Thursday, April 8 2021

arbys, puzzles, and a novelty cheese hat

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Dear Journal,

How's it going, friends? I hope that by the time this entry finds its way to your device, you're posted up in the coziest corner of your house with a drink in your hand. It's Thursday, I think. If my calculations are correct, you're pulling up to the end of the work week and the weekend is right around the corner.

As for me? I'm already there. If listening to baby Miles cry whilst watching the Hawks lose to the Dallas Stars by a blowout is relaxing, then I'm practically in nirvana right now. To set the scene, the dogs are both flopped out on the living room rug. It would seem as if all their reckless zooming around the living room finally got the best of them. Furthermore, Ziggy's gourmet Mexican food dinner finally hit her stomach and she has to be feeling the crash. We didn't intend to feed her a plate of refried beans, mexican rice, and a shredded chicken quesadilla smothered in queso sauce. That was supposed to be Rodney's meal. But Ziggy only had to wait for Rodney to leave his chair for a bathroom break. Rodney, with his skin tight Spider-Man suit half pulled down to his waist was helpless to fend off Ziggy from his dinner, and the rest is history.

Sip. In other news, I'm officially half vaccinated. From what I hear, the first half of the Pfizer vaccine isn't the bad one. At the moment I just feel like I was punched in the arm, and that pain is nowhere near the anguish I'm still feeling from my foolish lunch decisions, but I'll get to that.

There was no morning journal today because I had to hit the road early. To be honest I was looking forward to a road trip. It's been a while since I got to sit behind the wheel of our car for that long, and all at once I remembered the peace and independence that can be felt on a long, straight road trip. I chugged the coffee and caught up on my podcasts. Here's what I learned, in no particular order.

I arrived in Racine with just enough time for lunch, and even though I passed by many alluring local restaurants, I succumbed to the temptation of familiarity and convenience. I bought some Arby's - of all things, a buffalo chicken sandwich. Those sandwiches don't hit like they did when I was in my twenties. That buffalo sauce felt like sugary molten lava in my stomach, and to my regret I would battle that sensation pretty much the rest of the day.

The shot itself was pretty uneventful. I wandered through the empty halls of the mall following the same signs Marissa had followed the day before. There were numerous checkpoints, barriers, and arrows on the floor. The instructions were actually kind of overwhelming. It made me realize that it's been a really long time before I had to do anything in public and interact with people like that. In fact I was so overwhelmed that I almost accidentally bypassed the actual shot. Confused, I followed a line of arrows through a hallway lined with curtained off rooms. Nobody waved me in or greeted me, so I kept following the arrows, and they led me to a sitting room. I wrongly thought that this sitting room was the place you waited for the shot, and not the place you wait afterwards.

"I'm sorry, I may have walked too far," I said, interrupting the lady who was looking over my CDC card.

"I'll say," she laughed. "I was about to schedule your second appointment and send you away."

"It was a long drive to get here," I explained. "I'm a little tired." I may as well have added and I was too distracted thinking about Matt Gaetz, Jeff Bezos, Greek statues, and how dumb the general manager of the Chicago Bears actually is.

I made the long drive home, pulling in the driveway just in time for a second session of nederlands spreken with my Dutch friend Famke. The first sentence she helped me construct was when you eat Arby's, you're going to have a problem.

Ah, een probleem op de w.c.? she asked. We laughed. "I've never had the chance to eat at Arby's, but it's the same for Taco Bell.

Famke brought a tongue twister for me to try. De kat krabt de krurl op de trap.

"Ah, dat is een goed tongpuzzle," I remarked.

Famke looked confused. I repeated the word in question.

"Tonge. Puhssle," I repeated more slowly. Famke began to chuckle.

"Sorry," she said. "It sounds like you're saying something kind of dirty. Puh-zhul." she repeated.

"Puh-ssle." I said confidently. Famke shook her head. "Nope. Still not there."

"I think I had better just stay away from Puzzles, I don't want to get in trouble," I laughed.

The day ended with some miscellaneous errands in preparation for our trip. While Marissa stayed home with the boys, I drove to the Madison mall to purchase one of those novelty cheese hats - a favor for Minnie's breeder in Philadelphia. I don't think she knew we were Bears fans, so nothing personal. But nonetheless, that's how I ended up wandering into a novelty Wisconsin sports store in the mall. I waited for my turn before sheepishly approaching the counter. I tired, plain dressed employee greeted me with lethargically.

"Uh, do you guys carry those cheese hats?" I asked quietly.

"Unfortunately, we do," He droned. He leaned in like he had a secret. He gestured at my Bears mask, then reached down by his pocket to reveal a Chicago Bears landyard.

"This is all they let me wear here," he said quietly.

"Great, well unfortunately I need to buy one," I laughed. "And put it in a black bag if you got one."

Thanks for stopping by today. Happy Thursday everyone.