Saturday, January 30 2021

walkie talkies, revenge bedtime procrastination, and google earth



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Dear Journal,

Good evening, everybody. Happy Saturday. Let me set the stage here. It's about 10 in the evening. Three bowls stained orange from squash soup are sitting in the sink. The living room is put together, except for a little pile of baby toys we've set aside to entertain Miles until his bedtime. Miles can finally sit up and play on his own. A long, filmy string of drool wets his bib while he jabs at a toy steering wheel. He shrieks and screams - shrieks of joy (we hear him shriek a lot, we can definitely tell the difference).

Beside me on the table are Rodney's paw patrol walkie talkies. Lately they've been a small source of amusement for me. Rodney forgets to turn them off when he's done playing with them. He'll leave them in the bottom of his toy bin where they'll hiss and crackle picking up other radio signals from around the neighborhood. Sometimes it sounds like truckers trying to find a clear channel. Sometimes it sounds like cops checking up on the side streets. Sometimes it sounds like kids playing with their own pair of walkie talkies.

Sometimes I keep a walkie talkie beside me in hopes that it will pick up a clear transmission. I try to reply. "This is your neighbor Alex, I got you on the Chase piece - come in," I'll chirp. Only once was I acknowledged. A thin, garbled voice called out ALEX!, then went silent. Life isn't Paw Patrol and this isn't Adventure Bay. Sometimes when you yelp for help, the transmission doesn't even reach Ryder.

Sip. I may be sitting on some promising ideas for a darker, grittier Paw Patrol fan fiction, but I've got better things to talk about. We had a lovely Saturday. Our street shimmers with a fresh snowfall. We've got a fridge stocked with soup and leftover chicken stock.

It's also art weekend. Marissa has been working round the clock for this release, and now that we're actually here there's nothing much for her to do. Once everything is painted, all she really needs to do is a couple of Instagram live sessions and wait for the orders to come in. She's taken some well deserved rest today, and her favorite type of rest is a nap on the couch with Ziggy in this exact position.

2021 01 30 nap

Speaking of sleep, I think I've made a mental breakthrough in my personal mission to normalize my sleep schedule on the weekends. And it was all thanks to an article that my neighbor Dana posted on her Facebook timeline.

The article, titled Revenge Bedtime Procrastination, describes a habit some people form that causes them to sacrifice sleep for more personal time. You'd think an extremely busy day might cause someone to head upstairs to bed a little earlier, but in the phenomenon of Revenge Bedtime Procrastination, the opposite is true.

I've never heard the term, but this is very descriptive of my own habits and motivations for cheating myself out of sleep. I can relate to the need for a sense of control over my time, and on busier days that sometimes doesn't happen until I should be sleeping.

I'm doing pretty good on that front this weekend, though. I mustered the will power to get out of bed today in time to make breakfast and clean up the kitchen. Making progress.

What else is going on... we've also made a breakthrough in amusing Rodney. This morning I showed him the simple joy clicking around Google Earth. At first, Rodney just watched while I manipulated the 3D globe on the screen. I showed him our street, our city, our state, and our part of the country. "Mimi and Papa are up here," I explained. "Grandma Jane and Grandpa Dirk are down here... dude we can go anywhere in the world! Where do you want to go?"

We could have looked at the beaches in Fiji. We could have looked at the endless dessert of the Sahara or the cliffs of Cape Cod. Where did Rodney pick?

"I want to see the water slides," he said with no hesitation.

"Fair enough," I laughed. I inched the mouse just a little further up the highway. I zoomed in on the 3D rendering of the Kalahari water park and tilted the camera. Rodney ooh'ed like he was looking at one of the seven wonders of the world.

Rodney stayed at the computer the rest of the morning. After he figured out how to move the globe and drag the little yellow street view figure to a spot in the map, he had everything he needed to entertain himself for another two hours. Marissa and I drank coffee at the table. Rodney turned to get our attention while the camera was spinning into a close-up of Siberia. "Ope," said Rodney. "It's getting pretty cold in here!"

We also finally had the chance to try out some of the experiments from Rodney's new favorite YouTube channel. There was one where we cracked pepper into a bowl of water, and apparently dipping your finger into soap was supposed to repel the pepper when your finger broke the surface. We couldn't get that one to work, but the dry erase marker on the dinner plate was a hit. Rodney doodled some silly faces on a dinner plate, and after slowly adding warm water on top, the figures would float to the top in tact. Marissa started to jiggle the plate and make the characters dance. Rodney was howling with laughter.

2021 01 30 experiment

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