Wednesday, March 3 2021

kindergarten, feng shui, and power naps



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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone! Happy Wednesday. Half way done with this work week. Let’s just keep applying pressure, and in no time we’ll be in the good place. The good place where you can wake up whenever you want and you only need to use your computer if you feel like it. And until then, we have lots of lesser pleasures to tide us over. Hot coffee. Bright sunshine. A semi-clean living room.

It’s too difficult to keep Rodney’s toys clean every day. He’s at that age where he can clean up after himself and his heart is in the right place, but he’s just bad at it. I tried pitching in last night while tidying up the house. I threw all his magnatiles into the bin. I collected the Yahtzee score sheets that were thrown around the room. I gave up at 11 o’clock, leaving his colorfull “meatballs” still scattered around the room with various k’nex pieces.

We try not to be too hard on Rodney these days. He seems older, and for Marissa and I, the way he carries himself is just a daily reminder of how tough the isolation has been on him. I feel like we oscillate between scolding him for things he should be doing and feeling sympathy for how hard he’s trying. Marissa told me that last night while he was brushing his teeth, she came into the bathroom to find our rug splattered with sparkly blue toothpaste.

“Rodney,” she scolded. “What’s this? You need to keep the toothpaste in the sink.”

Rodney’s voice cracked as he diplomatically explained that he “made too big of a toothpaste snake” and he even tried to clean it up with toilet paper.

Sip. Marissa reminded me that he’ll be going off to full-day kindergarten soon. I read that Madison is re-opening schools this spring. It all feels like it’s happening so fast. I wish we could have had some pre-school just to help us ease into a household without Rodney.

I’d blame the pandemic for that, but we had a hard time getting him into preschool even before coronavirus was a thing. I was baffled and frustrated with how difficult it was to get him into the nearby preschool. We wrote them emails. We called their office. We even singled out some of the staff for pleasant small talk at one of Marissa’s art shows. What comes next, bribery? Blackmail? Collusion with Russia?

Pre-school would have been nice, but I decided that the whole thing is just stupid. Harsh, because admittedly I was turned off by how competitive it was just to get him in.

“Kindergarten is different,” Marissa assured me. “When you sign up, you give your top choices and the county signs you up for your top available choice, but they legally have to accept everybody.”

Now we’re talking.

Sip. So how’s your week going? I’m actually looking forward to work today. Thanks to Marissa, coziness has been restored to my upstairs office.

I upgraded to a bigger monitor about a week ago, and since then my workstation has been in shambles. The feng shui was upset. The coziness had left. My new giant monitor eclipsed the cute little desk lamp and practically created a wall between mine and Marissa’s seats. Most definitely not gezellig.

Then, like an allen wrench wielding angel, Marissa descending on the chaos. She purified the area with the flame of her superior spatial reasoning. She mounted the monitor back on the wall and found a better place for the laptop stand. The last piece of the puzzle was my long black microphone stand.

“This thing is stupid,” she griped. Fighting hinges, screws, and springs, she struggled to find a reasonable orientation.

“I know,” I laughed. “For how big it is, you’d think it would be easier to work with.

We each exchanged short-lived eureka moments.

“What if I just mount it to my chair?” I blurted out.

“You can’t do that,” said Marissa. “It’s plugged in, silly.”

More staring and thinking.

“Why can’t you just wear a smaller mic clipped to your shirt?” she said. “Like they do on TV?”

“That’s so embarrassing,” I laughed. “I’d feel like a televangelist. And plus, the microphone has kind of become a security blanket for me. I like that I can make eye contact with people, but still have something in front of me to focus on.”

“That’s fair,” she said. Marissa held the mic stand in the middle between the two monitors. I sat in my chair and visualized it.

“Perfect!” I said. “I can still slouch in the boring meetings, I can lean forward, and just stick it straight up in the air when I don’t need it.”

“It kind of looks like a person now,” laughed Marissa. “HELLO ALEX. ARE YOU READY TO WORK NOW? BEEP BOOP.

2021 03 03 desk

I got a lot of work done yesterday. Juggling multiple priorities has become the status quo, but on very special days I can make multiple people happy at once. Yesterday an absolutely magical series of events unfolded that led to me making three different groups of people happy with a single code change. In one fell swoop, I fixed a connectivity problem someone was happening in our support channel, I unblocked a new environment build-out, and I refactored a little mess of spaghetti code that had been problematic for our team. To celebrate, I got out of my chair and flopped backwards onto the bed.

Marissa and Rodney joined me. Rodney brought me some little figurines he made out of k’nex. As instructed by Rodney, I tiredly held them in the air over my head while Rodney took pictures. He made a person and a puppy.

2021 03 03 knex

Marissa and I were so comfortable that we fell asleep on the spot. I emerged from the short power nap first to make lunch, and Marissa would come down the stairs a little after.

“Wow,” she said rubbing her eyes. “I think that was the first time in a while that I’ve fallen asleep without meaning to. It’s like my body just shut down.”

Those are the best kind of power naps. Thanks for stopping by everyone. Have a great day today.