Friday, April 23 2021

being a puppy, conference talks, and a beer with an old boss

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Dear Journal,

I wish I was a puppy. Carrying out Minnie's daily morning routine, I can't help but feel a little envious. Imagine if somebody carried you down the stairs every morning. Imagine if the only thing you needed to accomplish before climbing back into bed was taking a big poop in the yard. Oh, and did I mention that after you're carried back upstairs, you get to enjoy a warm breakfast in bed?

I envy her routine, but I don't envy what she is eating. Standing over the sink, stirring hot water into her wet puppy mush affords me lots of time to get to know the smell of wet dog food. It's not my cup of tea, but maybe it's an acquired taste.

I wonder what Minnie would think of that. She might be outraged, claiming her life is so simple. Traveling across the country with a family she just met. Learning all the rules of the house with two dogs and two older brothers lording over her. And did we even mention that the tape on her ears needs to stay there for a week? The shame! Being a puppy is no cakewalk, but she's doing a great job.

2021 04 23 minnie sleeping

Sip. Good morning, everyone. We've done it. It's Friday, and before dinner time today nobody from work will be able to bother us. The sentence vrijdagmiddag is bijna weekend - Friday afternoon is almost the weekend - is a regularly recurring practice sentence in my Dutch lessons, but today serves as a battle cry. To Friday afternoon, and then onward to the weekend.

It's been a long, full week. Knowing I'd just be bouncing between remote conference talks, I guess I kind of underestimated how much effort it would be to stay engaged. I'm tired, just as if I had been walking back and forth from these conference talks in person. But I'm also grateful. I think my personal theme tying together all the conference talks together is that my work is a big company, and there are these entire other worlds of the company that I depend on. It's humbling thinking of how much work goes into the things that I'm not even aware of.

It's been a fun conference week, but I'm ready to reign things in and get back to a more regular cadence. That's not a comment about the conference specifically - I just have a low tolerance for things that shake-up the regular Monday-to-Sunday week. Marissa loves to tease me about that one Christmas afternoon where I blurted out "Christmas is a weird day." If I can even get tired of Christmas, than it's nothing personal.

It was a good day yesterday. I attended some more talks and met with some of my interns. I was happy to hear that they appreciated the short conference break from their regular work, especially with their final exams right around the corner. The nice thing about giving out work to part time interns is that they always have something to do, so you don't need to sweat it when the work isn't quite ready for them.

The last meeting of the conference was a closing celebration. I skipped out on it so I could start on dinner. Yesterday we had beef stew, and that's the type of meal that really shines when you can get it on the stove earlier in the afternoon. Not to mention I can enjoy the time leading up to dinner a little more. After signing off for the day, I only had to slice up some potatoes and fry mushrooms before I could join the rest of the family in the backyard. While I was putting the finishing touches on dinner, by the looks of it I missed a spontaneous backyard photo shoot.

2021 04 23 backyard 1
2021 04 23 backyard 2
2021 04 23 backyard 3

These pictures really give you a sense of Ziggy's personality, don't they? She is determined to hold on to the spotlight, even in the presence of a new fluffy puppy.

After dinner, I met up with my old boss Heath for a beer. Heath now works with the university writing automation to support cancer research. He was nice enough to make the long drive from Fitchburg to meet at the bar by our house. The bar began to close down just as we were nearing the bottom of our beer glasses, so we relocated across the street to our house. Heath arrived just in time to derail Rodney's bedtime.

"Momma, there's a guy standing on our porch," announced Rodney through the house.

Rodney stayed with Heath's family while we were having Miles in the hospital, and that was the last time they saw each other. But Rodney didn't miss a beat in picking up where they left off. If we had let him, Rodney would have happily talked Heath's ear off into the late hours of the night.

"Thanks for finishing up the night back here," said Marissa. "I was actually a little jealous that you got to get a beer and do something fun."

"As you should be," I laughed. "It was amazing. I still get a little thrill each time I can just walk away from our house and do something. It always feels a little surreal."

It was a fun to catch up with Heath.

That's what I got today. Thanks for stopping by today. Hey - you go and have yourself a wonderful weekend. Maybe grab a beer with an old boss that you're still friends with.