Monday, November 1 2021


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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everybody. Happy Monday.

The sun finally came out. Miles hasn't made a sound today. Marissa drifted off to sleep on the couch. Not even our three wild dogs could withstand lure of warm blankets on a chilly fall morning. While the whole house sleeps, I'm yammering on the keyboard and going through all of our photos from this weekend. Oh, and I'm drinking a cup of fresh coffee too. Shocker, right?

Sip. We took a lot of pictures this weekend, so how about we plow through some of these with a rapid fire style "weekend in pictures" format?

Rodney earned enough responsibility to take care of the first ten minutes of his bedtime routine by himself. He cleans his room, changes into pajamas, and calls me upstairs when he's ready to get tucked in. Last Friday, he took much longer to clean his room. Did he decide to go above and beyond, using the extra time to reorganize his cluttered desk or rearrange his bevy of stuffed animals? Nope - he used the extra time instead to arrange elaborate action scenes with his toys. My personal favorite is the Iron Man that got wrapped up in his motorcycle and wedged between the shelf and Rodney's copy of Fox in Socks. Motorcycles are so dangerous, aren't they?


I finally got around to cleaning up the worm bin. I delicately sifted worms and beetles out of the wreckage. The census told me that I lost some worms to the great worm civil war. The co-habitating experiment proved to be a failure, but at least thirty-six surviving worms now get to live out their retirement in a fresh bin of soft oats. The seven beetles weren't so lucky. In fact, at the time of writing this I just remembered that I need to take them out of the freezer so I don't scare Marissa next time she grabs for the ice cream.


The changing seasons stirred up some new clothes drama. Rodney detests the new fleece zip-up we bought him. He doesn't appreciate the loose fit, nor the drab color, nor how it totally obscures his exciting t-shirts. Worst of all, the jacket bears virtually zero dinosaurs or spider-men.


Did you know Marissa is training for a race? She wanted to train in secret, fearing she would give up and change her mind. But seeing that she's been at this for a few months now and just ticked off a seven mile month yesterday, I don't share the same fear. Marissa runs to scenic spots around town and snaps pictures. As a spectator, it's been cool watching these photos trickle in from further into town as she increases the distance of her runs. Yesterday she made it all the way to the terrace.


Spidey moved over the weekend, upgrading from a studio apartment to a single. I decorated his new place with yard litter from around our house. Our neighborhood looks so beautiful in the fall when the trees explode with fiery orange and yellow leaves. I wanted Spidey to enjoy his own miniature Madison fall in his front yard.


I don't know who was trembling more - Spidey huddled in the corner of his catch cup or my hand while trying to gently coax him into his new crib with a paint brush. But his nervousness vanished once he had a chance to stretch his legs in his new spacious home. He would go right to work shoving all his leaves into the corner. Like a good midwesterner, Spidey admires fall but he's also mindful about keeping up with the raking.


It was Halloween weekend. We kicked off our festivities the night before carving pumpkins at the dining room table.


Rodney got to work etching a pair of Spider-Man eyes Marissa traced for him. Wanting to keep things as easy as possible, I tried to draw the shapes from the honey comb game from Squid Game. Right out of the gate, I botched the triangle - and after taking a moment to appreciate the irony of messing up one of the simplest shapes from the game, I turned the sloppy triangle into a set of eyes, a nose, pointy ears, and a big silly mouth. My backup plan turned out so well, I surprised myself.


Marissa set out to make a Blackhakws logo. She meticulously traced the outline onto the pumpkin. She used the tip of a paring knife to slice thin lines in the shape of feathers. Her work continued into our Saturday night before she gave up in frustration.


"I learned an important parenting lesson," said Marissa, reaching a tipping point. "I just don't have time for this."

I couldn't argue with that. My pumpkin took fifteen minutes. I set my finished pumpkin aside, grabbed a beer out of the fridge, and watched the Blackhawks game while she worked.

"I'm just going to draw a heart. Awww, how cute. Momma made a heart. There - done."


All three of our pumpkins looked great lit up at night.


We changed into our costumes. Marissa made each of us our own power ranger suit, but Rodney got a mask and a sword.


Our neighborhood gets dark at night. For that reason people on Union street camp out in their driveway. That way, trick-or-treaters don't have to walk up our dark, craggly driveways to get candy. After I lit the grill, Rodney danced around the flames with his sword like he was performing an ancient ceremony.


Rodney and I walked up the street to collect our own candy, then we rejoined Marissa and Miles at the base of our driveway. We had a good turnout this year, kids wearing costumes and neighbors that just wanted to come outside to warm up by the fire and chat.


Night fell, and our bowl of candy waned away. We ordered a jack-o-lantern pizza from Papa John's and ate it in our laps while the fire died down. It was a good day.


Thanks for stopping by today. Hope you had a great Halloween.