Friday, January 21 2022

an interior designer, the poop rug, and feeding ducky

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, friends. Happy Friday.

I think we can learn a lot from today's banner image - two proud corgi sisters with princess complexes perch on a pile of blankets and pillows. I think this picture succinctly illustrates a lot of the natural dynamics we observe in our our home's ecosystem day to day. Before the photo was taken, Marissa had just finished cleaning the living room. We threw Miles and Rodney in front of the TV so we could exercise in the dining room, shutting the baby gate behind us. Their toys only amused them for about five minutes, so they shifted their focus to jumping on the couch. Wanting to escalate the thrill, Rodney grabbed all the blankets, pillows, and dog beds in the room and piled them up in the corner. But while fishing the spare blankets from the ottoman, Miles got his fingers trapped underneath the detachable lid. He cried, and Marissa consoled him while jogging in place. The debacle stalled progress on the tower, and both Miles and Rodney went to bed leaving the giant pile of blankets and pillows on the couch behind them.

An hour later, I'd find Ziggy and Minnie sleeping on the pile. Ziggy, top of the pecking order, assumed the highest place, while her meeker sister flanked her on the side.

Sip. Hey, happy Friday. It's good to be here today. I'm the only one out of bed this morning, and I'm treated to a silent, focus friendly dining room. I saw Rodney a minute ago while climbing into the shower. He barged into the bathroom, sleepily waved at me, and flipped the toilet seat up so he could take a leak.

"No school today," I reminded him. "You can go right back to bed, I'll wake you up for breakfast."

Still mid-stream, Rodney gave me a thumb's up. He flushed, slammed the toilet seat shut, and trudged back into his bedroom where he'd fall asleep with the light on.

I'm not sure why Rodney has the day off today. The school calendar said it was the end of the quarter, but when Rodney gets a day off, we don't feel motivated to ask any questions. We just take the quiet morning and extra sleep with gratitude. With both Monday and Friday off this week, Kindergarten has been a breeze.

It's been a good week, and yesterday was a good day. Checking in with my boss, he asked me how the big move to Illinois was coming along.

"It's getting real," I said.

"It's getting real," he repeated. "That's a phrase you're going to be saying a lot over the next few months."

We've had a few moving things to do this week. Yesterday, our interior designer Emily visited. She would tour each room of the house and offer her suggestions on what to do before taking pictures. Leading up to the appointment, Marissa felt nervous about it, and those nerves eventually rubbed off on me. A designer - someone who specializes in the way homes look - touring our quarantine nest? What if she was mean? What if she laughed at the way we organized things or teased us for the do-it-yourself improvements we made? These fears sent Marissa into a last minute cleaning frenzy before Emily arrived, but she was nothing like we feared.

"I used to live on this street," she said, pointing out our living room window. "That yellow house over there was the first house I bought in Madison." With that comment, Emily no longer felt like a stranger.

We took Emily around our house. She scanned each room with her eyes, stepping over toys, baby gates, unphased by the dogs romping at her feet. "Your house is beautiful," she said. Marissa beamed with pride, and she probably could have cried on the spot when Emily said her studio was organized.

"Are you happy someone said that your studio is organized?" I said teasingly elbowing Marissa.

Even though the consult went well, Minnie tried her best to embarrass us. There was a moment where we were all gathered in the play corner. Marissa and Emily were mauling over how to make our wide, boxy living room feel a little more segmented. Marissa crouched and unfurled the rug in the corner.

"How about this rug, Emily? We had to roll it up because our puppy Minnie kept pooping on it." Still holding a corner of the rug in her hands, Minnie's thin black body dashed between her legs. Like a magic trick, two little puppy turds appeared on the rug she was holding.

"Oh my God Minnie," I sighed. I could tell that Minnie had sorely missed her poop rug.

With our consult with Emily out of the way, more moving things follow. We're meeting with two different realtors and a lender over zoom today. Things are getting real.

While the stress and busyness of moving ramps up, I'm finding joy in the little things around the house. I've formed an unexpected friendship with our lizard Ducky.

Don't get me wrong - I've always liked Ducky. But I didn't know it would be so much fun to feed her, and that's made me fall in love with her.

In the late evening just before we turn in for the night, Ducky cranes her head out of her hide expectantly. By the time she hears the plastic latches on the roach bin fling open, she's all the way out with her face on the glass.

Ducky lunges at her food, and even though we feed her with a pair of tongs, she's so clumsy that she can miss anyway. She knocks the roach to the ground, and winces in confusion as it flips off of its back and darts into the corner of your enclosure. The lucky roaches that get away, we call them her "roommates", and Ducky always eventually finds them later.

That's what I got today. Thanks for stopping by, everyone. Go have a good weekend.