Wednesday, June 9 2021

flowers, boogers, and chicken noodle soup



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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everybody. Happy Wednesday. I'm still warming up for the day, so here's what we're going to do. We're just going to chill out for a second and look at pictures of flowers. Ready?

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Oops - that last one isn't a flower at all. It looks like some kind of wet-nosed hairy caterpillar. What an interesting species. My best guess is that's a common variety Straunce who has made herself comfortable in bed.

Marissa finished setting up all the flowers and plants on the deck, and now our backyard is in full bloom. Yesterday, I finished out the work day on our outdoor love seat. I just find the setting so uplifting, it barely feels like I'm working. Now if we could just get Minnie to stop pooping on the deck, it really ruins the feng shui.

Sip. How are you all feeling today? How is your health? The dreaded sniffles have infiltrated our ranks. Rodney had another self-care kind of day. It's a bummer to see him down in the dumps, but it's amusing hearing him describe the symptoms with his own limited vocabulary.

"My neck hurts... but inside. And my tummy is sleeping," he said. "And my boogers are falling out." Sitting upright in his bed under blankets, he reached up to his nostril, plucking out a dangling strand of mucus. He reached across his bed to wipe it on his bookshelf. "We can put that back in my nose later," he said.

Every kid has a booger spot in their bedroom. I made a mental note to avoid that general area in the future.

We're pretty sure it's just a regular cold, but since we have some people coming over for dinner on Thursday, we're doing the needful. Marissa called the nurse's line to ask if Rodney needed a COVID test. They asked about his symptoms (neck hurt inside, boogers falling out... you remember), but the nurse was dodgy about her conclusions.

"It's almost like they are afraid of telling people they don't need to get tested," said Marissa.

Hearing the magic words soar throat, the nurse made up her mind. "Let's go ahead and schedule a COVID test," she replied.

How frustrating. At this point, everyone around us who wants the vaccine has already got it, and if kids aren't a risk group, who are we protecting? We're fast approaching the point where the only remaining risk group is the people who refuse to get the vaccine, and isn't that risk they've accepted for themselves? But how long do we need to cautiously treat every soar throat as if it were COVID?

Perhaps I'm just being selfish, but a COVID test isn't simple with a four year old. Marissa told me that Rodney had trouble holding still for the big stick up his nose.

"It was kind of cute," said Marissa. "The lady came around the car and said 'Sorry kid, I need some of your boogers'." Marissa had to join him in the back seat to hold his head still. "It's just going to be a little tickly," she warned.

When the deed was done, after the first wave of tears subsided, Rodney shook his head and said "that was not kinda tickly."

Marissa dropped Rodney off at home with a mango smoothie. I was so engrossed in the document I was writing that I missed her text. He had a rough time, be nice to him. I didn't noticed the tears in his eyes as he headed up to his room for quiet time. I checked on him when I had finished working. He was asleep in bed. He had only taken a few sips out of his mango smoothie.

You want to talk about dangerous? Leave it to a four year old to fall asleep in bed with a full mango smoothie. It was leaning on its side against a mound of stuffed animals, the sticky orange liquid breaching dangerously close to the flimsy lid. The dangerous situation I found required the highest caution. Carefully, deliberately, I plucked it up with the dexterity of a bomb defusing robot.

After he came out of his room, Rodney seemed offended.

"Where's my mango smoothie?" he asked.

"I moved it to the fridge. You fell asleep with it in bed."

"My dieren were holding it for me," he said.

Your dieren? If you had spilled that thing in bed, the mess would have been apocalyptic. Throngs of ants hopped up on mango smoothie would congregate in your bed sheets like a Billy Graham revival. We would have to just burn everything and move.

The sniffles called for chicken noodle soup. I love making this recipe because it's so simple. Chopped up celery, onions, and carrots sweated in butter with chunks of chicken thighs. A dusting of yellow curry, a full pot of homemade chicken stock, salt to taste, and a splash of soy sauce to correct the eerie yellow color from the curry. A half bag of wagon wheel pasta, stirred until everything is soft and comforting. Then a whole bunch of chopped of parsley just to brighten everything up. The grocery trip was twelve dollars and it made six bowls of soup.

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That's what I got today. Stay safe and healthy out there, and have a great Wednesday.