Tuesday, October 26 2021

kindergarten injuries, hy-vee sketchiness, and schrodinger's spider



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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone. Happy Tuesday.

It's a nice enough day today. The skies are clear, and the coffee is ample. Just in case that's not enough to garner your enthusiasm for today, you should also know that it's no longer Monday. The bad day is officially behind us, so we have nowhere to go but up. A toast: here's to being as far away from another Monday as possible.

Sip. At the moment, Miles is whaling, whooping, and hollering in his upstairs bedroom. Some of the sounds he's making now are completely new to me, almost as if he got bored making the same crying sound all night and felt the need to change it up. He's not simply crying anymore - he's riffing.

The poor kid has a devastating running nose. He had to breathe out of his mouth all night, and all the drool soaked his sheets. Stuck in an endless cycle of sneezing, sniffling, falling asleep briefly, and waking up in a boogery puddle, Miles pretty much gave up on sleeping. Each time Marissa intervened last night, he was sitting up in bed holding his stuffed animals Magnus and Carlsen tightly.

In these trying times, at least he has Magnus and Carlsen. Most nights he playfully flings them out of the crib onto the floor where we find them in the morning. But the fact that they're still in bed with him must tell you what kind of fragile state Miles has found himself in. Sniffling. Boogers. Crying.

Even with a crying, boogery baby, we're still having a better day than yesterday. We began our week haunted by the vanishing weekend. Marissa felt zapped from watching the boys, I felt zapped from driving and partying with my buddies (poor me, right?), and Rodney came home from school with a tiny shiner under his eye.

Rodney tells us that one of the kids in school was flinging his jacket around him, and the zipper hit Rodney and another girl in the face. Rodney had to sit for a few minutes with an ice pack pressed against the bruise.

How often are you supposed to get hurt in a routine day of kindergarten? Rodney seems to come home with a scrape, a bruise, a scratch, a welt, or a smudge of dry blood on his face whenever I see him. When between doing yoga, watching videos on their chromebooks, and eating two different meals do these children even have time to beat the hell out of each other like this? And what can the teacher even do to stop it? The kids already aren't supposed to touch each other. These little injuries happen so quickly under strange circumstances.

At least Rodney doesn't seem discouraged from his Lord of the Flies school life. After all, he wants to be a hockey player. It's probably good for him to learn how to take some lumps, or in this case a sharp jacket zipper to the face. You gotta watch your back out there, Kindergarten is no joke.

In other news, Marissa and I have been watching our regular East Side Hy-Vee transform into what might be the sketchiest grocery store in all of Madison. Since COVID, panhandling in the parking lot has become a regular thing, but that's hardly something to joke about. But what we can joke about is the frail, old, grumpy security guard they hired to address it. Rodney and I see this man regularly, posted out front in what looks like a police officer Halloween costume. When he sees trouble, he saunters across the parking lot and hoarsely screams at people, and from what we've seen he doesn't have a knack for de-escalating things. In fact, he usually makes situations worse.

We've also noticed an uptick in people generally congregating around the parking lot. Some bring motorcycles. Some hang outside of beat-up vans. These days, there's a constant trickle of people wandering in and out of the nearby motel to hang out by the Hy-Vee, and they have no interest in grocery shopping.

Yesterday was a stand-out day for Hy-Vee sketchiness. Driving to my usual parking spot, I had to navigate around an abandoned van. The van had no driver, nor plates. Someone had covered the van in goopy paint and scrawled a pair of swastikas on the windows.

van

But someone gave it a parking ticket, so they must have it under control.

Will the abandoned van still be there today? I'll keep an eye out. For more uplifting news, let me tell you about Spiker. When we last left off, the juvenile Grammastola pulchripes, only three quarters of an inch big, sealed himself off in his cave. For the last month, he's been Schrodinger's spider - neither alive nor dead. Well I have good news - this morning the juicy worm chunk I set out has vanished. The dirt around Spiker's hide looks tussled. Either that worm butt spontaneously reanimated and high-tailed it, or we've got a confirmed living spider on our hands.

Luckily it's easier to keep tabs on my other spiders. Venom is almost never underground. He's barely dug himself a divet to hide in. Marissa and I noticed that he doesn't really like it when his butt touches the ground, so he walks high up on his legs in a tiny bear crawl. I treated Venom to the other half of Spiker's worm, which he arrogantly paraded around his enclosure as if he had just slain a Hydra - his chunky butt pointed at the sky, of course. Spiker has too much humility. Venom could use a little more.

venom

Mighty warrior Venom, feared bane of pre-killed worms.

That's what I got today. Thanks for stopping by, everyone. I hope you have a great Tuesday.