Friday, April 16 2021

a puppy update, hy-vee'd, and the little caesar's arena



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Dear Journal,

Happy Friday, everyone. I'm happy to report that this weird little post-vacation week is already finished. I for one am grateful. One day back at work was just fine, but two? Sheesh, I could use a weekend.

It's a beautiful day here in Madison, Wisconsin. The sun is out. Birds are chirping. A steady stream of cars whizzes by on the nearby busy road. I've got plans to join some coworkers later for an outdoor happy hour, so I'm even wearing a pair of actual pants. It's the kind of morning that would have looked perfectly normal in a pre-pandemic 2019.

Puppy update? I'll say this, Minnie throws an adorable little wrench into our morning routine. Ollie, Ziggy, and I had this impeccably coordinated, delicate morning flow. Each morning, once I get out of bed they spring up and follow me down the stairs. I let them outside, and while they do their business I make the first pot of coffee. I let them in, and I drop a half cup of dry food in each of their bowls. They scarf it down, then disappear upstairs for what I imagine must be the best part of their morning - sleeping in with a full stomach.

We've got the timing down pat. Ollie, Ziggy, and I have the precision and rhythm of an Olympic bobsled team. Now that we've added a third dog to the mix, it appears we need to relearn everything. This morning they sprang out of bed thinking I would beat them to the stairs, but they were thrown off when I instead crossed the room to get Minnie out of her crate. Minnie needs help going down our porch steps, so I join them outside shivering in my robe. I cradle Minnie in my arm while I feed the big dogs, and before I get on with the morning routine, I fix Minnie's special breakfast. I don't even know what's in it to be honest. Half of it is pre-mixed by Marissa the night before. Following her instructions, I add a small scoop of soaked dry food to a little bowl and stir in hot water until it reaches the consistency of baby food. Minnie gets to enjoy the ensemble in her crated bed while the big dogs watch her out of envy.

The shakep-up is welcomed. Puppies are a joy. My favorite part of having a puppy around the house is watching their personality start to form. Other than calling her minestrone, she doesn't yet have any inside jokes or tropes. She's an adorable little stranger stumbling around her house. But I'm learning little things about her. She likes to be held, but she prefers to be propped upright so she can maintain a sense of control. She loves to play rough with Ziggy. When Ziggy and Ollie chase her around the house, she's smart enough leverage her small size, eluding them by slithering under the couch and the coffee table. Last night, she even fell asleep halfway under the couch with her legs poking out behind her. She likes small spaces.

She's pretty bummed right now because one of her ears started to flop. A lot of people don't know this about corgi's, but their sharp pointed ears don't always stand-up on their own. When they're puppies, they usually need a little bit of tape to keep them propped up until they're strong enough to stand-up on their own. Minnie is getting the tape back on one ear again. "It's just for a while, Minnie," we told her. "It's like getting braces."

This morning, her tape was gone. I decided to let her enjoy the morning sleeping on her side. Marissa can be the bad cop.

Sip. So how did your Thursday go? I had a nice quiet day back at work. I caught up on what the interns worked on while I was gone. I helped some people on ticket duty. I had some 1-on-1's. I crushed my to-do list, and I even remembered to put in a Hy-Vee order on time. It was a dark and chilly day, and I was excited to make some chicken noodle soup for the evening when we'd snuggle up and watch the Blackhawks game.

"I'm going to put mushrooms in it too," I bragged. "And I'm going to make toasted bread with gruyere on the side."

Marissa grabbed the groceries on the way home. By the time I made my way into the kitchen to get started on dinner, I couldn't find any of the food I had ordered. I was confused. There were no mushrooms, cheese, or chicken to be found. I leaned into the living room where Marissa was working on the computer. "Hey are there any groceries still in the car?" I asked.

"No," she replied. Her face twisted with worry. "Did they forget something?"

"Yeah," I said sharply. "They forgot pretty much everything. It's going to be hard to make chicken noodle soup without a chicken." I sighed and rubbed the back of my neck.

"Sorry," said Marissa.

"We got Hy-vee'd," I said quietly.

"Hy-vee'd," Marissa repeated.

For dinner, we had chickenless noodle soup. To make matters worse, the Hawks also really stunk last night. Detroit ran up the score, beating us 4-to-1. I remembered a work friend who was a Detroit fan, so I sent him a message on slack.

"So how long has your stadium been the Little Caesar's Arena?" I asked teasingly.

Gavin replied immediately. "That's pretty new," he said. "But watch out, I am weirdly loyal to the Ilitch family."

His next message was a Wikipedia article about the Ilitch family out of Detroit. Not only did the family start the Little Caesar's empire, but they currently own the Red Wings and the Tigers as well. I had assumed that the team fell on hard times and sold the name of the stadium name to the first fast food company that showed interest. I didn't know that Little Caesar's owned half of Detroit. I changed my tune from teasing to admiration.

"OK, now that I think about it, Little Caesar's Arena is low key a pretty cool name," I replied. "It sounds like a place of bloody combat, all in the name of pizza worship."

Give to Little Caesar what belongs to Little Caesar. Have a great day, everyone.