Tuesday, November 10 2020

mommy blogs, choices, and buying wine

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone. Happy Tuesday. Not to rub it in or anything, but this is my last day of the work week. In respect to those still slugging it out until Friday, I'll try not to sound so bubbly about all the extra sleep I'm getting.

It's a beautiful day today, in its own special, dreary, drippy kind of way. We had a weird little warm spell that spanned over the last few days, and to be honest it was getting too warm for me. Our bedroom gets a lot of direct sunlight from the wide set of windows in the front of the house, and by the afternoon my remote work office starts to feel like a greenhouse. Plus, I've already pivoted to regularly eating soup for dinner. This late November warm spell was really screwing with soup season. Bring the rain, the clouds, and the chill - there are plenty of chowders, bisques, and stews to be had.

Sip. How are you feeling today? Do you spend most of the day in a room where you have to choose between drawing the shades in darkness or perspiring like a fresh tomato in the sunlight? And how was this past Monday for you?

All throughout the day I was having lingering doubts about how I handled yesterday's great floor pee scandal. I carved out some brief time in the morning to conduct my own research. Like a cocksure explorer ready to hack his way through dark unexplored jungles, I hit the Internet and began my slog through mommy blogs.

Let's face it - nobody likes mommy blogs. They're condescending. They're filled with meandering personal anecdotes. There's an expanding pop up ad after each paragraph. Halfway down the page, before you've even gotten to the list of things they're counting down, you've already been prompted to give them your email, and the only way to thwart their advances is by clicking a microscopic x at the corner of the screen with surgical precision, lest you miss by a micron and get redirected even further into the trap. And while we're on the subject of throwing shade at mommy blogs, it's 2020. Maybe it's time for some of these websites to stop addressing their readers as "gals", "ladies", and "fellow moms".

But I digress. Even if I found the format repulsive, I laboriously extracted some nuggets of wisdom. I read about how four year old's deal with anxiety, and how a lack of control leads them to struggle with body fluids and bowel movements. It got me thinking about the choices Rodney gets in his own life.

Rodney loves dispensing his opinion. In the moments I ask him milk or juice or what would you like to watch on TV, his face lights up. In these little moments, he relishes in his small sovereignty. So last night while putting him to bed, I tried to shine a spotlight on his freedom to choose.

I dropped two sets of pajamas on the floor. "Would you like to wear these orange ones, or these construction ones?" Rodney approached the wardrobe choices, taking center stage. He pointed to the orange ones, then held up his hand to reverse his decision. "These ones," said Rodney reaching for the pile. After climbing into his pajamas he scampered to the bathroom to brush his teeth.

Sitting on his bed, I heard him start to fiddle with his toothbrush and the bathroom cup in the sink. Rodney gets distracted in the bathroom playing with water. On any other weekday, I'd just bark at him from around the corner, but this was another potential choice.

I peeked my head into the bathroom. "Do you want to read a story, or do you want to just mess around in the bathroom?" I asked.

"UM," said Rodney in a sudden panic. "I want to read a story, OK." He joined me in his room sixty seconds later. I had three books laid out on the ground. Without asking, Rodney approached the books with his finger to his chin.

"This one," he said kicking Jojo's Speeldag over to me. At that moment I knew I was onto something. Picking a book with Rodney was never that easy. Up until that point, we had been alternating choices, and it got so bad that we were reading the same "spotting book" every other night. Maybe he was choosing the same book over and over out of defiance to the nights where he has no choice, and ironically, giving him fewer choices made him feel like he had more freedom.

I'm not even going to sugar coat it. The small number of choices trick was right out of a mommy blog, and I hate how effective it was. Thanks, fellow moms.

In other news, Marissa and I are getting more and more into wine. Our semi weekly beer pickups from the west side have turned into beer and wine pickups. At first, we were happy to just pick bottles at random, or based on the label. I took over the wine side of things, and we seemed to have more success finding bottles that we liked. Last night, Marissa and I sat at the computer to make a new order.

"So I wanted to show you what I do," I said. "Even though it's been working, it's not a very intelligent system. Literally all I do is just apply a price filter with $10-20, a region filter from California, then I sort by customer reviews."

Marissa laughed. "That's it?" she said. "So we've only been drinking wines from California?"

I shrugged. "You complimented me for how good I was at picking wine, and I know that I don't really know what I'm doing and I'm just getting lucky. I didn't want to be exposed," I laughed. "Let's pick these together."

Trying to work outside the bounds of my superstitious system, we were confounded by the task of buying wine intelligently.

"Can we get one that's not so acidic," said Marissa. "I think whites also make me not so sleepy."

"But that's the thing," I said rubbing my eyes. "I think most of the whites are acidic - that's their thing. They're all 'bright' or 'citrusy'. "

"But we liked the Kendall Jackson," said Marissa. "That was a good white, it wasn't acidic at all."

"That's true," I said. "Maybe we want dry?"

"Oh I don't like dry," said Marissa. "I don't like wines that suck all the moisture out of your mouth. What is the opposite of 'dry' anyway?"

"Wet?" I said. "Sir, do you have any wet wines? I'll take the wettest white you have." We both chuckled.

Before heading off to bed, we started reading up on the basics of wine. How the grape skins add both color and tannins, and why salty foods pair well with bitter, intense wines. We read about how $10-20 is a good price range if your looking for a typical wine that represents its variety well. We even answered our outstanding question on what the opposite of "dry" was - sweet.

"I think we're going to have a lot of fun unraveling this," I said.

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