Thursday, January 14 2021

little breaks, being a cup bearer, and hockey night



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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone. How’s your Thursday going so far? I always ask that at the beginning of my entries, but I suppose this early in the morning it’s too early to tell. All I’ve done so far is brew coffee, take a shower, and put on clothes - activities in which there is very little room for error, with the exception of when Marissa brews coffee. She’s the love of my life. She’s a beautiful, multi-talented, inspiring person. But honestly the last time she touched our coffee machine she probably should have been arrested.

That’s one of my favorite running jokes we have going. I never get tired of ragging on her for that.

Sip. One of my favorite parts of working from home is the kind of breaks you can take. Back when I worked in the office, a twenty minute break meant wandering the hallways aimlessly, standing next to my desk, or staring out the window with a satisfied look on my face like I was posing for a brochure.

Here at home, I can take a real break. In a matter of seconds, I can dash downstairs and flop onto the living room crouch, slithering under a blanket. I can watch five YouTube videos or even a whole episode of Seinfeld. I can play a round of Street Fighter with Rodney, or wrestle with the dogs. Working from home, I have immediate and direct access to things that actually relax me.

And Lord knows I need those things this week. I had a pretty crazy day yesterday. I’ve done a pretty good job multi-tasking between our team’s support queue and this vault upgrade project, but yesterday the support queue claimed a lot of my time. If not for these little breaks throughout the day, I think I would’ve quickly gotten burnt out.

This pomodoro system I’m on is good stuff. Removing all the guess work from how I spread my time, the work sessions are more productive and the breaks are more relaxing. The only drawback of this method is the alarm on my desk. I bought it because it looked very stylish and aesthetically pleasing, but the timer’s sound is absolutely dreadful. Harsh. Piercing. Droning. The sound alone induces anxiety so well, it’s impressive.

“Your alarm…” began Marissa while walking by my desk. “Makes me feel like we’re about to get raided by the FBI.”

I was more than ready to join the bit. “My alarm… makes me feel like I’m on a ship being boarded by Somalian pirates.” (We had just recently watched the movie Captain Phillips and the reference landed).

My alarm… makes me feel like I’m watching my own EKG flat-line and I’m seconds from death.

My alarm… makes me feel like I cut the wrong wire while disarming a bomb.

My alarm… makes me feel like I just saw a cop with a radar gun in my rear view mirror while flooring it on the Interstate.

My alarm… makes me feel like I’m in a submarine that’s taking on water.

That’s a fun game isn’t it? The good news is that my silent flashing light replacement timer should be coming in the mail today. I’d give my old one to Rodney, but I don’t want to risk ever hearing that alarm again. You know the one - the alarm that makes me feel like I just rear ended an ambulance during rush hour.

In other news, I finally got to the bottom of Rodney’s mysterious tummy ache from the other day. He drank a glass of milk that expired last Friday. I should have discovered it sooner, but I clean the fridge every Wednesday night. The whiff of sour milk out of the jug activated a foggy recollection of Rodney saying something about how the milk was giving him a headache. I told him to drink it anyway.

I feel terrible. The way I see it, part of my responsibility in this family is being a cup bearer. Much like how kings of old used to designate a servant to taste their food to make sure it wasn’t poisoned, I like to try everything this family is eating. I guess it’s my way of staying in sync with diet and well-being.

The poor guy probably took a few more gulps out of respect for what I told him to do. He left dinner to go lie on the couch, leaving the glass still half full next to his plate. Alas, my king was poisoned on my watch, and I feel great shame.

Yesterday for dinner we had pork in mushroom sauce with mashed potatoes and green beans. Rodney got the sense something was happening when I left his timer on the bread table and tilted the monitor so he could see. Last night was hockey night - the first Blackhawks game of the season.

Unfortunately, we happened to be playing the Lightning, who won the championship the season before. This meant that instead of cutting into hot food when the puck dropped like I had hoped, we had to sit through a very lengthy and generous award ceremony. No hockey would take place until all the ceremonious fart-sniffing was complete.

I don’t know anything about the Blackhawks. All the players I knew and followed in grade school are long gone. They’ve probably changed a lot of the rules too. But even if you don’t know who the players are or what’s going on, nothing beats the simple pleasure of watching a puck fly around the ice on TV.

Putting Rodney to bed, we read the Poop Book together. This marked the first time we revisited the book since Rodney’s own toilet success. We got to the page that showed a man, a boy, a toddler, and a baby all assuming the position.

“Which one is dada?” I asked.

Rodney quickly pointed to depiction of a stately gentleman sitting on the toilet with a pipe and a newspaper. Hell yeah it is, I thought silently to myself.

“And which one is Rodney?” I asked.

Rodney pointed to the boy on the toilet. “That’s me,” he said proudly. “I poop on the potty.”

Hell yeah, you do, I thought to myself. Thanks for stopping by today. Have a great day everyone.