Saturday, April 17 2021

alka-seltzer, happy hour, and good winter



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Dear Journal,

Good evening, everybody. Hope your Saturday is going well. I’m checking in from my trusty little Thinkpad, as always. But my writing battle station is also joined by a little glass of water with some Alka-Seltzer. At the moment, I’m fighting off a bad bout of digestion that I suspect was brought on with a risky eat-out choice.

Our usual delivery joint is this place in Madison called Garibaldi Mexican Restaurant. They have to qualify the name Garibaldi with an extra Mexican Restaurant because no doubt most people would otherwise think it was an Italian restaurant. The Italian sounding name makes for a lot of great jokes around the house. Marissa and I love to pretend to be Italian chefs shouting at each other in an imaginary kitchen. More mozzarella on that quesadilla, Garibaldi! Veloce!

Garibaldi’s surprised us. We discovered it during quarantine, and it has since climbed to the top of our favorites in Madison. But to our great disappointment, Garibaldi’s had no delivery drivers working tonight. Restless and hangry, eagerly searching for an alternate so we could crash on the couch and await the food while watching the Hawks game, we went with Laredo’s.

“We’ve eaten there before,” commented Marissa. “You liked it.”

“Didn’t we last eat there with Rob and Maggie? That was when Rodney was a baby, it had to have been like three years ago.”

I could have gone the safe route, and ordered something middle-of-the-road like tacos, fajitas, or even a burrito. But no - I had to order the chimichanga. Nothing says “foolhardy trust” like a deep fried burrito.

We awaited our food on the couch. We were so grateful to just sit quietly and watch the game. I was so content, that I fell asleep during the break after the first period like I usually do. I awoke to the second period opening face-off.

“Dada.” Rodney’s hushed, hot voice was inches from where my face was pressed in the pillow. “Dada. I took a picture of you,” he snickered.

“You looked like an angel,” Marissa chuckled.

2021 04 17 sleeping

An angel wearing VERY comfortable clothes... who hasn't shaved in a while.

I’ll show you what a real sleeping angel looks like. This is how Minnie slept when she got back from an outdoor work happy hour on Friday. Her eyelids flickered while she dreamt mysterious and quiet puppy dreams.

2021 04 17 angel 1

After having some friends over for a backyard hangout, Minnie climbed into the premier dog napping seat. She slept so soundly that her tongue poked out of the front of her mouth.

2021 04 17 angel 2

I scarfed down my deep fried burrito. Moments later I groaned while fixing myself an alka-seltzer cocktail, but the turbulence is subsiding.

As an aside, if I had an award to dole out for alka-seltzer, it would be the “thing that tastes the worst that makes you feel the best”. It’s an act of faith drinking something that tastes like pool water to make your stomach settle, but it sure does the trick.

Sip. Bleh. So how has the weekend been for you? I’m grateful. I’ve spent enough time outside to get a small sunburn on my forehead, neck, and cheeks. For my winter-kissed skin, that only took two back-to-back happy hours. The first was on Friday afternoon. I took Minnie in the car and drove her across town to the Wisconsin Brewing Company for an outdoor meeting with the team. The car lurched in stop-and-go traffic all along the beltline. The power locks on our car are still broken, so each time the car speeds up and slows down, they make a terrible RACKA-CACKA-CACKA-CACKA sound. Each time the rear left door whined, Minnie cried.

“It’s OK, honey,” I called out to her in the back seat. “The car is just being silly.”

She stumbled out of her crate and stretched her stubby legs. She yawned, bearing her prickly little teeth and long tongue. I nestled her in my shoulder, and together we crossed the long parking lot where we’d find Daddy’s work friends.

When was the last time you had to spot someone in a crowd? For me, it’s been about a year and a half. Even though I work with these people every day, talk to them on slack and see their faces on zoom, finding them in the real world was challenging. The three dimensional world is still over-stimulating to me.

“There you guys are,” I laughed, sauntering over to a ring of chairs. “I honestly didn’t recognize any of you.”

“Your hair is getting a little long,” quipped a teammate.

“Yeah? You’re one to talk. My god, you’re all looking very scruffy,” I retorted. Comfy clothes, sweatpants, and blurry five o’clock shadows were all represented in the circle.

“So this is Minnie,” I said, introducing the nervous puppy tucked under my arm. “I took her out for a beer to help her with her people skills.”

Rob was first to take a turn with Minnie. Rob has a very soft spot for puppies. I knew for a fact that if he didn’t get to hold Minnie, he would hold it against me for the rest of my life. The debt was paid.

2021 04 17 minnie and rob

Minnie was a little anxious leaving my arm. But after about a half hour lounging in the sun beneath a cool lake side breeze, she warmed up to him and embraced him as “uncle Rob”.

The only thing we had planned for this Saturday was a backyard hangout with our friends Alex and Cassie. We sat on some lawn chairs in the sun. Rodney, dressed in Spider-Man garb, busily circled us lobbing frisbees and tennis balls in all directions.

“We survived the winter,” said Marissa warmly. Of course we survived - she meant it as a hyperbole, but the comment held a glimmer of truth in that we were all grateful to finally re emerge into the sun after a long quarantine. I learned once in a documentary that Justin Vernon’s moniker Bon Iver is derived from a French greeting that means “good winter”, as in “good to see you survived the winter”. That’s what I feel these days when I see a friend in person and say “it’s good to see you again.”

That’s what I got. Thanks for stopping by, friend. Good winter.