Monday, October 19 2020

debauchery, the political compass test, and clean-up parties

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everybody. Happy Monday. I say 'happy Monday' ironically, of course. Sitting here this early in the morning, it's taking most of my strength just to stay propped upright at the computer.

We had a debaucherous weekend. The cold weather must be activating some kind of ancient pre-hibernation mammalian instinct, because my snacking as of late has been out of control. Cheese balls. Buttered bread. A bowl of ice cream with a splash of cognac. A spoonful of peanut butter out of the jar. A Hy-Vee chocolate muffin on the way up to bed. And then there's the wine. Oh, the wine.

Last night, instead of crashing on the couch like we normally do, Marissa and I hung out in the dining room after hours by the computer. I told her about a political compass test that charts your political beliefs on two axes.

"I wonder what I am," she said, intrigued.

We slogged through the dense, heady questions that spurned evening discussion. I tried to remain unbiased while Marissa waxed about her answers, but I couldn't help but tease, occasionally muttering to myself "Whatever you say, Hitler."

Marissa and I both scored in the libertarian left quadrant. "So we're like... the free college, social safety net, check your male privilege kind of people," I said, describing where we landed. You can take the test for yourself, if you want. The one we took is on But don't start the test if you have a lot to do this morning. I wouldn't recommend taking it with wine either. Based on our experience last night, wine really slows things down.

A full night. A fun night. Between the snacking and libations, it's fun to let the wagon go off the tracks every now and again, as long as you're ready to be an adult the next day and honorably grind out the Monday. I've got a busy day ahead of me. We're kicking off another sprint of work. We have a final week to prepare before getting an intern on our team. And on top of everything, we still need to formalize our COVID Halloween plan.

"I feel like we should do something," I anguished as our family took a walk around the block. "It feels more important now than ever to participate in community holidays. Especially Halloween."

"You know the neighborhood is doing something with PVC pipes. A bunch of houses are going to use them as candy shoots," said Marissa.

"Oh that's a good idea," I replied. "So what - I could just like dress up like Spider-Man and throw candy from our roof?"

"I think we can sit on the front porch," said Marissa. "And I'll rig up something with my agility equipment."

Sip. In other news, I just ordered a triple pack of dental floss. Quarantine can be a great time to develop better habits, and for too long have I written off regular flossing.

"It's too hard," I complain. "It takes too long tying the floss to the threaders and getting them underneath my bridge."

No longer a valid excuse. I forgot about the special floss they sell with the integrated threader. The kind where the threader is already built in to the strand of floss. I guess I'm out of excuses - it's time to give flossing a try. And much like the 2007 spy drama starring Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood.

Last night, before putting Rodney to bed, we held a "cleaning party". A "cleaning party" is our term for a short burst effort from our entire family to clean up the house. We don't lay blame during cleaning parties. We don't gripe. To keep the energy up, I play a Switchfoot album out of the speaker in the living room while we cruise around looking for things to put away.

Cleaning time brings out the delegation expert in Rodney. While following her around the dining room and living room, Marissa will hand him a wadded up diaper for the garbage or a dirty plate for the sink. Rather than dealing with it himself, Rodney will flag me down in the kitchen like a waiter.

"Dada," he says. "Put this in the garbage."

"The garbage?" I replied. "You mean that one? The one that's closer to you than it is to me."

"Yes!" says Rodney, tossing me the diaper. I unceremoniously flipped it into the can.

"Good job," says Rodney. He went on to try to rope me into picking up his paw patrol characters, but that was just too far over the line.

"No, that's a job for you," I said wagging my finger.

What's amusing about Rodney's delegation is that it's not out of disrespect. When he tries to hand off work to me or Marissa, I think he's just doing it for the sake of camaraderie. Rodney is all about job site banter. Status updates. Coordinated team efforts. He loves communication.

"What do you think he's going to be when he grows up?" asked Marissa. "I could see him doing something really people heavy. Counseling. Advising."

"Oh, anything where he gets to delegate and tell people the program," I laughed. "People would sit in his office across from his desk. He'd spin around in his chair and say..."

Marissa and I in unison recited our favorite run of Rodney gibberish. First... wannawah.

"Honestly, he'd probably be happy doing anything that involves just waving at neighbors. Is that a job?" I laughed. "Can he just go for walks around the block and talk to strangers and tell them what to do?"

"This is funny," said Marissa. "Make sure you mention this in your blog - it will be fun to look back on what we thought he was going to do."

"Don't tell me what to do," I said, pretending to snip.

That's what I got today. Regretfully, somberly, wearily, it's time to stand up and leave the good computer to go sit on the bad computer. But at least I can make a stop at the fresh pot of sweet, beautiful coffee on the counter behind me.

Oh coffee. What would I do without you?