Wednesday, January 20 2021

being alone, hockey nights, and marissa's refractometer



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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone. Welcome to Wednesday. For now the days of the week aren't as important to me as the days left in my ticket duty shift. Now that I'm three days from when my two week stint ends, I'm tempted to take back what I said about the new longer two week rotations. Throughout the day I'm assaulted by urges to step on my phone and flip it into the garbage, or at least just silence it and take a nap. But these thoughts are to be expected - on ticket duty I tend to reach my breaking point on the Wednesday before my shift ends, and that was even true when these were only one week. We're almost there. If I can mentally hold it together, Friday will be a very good day.

Right now, Rodney and I are the only ones awake, and there are so many sounds coming out of his room it's starting to draw my suspicion. Sliding wheels on the wood floor, toy bins thudding against the walls, and I think I heard the ring of a cash register. Is he building a storefront in his bedroom?

Let's take a minute to appreciate what it must feel like to have that much energy. Who in there right mind would spring out of bed an hour before they had to, and while they were still wearing their pajamas just start schlepping heavy things around their room? It's like there is a nuclear reactor in his tiny body.

Through observing Rodney, I've come to learn how much he detests being alone in his room. As parents we've been pretty hard-nosed about enforcing the 9:30 wake up time and 2:00 quiet time. Marissa and I know that being alone with your thoughts is an important skill, and I think even Rodney knows that now. But that doesn't mean he hasn't adapted to minimize the effect.

He leaves his door cracked ten inches, and for whatever he's working on, he keeps as much of it in front of the door as possible. He always makes eye contact and addresses me when I pass. To make the interaction a little more transactional, I usually offer him a high five or a quick tap on the knuckles, because otherwise I open the floor up for talking and he would keep me there in the hallway for an hour if he could.

This past weekend, I was trying to usher him upstairs for quiet time so I could steal a quick power nap before cooking dinner. He stood at his door, feeding me long anecdotes about the Nick Jr. videos he had just finished watching while I backed into my bedroom. "Alright dude," I said politely. "Daddy is gonna take a nap now."

"Oh," said Rodney. "OK, have a good nap. And be careful, baby Miles is sleeping."

I dozed off to sleep for exactly forty minutes. I awoke and peeked out into the hallway. Rodney was standing in the same spot at his doorway. I startled him, and he looked like he shook himself out of a trance.

"Oh, hey dada," he said. "How was your nap?"

Sip. So how was everyone's Tuesday? I have quick follow-up from yesterday. I did submit my formal request to indefinitely mooch off of Marissa's body wash. She graciously accepted, of course, and with that I plopped the last bottle of male pandering scented body wash I'd ever use right in the trash. While showering today, I thought about the other tools and techniques I could adopt straight from the American woman's bathroom routine. If switching to women's body wash was this good, perhaps I should start using a loofah. Maybe I should shave my legs too. "Keep this up, and you'll be dipping into my Moroccan curly hair oil," she joked. I think she's just jealous because I would look great with voluminous curls.

The work day was a bit of a slog. I felt like I was in and out of meetings all day. I felt like every time I got up from the computer I was leaving at least three people dangling in an unfinished conversation on slack. But there were highlights. Guillaume from our French office sent me a message on slack, and even though I had to send him elsewhere, I went out on a limb. "Try to break something that we own so we can talk again," I joked. "I have questions about French food."

"I do try to cook for myself, " he replied. "It's the fastest way to fill the belly and find balance with your mind and body." We chatted for a few more minutes about our favorite dishes and discovered we share a love for recipes that are forgiving and can scale. "My go to is beef bourguignon," he said. "You can make it for twenty people. And I know that because I have made it for twenty people - it was the exact same thing."

I also connected with Branden over keyboards. Somehow we've worked on the same team for this long without broaching the subject. As it happens, we have the same exact keyboard: the Happy Hacker Pro no. 2. We share a love for the unique keymap, the lovely thunk thunk sound, and carry the same unmistakable financial guilt for owning more than one.

Yesterday was hockey night. On hockey nights, we have special seats at the dinner table. We pull the computer monitor arm out at an angle and all sit on the same side, like we're at a bar.

2021 01 20 hockey night

After Rodney went to bed, Ollie killed his beach ball. With his chest puffed out, he paraded around the living room with his kill.

2021 01 20 ollies kill

Marissa upgraded the device she uses to measure the salt in the fish tank. She found that the levels had just been a little too high, and after correcting it the fish were so happy, I caught them playfully chasing each other around the tank. This new device is a refractometer. It works by measuring the change in light as it passes through a solution. To use the device, Marissa drips water on a glass plate, then stares through a little view finder while standing in front of a bright light - more specifically, she has to stand in the middle of the living room like an idiot.

2021 01 20 refractometer

That's what I got today. Thanks for stopping by, everyone. Have a great day today.