Monday, December 20 2021

cleaning, coziness, and the covid booster

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, friends. Happy Monday. It's me, your favorite plain text rambler checking in from my quiet journaling battle station. It's the week of Christmas, and while the tail end of this week will get a lot more festive, we have a few totally normal days to power through first. Coffee, today you are the wind beneath my wings.

Sip. I feel like the tired, grumpy counterpoint to this sunny, vibrant December morning. Marissa painted our bedroom closet yesterday, and while we waited for the paint to dry, we had to temporarily keep all of our clothes out in the bedroom in haphazard piles around the room. Tiptoing around the debris all day, it was hard to believe that all this stuff normally fits in our tiny closet. The mess inspired us to resurface one of our favorite underrated Office quotes when Deangelo and Michael are scouting Meredith's house: "It reminds me of Katrina."


Marissa cleans while I take up 1.5 square feet of closet space to stand there and drink a beer.

The semi-wet paint finally passed the touch test just before we went to bed. We eagerly relocated the piles of clothes back into the closet. After dealing with a disheveled bedroom all day, the quick lurch from chaos to coziness made us want to clean things just a little bit more. We stayed up an extra hour to go above and beyond, filing away papers, running tools down to the basement, and cleaning off the computer desk.

Arguably, the only bedroom task we didn't get around to was putting a new nail in the wall for Minnie's painting. For the time being, Marissa just hung it on the existing nail left over from a large painting. Minnie's mug now towers over us high up on the wall. I think it makes her look kind of like a revered saint or a dictator that doesn't want anyone to forget who is in charge.


So even though I'm sleep walking through my morning, my office is cozier than it's ever been. As weird as it sounds, I can't wait to start my workday. We even cleared off a space for Rodney at my desk to work on his chromebook. Later today while Marissa is at the dog agility ring, I was hoping to convince Rodney to work in my office copilot seat.

Rodney finally got us a chance to show us Lexia, the self-guided learning game they play on their Chromebooks at school. He carefully punched in his assigned username and password, announcing each letter like a town crier. He sat patiently while his tiny computer whirred. Even opening up just a few Chrome tabs seemed to really make his computer sweat.

"This is Lexia," explained Rodney, clicking into one of the apps. "Look, I made it to the beach level."


We sat with Rodney while he played a few rounds. The game instructed him to click on things that had the same "beginning sound". The simple game brought out Rodney's competitive side. The game prompted for an answer, and Rodney nervously wrung his hands.

"I HAVE TO GET THIS," he said, gritting his teeth. He clicked "no" under tin and bin. A bell rang. Rodney threw his arms in the air like he just hit a walk-off home run.

It was a busy weekend. We tied off loose ends with holiday shopping. We attacked more of the back corner in our basement. Late into Friday night, we stuffed our garbage can full and filled our trunk with things to take to Goodwill. We're getting to the more complicated types of clutter. Clutter that needs to be assessed, categorized, and reallocated to other areas of the house. But every new square foot of de-cluttered floorspace feels so exhilirating, it makes me want to conquer more. I'm like a ruthless general leading a tactical siege against a stronghold of junk.

We got to throw away Miles' high chair this week. The high chair went to the garage, and the booster seat left basement storage - a double word score in house cleaning Scrabble. It's hard to overstate how happy we were to see that high chair go. Carrying it outside, I could hear stale goldfish crackers and cheerios rattling around in its unreachable crevices. The flimsy plastic tray was still stained orange from pasta sauce. The cloth straps, some chewed to tatters by Minnie and others hardened to a crust from apple sauce and maple syrup, dangled behind as the wheels scraped along the cold pavement. So long, high chair. You served us well, but I hope you don't take it personally when I say I wish I could throw you into an active volcano.


"All I wanted was a seat at the table - figuratively and literally!"

In other news, I survived my COVID booster. Last Friday, I took a midday trip to Hy-Vee. I got a Pfizer shot in my left arm, then as instructed, I pretended to shop in the store for fifteen minutes until I was medically cleared to leave. Knowing how much of a baby I can be, we prepared for the first. But the symptoms weren't nearly as bad as before. Except for a few hours of a soar back, I felt totally fine.

It was a long, full weekend. I think I'm ready for the climax of this busy holiday Month. Let's have a Christmas, but first, let's have a Monday. Thanks for stopping by today, have a good one.