Thursday, November 5 2020

painters, pee, the election, and focus



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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone! Happy Thursday. It's been a different kind of morning so far. Between Miles on-and-off crying, the house paint guys setting up early in the front, and Rodney having a bit of a morning pee situation, this morning has been far from the usual hour of tranquility and solitude I've come to appreciate. But life goes on, and as long as there is fresh coffee to be had, things aren't so bad.

Things are just a little overwhelming. As day workers chat in our front yard and their ladders clatter on the side of the house, Rodney waited for me at the doorway of his room. Dressed in a brand new change of clothes, he looked suspicious. Like he had made a mess in his room so big that even he was eager to leave his room.

"Whatcha doing, dude?" I asked. Rodney, sitting on his blue chair, swung his legs beneath him.

"I have kinda a little bit of pee in my room," he said. A familiar odor leaked out of his doorway. His bedroom floor glistened behind him. But it was nothing that a shower, a wash, and a few swipes of the swiffer couldn't handle. Rodney had his own conditions, however. He refused to let me wash his corgi with the rest of his stuffed animals.

"He can't go in the wash," protested Rodney. "He'll get dizzy."

"He won't get dizzy," I replied, trying to tug him out of his hand. "I'll... use the special setting that doesn't make him dizzy, it will be gentle."

Rodney also confessed some cryptic, troubling information about his big green dinosaur, Flashla.

"She has pee inside of her," said Rodney. "For making pee gas bubbles."

Whether he was describing events from this morning, or just generally explaining how he thinks pee works in relation to dinosaurs, things are unclear at this time. But further cleaning may be required.

Sip. So how's it going? How many people are milling around in your front yard right now? Did you have to deal with any body fluid accidents? And more importantly, how was this past Wednesday for you?

We'll have painters at our house for the next few days. They'll be removing the lead paint around our house and repainting the siding. After letting the dogs out, Marissa applied a thick piece of tape to the door to keep them from slipping out the back.

"Today, we just scrape," explained one of the workers. For the rest of the day, our house reverberated with the sounds of tapping, scraping, and knocking from outside. Stopping by our coffee bar for a refill, I paused to appreciate the chaos.

"This is the stuff of nightmares," I laughed. "It's like a hoard of zombie solicitors are trying to get into our house to sell us something."

"I feel bad because when they need to ask me a question, they knock on the window or the door, and it's almost impossible to distinguish it from all the other sounds," said Marissa. "So I feel like I can't relax."

As if we weren't stressed out enough by the scraping sounds around our house, we also put CNN's live election coverage on in the dining room. Even though Joe Biden only needs one more state to win, the numbers haven't moved for almost two whole days now. Trump has resorted to filing lawsuits in swing states. The Facebook crowd is starting to churn out conspiracy theories. Yesterday, I hit a turning point with the election coverage.

"I think it's time to shut off CNN," I said. "Nothing has changed, and they are starting to stress me out."

All things considered, they do a nice job filling the time between interviews, projections, and John King's magic electoral map. But I can only take so much cable news in a 72 hour period, and I've hit my threshold. I'm ready to transition into the long game of waiting. Waiting for the final votes. Waiting for the outrage and conspiracy theories to peter out. Waiting for Trump's dumb lawsuits to fall through.

For dinner, we busted out a favorite pork tenderloin in mushroom sauce recipe. Not having enough potatoes to mash, I stretched things out with some thick chunks of carrot and parsnip. I liked little flecks of orange and tinge of yellow in the final buttery mound of potatoes.

After dinner, I struck a deal with Marissa where she would put Rodney to bed and pick up my Wednesday chores so I could power through an art video for her. This video was more complicated than our usual time lapses. We had to compile some audio clips from Tuesday's recording session and layer them over some studio footage. All of our joking around while filming paid dividends as I had plenty of warm smiles and authentic belly laughs to work with.

"I love it, but do you have to use the clip of me spinning around in my chair?" Marissa anguished.

"Oh, that one is staying. I love that one," I said, shaking my head.

Today, focus is in short supply. I might be able to crawl into my headphones and avoid the painters outside, the dogs barking at the painters outside, and the sound of Blaze and the Mighty Machines blaring out of the living room TV, but even so the chaos of election week still occupies my thoughts. I can't even glance at my twitter without getting pulled into an electoral rabbit hole.

If you're like me, and you are having a hard time finding focus this week, hang in there. It's OK to have weeks likes this. I'm doing my best to guard my thoughts and mitigate my own stress, but there's only so much you can do. Something this stressful happening in the real world is going to affect your daily life, and there's nothing you can do about it except to wait it out.

At least it's already Thursday. The week is almost over, and we'll have a weekend to regroup and try again.

Thanks for stopping by today. Hang in there, everybody. Have a great Thursday.