Monday, February 15 2021

an injury, a foiled nap, and a trip to the co-op

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Dear Journal,

Good evening, everyone. Happy Monday. The week hasn't started for me yet. I'm still operating on weekend hours. Today was practically like an extra Sunday bolted onto the weekend, and we did as little with it as possible.

We slept in today. This morning, seeing Rodney's light was on, I quietly slipped past his door without arousing his suspicion. It was only 9, and I'm not contractually obligated to let Rodney out of his room until 9:30 AM. I had a whole half hour of peace and quiet to brew coffee, clean up the kitchen, and even start a load of laundry.

The rest of the house soon awakened. Miles was in his high chair grinning and blinking sleepily while he awkwardly stuffed baby puffs in his mouth. Rodney was prowling around the kitchen hiding his stuffed animals and "meatballs" all over the place. Marissa and I just sat at the table, enjoying coffee and some computer time.

Marissa left to get ready for the day. I got up to start making lunch. Rodney had since found a large cardboard box, and was using its cover to sneak up on me while I cleared the dishes out of the sink. The giant box scooted closer - Rodney's muffled giggle was heard from the inside. Playfully, I gave the box a hard shove with my foot. It slid across the smooth kitchen floor. I heard a curdling scream, then the sputtering of tears.

Quickly, I dried my hands and dropped to the floor to free Rodney from the box. He was crying and holding his chin.

"What happened, dude?" I asked.

Rodney pointed to the edge of the box. Somehow his face got caught between the side and the lid. Once his tears subsided he tipped his head to show me the wound inflicted on his chin. Only the smallest piece of skin of peeled aside. The cut was so shallow that it didn't even draw blood.

"I think you're gonna make it, dude," I said. Rodney excused himself to go sulk on the couch with his favorite blanket. The cardboard box may have been fun, but it already caused enough excitement for the day.

After we finished up lunch, Marissa and I hatched a plan for the rest of the day.

"What are your goals?" asked Marissa.

"Nothing - I have no goals," I laughed.

"Me neither," said Marissa. "I'd like to take a nap though."

Lofty goals for a day off. The plan was we'd let the boys play in the living room until three, then we'd send them both to their rooms for naps. For two hours we endured baby drool, shrieking, rattling legos and stuffed animals flying across the room. Three o'clock came, and we sprung into action, getting both the boys upstairs in their rooms. The dogs followed us into the bedroom. The bedroom was at the perfect temperature - just warm enough from the afternoon sun and yet just cold enough from the chill leaking through our old windows. It would have been the perfect nap, but baby Miles had other plans. Shrieking and babbling in his crib across the hallway, he made just enough noise to ensure we couldn't fall asleep. Miles had foiled our perfect nap. After an hour, we accepted defeat. I got up and got ready for the second part of the day.

I peaked my head into Rodney's room. He was sitting on his bed playing with legos.

"Dude," I said. "Wanna go somewhere with me?"

"Huh?" said Rodney. "Where we going?"

"We're going to the co-op, dude," I said. "Pack your stuff."

I told Rodney about the plans this morning, but he forgot. We got the all clear from Mom to take a small trip to the Co-op grocery store a little closer to town. We had missed our "eat out" day last week, and decided to use the surplus in our budget to spring for some more high end seafood for dinner.

Rodney stepped out in the snow. He was wearing his brown winter coat and his bright green boots. He held his faded green back pack tight to his body. Inside was just a bottle of hand sanitizer and his two favorite stuffed animals.

Rodney climbed up into the car. I backed out of the driveway, and we turned out onto the road.

"So dude," I said, turning down the radio. "Do you remember when we had those dudes over to fix up our floor and we had to live in that weird house for a week."

"Huh?" said Rodney. "Weird house?"

I could tell he wasn't tracking, but I continued anyway. "Yeah, dude. That house was on Willy street. I think that was the last time you saw this place. You were really into Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles at the time..."

"Ahhhh," said Rodney. "Yeah, engine turtles." Finally, we had found a concrete memory from that weird time right before the pandemic started.

We parked. Rodney fastened his mask in place and climbed out of the car. I wasn't worried about him. By now, staying away from people, keeping his hands to himself, and leaving his mask over his nose and mouth are as routine as brushing his teeth or putting his clothes in the hamper. Rodney held my hand tightly as we walked through the parking lot. The glass door sprung open in front of us.

"Wow," said Rodney, gaping around at the store. "It's beautiful."

Behind my mask, I was smirking. Little trips like these remind me of the kind of blessings that await us when we can finally go places. If a new grocery makes him fills him with this kind of wonder, just imagine what will come over him when he sets foot in an arcade or a water park!

"It's soooo cool," Rodney continued. As I helped him into the cart, his neck turned in all directions. He stared with wonder at the produce, the long rows of shelves and cans, and even the ceiling fans.

"Dada," said Rodney. "Those helicopters are spinning on the ceiling."

Rodney and I picked up some cod and mussels from the counter, as well as a bag of frozen shrimp and squid. For sticking to COVID protocol so well out in public, he was rewarded with a peanut butter cookie. Opportunistic as always, he chose a three pack.

It was a good day. Just like the good old days. Thanks for stopping by, everyone. Hope you have a great week.