Friday, August 6 2021

relaxing, the fish store, and some big news

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Dear Journal,

Hello, readers! Happy Friday. Leave the dishes in the sink for Saturday, shut your work laptop for a while, and make yourself comfortable.

I know I've been uncharacteristically silent for the past few days. Even though I'm on a week long staycation from work, I had every intention of waking up on time and keeping the journal running. But without work, my day doesn't have a lot of structure. The time-off and relaxation starts to build momentum, and soon I can't bring myself to do anything more mentally engaging than washing dishes or arguing with Rodney about his bizarre line-up of Jurassic Park inspired imaginary friends. But in spite of my motivation being at an all time low, I think tonight I've managed to find a pair of functioning brain cells - let's rub them together and see what pops out, shall we?

Sip. Let's see - the last time we checked in was last Tuesday. I only three short days of PTO I've had plenty of naps.


I've also taken plenty of trips to Hy-Vee with Rodney and his baby dinosaur, Shellvin. Word of advice - don't ever shop with a baby dinosaur if you're in a hurry. It takes ages just to cross the parking lot.


I've also gotten plenty of bug time. I broke down the stuffy outer enclosure that was previously housing all three of the baby tarantulas. The spiders now enjoy better ventilation beside a continuously running humidifier. At first, Marissa and I had to come to peace with the fact that this quietly humming box spewing mysterious wet smoke off of our bookshelf was here to stay. But I discovered a "low" setting that was quieter, and looked less like something used to decorate the dining room of the Rain Forest Cafe.


Earlier tonight, Rodney and I completed the first worm census. The oats that make up the floor of their enclosure had become pale and dusty. Standing over two empty plastic bins with metal tongs in hand, Rodney and I plucked each worm into an empty box, washed out the enclosure, and carefully placed each worm back in the new bedding. Kudos to Rodney for relocating all ninety-seven worms without a single casualty or escape attempt (we took the opportunity to count them).


97 happy worms

Another highlight comes to mind. The other night before heading up to bed, Marissa sheepishly asked if I would make her a snack. I made a pair of grilled cheese sandwiches. We shared them upstairs with a bottle of Greek dessert wine while watching the spiders fiddle around in their enclosures.


Dinner, drinks, and a show without leaving our house.

We also took a family trip out to the Marissa's favorite fish dealer. We found "Ty, the fish guy" manning the front desk of the unassuming storefront. If not for the plastic kiddie pool out front with the giant friendly puffer fish, you might not even know Big Kahuna was a saltwater fish dealer.


The puffer fish lumbered over to the edge of the pool. With his smooth face breaking the water, casting his big friendly eyes in our direction, the puffer fish seemed genuinely excited to greet us. "They're like little water puppies," said Marissa.


Tye took us to the back of the store, which opened up into a large room lined with tanks. Rodney took the lead, showing me how to use the plastic trays to view the coral.


Tye had another plastic tub in the back that housed baby sharks and a prickly lion fish. "Do not put your fingers in the water, you could die," said Rodney, wasting no time bringing me up to speed with the Big Kahuna house rules.


Meanwhile, Marissa chatted with Tye about her coral selections. Friendly and knowledgable, Tye lived up to his moniker "The Fish Guy". Have you ever met someone who was doing exactly what they were meant to do? I had only just met Tye, but he gave me that feeling while proudly giving us a tour of his collection, gleefully answering every question we threw at him.


We made another trip this week too. Yesterday, we jumped in the car and took a long day trip out to the Chicago suburbs. In order for that to make any sense, I have to let the cat out of the bag on some very big news. The Reckers are moving. We've decided to leave Madison and find a new house somewhere in the Chicago suburbs next Spring. Yesterday's day trip was the first of many reconnaissance missions, driving slowly through neighborhoods, grabbing lunch, and trying to picture our family growing up in a new place. It's an exciting time for us, and we're happy to finally be able to go public with the news.

That's what I got today. I'm glad we got a chance to check in before heading into the weekend. Thanks for stopping by, have a great Friday everyone.