Tuesday, July 27 2021

ice skating, beef tacos, and a preposterous amount of toys

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everybody, and happy Tuesday. Why don't you come on in? We've got everything you need for this cloudy workday morning. Help yourself to some fresh coffee out of the pot as well as some fresh text served hot and ready in your web browser.

Thank goodness for coffee - I'm feeling dreadfully tired this morning, and I'm going to cling to this coffee mug like a piece of driftwood after a shipwreck. About three hours ago I awoke to the sound of my phone ringing with slack notifications from work, but luckily it wasn't a network related emergency. It all worked out, because after a few seconds of waiting for my brain to boot up, I realized it was only 5:30 in the morning and that I still had an entire hour to sleep. That sensation never gets old.

Still, if I could freeze time and take a nap right now, I would. And that desire to fall back asleep gets more intense looking at these pictures Marissa took of our girls yesterday. This was sometime last night. Marissa warned me, "Go down the stairs quietly, and be ready to see the girls the coziest they've ever been." She had tucked Ziggy and Minnie into opposite corners of the couch with their own blankets and pillows.


The precious moment lasted for about ten minutes. They sprang up out of the covers and went right back to throwing each other around the living room. Life moves fast when you're a dog.

Sip. How is the week going so far? It's only Tuesday, and barring any last minute disasters I think it's safe to say that I survived my first week on-call. My shift ends tomorrow afternoon. We have a lot of exciting stuff coming down the pipe. Later this week, we're going to have Connor over for dinner, or as Rodney likes to call him, the really cool guy with the long hair who is really good at rock and roll. On Saturday we're heading out to Iowa to spend the night at Kelly and Jeremy's new place.

For a work day, yesterday was pretty low-key. As usual, after the work day I grabbed Rodney out of his bedroom so we could get ready for ice skating practice. Rodney would meet at the same place and same time as last week, but as a newly graduated member of Snowplow Sam 3. After tying on his skates, the two of us stood at alongside the door waiting for the rest of the kids to show up. Rodney recognized his teachers from last week, so we instinctively made our way over to the familiar crew. But a different teacher emerged from the teacher's lounge and called his class over. "Are you Rodney?" he asked. "You're with me - Snowplow Sam two and three, follow me." He said sternly.

Rodney froze in place. He turned towards me, and muffled through his mask he blurted out, "Dada, I don't like this guy." Caught completely off-guard by his frankness, the best parting advice I could give Rodney before he got onto the ice was, "Uh... you'll get used to him. Have fun."

After Rodney's scandalous rough-housing debacle with Eddie last week, he brought a renewed focus to class yesterday. "Keep my hands to myself," he repeated like a mantra. He was even prepared to give his favorite ice-skating friend the cold shoulder if it came down to it. But Eddie wasn't in class yesterday. His mom told me that he went off to summer camp this month, so Rodney had to kick things off without his partner in crime anyway.

They played red light green light. They practiced stomping and squiggling backwards. The teacher had each of the kids hold a plastic ball in their hand while they skated around cones.

"Hey, what was up with those plastic balls?" I asked Rodney.

"Those were bubbles," said Rodney annoyed. "We had to pretend they were bubbles."

Rodney and I returned from ice skating practice and the whole house smelled like simmering beef. Being Marissa's turn to cook, she went with braised beef rib tacos with homemade pico de gaillo. "You know Momma's getting serious when she's got three Chef John tabs open on her computer," she laughed.

Marissa's a funny cook. On the days where she has dinner duty, she tends to pick very involved meals that keep her in the kitchen for most of the afternoon. She had three pounds of beef rolling around in a Dutch oven in a homemade base. She skimmed the beef fat and used it to seer the tortillas. She sliced fresh tomatoes from our garden and tossed them with diced onions. "What are you cooking for, a Quinceañera?" I quipped. I tease, knowing I have no place to complain coming home from the ice rink to a dinner that looks like this.


We let the boys stay up a little later to watch the new Dude Perfect video. Teeth brushed and room cleaned, as promised Rodney launched himself into bed seconds after the YouTube video finished. He was asleep twenty minutes later. "Peek your head in there and look at how our son is sleeping," said Marissa leaning into our bedroom.

Rodney sleeps with a preposterous amount of toys in bed with him, and after some reflection I think it's clear we helped create this ridiculous situation. At first it was green dino and his corgi. Then we got him a pair of giraffes and some other dinosaurs. By the time we added Hauncy to the mix, Rodney learned that we wouldn't say no. That's the short version of how he started sleeping with plastic robots, rubber spiders, giant sparkly snakes, and inflatable long-knecked dinosaurs.

And when I say "sleeps with them", I really mean with them. He pulls the pile of animals and toys into his chest and sleep with them packed around his face. To me standing at the door of his dark bedroom, it looks like a sweaty claustrophobic nightmare.


Thanks for stopping by today. Have a great Tuesday, everyone.