Friday, September 25 2020

playing in mud, naps, and beef stew

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone! Happy Friday. Man, am I excited for the weekend. Is it just me, or has this week just been never ending? It feels like every hour of work has absolutely dragged on to the fullest extent. I'm feeling squeezed. I'm feeling tired. But I'm also feeling relieved. Happy Friday everyone.

This morning, my time management could have been more on point. I got an early start to the day and by 7 AM I took a seat at the computer with a fresh cup of coffee. Since the morning coding went so well yesterday, I thought I'd give it another whirl. Well, if writing code in the morning were playing with fire, than that fire got a little out of control and lapped up a straight hour. Additionally, I forgot to check my calendar and I just noticed that I have a meeting exactly 54 minutes from now. So here I am, not even showered, still in my bathrobe with less than an hour to crank out 1000 words and I haven't even brushed my teeth yet. Usually I take a few minutes to lay out some notes for the entry, but this morning we're going to have to go old school. Just me, an empty emacs buffer, and a big cup of coffee.

Sip. I had a good day yesterday. It was a long day, but fulfilling. The incident from two days ago took a toll on the rest of my tasks for this week, and as a result I had some catching up to do. The daily vulnerability patcher that runs on our build server spewed out four more tickets the night before at 3 AM. Our team's slack channel had several questions and requests waiting in the queue. I had at least three JIRA tickets assigned to my name and in progress. I had a lot to do, so I hit the ground running and didn't emerge from my room until it was lunch time, then again until it was five o'clock.

While I was 'heads down at the grindstone', Rodney and Marissa were having fun outside with their outdoor project. This week, they're redoing the rock pavers in the back yard by our tree to make more room for a Marissa's agility gear. All week, they've been filling a wheelbarrow with rocks, rinsing them with the hose, and moving them to other parts of the yard, as well as starting a little pile of extras to take to the quarry.

I peeked my head out my bedroom window to see Marissa hard at work, and Rodney covered in mud.

"You should have seen him," said Marissa. "He was pretending like he had to spin the Wheel Unfortunate, from Dude Perfect," said Marissa. "He'd yell 'OK NED FORRESTER, I HAVE TO LAY IN MUD.'" All references that I don't expect to land unless, like us, you are a loyal Dude Perfect YouTube subscriber.

After spending the whole afternoon working outside (and playing in mud), Rodney ran into my room completely naked, his feet, fingers, face, and teeth still caked with earth. Still wet from the hose, he was shivering.

"Dada, I got dirty outside," he said. I pivoted in my office chair and started laughing. "I was playing in MUD," he continued through chattering teeth.

Before I could respond, Rodney ran out of my room, leaving little muddy footprints behind him in our bedroom.

"Want to start a bet for how long he's going to sleep?" I joked to Marissa.

Both he and Marissa took a well-earned nap. By the time I shut my laptop and gave up on the work day, the shades were drawn, and the house was so quiet you would've thought it was the middle of the night. Leaving everything just as tranquil as I found it, I sneaked through our sleeping house and slipped into the kitchen to start on dinner.

Yesterday evening's dinner was ragout - beef stew. Having learned from my mistakes in the past, I actually had enough beef and potatoes this time to fill the entire pot. And after working outside all day, I anticipated Rodney and Marissa would polish off more than usual.

I jumped up on a dining room chair to preemptively remove the smoke detector outside our kitchen. I toasted some floor, cut a chuck roast into stukjes and seared them in my Dutch oven. Onions, celery, carrots, and a squirt of tomato paste, and we were off to the races. Shutting off the oven timer seconds before it beeped, I concluded my silent dinner preparation.

"Five minute warning," I said, leaning into Marissa's ear. I trudged upstairs to get Rodney. He was so tired, he fell asleep face down with his bedroom light still on. Legos, books, and k'nex strewn out on his floor in front of his door were the evidence he tried to make the most of his alone time and stay awake. He has so much energy, I can't even imagine him getting tired and voluntarily crawling into bed.

"I feel so spoiled," said Marissa. "A long nap, then I just get to immediately eat beef stew."

"You guys worked hard today," I replied. "And to be honest, it was nice cooking with such a quiet house. Even the dogs were sleeping."

After dinner, Marissa returned the favor, and offered to help Rodney finish his food while I got some couch time. Much like Rodney with his toys, I tried to make the most of my free time by watching some TV. But tiredness got the best of me, and I too sailed away to sleep on the couch.

I really need to take more naps. A quality, well-timed nap is nothing short of transformitive.

"Did you guys have fun outside?" I asked Rodney while putting Rodney to bed.

"Yeah," he said sleepily. "I played in the mud!"

I ran through my usual list of quiz questions, covering what letters he learned, what fun things he did that day.

"And what did you eat today?" I asked.

"Steak," said Rodney. "In... something like...".

Rodney stared into his ceiling searching for words. I could feel him trying to visualize the brown broth, sifting through his own childish dictionary.

"Steak in mud I think," he said.

"Steak in mud?" I laughed. "Dude, you just got mud on the brain."

Thanks for stopping by today. Have a wonderful day today.