Thursday, January 27 2022

lunch, an icecream cone, and figure skating

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everybody. It feels good to be back. Get comfortable and grab a cup of coffee - it's time for the journal.

Sorry I missed you yesterday. I had one of those rare early morning work meetings that overlapped with my usual writing time. I'm part of the engineer orientation day panel and yesterday was our annual kick-off. The meeting only happens once a year, and the lead organizer Amber puts a lot of work into summarizing the changes we need to know about. Plus, she has a British accent, and everyone knows it's impossible to find that annoying. In fact, I wanted to spend the rest of the day saying things like "oh, lovely" and "pop me a quick slack".

After running through our slides, Amber sent us into breakout rooms. I met with Alex and Julia, the other presenters in my session rotation. We were supposed to review the content together, but we just used the time to chat instead.

It was a nice way to kick off the work day, but truthfully everything before that first meeting was a disaster. I woke up to a broken glass in the sink, Minnie took a big steamy crap on the rug, and I noticed the dishwasher was leaking water. The superstitious side of me wanted to blame the fact that I didn't have time to write. Everything just felt out of whack.

Well, I'm happy to say that this morning is just the opposite. It's twenty degrees outside, and after hunkering down in the sub zeroes all week, the air feels so refreshing I could almost go for a swim. Marissa easily found the screw I left loose in the panel, so the dishwasher is no longer a concern. I had an excellent twenty minute power nap before jumping into the shower. Lastly, I finally got around to refilling my water softener, so this morning's batch of coffee got a boost of soft pleasantness. Let's have a toast to Thursday morning, hell yeah.

Sip. It's good to be here today, and I missed writing. I think when we last left off, it was Minnie's birthday. Later that day for lunch, we treated her to a vanilla icecream cone from McDonald's. Minnie's big round eyes welled up with gratitude as she licked the icecream cone down to a nub, and a second wave of childish wonder hit her when she realized the crunchy cone was edible too.


By the evening, Ziggy was tired of Minnie's birthday, so she called it off. Ziggy kicked Minnie off the couch and sprawled out so she didn't have room to join her. Minnie was powerless against the demands of a princess.


By far, the highlight of yesterday was lunch. Every now and then, the stars align and the right kind of leftovers end up on your plate together to form an unplanned feast. We waited until Miles polished off his scraps of peanut butter and jelly, then I plated up baked chicken on vinegar and onion sauce with some cuts of fresh bread. We also split a single beer in our fancy tasting glasses.


After work, Rodney and I drove over to the ice skating rink. He strapped into his skates, gloves, and helmet. Before jumping onto the ice, we took a minute to admire the trophy wall. "I hope I can get a trophy," he said.


Normally, Rodney's ice skating class ends promptly at six, but just as I was gathering my things, an announcement rang out over the loud speaker. The Madison ice skating club was going to put on a short demonstration. Rodney's teacher ushered him over to the opposite bench, making it impossible for him to leave without rudely crossing the middle of the entire rink. Feeling annoyed, I slumped back into my seat on the bleachers. But afterwards, I learned that the figure skating demonstration made an impression on Rodney.

"The guy in the red suit was awesome," he said excitedly.

"She," I chuckled. "And that was a red tutu. Wasn't she awesome though?"

"Yeah," said Rodney. "She was spinning. And she skated on one foot while holding the other one above her head." After spending the last half hour practicing his own one-legged skating, Rodney was in awe of that kind of balance.

Rodney took a seat on a bench. I knelt down to untie his skates. "Look," said Rodney quietly. "She's right over there."

"You should tell her she did a good job," I encouraged. Staring at her across the room, Rodney pondered the suggestion silently.

"Uh, why don't you come with me," he said nervously.

It's not often Rodney is too shy to talk to someone. Whether it was because he was in awe of her ice skating mastery, her shimmering red tutu, or just the fact that she was an older pretty girl, Rodney hesitated. Still standing six feet away, he leaned in said "hey great job." The skater momentarily looked up from her phone and politely nodded.

After getting home, Rodney and I played video games until dinner was ready. Our second Xbox controller died, so I had no choice but to sit and idly watch while Rodney terrorized LEGO New York City alone as Captain America. He punched his way through traffic, stealing taxi cabs and driving them into the sides of buildings, laughing each time they exploded into legos.

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