Wednesday, April 21 2021

the conference, lunch faces, and the hole

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everybody. Happy Wednesday. I hope that your week is gliding by without any issues.

Rodney made this cool little motorcycle out of k'nex yesterday. While I was cooking dinner, he came wheeling into the kitchen with the tiny frame tucked between his legs.

2021 04 21 motorcycle

"It's a motorcycle," he said proudly. He gripped the tiny handle bars he fashioned for himself. This was a nice addition to his annals of k'nex creations. This motorcycle is the first thing he's made that was person sized. Just after showing me, he noticed one of the back wheels popped off on the journey through the living room. "Ope, I can fix it," he said before disappearing around the corner to find it.

Sip. So happy Wednesday, everyone. Yesterday at work was my first conference day. I spent pretty much the entire day attending virtual talks over Zoom. It was a different kind of day from what I'm used to. If not for watching the talks on zoom, I barely even needed my computer.

I set aside some work to chip away at during the talks, but in the end I was too distracted by the conference to get anything done. So instead, I decided to lean into the company's advice to drop as much as possible and enjoy it, and that wasn't hard to do. Work days like these sort of remind me of how field trips used to feel in school. Even if it isn't packed with action, it still beats regular work.

Most of the talks I listened to were technical, but there were a few soft skills type talks mixed in there as well. I attended a "cameras on" session that encouraged me to share what roles I play outside of work, connect dots on a page into a spontaneous work of art, and tell my story via drawing a mosaic square that was reminiscent of MS Paint. Walking by my computer, Marissa gave me a funny look when she witnessed me bowing and clapping in front of my computer. "It beats work," I shrugged.

Today I'm a little more involved in the conference action. I signed up to be a table leader for a lunch with six other randomly selected employees. I'm even wearing the t shirt they sent me (the official conference slippers were unfortunately claimed by Minnie and reside somewhere in her puppy lair). For the lunch, we were instructed to take a screen shot of the six of us meeting so it could be featured in a much bigger collage. Some tables like to choose a theme or a visual joke for their picture. I'll have to feel out the group as to whether they want to do something elaborate or something casual.

But by far, the highlight of yesterdays conference was lunch. I don't know what others experienced, but at this... um... location, lunch was a warm leftover breakfast burrito dribbled in hot sauce served with a side of avocado, fruit, and the crust cut from a little boy's peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I don't remember actually paying, so I assume the lunch was complimentary. I do know, however, that the waiter who refilled my coffee appeared to be a four year old dressed like spider-man.

Reviewing the pictures from yesterday, it looks like the rest of the family had a fun lunch too. Marissa fashioned one of her famous silly food face lunches for Rodney.

2021 04 21 food face

"Rodney likes to keep me updated while he eats it too," Marissa laughed. "He'd go Moooooom. Ope, now it has no mouth. Mooooom, I hate the mouth."

Miles just stuck to the sliced avocado. He wears it well, don't you think?

2021 04 21 avocado boy

Even after just sitting and listening for the whole day, I was still grateful when quitting time came. I made my way downstairs to begin making soup. I heard the click and long drag of a metal step ladder across the kitchen floor, and without even turning around I knew it was Rodney.

"I help, Dada?" he asked.

"Sure. Want to help cut mushrooms?" I asked.

Rodney fished out a butter knife from the draw. He reached over the table and grabbed a mushroom. He brought the butter knife down onto the board. His knife cleaved it in half, and he opened his mouth in astonishment.

"Dada," he exclaimed. "It worked! I did it!"

"I bet mushrooms are easier to cut with the Rodney knife," I commented.

"I'm super strong," said Rodney ignoring my remark. He flexed and touched his own muscles.

"Sure, I guess it could be that too," I chuckled.

We sat at the table around chicken noodle soup and a plate of toasted bread with grated cheese. Marissa and I both put Rodney to bed, tag team style. After the boys were in bed, we got to work on chores. On Tuesdays she sweeps the stairs, but on this particular night she called me over.

"Look at this," she beckoned. Marissa held her ear to one of the steps while she rapped at it with her knuckles. "One of our steps is hollow."

"Really?" I asked.

"Yeah, it even wiggles a bit." She held her fingers to the baseboard and gave it a strong shake.

"You think there's something in there?" I asked.

"Do you think there's something in there?" she repeated.

"Well we gotta know now," I said. Marissa was reluctant at first, but after some convincing she started to pick at it with a pocket knife.

"I don't want to make a huge mess," she said. "But I might be able to use my drill. I can cut out a circle and then just glue it back after we see.

We called my family up on snapchat so they could weigh in. My parents answered. They said the whole thing reminded them of the news special where Geraldo Rivera opened up Al Capone's vault on live TV.

"It was empty," laughed my dad. "It was a huge let down."

"We'll check snapchat in the morning to see if you found anything," said my mom before signing off.

Marissa, now less concerned with avoiding a mess, widened the small hole with a crowbar and jab saw. Thumps, thuds, and scrapes resounded through the house and sawdust rolled out onto the floor.

"OK, I can see inside," she said peering through the hole. "I see... plaster... concrete."

"Anything else?" I pressed.

"Nope. Just empty," she sighed. "This may have been the dumbest thing we've ever done. You know I actually thought there would be money in there."

"I was expecting treasure," I laughed. "Or something crazy like a gun or a big bag of drugs. Hey, I have no regrets. At least now we know."

Like Wayne Gretzky said, you miss 100% of the shots you don't take. Building off that, you miss out on 100% of the secret treasure that you don't look for.

2021 04 21 the hole

Thanks for stopping by today. Happy Wednesday.