days, and then you'll be back to your happy weekend self - your true self.

For those keeping score at home, Miles just officially hit 4 months. For monthly milestones, Marissa does this thing where she props the lucky baby up in a chair next to a sign for some silly pictures, later adding them to a photo book. Miles' glamour shots didn't disappoint.

Here he is being casual. Oh, me? You want to take a picture of me?

4 months/casual

Here he is in the middle of telling a story.

4 months/story

And here is one final picture where he looks really jazzed about the hat he is wearing.

4 months/hat

We were actually a few days late on the glamour shots. His official 4 month anniversary of piddling around here on earth was three days ago. But let's just make that our little secret, shall we?

Sip. How was your labor day weekend? We chose to celebrate by acting as if an extra Sunday was tacked onto our weekend. We hung around the house, played lots of ping-pong, and kept moving the chains with outdoor projects. Marissa and Rodney finished building our new raised garden bed, and they get extra points for resourcefulness. Except for a few supplementary slats of wood from the hardware store, Marissa used exclusively scrap wood to put it together.

"We can even fill it with those extra buckets of dirt I put in the garage after redoing the pavers in front," she explained.

All weekend, we toyed around with the idea of picking up some extra groceries so we could grill out on Monday, but we just didn't find the time. And all things considered, I was impressed with what we still managed. Who knew that using only things that were already in our freezer and pantry we could extemporaneously put on a totally respectable barbecue. A couple pounds of ground beef from the back of the fridge. A red onion from the back of the shelf, and a sliced up cabbage. We had to make a quick run to Target to pick up hamburger buns, even though we totally could have just made burgers with sourdough bread.

As I went through the motions of setting the grill up, Rodney played outside, climbing on the new raised garden bed like it was his personal jungle gym. Periodically from around the corner of the deck, I'd hear his little rubber flip-flop slip on the wood, followed by some pitiful whimpering after his butt hit the coarse rocks beneath.

rodney climbs on garden

Your house? Uh, sure. I guess you can live in it.

I made a flight of cheeseburgers. Seared lean quarter pound patties on a toasted hamburger bun with ketchup, some cabbage leaves, red onion, and a glob of melted shredded cheddar cheese. I arranged the burgers on a big platter. We ate outside just as a cool, cloudy evening was settling in.

"So I've got melted cheese all over my grill," I laughed. "I have to start a fire to clean it off. Want to sit around and burn stuff?"

Rodney helped me lug the bundle of dried sticks stashed in our shed. Walking carefully behind my phone's flashlight, stepping over cardboard, bikes, and paint cans, Rodney dropped some sticks on the ground. "Ah, dangit!" he exclaimed. "Sorry, dad."

We stoked a fire and arranged our chairs around the grill. Marissa dug a Hershey bar out of the back of our freezer, and with some graham crackers and miniature marshmallows, we made some miniature smores. It was very on point for our theme of cobbling together a barbecue without getting groceries.

"I don't think Rodney has ever made smores," said Marissa thoughtfully. "Here dude, lemme show you."

Fastening a tiny marshmallow to the end of the tiny skewer, Marissa held it out over out tiny fire.

"You gotta turn it so it gets nice and toasty," she explained.

I fashioned five miniature marshmallows to the end of another skewer. I held it much closer to the fire, and it ignited.

While we enjoyed some smores, Marissa grabbed her laptop from inside. Huddled together on the deck, we watched the newest Dude Perfect video. Miles even joined us after he awoke from his nap, claiming a cozy spot in Marissa's sweater. Seeing his little bald head peaking up out of her collar and his little feet dangling out in front made me break out into laughter every time I turned my head in their direction.

baby in a sweater

The rare "sweater baby", seen in the wild.

Rodney was at peak contentment, and when his bedtime came, he looked for any excuse to put it off.

"Dada!" he said urgently. "The fire is going out! We... we gotta put more sticks on it!"

"It's OK, dude," I said. "We can't keep the fire going all night. It's got to end at some point."

I don't blame him. Sitting outside by the fire huddled up with your family, who wouldn't want to prolong a moment like that for as long as possible?

Hope you have a great day today. See you tomorrow, everyone.