Saturday, January 23 2021

the frozen lake, hockey, and tami's tank

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Dear Journal,

Happy Saturday night, everyone! Hope you're living it up at the peak of this bleak and chilly weekend. Sloth is the prevailing mood around our house right now. Cleaning happens as needed, and very reluctantly. Toys litter the floor. A half played game of Battleship sits on the dinner table next to an empty bottle of wine where we just finished eating. We only have enough food in the house for our next dinner, but we still have a full box of goldfish crackers, and I think that's enough to get us through to the next grocery tip.

Sip. It's nice to unplug and lean into a lazy weekend. My on-call shift ended on Friday afternoon, and I'm still feeling giddy about it. It was a crazy week of work, and I think I was just bottling up the stress and gutting through it. What a relief to be finished.

On Friday, we celebrated by cutting a little early from the work day to hang out at the lake. Marissa has an upcoming art series release and we wanted to get some footage of her thoughtfully walking around in the snow to use in her promotional video. I followed her around with a phone camera. I tried to ruin my own shot by getting her to laugh, but she's a professional. "Just look artistic I said."

We brought baby Miles along in his car seat. Even in the dead of winter when the frozen ice was probably a dozen feet solid, it still felt a little irresponsible bringing a baby to a place where a baby never needs to be. We had him bundled up, and as soon as Marissa and I were finished shooting her brooding music video, she headed to the car with Miles. Rodney and I stayed behind to play hockey.

2021 01 23 hockey

Rodney and I trotted out to a smooth patch of ice further in the lake. We shuffled the puck back and forth to each other. I think Rodney was genuinely surprised at how hard it was to find his footing on the ice, but at least it made for some great fails.

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The lakes are beautiful this time of year. I think after living here for almost five years, this was my first time visiting them in the winter. It's kind of surreal looking out into a vast, perfectly flat plane like that. In the distance you can see stubborn ice fisherman squatting on orange buckets, dogs running to their owners at full speed, and little kids like Rodney tottling around with hockey sticks and sleds.

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We got some great footage. Once at home, I made quick work of Marissa's art video while the rest of the house napped. I used the rest of the time for a secret research project. Marissa trusted me to find a place to order from, and I went with a new promising Mexican restaurant downtown.

"What did you go with?" asked Marissa, yawning from her nap.

"Just Papa John's," I said quietly. I was lying. My original plan was to wait until the food arrived before breaking the news that we were having fresh guac and fajitas, but I never got the chance to. The food was delayed.

Marissa dialed the restaurant. They told her the food was ready and the problem was on Eat Street's end. I paced around the living room angrily. In a huff, I threw on my jacket and stepped into my flip-flops, ready to go pick it up myself.

"Ope, the driver just got there," said Marissa. I rolled my eyes and slumped back into the couch.

"Two hours," I muttered under my breath. On an angry impulse, I pulled out my phone and typed out an angry email. Ten minutes later, not only did our food arrive but Eat Street issued me a full refund.

"Sorry," I replied to the email. "I guess I just got a little hangry."

We ate our food on the couch, watching the hockey game. Rodney was more fixated than normal. On days we watch football games, Rodney just plays with his toys and throws things around the room, but he was unusually fixated on the hockey game. He followed the action, sighed loudly whenever we lost the puck, and cheered each time we scored. We felt compelled to let him stay up late to finish it out.

"I like hockey," Rodney explained. "It's my favorite sport."

"Hockey is awesome, dude," I said.

He sat up in bed. "Maybe..." he began, scratching his chin. "Hey - how about... maybe I should get a new hockey HOODIE. A bears hockey hoodie. A red one."

"Bears?" I laughed. "Oh, no those guys are the Blackhawks. They're different."

"Yeah," said Rodney. "A red Blackhawks hoodie."

We slept in today. I snuck upstairs for the Saturday morning stream, although regretfully I lost the first hour of coding time to just messing with audio settings. Streaming is one thing, but streaming and capturing audio from my desktop was a whole other hairy problem that I wasn't prepared for. I had a fun time, once I got things sorted out. I started on a retro video game for the PICO 8 emulator. The last time I touched the PICO 8 was probably for Kids Code - our weekly kids computer club at the library before the pandemic. Making games is fun, and now that I'm on the hook to do some streaming every Saturday, now I might actually be forced to finish a homemade game for a change.

Fish tank drama continues. The snails are a puzzling presence. They've congregated on the tank floor, and even though there primary food source is algae they have yet to break into the ample supply that has collected on the nearby rocks. Marissa sent my cousin (and saltwater tank expert) Tami a slew of questions. We joke that all changes to our tank must first get approval from Tami, but there's a very real and comforting truth to that.

As usual, Tami thoroughly addressed her questions about algae problems and metrics, but she also sent us a video tour of her tank. In the first few minutes of the video, she used her phone to show us the intricate system of pumps, chambers, and filters beneath the tank. Marissa and I were mesmerized.

"And we haven't even seen the tank yet," I laughed. "This is all just the plumbing."

There's nothing cooler than watching a pro in their element. I hope our tank looks half as cool as hers someday - and why shouldn't it? We're on the Tami learning track, after all.

Thanks for stopping by, everyone. Have a great weekend.