Thursday, January 13 2022

wednesday workouts, ice skating, and isopods

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everybody. How's your Thursday going?

The harsh cold temperatures are back, and the house has once again descended into winter coziness. This morning I've found refuge in a hoodie, a comfortable chair in front of the computer, and a hot cup of coffee. Let's get into it, shall we?

Sip. My body feels sore today. Marissa and I are halfway through week number two of Greg's workout plan, and we have already come to fear Wednesdays. On Wednesday, we have a forty five minute workout that ends with a four round circuit between dumbbell snatches, mountain climbers, squat jumps, and sit-ups. This morning, I'm a worn out sponge that was wrung dry. My arms and legs are made of rubber. My quads feel like thoroughly tenderized sirloin steaks. But even though I'm wading through a pool of pain, it also feels good in a weird way. Being this sore makes you appreciate the smaller comforts of life, like sitting in a chair or taking a twenty minute power nap before jumping in the shower.

The workouts physically excruciating, but they're getting emotionally easier. Marissa and I are getting more familiar with the routines, and we feel less discouraged. We don't have to study the instructional videos so closely anymore, and now we can get on with it by playing music in the background.

On Thursdays, we have a short interval training. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I've come to like the intervals. They're just as painful as the other workouts, but it's all concentrated down to thirteen minutes and they go by quickly.

It's good to be here today, and we had a good Wednesday. Yesterday after the work day ended, I hung out in the kitchen for a while and cut up some chicken. Marissa needed chicken breasts to make chicken tikka masala, and since we could always use the extra bones to make stock, I just ordered two whole chickens from the grocery store. I set aside the breasts, and after quartering up the rest of the dark meat, I salted it and left it on a tray in the fridge.

Did you know that's the secret to making delicious chicken in the oven? If you want delicious dark meat and crispy skin, just salt the pieces and leave them on a wire tray overnight. It's an absolute game changer.

Afterwards, Rodney and I packed up and headed out the door for ice skating. He's officially graduated from the "snow plow sam" tier, moving onto "basics". The class seemed more rigorous than he was used to. From my spot on the bleachers outside the rink, I watched the teacher tap Rodney on the head and point to her eyes. She leaned in close and although she was wearing a mask, I felt like she was mouthing the word LISTEN.

It also didn't help that Rodney developed this adorable, yet counterproductive habit of turning around to wave at me during class every five minutes. Back in his snowplow sam days, the patient pace of the class left him plenty of time to find me in the bleachers, wave, make a thumbs up, and sometimes wiggle his arms to get a laugh out of me. Yesterday, each time he made eye contact with me, I tried to make the same signal his teacher made - pointing at my eyes and gesturing toward the teacher. I mouthed the words, LISTEN TO HER even though I knew he couldn't understand. Rodney, thinking it was a new secret handshake, just mimicked the gesture back to me.

I think the change of pace is good for him. There's nothing wrong with a little bit of pressure and discipline in sports. The teacher had them lined up on the wall, commanding the young skaters like a general while they dipped in perfect unison. And it wasn't all business, they had time to play a quick round of Mr. Fox at the very end.

Returning home, Marissa was still pulling together dinner, so Rodney and I headed upstairs to squeeze in some video game time. He suggested we play Minecraft. Poor Rodney is still just a platonic Minecraft fan - he still can't get over the difficulty curve of the actual game, but maybe yesterday would be his night.

"Can't play Minecraft. Disk is unreadable," I read off the screen. I popped the disk out of the console, gave it a quick wipe with my shirt, and tried again.

"I don't know if it's happening dude," I said. "Suddenly the disk won't work."

"It's OK," said Rodney. "Just... just put it in your phone." In case you can't tell, Rodney is already very familiar with how his millenial parents solve most problems - by googling it on our phones. But he'll learn that some problems can't just be googled away, and our phones don't have all the answers. We had to abandon the idea of playing Minecraft and instead pick up on LEGO Avengers. And that's just fine, the truth is we would have done that anyway after wrestling with Minecraft for five minutes. The unreadable disk scandal inspired this napkin drawing that I slipped in his lunch last night.


In other news, I opened a new box of bugs yesterday. I ordered a small colony of isopods (you might know them better as "rolly pollies"). I dumped these little bugs into my bioactive enclosure that has yet to host a spider.


Of the twenty I ordered, only twelve of them were lucky enough to survive the cold.

Speaking of bugs, let's check in on the new spider Tex. Tex arrived much smaller than I expected, and I had my doubts about how he'd fair in his oversized enclosure. But little Tex has the heart of a true cowboy, boldly laying his claim on the wide open prairie of his box of dirt. He dug a clean hole through the middle of his dirt pile, extending it all the way down to the bottom of the enclosure.


Tex is small, but he's a busy little spider.

That's what I got today. Thanks for stopping by, and have a great Thursday.