Tuesday, April 6 2021

figurines, recumbent bikes, and the blue car

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, readers. Buckle up, it's time for a Tuesday. Remember, you got a whole work week ahead of you still, so it's best to pace yourself. This week, I recommend saving all your most menial work for Friday - something to give you an excuse to relocate outside and finish up with a drink in your hand, and maybe even a cigar if that's your style.

You may have a whole work week ahead of you, but not me. Today is the last work day before my new puppy Spring Break. On Friday, we'll pack up the car, drop the kids off with Mimi and Poppa, and embark on a long, flat expressway to the exotic land of Philadelphia. In the meantime, I've got chores to catch up on, and I also have a long and tantalizing cue of silly tech side projects to explore. I was thinking about retooling my blog, or maybe even cleaning up my personal DNS records or re-rolling on of my servers. I get so excited about this kind of free time. I feel like a kid standing over a big pile of K'nex.

Speaking of K'nex, yesterday Rodney greeted me with these little characters. He found the two mouthless, bug eyed K'nex figurines rolling around in his bin. He only managed to recover the round heads and the smooth torsos. They also come with these jointed arms and legs, but since they are much easier to snap off, there's a good chance that they were claimed by a forgotten dusty corner of the house.

So no arms or legs to work with, but always the innovator, Rodney made it work. He fastened his own custom hands, legs, and feet. The final product looked like a cross between a robot, a venus fly trap, and a mechanical chicken.

2021 04 06 figures

"This is momma," he said, presenting the smaller one. "She has little leggies. And this is dada - he has big leggies."

Dad is big. Mom is little. This theme is present in almost every lego, k'nex, crayon, pencil, and marker creation to leave Rodney's workshop. It's the load-bearing pillar holding up the entirety of how Rodney sees the world.

"And I like MOMMA. I don't like dada," he finished. Rodney was trying to get a rise out of me. I acted indifferent, then just before I got up from his bedside, I smashed his face into his pillow and pinned him there with my elbow.

"Momma is LITTLE. Dada is BIG. And Rodney is a WINGISS," I taunted.

Sip. We had a wonderful day yesterday. I spent some time prepping work for the interns, and I recorded a code review for someone. Marissa heated up Easter leftovers for us, and we partook on our sunny back porch. Marissa told us she was finally able to schedule our vaccines. Her first shot was on Tuesday and mine was on Thursday. We would both have to make the two hour drive to Racine.

"We have to drive Racine four times?" I griped. "Are you serious?"

"I know," said Marissa. "I don't even care. I'm just so relieved that I made it, you know?"

The weather remained perfect all day, and it lured us into capping the work day with a walk. We were a little burnt out of eating Easter leftovers, so we decided to take a family stroll to our old standby pizza place. Marissa leashed the dogs. I picked Miles up from his bouncer and nestled him into his plastic stroller. There's something about Miles sitting in his upright plastic stroller that never fails to make me laugh. He looks too big for it, and yet too small. Sitting upright with his arms in his lap, he looks like a cross between a baby and a wise scholar.

"Look at him, momma," I chuckled. "I tucked the blanket around his legs. He looks like FDR, like he's carrying the weight of a nation in his lap."

Rodney asked me to get his blue car stroller out of the garage. I was on the fence about it, but I caved. Together, we climbed into the back of the garage to retrieve the old car stroller. The steering wheel snapped off last summer. It was covered in spider webs and dead bugs. There was even still a backup package of wet wipes in the front compartment.

"Hold on," I said, stopping Rodney from climbing into the car. "Let me Windex it first."

Very early into the walk, we regretted bringing the blue car. Together with two dogs and an additional stroller, we took up the entire sidewalk. Not to mention the walk to Glass Nickel went uphill and crossed a teeming bike path. The experience stoked Ziggy's hatred of bicycles like never before. Over our shoulder, a guy whizzed by in a recumbent bicycle. Marissa stopped and gripped the leash. We waited for Ziggy's outburst.

Nothing. She just panted, watching recumbent bike disappear up the street.

"Really?" I laughed. "So just bikes. But not recumbent bikes. How oddly specific."

We picked up our sandwiches at Glass Nickel. Rodney, with his lanky legs still tucked into his tiny blue car, asked to get started on his small cheese pizza. Marissa and I shrugged at each other. "Sure dude," I said. "He might even finish by the time we get home."

Marissa handed Rodney the pizza box, folding the lid over the bottom and placing it on his lap like a tray. Rodney looked content, and suddenly I had a good guess what the blue car meant to him. I like to think that eating a baguette, a breadstick, or a slice of pizza in his blue car on the way home from Glass Nickel must represent some pinnacle form of contentment. Maybe it even reminds him of a simpler time before masks, social distance, and watching over a baby brother.

I nudged Marissa. "Look at him," I quietly remarked. "I think this is all he wanted to do. The dude just wants to kick it in his classic blue car with a slice of pizza, like the good old days."

"He's a good boy," said Marissa.

Thanks for stopping by today. Happy Tuesday, everyone.