Saturday, May 1 2021

dumb tricks, ice cream walks, and digging for fossils

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Dear Journal,

Hey everybody. Happy Saturday. Our Saturday was a good mix of work, rest, activity, and lazing around, and I hope yours was too. At the moment, the kids are in bed. Marissa is catching up on things in the dining room while reruns of Bobs Burgers plays from the computer in the corner. A moment ago we had a silly chat about dumb tricks we used to do when we were kids.

"Did you ever do that thing where you intentionally choke your friend just until they start to black out, and supposedly when you came to you would get a head high?" I began.

"Kids are stupid," said Marissa, shaking her head.

"I'm pretty sure we had to fire one of our baby sitters we had because she tried to get me and Kelly to try it," I laughed.

"We used to do this really dangerous thing on the trampoline," shared Marissa. "It only works at night. If you jumped in circles a few times then looked straight up, it would trigger instant vertigo."

I jumped in again. "Oh here - lemme show you another one. Go stand over by that door."

Marissa narrowed her eyes, expecting some kind of trick. I tried to quell her worries with an explanation.

"We used to do things thing where if you held your firsts up against a door frame for a whole sixty seconds, your hands would involuntarily float up to the ceiling."

"I don't believe you," she laughed.

"Well let's try it. Here I'll do it with you." I took position in the other dining room door frame. "Ready?"

Fists clenched, pressed against our respective door frames, I began to quietly count up to zero. As I counted seconds, we both strained trying to keep pressure on the door.

"Last ten seconds," I huffed. "Ready?"

We took a step forward. "Feel anything?" I asked.

"No," said Marissa. "It didn't work."

"Yeah, it didn't work for me either," I sighed. "Crap, how did that one go again?"

Sip. What dumb things used to entertain you before the common Internet? And more importantly, how did you day go? Today was art show day. Day one of the Peter's Valley virtual art show is in the books. Marissa bounced between stretching canvases and talking to prospective buyers on zoom all day. Meanwhile, me and the kids (the bipedal kids and the quadrupedal kids) held it down upstairs. As instructed I left Miles with a squeezy food pouch. With a big hunk of pea mush wadded up at the bottom, he threw the pouch aside. Figuring he had lost interest, I gave Miles his milk instead. It was then that Rodney wandered into the dining room.

"Ope, Miles dropped his pouch," announced Rodney. Rodney walked over to the pouch and picked it up. He plucked Miles' bottle from his mouth and replaced it with the pouch. Using his fingers, he began to squeeze the remaining pea mush through the pouch into Miles' mouth. Miles hungrily gulped the food.

"Ohhhhh - so Miles needs help finishing those things?" I asked.

"Yeah," said Rodney. "And I'm really good at squeezing."

Marissa had a great turnout. She sold a handful of paintings. To celebrate, we decided to take a family walk to the ice cream shop along the bike path. Leaving the Minnie and Ziggy at home, we out the door with Ollie, Miles, and Rodney. Just before we left, Rodney donned his "ninja gear" - a k'nex-made ninja bandana, sleeve, shield, and sword. We shuffled behind Miles' car seat against the harsh arid wind while Rodney danced and kicked in the grass beside us.


Rodney, the roving k'nex ninja of Madison escorts his family. The road to the ice cream shop is perilous.

Rodney and Marissa ordered us some ice cream. Miles, Ollie and I waited outside on the steps.


The long walk in the sun primed us for an afternoon nap. As everyone slept, I snuck out the door to pick up groceries for dinner. When I returned, I found Rodney in the bathroom. He was sitting on the toilet reading his Ocean Animals book. "Oh, hey dada," he said. I was taken back by how grown up he seemed.

"Dude, reading on the potty - classic," I replied. Rodney flashed a thumbs up.

Rodney got a package today. It was a box sent from his Auntie Megan. Inside was a letter - an official request that Rodney serve as the ring bearer for her wedding. The box also included a National Geographic dinosaur fossil digging kit. For obvious reasons, Rodney was much more interesting in the latter.

The kit contained a little brick of brittle sand, a plastic chisel, a brush, and a plastic magnifying glass. Hidden in the brick was a real sized replica T-rex tooth. To serve as inspiration, the kit also came with a real fossil. A little dark pebble in a protective plastic bubble labeled Dinosaur poop.


If I'm ever in a French Restaurant and I need a quick insult, now I can throw out "Excrément de Dinosaure"

Rodney got to digging.


The sand made a mess on the table. He looked hesitant to continue. "It's OK, dude," we assured him. "You're digging for dinosaur bones, it's going to be messy." We set Rodney up with a larger tray. He alternated between the plastic chisel and the little brush, taking breaks to inspect his progress with the little magnifying glass.


The drama of the dining room fossil dig drew us in. Plus, the Hawks were getting killed anyway. We gathered around Rodney as the mighty tooth started to take shape. At last, it snapped free. Rodney raised up the tooth victoriously.


"This is mine. I'm going to put it on my desk," he proclaimed. Thanks for stopping by today. Have a great weekend, everyone.