Thursday, January 7 2021

cocktail shrimp, riots, and rubber dinosaurs



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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everybody. Happy Thursday. It’s a nice morning today. With so many political events unfolding this winter I’ve forgotten to take breaks from it just to look outside. Through it all, we’ve had a beautiful winter. For the past couple of nights, we’ve gotten a small dusting of snow - just enough to cover all the foot prints. Every morning some fog from the lakes has rolled over the city. It doesn’t get any cooler than fog in the winter time. Make sure you remember to shut off the news every once in a while and stare outside.

I’m feeling good today. I’ve got a long quiet morning ahead of me, and an afternoon sprinkled with some very casual meetings with people. After work I’m going to go for a run. We’re making tacos for dinner. Marissa and I have spontaneously decided to re watch The Last Dance. Here’s to keeping things low key heading into the weekend.

Sip. Yesterday was a crazy day, huh? Before all that nonsense started up at the capitol, it was a pretty regular morning. We had a great work meeting. I was slugging coffee and cranking through my to-do list. In typical Wednesday fashion, I stepped away from the computer a little early for lunch so I could prepare something special. With Marissa napping on the couch and Rodney zoning out to some Paw Patrol, I decided to make a little platter of fried chicken to go with lunch.

Leftover from this week’s chicken were two wings and two drumsticks. Without even knowing what we’d do with them, on Tuesday I padded them dry with a paper towel, applied salt, and left them in the back of the fridge. I’ve learned that when it comes to chicken, salting it and leaving it in the fridge to dry out is almost always a good move. That’s how to get the skin really crispy and the fat to render out.

Marissa and Rodney followed the sounds and smells to the table. Along with chicken we had a bevy of other stored away half eaten foods to reheat and feast upon. By the time we had finished lunch, the food re-use high was in full force and the dopamine was washing over me.

After lunch I hopped over to Hy-Vee for a quick grocery run. Seeing they hired a new guy instantly put into perspective the… ahem… creative food substitution choices in our grocery order. I ordered one bunch of cilantro for taco night. It was marked out of stock, and I was just given a bunch of parsley instead. I also ordered a pound of shell-on raw shrimp from the meat counter - marked out of stock, and substituted with of all things a platter of cooked cocktail shrimp (tartar sauce included).

I give up, I thought. We’re just eating cocktail shrimp and parsley for dinner - what’s the point?

Hy-Vee works in mysterious ways. Maybe due to some spiritual connection we share, they knew that I’d return home with groceries to find that our nation’s capitol had been breached by Stop the Steal protestors and that I would be grateful to have a chilled platter of cocktail shrimp to stress eat while watching the whole mess unfold. For the next hour, Marissa and I were glued to the dining room computer. CNN’s live coverage blared into the dining room.

By the time we got to the story, the protestors had already ripped down the fence, kicked open a door, and made their way into the capitol. I couldn’t help but laugh watching them wander around in the capitol building. Once they were in, it appeared that they didn’t know what to do. At first the rioters just looked like tourists. They walked the hallways, following the guard rails quietly taking videos with their phones out. They snooped through offices and desks. They reminded me of what I do in a video game when I’m not sure how to advance to the next level.

It was a weird news day. After they evacuated all the representatives, the national guard finally showed up and quietly ushered everyone away. All that was left was coverage of an empty capitol building. My twitter feed was full of surreal pictures of grizzly outdoorsmen meandering the capitol building with confederate flags. There was a guy with a classic drunk uncle look with his boots up on Nancy Pelosi’s desk. There was a photo of this hairy snowboarder type guy flashing a smarmy grin at the camera while he left with the press podium. I bet this morning there’s an FBI agent searching through new ebay and craigslist listings as we speak.

“Oh no!” yelled Rodney, covering his mouth. “Dada, is the medicine in there?”

“Oh no, dude,” I said. “They have that somewhere safe. Don’t worry, the medicine is fine.” Rodney’s ability to connect the two events was sobering.

Our family was feeling down about the whole thing. Out of an unspoken need to cheer each other up, we gathered in the kitchen while I made paella. Miles noisily bounced up and down in his swing. Marissa sat on the floor with her sketch pad with the dogs snuggling in the creases of her folded legs. Rodney busily fluttered between us throwing his dinosaurs around the room.

“Don’t mind us, dada,” said Marissa. “Your entire family is just trying to get in your way as much as possible.”

2021 01 07 in the way

We listened to Taylor Swift’s Lover, which has weirdly made a strong resurgence in my music selection.

After dinner I flopped onto the couch to run through my Dutch lesson. Rodney interrupted me, dropping all seven of his rubber dinosaurs right on my face.

“Hey, dude,” I said, setting down my phone. “Run me through what each of their names are again.” I held up the first dinosaur.

“That’s baby dinosaur,” said Rodney pointing to the ragged figure in my hand. Baby dinosaur is the original rubbery dinosaur. His jaw is slack and lopsided from being slung around the room like a slingshot. He’s also the smallest in the pack, making him the baby.

“This one?” I said continuing.

“Giant T-Rex,” said Rodney.

“Or GTR for short,” I added. “And how about these two?”

“That’s skwanky,” said Rodney. “And this is skronky.” Rodney took skwanky out of my hand, moving his jaw. “SKWANK SKWANK,” he screeched. I see now where he got his name.

“And this guy?” I said, holding out a long necked green dinosaur.

“That’s Pete,” said Rodney. The simple Pete caught me off guard and I began to chortle. Rodney snatched Pete out of my hand and threw him across the room.

2021 01 07 dinosaurs

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