Wednesday, February 23 2022

pizza phone, little caesars, and peanut butter

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Good morning, everybody. Welcome to Wednesday. It's nice to wake up to a brand new day, isn't it? It's bright outside, and I'm surrounded by new sites and sounds. In between the whirring of Marissa's power drill, I can hear the dull, droning dialogue of Harry Potter coming out of the basement TV. "You're not roasting me for watching Harry Potter in the morning, are you?" she asks.

"No, I haven't even started writing yet," I replied. There will be time to roast Marissa later for her mediocre movie choices, I'm still just getting my bearings this morning.

Miles babbles upstairs, but not in the angry way. He's babbling in the self-satisfied way, like he just found something interesting that will keep him occupied for the next half hour while I write. Maybe it's a booger.

I'm here in the cockpit of my dining room computer. As my fingers fly across the keyboard, the skin on my hands stings. While changing out the basement window last weekend, I accidentally touched some of that yellow foam adhesive. Quick construction tip - if you're ever working with foam adhesive, for the love of God wear some gloves. There's no scrubbing that stuff off, you just need to wait for the skin to fall off.

Oh, and there's a piping hot cup of coffee cooling off on the table in front of me. To best enjoy this entry, I suggest you get one too. Got one? Good. Let's raise our mugs and get on with this Wednesday.

Sip. Today's banner image features Miles holding a slice of pizza to his ear. Last night, he was making the entire family dinner table laugh with his trademark pizza phone bit. Ring ring. Hello? Miles here. Who do I have, is this cheese?. Even for a baby, you have to be impressed with Miles' level of commitment to the gaffe. He's not even cracking a smile. He's focused and even a bit concerned, like he's trying to straighten out a mix-up with his taxes. We would have laughed anyway, but I think he deserves some recognition for not just using a pizza phone, but for making a pizza phone come alive. Miles, you're like a young Michael Richards, and you're going places.

The keen reader might recognize that square, buttery slice as a Little Caesar's Detroit style pizza. You caught me. My family was eating pizza from the Little Caesar's down the street from our house. Even worse, we had it delivered. I put the blame on myself - I'm the one who started the trend of adding Little Caesar's into the pizza rotation.

It all started with our lunch at Lucilles in Madison. Their steel pan pizza wasn't nearly as good as we remembered, so Marissa and I got to talking about what our realistic options for getting our fix.

"Have you had Jets?" she asked. "Jets is my favorite, they always order it at agility trials."

The next weekend, Marissa saved me a single square wedge of Jets pizza, driving it all the way home from the west side of town. I heated it up on a plate, and unceremoniously scarfed it after opening the microwave.

"This just tastes like Little Caesar's," I scoffed. In my head, comparing someone's favorite pizza to Little Caesar's was the ultimate insult, but I didn't get the inflammatory response I expected.

"I don't remember what Little Caesar's tastes like," said Marissa.

Maybe Marissa would love Little Caesar's. Is that so crazy?

So we had to try it. I ordered two Detroit style pizzas from the Little Caesar's down the street. I put on classical music in the dining room, dimmed the lights, lit a candle, and arranged our nicest plate ware around the orange cardboard box, just to set the mood for the ultimate disappointing pizza experience. But then the weirdest thing happened - we loved it. Two weeks later, Little Caesar's is a viable option for fast dinner evenings. I've even downloaded the Little Caesar's pizza tracker on my phone. I don't even know who I am anymore.

And our pizza ordering habits isn't even the only food controversy in our family. Let me tell you a story of revelation, victory, and betrayal. One evening after swiping a layer of smooth peanut butter onto a Rodney's sandwich, I picked up the jar and stared at it. "Hey, can be switch to chunky peanut butter?" I asked.

"Sure," Marissa shrugged. "You and the boys are the only ones who eat it anyway. I don't really care." Did I really just turn us into a chunky peanut butter family? Was it that easy?

The next trip from the grocery store, I came home with a jar of extra chunky Jiff peanut butter. I was beside myself. For as little effort as it took to convince the rest of the family, I felt like Marissa was giving me license to rewire our identity. I broke the seal on the new jar with a clean metal spoon, and took a bite. It was crunchy, complicated, and decedent. Putting this stuff on a sandwich was like hiding a snack inside of a meal. It tasted like freedom, and there was no going back. We're a crunchy peanut butter family now, I thought.

The crunchy peanut butter honey moon was brief. Paradise began to unwind during yesterday's lunch. Marissa noticed that Rodney was eating less of his sandwich than usual.

"Oh, he always barely eats it," I said dismissively. If I had taken a closer look, perhaps I would have noticed that the pattern of his tiny bite marks followed the thin layer of white bread and jelly across the sandwich. Rodney was avoiding the new crunchy peanut butter with surgical precision.

He dropped the bombshell over dinner. "I don't like the new peanut butter," Rodney said boldly. Marissa smirked. My jaw dropped.

"Did you set him up?" I shot back defensively. Marissa shook her head earnestly.

"I swear I didn't," she said, trying to contain her laugh.

"Can we get the smooth peanut butter again?" asked Rodney innocently.

"Why don't we get both," said Marissa. "Miles likes it - you can get a crunchy jar for you and Miles, and Rodney can get smooth."

"We can't be a two peanut butter family," I said. "That would be madness."

"Why not?" asked Marissa.

"Because I don't make sandwiches for myself either - I just like to snack on it." I cracked a smile too.

It turns out changing anything about your family, even something as small as peanut butter, is a big deal. Thanks for stopping by, and have a good Wednesday.

Oh, and if you see my sister Sarah around, wish her a happy birthday.