Good morning, everybody. Happy Monday. It's a dark, windy day today in Madison. The tree in our backyard stirs, shedding crunchy brown leaves down onto the grass. From my seat at the computer chair, I can see that dead branch that snapped in half earlier this summer, and it's barely clinging to the tree by a strip of peeled wood. Is today the day we get a gust of wind that finally makes that branch crash down into the backyard? Will my neighbor's telephone line survive the disaster? Nothing like some extra excitement to spice up a Monday morning, right?
Sip. It's good to be here this morning. I spent this weekend at a lake house with my college buddies. The only photographic memento I have from this weekend is the view of the lake from our backyard.
That's probably for the better. This weekend was more of a cerebral vacation anyway, and also a weekend of learning. I learned that there's a mysterious town in Illinois called Ingleside that somehow feels both like the Chicago suburbs and rural Wisconsin. I learned that I'm still terrible at Halo, and now I'm even worse because I get motion sickness from it. I learned that you shouldn't avoid climbing out of a hot tub in October just because it's cold because it's only going to get colder. I learned that whiskey and cold pizza actually do pair nicely together, but the effect it has on my body the next morning is so severe that I don't think I could ever try them together again.
My friends and I had a wonderful weekend. Throughout our time together I thought about why it feels so good to rehash the same old stories from college every year, and I think it's because we keep squeezing more meaning out of the same memories. I was gripped by the realization that those guys might be more similar to me than anyone else on the planet. We're all trying to figure out how to be good husbands, dads, and employees. We're grappling with growing up without losing the fun parts of our personalities that we enjoy. Even in telling old familiar stories, I felt totally new sense of kinsmen-ship.
Fellas, thanks for the time together. Although I feel like I was hit by a truck this morning, soon my body will get right and the good memories will be the only remnants of our weekend.
It was nice to be away, but also nice to finally return home. The first thing I saw was Ziggy stupidly grinning, pawing at the window. Ziggy can be so aloof sometimes, but she must have really missed me if she was willing to break character like this.
Marissa wins the parental medal of honor. While I was gone this weekend, she held it down with our two boys and house full of animals, all without a car. She kept morale by piloting a new after dinner time treat - family ice cream cone time. I learned that not only does Hy-Vee sell ice cream cones, but Miles prefers them totally dry without ice cream.
Miles also learned how to give kisses while I was gone. He pulls things close to his face and makes a tiny pecking sound with his teeth, but these kisses aren't for just anyone. He pretty much doles this affection out exclusively to his stuffed animals and to his dry ice cream cone after dinner.
When it was time to turn in for the night, Marissa and I were still hungry from a lean soup dinner, and also starved of our regular weekend evening downtime together. So we made some snacks to take upstairs. I made a replica of Rodney's school lunch sandwich - a scoop of leftover takeout mac and cheese on white bread fried with a Parmesan crust. I hardly deserved such an indulgence after this weekend, but I wasn't yet ready to go to bed and face the cold reality of Monday.
While we snacked and talked, Marissa brought out Ducky.
Ducky has been living at our house for almost a week, but she had yet to actually eat for us. All of our decedent late night snacking must have had an effect on her. Ducky wolfed down three cockroaches just before we went to bed. Marissa would have squealed from happiness if the boys weren't sleeping. A new pet's first meal is a big milestone, and it bodes well for how Ducky is adapting to our environment.
That's what I got today. Happy Monday everyone. Oh, and if you see my Mom around, wish her a belated happy birthday.