Tuesday, September 15 2020

fresh towels, movie quotes, and the prize cup

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Dear Journal,

I snapped this picture of Rodney while he was clambering around the new flower box. Being positioned so close to the deck, it makes for a pretty cool obstacle.

"Smile dude," I said, holding my camera over him from the railing.

"No dada," said Rodney. "I don't want to smile." Instead, he gave me a thumbs up and a steely glare.

Good morning, everyone. How is your Tuesday going so far? Marissa and I are up and at it, ready to battle another weekday. This morning, while waiting for the first pot of coffee to brew, I finished cleaning up after last nights dinner.

Cleaning up today was a delight. Marissa ordered some fresh new towels for our kitchen, and they make a world of difference. It's funny how you can use some things so often that you forget how much more effective they were when they were brand new, and how you can lose track of how often things need to be replaced.

And speaking of fresh towels, Marissa and I diverge on how we treat newly unwrapped products. Here's the question: when you take something out of the box or packaging, do you begin using it right away? Or do you first run it through the dishwasher or washing machine?

Marissa cleans everything before first use. The new towels she ordered arrived here a few days ago, but I wouldn't see them until they emerged from our dryer yesterday.

Sometimes I tease her for it. "Right now they're the cleanest they'll ever be," I say. I'm an optimist - not a pre-washer. Whether it's a new t-shirt right off the rack, a stack of cups, or even silverware, I'd be happy putting it to use on the way out of the store. If it were up to me, I'd unbox the towels and hang them up next to the sink while throwing out the old ones. I suppose with COVID and all, it's probably best to err on the side of over-washing, just for the sake of decontamination. I can't wait to go back to being my gross, quasi-sanitary true self.

Sip. How did your Monday go? Things got off to a rocky start for us after our plan to pick up food from Woodman's fell through. I came downstairs later that morning for a coffee refill, and Rodney was quick to remind me of our predicament.

"Morning dada," he said. "We have no milk, and no juice. JUST water." He took a swig from his sippie cup to emphasize his point.

"Oof," I said. "The supply chain is struggling, huh? So you're just having Miralax flavored water? We have other stuff to drink, dude. How about a biertje? Do you want a biertje with your crappy bar?"

Rodney laughed, wrinkling his nose.

"I could water down a splash of heavy cream? See? Who needs a cow?" I turned to Marissa, hoping she would catch the movie reference. "Who needs a cow?" I repeated, squinting my eyes and scrunching up my face.

"What?" said Marissa.

"I'm Renée Zellweger. From Cinderella Man," I said, annoyed. "Who needs a cow?"

"Oh," said Marissa sleepily. "Yeah, good one."

Yesterday was a nice, quiet work day. While I wasn't downstairs bothering my family with lame movie quotes, I was upstairs quietly hacking on some generated kubernetes configs. Coming back from a long paternity leave, my brain has been running hot in learn-new-things mode, so it goes without saying that working on something familiar to me was a nice change of pace. Full screen editor. New config on the left, target config on the right. Change, compile, compare. Repeat until lunch.

For dinner, I got to work preparing white bean and chicken breast chili, which was for lack of a stocked fridge and pantry negotiated down to kidney bean and chicken thigh chili. Marissa returned home from our emergency Hy-Vee run with the key ingredient to my cornbread.

"Hy-Vee is just as terrible as it was when we left," she said, exhausted. Marissa told me about how the lady gave her a belabored excuse for why the order wasn't ready. We joke that we can't go to Hy-Vee without learning another customers name, and the stereotype holds true.

"Thanks for getting the stuff," I said. "So we have the big pickup tomorrow at the same time. That order has Tuesday, Wednesday, and technically tonight's dinner too," I laughed.

We ate dinner, goading Rodney to finish his meal quickly so he'd have time to play. Marissa leaned on her new prize cup incentive.

"So what is this 'prize cup'?" I asked as we ate.

"Well, dada," said Marissa. "Each time Rodney does something good, he puts a pom-pom in the prize cup. And when he fills up the prize cup..."

"I GET A PRIZE!" Rodney proclaimed.

I got up from my chair to examine the prize cup. There were already four little pom-poms rolling around in the bottom. I gave them a firm press with my thumb.

"It's a good thing these pom-poms are so squishy," I teased. "We can probably get away with packing these down for a few weeks, even after it reaches the top."

Piano lessons followed dinner. Taking a play from Marissa's success, I made a more focused effort to make it entertaining and positive - even pandering to some degree. "Make sure he feels like you're working on it together," she advised.

I put a piece of tape on middle C. "Do you want to meet my friends?" I asked. "This is do."

I pressed the key down and sang do. I pressed it harder, singing doooooo again with an embellished operatic voice. I acted like I was running out of breath. Rodney laughed.

I also introduced Rodney to re and mi. Once we had the three keys down, we called Marissa up for an impromptu recital. Rodney turned on a drum track, and following my lead, played do, re, me in sequence.

"I play piano a little longer?" pleaded Rodney. Marissa and I cracked a smile.

"Nope, all done for today," I replied. "Hey, now you have something to look forward to on Wednesday."

Thanks for stopping by today. Have a great day everyone.