Tuesday, February 22 2022

snowdays, dave and busters, and a new bucket boy

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everybody. Welcome to Tuesday. How was the long weekend?

The work week hasn't even started, and while my phone sits on the dining room bar beside my seat at the computer, it angrily dings and buzzes with messages and upcoming appointments. Sometimes the first workday of a new week feels like a refreshing change of pace, but on days like today it feels like watching a funnel cloud form in the distance. I think it's going to be a busy one.

But the work week doesn't officially start until I finish this journal entry. So why don't we just sit here and relax for the duration of one cup of coffee and reminisce about the relaxing week. Sound like a plan? Good, let's get to it.

Sip. It's good to be here today. Rodney didn't have off yesterday, but his holiday came in the form of a snow day. Last night, Marissa had her eyes glued to the weather radar widget on her phone.

"It's not gonna happen," I taunted. "I can remember like two or three snowdays in my lifetime. They don't call snowdays in the Midwest, especially not in our neighborhood. They're probably just thinking what's the big deal, everyone walks to school anyway."

An answer to her silent prayer came in the form of an email just as we were heading to bed. The subject line read "No School Tomorrow". Marissa fist pumped. To my surprise, we didn't get an inch of snow. Instead, some rain drizzled, and then the temperature dropped so suddenly that the small amount of rain froze. Our back porch glistened like a hockey rink. Absolutely genius - for all those times as a kid I hoped for a cataclysmic blizzard to cancel school, I should instead have been hoping for just a small amount of freezing rain. Rodney gets the day off, Marissa can sleep in, and nobody even has to shovel.

But even before the miraculous snowless snowday, we had a great weekend. Rodney came home on Friday wearing a paper hat that read 100 DAYS SMARTER. His class made them to commemorate their 100th day of school.


On Saturday we took the boys out to dinner at Dave and Busters. With COVID numbers dwindling and the final mask mandate of the season peeling away, it was no surprise that Dave and Busters looked like a war zone, backed with children, grown adults, and restless college students. But Marissa and I knew the drill. We split up - one of us would play games with Rodney and push around the stroller filled with coats, and the other would follow Miles as he darted through the arcade.

We crammed a lot of games into our hour long wait for a table. We sliced fruit.


We gunned down aliens.


We careened down snow covered mountains on a virtual snowboard.


And we pushed buttons. So many blinking, glowing, flashing buttons to choose from.


The question stands - which is the better parent shift at Dave and Busters? Would you rather ride along with Rodney as his copilot, or follow Miles around? Watching Rodney, you get to actually play the games. But you had better not try to make any decisions for him. "It's my choice", he repeated in frustration every time I made the mistake of steering him towards a game I liked.

Or is it better to follow Miles around? No credits or tokens to worry about, but you can't get comfortable. Miles fluttered around the store like a moth, following every twinkling light and interesting sound.


Dave and Busters kept both boys up for hours past their bedtime. But the sleep debt caught up with them. In case you're wondering, this how a toddler sleeps after an electrifying bender at Dave and Busters.


And this is how a toddler wakes up after said bender.


The weekend wasn't all arcades and sleeping in. We got some work done in the basement too. Marissa began rebuilding the bannister around the basement stairway. She also gave our back wall another coat of waterproof seal.


Working on our basement is FUN.

I pitched in too, and the battle stripes that prove it are two dinosaur bandaids on my fingers. One of them has a cool story - I cut my hand while prying the last of our hundred year old windows out of the wall. The second bandaid does not have a cool story. Marissa put me to work removing old drywall screws, and I accidentally drilled my finger.

We took a family trip to Home Depot. Ollie needed a break from his sisters, so we brought him along to ham it up with other shoppers and soak up the attention. Rodney tagged behind Ollie, readily offering treats to strangers that stopped to pet the gentle corgi.


We strolled by the paint section, and a small plastic bucket caught my eye. Without saying anything, I snagged one off the wall and dropped it on Miles' head. Marissa stopped in her tracks, and her cheeks lifted behind her mask with a smile.

"Bucket boy..." she said softly.

Miles laughed, slapping the plastic bucket on his head. Marissa and I were instantly transported to Rodney's bucket boy gaff when he was his brother's age. The bucket boy age didn't last long, and the day that Rodney couldn't fit that plastic bucket on his head made him so distraught that he wept in the middle of home depot. Now there's a new bucket boy in town.


Enjoy it while it lasts, Miles. One day you'll wake up and your head will no longer fit in that bucket, and then life only gets more complicated from there. Thanks for stopping by, everyone. Let's go have a great Tuesday.