Wednesday, December 22 2021

bottle flips, cookies, and the toy purge

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, my friends. Happy Wednesday. We're in the home stretch of our Christmas break now. We're in a full sprint, and the third base coach enthusiastically swings his arm in a big circle telling us to run home. It's been about 15-20 years since I've played any serious baseball, so I'm afraid that's as vivid as the metaphor is going to be. Almost home free - you get the idea.

Sip. It's good to be here today. I'm running almost a full ten minutes late this morning, but you're not going to convince me that's a big deal. Work-wise, I'm way over my quota for being productive during the week of Christmas. Yesterday I read a document, I made a diagram, and I even deployed something. While watching the deploy, I clicked around my desktop looking for something to do. That's when I stumbled on all my bottle flip videos from last year.

Do you remember the bottle flip craze? The fad of trying to toss near-empty water bottles so they land upright must have caught fire in the early two thousands, but more recently in our house last year in the peak of quarantine. Here's the compilation.

There's some good ones in there. I'm particularly proud of the shot I made from the upstairs hallway on the tiny top shelf of Miles' bookshelf against the back wall, and the shot I made from backyard to Miles' window was also a milestone.

So needless to say, yesterday was a very productive. I also have some food pictures to backfill into the journal. Marissa and Rodney baked gingerbread cookies yesterday. They had trouble trying to cut shapes out of the dough, so they instead decided to simply bake one giant gingerbread man. His legs, arms, and head swelled to the same size in the oven. We call him the Big Ginger-"chonk"-man.


Look at the size of those legs. I bet this Gingerbread Man wouldn't be very hard to catch.

For all the raving I did about my chili, I ought to include a picture of that too. With time to rest in the fridge overnight, it became even more velvety, comforting, and delicious. Here it is, in all it's reheated lunchtime glory.


As expected, my children weren't wild about having to eat chili a second time. If somebody were to stand outside our window and hear us eating lunch, they might think there was a brutal interrogation going on. But no - no Chinese water torture or recreations of Rambo. It was just two fussy boys eating their least favorite food in the world.

Our friends Alex and Cassie stopped by yesterday. I tripped across our living room floor over nine different toys on the way to answer their door. Alex and Cassie, masked and distancing before their own holiday plans, waited patiently on the front step. We carefully exchanged treats. Alex baked pink macaroons, cherry and fudge cookies, and these dark and white chocolate sticks.

Just before putting the kids to bed, Marissa initiated our great pre-Christmas toy purge. Even though our family's annual ritual toy cleansing feels so spontaneous in the moment, it's undeniably predictable. We did the same thing last year on December 21st 2020.

I held out two black garbage bags. "This one is for garbage - stuff that doesn't work," I explained. "And this one is donate - we're going to give these away."

Rodney nodded along. "Yeah, I'm going to give them to Archer," he said.

"No not quite," I interrupted. "You don't get to meet the kids who get them. You just give them away."

Rodney made us proud yesterday. Evaluating every toy he owned, one at a time, he decisively sorted them. Rodney's version of "Keep, donate, throw away" was "play with the next day, give to Archer, and in'de'garbage".


We offered him "Canada Man" - the red and white action figure from Toy Story. His colors reminded him of the doctor. "And I don't like this, the doctor makes me sad," he explained as he slipped him into the bag.

When it comes to throwing things away, I'm used to being the tough guy. I see myself as someone who can rise above material sentiment to make a practical decision, but even so there were some gut punches that I wasn't ready for. Rodney lobbed his stuffed baby giraffe into my arms.

"This is garbage," he said. I stood petrified in fear.

"You sure, dude? Baby giraffe?" I said, at a loss for words.

Rodney respectfully smiled and nodded. "Yep," he said. "Thank you, baby Giraffe."

"THANK YOU FOR TAKING CARE OF ME RODNEY," I said in my best Baby Giraffe voice. There was a time when Rodney's high pitched baby giraffe voice made me want to punch a window. Now I was blinking away wet tears at the thought of saying goodbye to him. I carried Baby Giraffe into the basement and squirreled him away in Rodney's keepsake bin beside Green Dino. Welcome to the hall of fame, Baby Giraffe - rest easy.

That's what I got today. Thanks for stopping by, everyone. Have a great Wednesday.