Monday, December 14 2020

being on time for church, cheese steak, and sports superstition

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone. Happy Monday. Heading into what is officially the last non-holiday week of the year, I hope you have clear goals ahead of you as well as the energy to attack them today. Today I'm wholly caught up on sleep, I'm wearing a fresh pair of clothes from the top of a new laundry cycle, and I even put conditioner in my hair today.

"They must think all men are idiots," said Marissa while shopping around for men's shampoo that wasn't just another bottle of 2-in-1 shampoo & conditioner. "Seriously, there's nothing. It's like they think you can't be trusted with another bottle in the shower.

"There's even 3-in-1," I laughed looking over her shoulder. "I guess it's the shared male goal to just slather yourself in the same all purpose goop every morning without needing to care what it does."

Sip. How many different functions does your bottle of shampoo perform? And how was this past Sunday for you?

We had a great Sunday and a wonderful weekend. I exercised some great napping discipline this weekend and as a result, I had no trouble getting out of bed on the earlier side. Yesterday morning, I cleaned the kitchen and lured the rest of the family downstairs with fresh coffee and sugary cereal. After we were all seated around the dining room table, I wheeled over to the family computer and opened our church's live stream.

"Oh look at that," I laughed, "It hasn't even started yet. This is kind of rare for us, I don't remember the last time we were on time for church."

Marissa laughed, thinking I was making a joke. I realized what a silly observation that was, and all at once I felt kind of nostalgic for how real Sunday's used to happen - the mad morning dash to put on nice clothes, climb into a chilly car, and barrel down side streets to make it to our church sanctuary on time. Being on time to church, even virtual church, I think is still the mark of a Sunday that is going well.

After the service wrapped up, I donned an apron and started on our special game day lunch. While Marissa took a catnap and Rodney watched some YouTube videos, I flung open the back door of our house to let the smoke out while I seared a cheap Hy-Vee sirloin steak. The steak would be left aside to rest, then sliced thinly and added to a bowl of cream cheese, grilled onions, and chopped kimchi. Laughing to myself, I fished the weird container of instant cheese we had accidentally added to our Hy-Vee order the other day. After racking my brain all weekend trying to find a way to eat something we never buy, adding it to the cheese steak seemed like a no brainier.

I bisected two small baguettes, dug out the filling, and filled the bready trench with cheese steak. I carefully and economically distributed the shredded remnants of our last block of gruyere. Just as the football game started, the delicious monstrocity was in position under the blistering broiler.

You should have seen us eat that thing. We devoured it at the dining room table like animals. You can't go wrong with a cheese steak, but with the added secret ingredient of the weird instant cheese from our fridge, it was like our lunch had new addictive super powers. I bagged up the rest of it for leftovers, but the leftovers didn't even make it to the evening before we were heating it up again for a late night snack.

I know I've joked about how Bears games cause us to stress clean, but after our absolute gut bomb of a lunch, I only had the energy to flop on the couch. Thankfully it wasn't a stressful game. Instead, it was a nice comfortable blowout over the Houston Texans. It was a fun game to watch. Our defense was clicking. We were using our rookies. Also, Mitch had the game of his life, and I was struggling to suppress my superstitious nature in explaining why.

"It's those alternate jersey's," I said to Marissa. "We wore those last year against the cowboys and Mitch had an amazing game too. Or maybe it's just teams from Texas? Maybe it's both - alternate jerseys and a team from Texas makes Mitch play amazing."

To be honest, I'm not the superstitious type, so I'm not sure why I'm superstitious about sports. At one point as a young hockey fan I convinced myself that the Blackhawks don't play as well when I watch the games on TV. When I was a hockey goalie, I meticulously followed a pre-game ritual for fear that we would lose the game if I threw off the routine. I wear my Bears jersey for each of their games, and I'll admit to rushing up the stairs to dig it out of my closet before the opening kick-off. Even now, knowing that we have an important game coming up against the Vikings that could determine a playoff spot, I'm side eyeing a wrapped Vikings themed present we got for Marissa's family, and I'm wondering what kind of bad juju could be created from having Vikings merchandise around. Don't worry, everyone. I'll leave the gift outside during the game.

That was a fun game to watch. I celebrated our victory by taking a long afternoon nap. Here's to the Bears finally breaking their losing streak. After over fifty days without a win, I forgot what it felt like to look forward to watching highlights and breakdowns throughout the week.

I'm feeling hopeful this week. Maybe the Bears are to blame for some of that, but with this year coming to a close and a COVID vaccine finally being distributed, I can't shake the feeling that good things are right around the corner. The feeling makes me want to finish this year out strong, and enjoy what could be the final weeks of this weird quarantine period.

Thanks for stopping by today. Have a wonderful Monday, everyone.