Tuesday, February 9 2021

a wonderful morning, redemption chicken, and our exercise bike

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everybody. Happy Tuesday. Shout-out to the Thinkpad, an instant classic of a Christmas present. Ever since I applied a little piece of electrical tape to the battery, it's been nothing but smooth sailing. It's light and easy to schlep around the house while I write in the mornings. The screen is bright and easy to read. The keyboard is crisp and responsive. It's an instant classic.

Hope you're feeling cozy today. This morning I've occupied Ziggy's favorite chair in the living room, which has both her favorite pillow and her favorite plaid blue arranged in her favorite way. Last time I checked on her, she was still in bed crumpled under two and a half blankets, and even though she would be annoyed to find me sitting here, I think we're safe for the sixty minutes it takes to write a journal entry. That goes to say if this entry trails off mid sentence, then you can guess what my fate was.

I kid. Ziggy wouldn't hurt a fly, and she's actually a baby - a big, pretty baby. These days she has a spring in her step, almost like she knows we've already committed to getting a new puppy. Her sister already gave birth to a beautiful litter in Philadelphia. We're on the list. The wheels are in motion. We're planning an obscenely long road trip to pick up the puppy. I don't think the drive from Wisconsin to Philadelphia will be packed with excitement, but I have to admit that the thought of leaving this house for so long and driving to a new place gives me a sense of adventure. If anything that will be an interesting set of journals to look back on.

Sip. How are you feeling today? Do you also have puppy fever, or are you set with your crew? More importantly, how did your Monday go?

The consensus from me and Marissa was that this Monday was unexpectedly wonderful. I didn't have any meetings all morning. Rodney was entranced by his own toys and activities. As I worked, Marissa sat beside me and caught up on some art business upstairs. Miles sat behind us, happily rattling around in his bouncer.

"Are you sure you don't mind us being up here with you?" asked Marissa looking up from her work.

"Never," I said. "I love company regardless, but especially now because I'm just doing one of those things where I have to hit a button every five minutes and watch the output."

Almost on cue, the script running on my screen prompted me to press y. I raised my arm over my head and dramatically planted my finger on the y key. The script rolled on.

"See, now I have to do that again in five minutes. Hard work, right?"

A perfect, quiet morning. A morning that had no business here with us in this cold, miserable month. But a blessing nonetheless.

Yesterday Marissa picked up groceries and took another stab at Chicken Tikka Masala. Only a week later from her previous disaster, mistakes were corrected. The sauce had no flecks of burnt spices floating around, but it was smooth and flavorful. The rice was well-seasoned and pillowy. Both the neat stack of yellow tinted dishes in the kitchen and the steaming plate of comfort food was a testament to a disaster redeemed and a job well done. Good job, Marissa.

2021 02 09 chicken tikka masala

Chicken Tikka Masala 2: Redemption Best Served Hot!

While Marissa slaved over dinner, Rodney and I were tasked with assembling our new exercise bike. We were starting to wonder if it had been lost in the mail, but Marissa happened to catch site of it sitting on the porch of another house. We're used to needing to swap mail with the house down the street from us - the one with the same house numbers as us, only rearranged. It happens so often, I joke that the city still owes me a paycheck for working part time as a mailman.

I leaned in to check the label. I hoisted the box over my shoulder. I casually walked away, feeling a little tingle of adrenaline as if I was stealing something from somebody's house. I heaved the box into the living room and Marissa checked the label.

"This isn't ours," she said. My heart sank.

Marissa cracked a smile. "Kidding," she added.

Rodney closed in on the large box in the middle of the living room. He already had his tools out. Together we took each of the pieces out and began to assemble the bike. Rodney, on a total hot streak lately, nearly assembled the seat all on his own. He managed to get a bolt, washer, and nut fastened before I informed him the seat was installed backwards. Without missing a beat, he undid his work and corrected.

We fastened the heavy black pedals with rubber straps. We screwed the handlebars to the top of the frame. We popped a fresh pair of AA batteries into the back of the sensor panel. With my blessing, Rodney climbed on top and kicked for the pedals.

"I can't reach them," he said. His legs dangled freely.

"Just scoot down," I said. Rodney slipped off the seat and found the pedals. He pumped his legs. He gripped the handlebars and the machine took his pulse.

"It says your pulse is a hunnnerd, dude," I said. "Nice."

"MAMMA!" Rodney yelled through the house. "MY HEARD IS... ONE HUNDRED."

Marissa chuckled from around the corner. "That's cool, dude," she replied.

After Rodney went to bed, Marissa and I each did 30 minutes on the new bike. Sturdy, smooth, and a lot harder than it looks. After 30 minutes my shirt was soaked with sweat, but after being cooped up from the cold all weekend it felt undeniably good.

A stationary bike is a game changer. No special clothes or gear. You can keep an eye on Miles. Not to mention it's a nice excuse to enjoy some TV or YouTube videos in the evening.

Thanks for stopping by today. Go have a Tuesday.