Monday, February 7 2022

the kratt brothers, dinosaurs, and a dead motherboard

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Dear Journal,

Morning, everybody - and happy Monday. I suppose it's time to start another week. Let's get into it.

How are you feeling this morning? Tired? Rested?

I took a solid nap yesterday, but then I went ahead and stayed up too late. There should be a word for when you don't want to go to bed because you are too amused watching animals do things. Distractions abound in our upstairs bedroom. The dogs romp and get silly, the spiders come out of their burrows and push dirt around, and our gecko Ducky indecisively plays with her food, trying to decide if she's hungry or full. Last night sitting at my desk with a final glass of wine, I found myself in a happy place just taking it all in

Recently I bought a small batch of butter worms. They're chubby little larvae that sit around in wheat bran. I don't know why they're called "butter worms", but if I were to guess, it's because the most practical to store them is in the top door shelf of your fridge where you keep the butter.

The first night I broke out the novel treats, Ducky ate five of them. She didn't eat anything else for the next two days, then she withheld herself to just a worm or two every other night. She indecisively circled the final worm wriggling on her tile floor - to eat, or not to eat? Maybe the worms expand in her stomach and make her more full than she realizes. We've all been there Ducky, that's my story every time I eat at Chipotle.

Sip. I guess it's been an animal heavy weekend. Rodney came home from school on Friday fired up about some show they watched in class with "the Kratt brothers". I had no idea what he was talking about - I thought he was saying "crap brothers".

Marissa knew exactly who they were. She grew up watching their show Zubumafu. All four of us parked on the living room couch to take in an episode. Zubumafu carried all the hallmarks of children's television from the nineties - zany, surreal, scatter-brained - maybe partly inspired by drugs, but also undeniably charming. In Zubumafu, Kratt brothers Chris and Martin chill out in a magical animal pen, enjoying the company of a puppet lemur as well as an endless parade of exotic animals. One moment, they're rolling around in a kiddie pool with a capybara - in the next breath, they're kicking a soccer ball around with a siberian tiger.

Watching someone's favorite childhood show feels like a free glimpse into their psyche. Halfway through the episode, Chris and Martin bolted off screen to their closet and flung open the door.

"Oh, it's time to open the closet," narrated Marissa.

In exaggerated body language, they fell to the ground, letting a chaotic mess of outdoor equipment bury them like a flood. They sprang to their feet, grabbed a few items from the pile, and ran out the door for a new adventure.

"See? They're messy, just like me," Marissa smiled.


Speaking of animals, the mechanical dinosaur show was in town again. On Sunday, we hurriedly lapped leftover soup, piled into the car, and drove over to the event center where Archer and his mom were waiting for us. We bought our tickets and were immediately ushered into a mechanical dinosaur paradise.


Marissa and Rodney followed Archer and his mom on a more orderly tour around the exhibits. I took Miles duty, following behind him while he darted in random directions.


We gathered around a life sized velociraptor, and we were close enough to hear the grinding and screeching of the robot parts that turned its head and moved its menacing jaws. Archer and Rodney, feeding off each other's moxie, dared each other to stick their hands into its mouth. Archer got his whole arm into the robot dinosaurs mouth, and without warning his jaws snapped shut. Archer let out a screech, and for a moment before we realized he was just goofing around, we parents froze in fear thinking we had just witnessed a horrible accident.

"Imagine explaining in the emergency room," I laughed with Archer's mom.

At the end of the exhibit, Rodney and Archer kicked off their shoes and disappeared into a dinosaur bouncy castle. Rodney also got to ride a t-rex. Some of the kids beside him looked bored to death, and others trembled in fear. Rodney was the only one dabbing.


The rare dinosaur dab.

Being a toddler, Miles had fewer options for entertainment. The only thing he could participate in was the "junior dinosaur den" - colorful words to describe a big mat with a few stuffed dinosaurs to play with.


We got in plenty of hobby time this weekend too. Rodney and Miles built another blanket fort in the living room.


Marissa found a new paint to play with. It comes out of the tube thick and creamy, like frozen yogurt. After letting it dry on a piece of paper, she peels it off and reapplies it to a painting. Now her paintings literally pop off the canvas.


I finished my server rack. Isn't it beautiful?


It has color-coded labels, a convenient miniature screen and keyboard at the ready, and all the cables are neatly velcro wrapped into a single beautiful cord. Let me tell you, the ten hours it was working properly were pure bliss. Sadly, after deploying my master piece in our home, the router crashed and I awoke at five in the morning to a noisy endless boot loop. Now somewhere in the middle of this beautifully curated box is a dead motherboard - an annoying (and expensive) problem.

I should have just spent my time building a blanket fort instead. Hey, thanks for stopping by today. Have a great Monday, everyone.