Tuesday, August 31 2021

the art show, vr, and the paw patrol movie

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everybody. Happy Tuesday. Today I'm feeling immediate relief that we haven't yet rolled into the month of September yet. Sure, that happens only a day from now, but given how speedy this summer has been, this final August day is an important one. If you don't mind, I'll be savoring August 31 like it's the last few drops of a refreshing drink.

Maybe that simile missed the mark. Around here, August is anything but refreshing. And come to think of it, neither is September. It would be nice if our weather immediately plunged into cozy hoodie weather, but nature doesn't respect silly human milestones like the beginning of the school year. Both months are dominated by heat, humidity, and bugs - the three horseman of miserable summer weather.

But enough complaining about the weather. It's nice to be back. I'm feeling rested, and there's enough fresh coffee here in the dining room to lure me back into a productive cadence, so let's get to it shall we?

Sip. It's been a while, hasn't it? I took off work on Friday and Monday to make room for our big art show in Glen Elynn. We made our way up Friday morning with a car full of kids and a U-Haul truck full of paintings. The packing went as smoothly as it could have gone. Marissa wrapped each painting safely in bubble wrap, and thanks to her newest business expense she found a new passion for laminating things.


I think we're witnessing the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

After dropping the boys off at Grandpa Dirk and Grandma Jane's place, we took the truck over to Lake Ellyn. We lugged folded heaps of plastic and bundles of metal poles to our designated spot along the path. With our backs turned to a sunny football field, we puzzled over the tent instructions. Marissa had laminated the instructions too.


We made a killing on the first day. It felt like Marissa was outselling even the churro stand in our corner. I was just impressed that so many people braved the windless ninety degree heat to show up and buy paintings. Each time a prospective patron left our booth, the smiles slid off our faces and we both dove head first into our tiny battery operated fan to dry the sweat.

When we weren't selling art, Marissa and I were taking in the scenes of our old stomping grounds. We even bumped into a shared Chemistry professor of ours.

Back in Geneva, Miles and Rodney enjoyed new and exciting snacks from a place they've never heard of called Trader Joe's. There were plenty of things to enjoy from the visit. Rodney caught a bass in the lake with Grandpa. Miles speed-crawled around the wide-open kitchen with a drooly smile plastered on his face. But the thing we all seemed to enjoy the most was Grandpa Dirk's Oculus headset.


We took turns blasting aliens in outer space and scuba diving in the deep ocean. Watching Rodney and Marissa bob, jab, and crouch in an empty corner of my parents basement showed me that in VR there's an inverse relationship to how much fun you're having against how ridiculous you look. We can call that the law of VR.


On Sunday, we packed up the art booth in a hurry when we heard a clash of thunder in the distance. By the time we piled everything safely back into the van, dark rain clouds gathered over the lake giving way to a vigorous downpour. We arrived back home and unloaded the truck into the living room. Even at our own house, we didn't feel completely settled until Marissa picked up the dogs the next morning.

I was grateful for the extra day off yesterday. We felt drained from the set-up and tear-down of the art show, and spent most of the day recuperating. The only thing we made room for was taking Rodney to see the Paw Patrol movie in the evening.

Rodney brought all his Paw Patrol stuffed animals to the movie theater, and on an early Monday evening the building was so empty that we could have given each of them their own screening room. They joined us at a lonely booth while we scarfed a pizza before showtime.


In the theater, I'm not sure what the pups thought of seeing themselves on the screen, but based on the noises Rodney was making on their behalf, they all seemed to enjoy it without any existential crises.


What did we think of the movie? There were some duds. Some of the characters felt like unnecessary celebrity cameos, and there were some unsettling CGI misses, but it was hard not to get caught up in Rodney's enthusiasm. There are few things as rewarding as the simple of joy of mowing down popcorn in an empty movie theater. Rodney got one last magical evening of no-school bliss before beginning his own academic career later this week, and that's what we set out to do.


School starts in three days. Things move so fast. It's going to get quiet around here with only one little wingiss to bother us throughout the day.


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