Wednesday, February 2 2022

chillitude, pizza toppings, and painting the stairs

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everybody. And happy Wednesday.

It's a beautiful morning today. With Rodney shuttled off to school, Miles asleep in his crib, and Marissa napping on the couch with the dogs, it's just me this morning yammering at the dining room computer. Before I sat down, I kicked some dog toys clear of my feet. Or at least I think those are dog toys. Too often, the realms of dog toys, big kid toys, and baby toys blend together in a mess of crunched and chewed plastic - thanks to Minnie. Every micro fauna needs bottom cleaners - there are shrimp to clean up the ocean, isopods and springtails to clean up the forest floor, and for our house we have Minnie. Minnie doesn't go so far to actually eat forgotten toys, but she chews them to the point where I can throw them away guilt-free, and for that I'm thankful.

Hey, happy Wednesday. Have you brewed coffee yet? I have.

Sip. It's good to be here today, and it's been a pretty good week so far. This week's theme is "chilling out", and I think that theme comes through in today's banner image. Sometimes Rodney has trouble controlling his energy, and sometimes Miles has trouble controlling his emotions, but every now and then these two kids get it right, and what results is a perfect moment of maximum chillitude. After Rodney got home from school yesterday, they shared a bowl of fritos on the couch. No blood, no tears, no screaming, and most importantly no poop - just a couple of kids eating chips and watching TV.


My day was pretty chill too. I was in and out of an all-day zoom call with my team. "The purpose of the summit is to give us time to focus, talk, and make decisions," explained Scott. The casual atmosphere kept us engaged.

The team summit threw a wrench into our lunch plans. I ate a later lunch with my team over zoom. I had to order a pizza and let my other teammates try to guess the ingredients based on what they new about me. Secretly, I knew this was an impossible task. I feel like I never order the same pizza twice, and I'd bet my life that nobody would be able to guess a spinach and ground beef pizza from Rosati's.

"It's thin crust, square cut," I said, holding the box up to the camera. "My favorite part about cutting a pizza like this is you end up with these miniature corner pieces that you can eat in a single bite."

Since I was in a team building pizza lunch, Marissa had to fend for herself. She decided to order a sandwich from a bagel shop. While refilling my coffee downstairs, I stopped in my tracks to behold a giant bag of bagels.

"I panicked," Marissa laughed, wrinkling her nose. "I had to order enough to make the delivery minimum."

"There's like ten bagels in here," I laughed, digging through the bag.

"Thirteen," said Marissa. "I got a baker's dozen."

So until we reach the bottom of this bag, the Reckers are a bagel family now. Marissa and I had bagels for breakfast. We sent Rodney off to school with a peanut butter and jelly bagel. You might wonder what trainer Greg would think of all these free carbs, but he has an interesting philosophy about snacking. "You gotta make it work," he says. Bagels go in, dumbbells move around, and sweat comes out.

In other news, Marissa repainted the stairs yesterday. Our living room stairs might be the most high traffic area of the house, serving as a bridge to our beds, clothes, and the only bathroom. So how did she get away with painting them?

I think the system is ingenious. Marissa paints every other stair, marking the safe steps with strips of blue tape. It can be kind of a challenge traversing the stairs this way (especially without touching the hand railings), but Rodney and I are up for it. It's actually kind of fun, like an obstacle from Ninja warrior.

But we wouldn't leave that kind of challenge to Miles. While the paint dried, we confined him to his crib where he watched Blue's Clues on Marissa's tablet.


In the evening, I finished up the hardware for the server rack. I installed a new power source, a hard drive mount, and finished wiring up the front panel lights. Whether it's practical experience or the wisdom of age, I'm learning how to put together computers without shooting myself in the foot, and the front panel lights are a good example of this. When you build a computer from scratch, the case usually comes with special cables that need to be connected to the motherboard, and this allows things like the power button and the LEDs to work. There's no standard for these cables - the frustrating reality is that each manufacturer just does whatever they want, and you have to look up the specific arrangement for that make and model.

Well, when I first assembled this server a little over a year ago, I gave up on the front panel wires. The computer whirred to life when I plugged it in, and even though there was no working power button or working LEDs, that was good enough for me. Over the next few months, I didn't anticipate how much of a pain in the ass this would be dealing with reboots and power outages. To make sure the computer came on, I had no choice but to wait with my head next to the rack and listen for the quiet beeeeeeeep.

Rodney, eager to come out of his quiet time, volunteered to help me with the project. For this kind of stuff, I've noticed that Rodney can focus his five year old brain for about five minutes. He used all of that focus time to remove the four screws holding the rack server to the rails. As a reward for his diligence, I let him spend the rest of the time playing Ryan's World Tag on my phone.


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