Tuesday, May 25 2021

our bathroom, a toddler, and bad fish

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Dear Journal,

Do you like today's banner image? I did my best to capture the moment of zen that immediately followed work. My desk sits beside our most enthusiastic air conditioning vent. The steady blast of chilly air keeps me productive, but my favorite part is the contrast I feel when I step outside onto the warm deck, as I did after work. The dogs followed me outside. I smoked a tiny cigar, then sat in silence for a half hour until Marissa and Rodney came home. It was a good moment.

Now that I've shown you an image that conjures feelings of peace and contentment, let's look at something on the other end of the spectrum. How do you feel looking at this bathroom wall?


Disclaimer: it was like this when we got here. Before you make something better, it has to first look worse. You need to pry and claw away the decorations that were hiding the mess and shine a spotlight on it.

You might notice we don't have a bathroom mirror now. Marissa bought a cheap handheld mirror from Target to work in the meantime, but before that we were living life without a bathroom mirror. Do I have something in my teeth? Is my hair doing something weird? I have no idea, and I'm loving every minute of this lifestyle.

Just to even things out, let me show you what our bathroom closet looks like these days.


Marissa rebuilt the shelves. We gutted everything. I invite you to pinch me, because it has looked like this for a week straight. I think we've finally become clean bathroom closet people.

"The secret is that now, everything has a place," said Marissa. We both quietly chuckled while the obvious words hung in the air.

Sip. It's good to be here, isn't? Here's to Tuesday, and all the wonderful things it brings. The sunshine. The fresh coffee. The sound of our noisy garbage truck dumping our vile can into its hatch. That's the sound of a new beginning - an invitation to find another forgotten corner of your house to clean.

In preparation of Marissa's art show this weekend, we've been doing nightly cleaning parties after dinner. We blast Christian rock throughout the house. Rodney gyrates and pumps his fist while running things up and down the stairs for us.

It's critical to stay on top of the cleaning, especially when you have a toddler in the house.


I'm talking about Minnie, who is a toddler in dog years. Long after we put the human kids to bed, the play corner is still alive. The clattering of plastic and the droning of electronic songs can be heard while Minnie explores each basket of toys. Her tall, flimsy ears can be seen while she bounces around her play corner rifling through piles of distractions.

She chose a toy - some plastic ringlets on a pretend keychain. She shredded them up into pieces with her new, aching front teeth. She didn't just pick any toy - Marissa pointed out that she found those ringlets from the bottom of the toy bin. She found a favorite.

She's had a relapse in potty training. I had to re-institute the "take 2" rule with her in the morning. All the dogs go out together, then they come back inside to eat. The big dogs trot upstairs for more sleep, but Minnie has to go back outside a second time - take 2. She was frustrated with me. She stood at the back door trying to intimidate me with her angriest face. Finally, a light bulb went off in her tiny fuzzy head and she trotted down the steps to relieve herself.

We had a nice day yesterday. I had a few meetings, but I spent most of the day furiously creating tickets for the next batch of intern work. By the time the day ended, I was exhausted.

Rodney and I went to the grocery store. No matter how many times I reminded him of going to the Jenny Street market, none of the stories rang a bell for him. "Is that the grocery store?" he asked from the back seat.

"No, there's nothing around us." I answered.

"Is that the grocery store?" he asked.

"No, it's still a few blocks away."

"Is that the grocery store?" he asked.

I sighed. "No, that's a guy on a bike. Notice how he's riding in the middle of the road to ensure I can't pass him? In our culture, we call that a dick move."

The last part happened in my head. Rodney isn't ready to witness the righteous anger of his father's road rage yet.

When we finally reached the grocery store, the walls, doors, and aisles made the memories come rushing back to him. Rodney, remembering I used to rip off a chunk of baguette for him to chew on, asked if we were buying lekker brood. Along with some lekker brood, we bought cod, a single tuna steak, and some frozen mussels.

Unfortunate, but I got kind of unlucky with seafood yesterday. It was an uncharacteristic blemish in a long history of top notch selections from Jenny Street. The tuna steak was a little old, and overall a bad choice for stew - that one was on me.

We put the kids to bed, and while Marissa worked in the studio I rinsed away the smell of bad stew. I really like that stew - it's a huge bummer when it gets spoiled by some questionable fish. I think tonight we're going to have something simple, like chicken.

That's what I got today. Have a great Tuesday everyone. Look out for bad fish - it can sneak up on even the most reputable grocery store.