Monday, March 14 2022

daylight savings, gumbo, and the convertible

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everybody. Happy Monday.

Or at least I think it's Monday. And I'm pretty sure it's the morning. Like all of you, I'm feeling utterly disoriented by daylight savings. What has been the weirdest part of the transition? Was it lying awake in bed until 1 in the morning? How was waking up to a pitch black sky, or making coffee to a full blown sunrise ten minutes later?

If you'll allow me to put on my speculation hat for a minute, I'd say the daylight savings ritual is on its last legs. If it were a politician holding public office, I'd be very concerned about approval ratings and reelection. It would take a lot of work to depose this silly charade, but I can sense that the wheels are in motion. This felt like the first daylight savings year where we all collectively said We're dealing with enough as it is, why do we bother with this shit again?

This morning, the coffee pot will follow me around like an IV bag. I'm keeping my zoom camera turned off until I feel like a real person. That's the way it's going to be, and you're welcome to join me in this grumpy protest.

Sip. How was your weekend? I hope you got some time to relax and enjoy the weather before our clocks got all goofed up. Sitting here in this chair reflecting on the last few days, the first thing that returns to my tired brain is the food. We made chicken and shrimp gumbo over the weekend. While vigorously stirring a scoop of flour into screaming hot oil, I waved Marissa over to the stove. I insisted she stand next to me during my favorite part of the meal. I dumped a bowl of chopped vegetables into the dark brown slurry. They crackled, popped, and fizzed, releasing a vapor of pure goodness into the air.

"And then do you know how we keep the vegetables from burning?" I asked coyly. I grabbed for the beer on the table and dumped it into the pot. It fizzled, quieting the seething vegetables. "I usually have to sacrifice my beer, but it's worth it."

"You just sacrificed my beer," laughed Marissa. "Yours is over there."

Soup proved to be a wise choice for weekend leftovers. We're still working around a dead microwave. It's funny how scavenging your kitchen for food becomes a completely different experience without a microwave. Late night before joining Marissa on the couch to cap off the night with some TV, I wanted a slice of leftover pizza. Without the instant gratification of a microwave, I had no choice but to heat it up in the oven under foil. Marissa found me impatiently peeking under the foil. "I feel like a damn pioneer or something," I complained.

But for everything that wasn't leftover pizza, we did just fine. Marissa made her trademark lunch faces from crustless peanut butter and jelly, fresh fruit, and carrot slices.


My solitary Saturday afternoon lunch was a highlight. I plopped some golden potatoes in the oven, and by the time I had the boys in their rooms for quiet time, they were ready to enjoy with some sausage and fried shallots. The perfect power-meal for chores and moving things around the house.


Marissa took Ziggy to an agility trial. On Friday, Miles and I took the wagon out to pick his brother Rodney up from school. He wore two coats, sitting in the wagon under a wadded up blanket.


Navigating a bulky plastic wagon through the crowd of parents in the pick-up line, I have my go-to jokes. They all revolve around referring to the wagon as "our convertible". We decided to take the convertible today. A bit cold out, maybe we should have left the top on the convertible.

Miles and Rodney got lots of quality time this weekend. To give Marissa time to work on their bedrooms, I took them to Hy-Vee together.


I'm not going to sugar coat it. Taking my two boys to Hy-Vee is difficult. It's physically demanding, like an exercise. They sit together in the extra wide double seater. The cart is harder to push and has a terrible turning radius, which is ironic because it's painted like a blue racecar . Without fail, Rodney always asks to use the bathroom only after we've reached the opposite side of the store. Trainer Greg would be proud that I'm still putting in this kind of effort on our day off.


We're taking pictures of our house in two days. In preparation, Marissa attacked a sprawling to-do list. She touched up paint, reorganized her tools, and finished cleaning all the windows in the house.


She gutted the "scary corner" of our basement, and now it looks cozy enough to curl up and take a nap on the floor.


What do the puppies think of all this commotion? In case you can't tell, they're pretty pissed off. Throughout all these house projects, they've been side-glancing at us, showing their quiet, micro-aggressive disapproval with the scene. They just want to have a normal weekend of sitting on the couch, not one where we fling open windows, cart heavy things up the stairs, and move furniture around.


Thankfully puppies are quick to forgive. We smoothed things over with a new living room rug, and they're convinced we got it just for them.


That's what I got today. Have a good Monday everyone.