Tuesday, February 23 2021

a surprise day off, normal sick days, and a thousand dollars



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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everybody. Happy Tuesday. Happy second day of the work week. Here in sunny Madison Wisconsin, the sidewalk is wet and glistening with melted snow. Cripes, I think I even hear birds outside. I took the garbage out last night, and I noticed how warm the air felt. It was probably still in the twenties, but just the mere fact that I could stand outside in my flip-flops without wincing in pain bodes well for the spring. Wearing just a t-hirt and flip flops, I was almost tempted to take a short walk up the street.

I hear it’s also getting warmer in Texas. It’s good to hear that the weird snowy cold spell has left. Texas doesn’t wear snow well, does it? I was chatting with my cousin Dina about it on Instagram. She told me about how some of their neighbors are getting back five figure electric bills. The pipes were freezing. Their infrastructure just wasn’t built for that weather. My thoughts jumped to when we put in our backyard fence when we first moved in. The wooden posts need to be dug past the frost line, which in Wisconsin is a whole three extra feet. I remember thinking at the time, I bet they don’t to dig fences this deep in Texas.

Sip. So how is the week going? Probably not as good as mine is. I have a day off work today, and to be honest I totally forgot about it until this past Sunday.

“Are you doing anything on the 23rd?” I asked Marissa as we were getting ready for bed. She paused and thought for a moment.

“Uh, yeah,” she said. “I have that Instagram live interview.”

“I think I took of work for it,” I said.

“You took off work? Just for that?” she laughed.

“Yep,” I said. “So needless to say, I’ll be around if you want help.”

Her interview is with a guy named Aaron Jack who talks to other artists and content creators on Instagram. It’s at 12PM CST today. If you can, take a long lunch and listen in. I took a whole day off for this, and you don’t want that to go to waste, do you?

The real reason I took a day off is because I knew I would forget about it. It was like a gift to my future self. Being at the beginning of a new sprint and in the middle of ticket duty, it might be difficult to stop thinking about work, but I’ll do my best.

So right now the plan is to finish writing and let Rodney and Marissa sleep in. Maybe I’ll get Rodney up first and play a few rounds of Street Fighter with him while I finish my coffee.

Marissa needs her sleep. She started to develop a little throat tickle yesterday. She’s not in any pain, but the anticipation and uncertainty about whether or not is COVID is rough on her. We’ll probably know for sure this morning. When Marissa’s sister got COVID, she tested positive with the same symptoms of a regular head cold. My sister was exposed but remained a-symptomatic. It would make sense to me if your body’s reaction to COVID runs in the family. Maybe I have COVID too, who knows?

Last night, I made Marissa take a seat on the couch. I made her a cup of tea, and without warning I added a shot of cognac. We reminisced about sick days - the regular kind.

For me, a sick day meant spending the whole day on the couch in my parents’ sunny reading room. Thanks to my mother, I had an endless supply of ice water, Gatorade, and cheese and crackers. I’d power cylce my brain, falling asleep during one daytime Adam Sandler movie and waking up during another. Is it weird to miss even normal sick days?

Out of curiosity, I perused some entries from around this time last year. This week, we were getting ready to move out of our house to get our floors redone. We’d stay at an AirBNB in our own town. It appears we had another full week of normal life. Officially, the last non quarantine thing we did as a family was having Rafael and Miguel from Dublin office over for dinner. The next day, March 7 2020, I was instructed to stay at home, and I haven’t been in the office since.

I said this on March 12 of last year:

“I bet this is how we transition into like what you see in sci-fi movies, where everyone remotes into everything and we just stay in our houses most of the time.”

That was supposed to be a hyperbole. It’s hardly science fiction - that’s real life! Only a year later, and now everything is pretty much remote by default, and that aspect of life is definitely not as glamorous as it comes off in movies.

This entry has been a bit too morose, so how about we end on a high note recapping some classic Rodney shenanigans. Rodney has learned the words hundred and thousand. For a kid who can’t count past thirty, the words hundred and thousand are powerful. When he says them, he uses his whole body to enunciate the syllables. HUN-DRED. THOOOW-SAND.

Rodney has also commandeered Baby Miles’ toy phone from him. Rodney took the play phone into his room for imaginary phone calls. Even at the time of writing things, I can hear the toy rotary phone rattling upstairs in his bedroom.

Yesterday I cracked open Rodney’s door to see if he had fallen asleep during quiet time. He locked eyes with me, holding the phone against his shoulder. I had interrupted a very serious pretend phone call.

“Dada,” he said. “wanna wanna… DINOSAUR says you need to give me ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS.”

Not wanting to throw off the comedic magic, I joined his bit without hesitation.

“How much time do I have?” I asked.

“Right now,” said Rodney.

“Right now?” I whined. “A thousand clams? A thousand bones? A thousand dead green presidents?”

“No dada,” said Rodney shaking his head. “Dollars.”

Thanks for stopping by today. If you see my sister Sarah around, wish her a happy birthday. Happy birthday, Sarah. To everyone else, have a wonderful Tuesday.