Wednesday, May 19 2021

modeling, bubble wrap, and the apple corer slicer peeler



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Dear Journal,

The dogs are always reluctant to follow us upstairs for bed. While Marissa and I are capping off the night with some drinks and about forty minutes of a movie, they sleep deeply sprawled out on the couch, the carpet, and the big plushy dog bed. Eyelids flicker. Legs twitch. Tongues hang out of their jaws. When it's time to head upstairs to bed, getting them up for one last potty break feels like an impossible task.

But when they finally do get their lazy butts up the stairs, Ziggy and Minnie find the energy for one last romp. Ziggy curls up in a pile of blankets beside our bed like she's about to go to sleep, but her fluffy tail thumping on the ground challenges Minnie to a boxing match. Minnie throws her awkward body on top and unleashes a flurry of ineffective jabs.

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I stumbled into the bathroom and flicked through the photos on my phone for Marissa while she brushed her teeth. She spit and rinsed in the sink.

"We should really think about getting her modeling career going," she said.

I laughed sharply. But I pondered the thought for the short time it took me to drop my phone back in my pocket. "Tell me more," I said.

"We would get her an agent..."

"An agent?" I balked. Marissa and I both cracked a smile.

"Yes, an agent," she continued. "They cost thirteen dollars a month." She quickly added, "But the gigs can be like around four hundred bucks, so you make that back pretty quickly. If your dog gets gigs."

"Oh, she would get gigs," I said rolling my eyes. I couldn't believe I was starting to consider this. Thirteen dollars a month isn't a total write-off, but it's not terrible either. That's a subscription to Highlights. That's two visits to Starbucks. I was already talking myself into it.

Being her dad, you might think the prospect of the general public ogling my little girl would make me uncomfortable. Is it exploitative to let companies leverage my daughter's preeminent beauty to sell dog food or get more clicks on Facebook?

That part didn't bother me. For Ziggy, privacy is a cheap price to pay for fame. She has celebrity in her DNA. Ziggy is a worldly dog, and she can handle herself just fine out there. Honestly, we should be glad that Instagram hasn't figured out how to market their product to dogs, because if that were to happen, they would release upon the world a beautiful, self-obsessed monster never seen before. There would be no putting that genie back in the bottle.

Sip. Happy Tuesday, everyone. I hope you're eating good food, staying motivated, and going for walks in the rain. To make sure Ziggy doesn't feel too out-shined by Minnie, I've been taking her for daily walks after lunch time. But Ziggy won't walk with me in the rain, so I walked alone.

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The neighborhood was beautiful. The cold water misting on my face and creeping up the back of my flip-flops was invigorating. In only a few weeks, this same rain will feel hot and punishing. I bet that while I was enjoying that walk through the spring drizzle, hoards of mosquitos were greedily filling the puddles with eggs in preparation of the yearly invasion. Madison has it's good days, but don't be fooled. This land is a swamp, and we live here because the mosquitos allow us.

Later in the day, a sharp knock was heard at the window. Marissa was expecting some shipping supplies to arrive, but she didn't expect the FedEx lady to be so grumpy about it. She knocked at the window, demanding to be acknowledged. Marissa waved back from the dining room table, giving her something between a thumbs-up and a shrug.

We all curiously made our way to the window. It was easy to see what the FedEx lady was so grumpy about. It probably had something to do with the two giant spools of bubble wrap she had to schlep into our front yard. The payload filled an entire car length of our shared driveway.

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As we stood befuddled in our own yard, a jogger bounced by on the sidewalk. Her head craned as she passed. I assume she was thinking neat, they ordered some airplane parts or I hope those people got a permit for the farm silo they're building.

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"The funny thing was it was a lot cheaper than buying it smaller," said Marissa. You know you're the real deal when companies start cutting you discounts for taking more. Baby Miles' was kind enough to donate his play corner as a temporary warehouse until Marissa cleared enough room in the basement.

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Before winding down for the night, I cleaned the kitchen. I wiped every square inch of counter up to one corner, where a rubber and metal contraption sat. My sister Kelly donated it to my kitchen - a device that we both remember well from our childhood. It's the apple-corer-slicer-peeler by Pampered Chef.

Since I finished chores a few minutes early, I decided to give it a whirl. I clamped the gear to the wood block and set it up over the sink. I stuck a fresh fuji apple into its teeth. I turned the crank. A thin metal arm struck the apple like a type writer. The red peel gathered into a messy spool of thin red string off to the side. The apple magically popped out the end, perfectly peeled and sliced into the shape of a slinky.

I called Marissa up the stairs to try for herself. As she was still dealing with bubble wrap related space issues, I knew she would be annoyed with the interruption, but I also knew this would be the highlight of her day. I stood back and let her figure out the machine for herself. It was love at first site.

Welcome home, apple-corer-slicer-peeler. You and I are going to make a lot of apple sauce together.