Tuesday, December 28 2021

monday scaries, presents, and the branch

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone. Happy Tuesday. Barely one sentence into this entry, and I already had to fact check myself. It's Tuesday, but I'm so disoriented and thrown off from the relaxing Holiday weekend that you could have convinced me it's Wednesday morning or Thursday morning. Heck, you could have probably drawn the curtains and told me it was still the middle of the night, and I would have happily trudged upstairs to join my family in their peaceful winter break slumber. Speaking of which, you'll never know my morning struggle until you've tried to tiptoe around three sleeping corgis. They don't make coffee that's any stronger than the gravitational pull I feel to climb back into bed with my dogs.

The house is quiet today. The oven hisses, the keys on this keyboard clack, but the loudest sound I have to overcome this morning isn't a real sound at all. It's just the mental background roar of the Sunday scaries - though strictly speaking since my work observed Christmas day yesterday, these would be the monday scaries. I don't feel at all ready to go back to work yet. My body feels lazy from sleep and bloated form holiday sugar. So I'm choosing to view this short three day week as a practice run for 2022. Just a few preseason games to shake off the rust. That already sounds a lot less scary.

Sip. How was your Christmas? Ours was mostly cozy and traditional. But when it comes to holidays, our dog Ziggy never lets us completely off the hook without some complications. This time around, she manufactured her own drama by scarfing a bacon wrapped scallop right out of Rodney's hand, swallowing the entire toothpick. With that mishap, she mired our Christmas Eve in controversy. Rodney decorated cookies for Santa at the table while we secretly googled worst case scenarios. Would the toothpick become lodged in her stomach? Would it puncture something on the way out? Our concern and worry set the perfect stage for a stinky gift on Christmas morning. She passed the toothpick naturally, or at least enough of it to quell our worries and enjoy Christmas.

Marissa and I exchanged gifts after the kids went to bed on Christmas Eve. Among the expected things like Blackhawks swag, I got Marissa a Bob's Burger-fied portrait of our family. There's this website where you can upload pictures and pay to have them rendered in the style of Marissa's favorite cartoon. I had to settle for just the four humans in our family - adding three more headshots to the total would have tipped the budget too much.


My family, "Bob's Burger-fied"

Marissa made me new labels for my spider enclosure. She designed each transparent sticker herself, each bearing the common name, species name, and a geographic silhouette to mark where each species hails from.


The boys opened all their Christmas presents the next morning. Since this would be their last Christmas in our first house, we made sure to do it right. We made a hot breakfast. We cracked open the stockings. Miles and Rodney tore into their presents, submitting to the euphoria of their respective Blues Clues and Spider-Man/Dinosaur fantasies.


Our relaxed Christmas morning quickly pivoted to a frantic effort to pack the car and leave for Chicago on time. We arrived just in time for a lasagna dinner. We'd spend the next day with family, relaxing, enjoying each other's company, and opening more gifts.

The inner kid boy in me is undeniably jealous of Rodney's gifts. He opened up a dinosaur themed Nerf gun that can shoot three darts without reloading. He affixed his giant sticky hand to the front of the gun like a close range melee weapon. I would have borrowed them for a few hours after his bedtime if he didn't sleep with them at his bedside.


Since returning, it's been a quiet weekend. We've all had plenty of new toys to entertain us. Rodney and Marissa finished the Jurassic Park helicopter LEGO set.


Yesterday, we dedicated the whole day to packing away the Christmas decorations. Recklessly tugging strands of lights off our trees and tossing them into a sloppy pile in the yard, I felt a little like the grinch. If only we had that special machine he used to steal all the Christmas decorations - that would have really come in handy for clean-up. When we had finally finished packing the lights away, we got sidetracked by the dried, broken tree branch that towered over our backyard. "I bet I can get it down," I boasted. I tied a slip knot into a piece of butcher's twine flipped it onto a branch with a hockey stick. Feeling quite accomplished, I tightened the thin noose and gave it a sharp tug.


The string snapped. Marissa and Rodney cackled behind me. Marissa tried her method next, throwing a string and bungee cord over the branch. Her Indiana Jones impression was surprisingly effective - the bungee cord latched on the first try. But for such a promising start, she had just as much success getting the branch down as I did. "At least you got our bungee cord back," I heckled.


That's what I got today. Take it easy this week. After all, this is just the preseason. Hope you have a good Tuesday.