Friday, February 19 2021

white castle, trips with rodney, and thinking



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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone. Happy Friday. The weekend is so close now. It's just on the other side of this measly little Friday. I know we'd all just rather just crawl back in bed. Maybe grab a snack on the way up and watch Netflix until you either fall asleep or get hungry enough to leave the room again. But how about we just get on with it just this once, for old time's sake?

Snacks and Netflix in bed. That sounds pretty good right about now, doesn't it? I remember in college when I was home for the summer, my favorite move was to pickup a big bag of White Castle or Taco Bell and just chip away at it all day from the couch. White Castle is especially good for that. The way those little cheese burgers stack together in the bag create this very efficient distribution of heat. Like a steamy, onion-ey chimney.

Did you just retch a little when you read the words White Castle? That's understandable. Most people I talk to are revolted by them. Those little greasy cheese burgers are an acquired taste. But if someday you get curious enough to try one, you'll probably have the best experience if you have at least a little beer in your stomach from the night before. Otherwise, hate all you want - I come from a long line of proud White Castle eaters, and we will not be intimidated.

2021 02 19 white castle

Sip. So how's it going today? How was your week? By now, my complaints about the work week have been numerous, haven't they? Work has been a struggle - a slog. My role has become so stressful and confusing that I pine for the days where I used to sign on for the day and just work on something. I used to hunt for bugs in code. I used to spend all day trying to figure out why two servers couldn't talk to each other. What a blessing that was. These days, that work is like a dessert. I only get it in small portions, and I have to earn it first. I have to carve the time out of my calendar and defend it.

As the day went on, I tried to get out of my head more often. I took my nervous bedroom pacing downstairs, turning them into little trips to refill coffee and see what Rodney and Marissa were up to. They regaled me with stories of their big trip to the pet store to buy replace the broken heater in the fish tank. Rodney met some hungry fish in a koi pond. He also met a talking bird.

"What did he sound like?" I asked.

Rodney squared his feet and took a deep breath. "He sounds like... haaLLLOOOOO? TREEEEeeeat?" His impression of the talking bird put a smile on my face. Marissa and I coaxed him to perform it several more times that day.

Marissa and I have noticed what a difference being out makes on Rodney. He carries himself differently. He's happier. He acts older. After running a simple errand out in the real world, he even speaks more clearly.

"And he's so good at the rules," said Marissa. "He wore two masks with me, since that's what they recommend now. And when we were turning the corner of an aisle he said Ope, there's people, momma. We gotta go around."

That may be a tough habit to break someday. You have to wonder how many kids his age are going to spend the rest of their lives instinctively staying six feet apart from strangers, even after they've forgotten why.

Marissa and I decided to prioritize taking trips with Rodney. I think he needs the stimulation and the sense of purpose. I'm taking him to Hy-Vee later today to pick up stuff to make pizza, and just between you and me I'm planning on buying him literally everything he points at. Hot Wheels cars. Bouncy balls. Chocolate eggs. Everything is fair game. We're going to be like contestants on that old game show where people had to fill a grocery cart as quickly as possible. What was that game again?

We picked up Portillo's for dinner. In very poor planning, I slammed a whole diet coke just before my scheduled nap slot, and consequently I spent the whole time just staring up at the ceiling thinking about work. Even though I didn't sleep, it was still a relief to just think. I feel like I spend most of the day talking to people, and I'm not one of those people that can process thoughts through talking about them. In the silence of our dark bedroom, I just thought, prayed, and reflected about everything.

Marissa swooped in and finished my chores for the evening. "I felt bad for you and I didn't know how else to help." After exercise, Dutch practice, and getting Rodney to bed, what a treat it was to just crumple on the couch with my laptop!

Thanks to Marissa's house-keeping heroics, I was able to get some more time on shmeeds, my tool for posting journal entries to social media. Last night I finished a subcommand to fetch the latest entry.

$ shmeeds latest SHMEEDS :: fetching RSS feed at https://www.alexrecker.com/feed.xml { "bannerURL": "https://www.alexrecker.com/images/banners/2021-02-18.jpg", "permalink": "https://www.alexrecker.com/2021-02-18.html", "subtitle": "work stress, my brilliant hy-vee hack, and shmeeds", "title": "Thursday, February 18 2021" }

What a fun little python project. Feel free to follow along on my github as it takes shape. In the next stage of the project, I'll add functionality to post to slack and twitter. This is pretty easy - both slack and twitter have very reasonable APIs that can get this done.

But Facebook? Bleh. They have an API, but the only way to use it is if you either register for a business or mail some identifying documents to them for manual review (as if they don't know enough about me already - what a joke!). And by the way, that department is closed right now because of the pandemic.

For the trouble of making a simple post to Facebook, I'm going to have to teach shmeeds how to do it the old fashion way. It will open a web browser, go punch in facebook-dot-com into the address bar, and make all the same clicks that I do every day.

Also, I've decided to bag the Friday retros. I noticed I was saying the same thing every week. First "joke of the week" took a nose dive, and now Friday retros. I gotta figure out what to do on Fridays, but for now as a temporary measure we'll just call them "TBD Fridays". Thanks for stopping by, everyone. Have a great day today.