Tuesday, March 29 2022

diet coke, interest rates, and little things

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everybody. Happy Tuesday.

The house is quiet enough to hear cars rumbling over East Washington. But a few minutes ago while sleepily brewing coffee, the sound of crying shot through the house. I found Rodney sitting up in bed wiping a steady trickle of tears from his eyes.

"I miss Corgi," he whaled.

"Oh no problem, dude," I said. "I'll get him."

Even though Corgi is almost always just lying somewhere in the living room floor or under the dining room table, I could empathize with Rodney's sudden sense of panic. When you're a kid, you barely have a grip on the few material possessions in your life, and yet you still feel all the same sense of guilt and responsibility when you misplace something really special. Also, it's a Corgi, and I'm sure thinking of his stuffed Corgi alone and lost somewhere in our dark house made him sad.

I did my best to soothe Rodney, then I commenced silently tearing apart the house. It was important to me too, because Rodney needed Corgi to fall back asleep. And if Rodney didn't fall back asleep, Miles would wake up. And if Miles wakes up, then all hell breaks loose, and that would be simply too much for my feeble pre-coffee brain to deal with before 7 AM.

I couldn't find Corgi in Rodney's bedroom. He wasn't in the pile of blankets stashed in the living room, under the couch, or among the toys in the play corner. I even checked under his bed, the basement dryer, and the backseat of the car. But just before stepping out the back door into the morning chill, I stopped in my tracks to take in a nice backyard sunrise that seemed to last for thirty seconds.


Staring into the pretty pink and orange sky that peeked over my neighbors fence must have shaken a thought loose. I never checked underneath the living room side table. The wooden legs of the side table come together in a lattice pattern, and sometimes Rodney likes to use it as a dog crate. Corgi was still underneath. I trudged back up the stairs and triumphantly flipped Corgi into Rodney's room, and he sailed off to sleep.

That was a close call. Way too much suspense this early in the morning. I think I need something hot, brown, and caffeinated to take the edge off. Here's to finding lost things.

Sip. That tastes good.

It's the second day of Rodney's spring break. Rodney is still trapped indoors, thanks to the stubborn cold and dreary weather. I had forgotten how much noise Rodney and Miles make when they play together in the late morning. Screeching. Hollaring. Wooping. Grunting. Sweaty bare feet streaking across hardwood, elbows bouncing off the walls. Running on a few hours of sleep, I was extra sensitive to the noise. Refilling my coffee, Marissa stared ahead at the computer trying to mentally block out the sound.

"It sounds like the Rainforest Cafe down here," I sighed.

Marissa, halfway through reading the journal entry I wrote that morning, spun around in her chair. "It was the diet coke," she snickered.

I blinked slowly, waiting for my brain to shift gears. "Oh, you don't think it was the 'Ken Burns' nap?"

"No, it was the diet coke - same thing that happened last time we ran errands," said Marissa. "You're getting old now, and I think diet coke messes with you."

Her theory sounded more plausible. Tired from running errands with the boys, I compensated by drinking a monstrous amount of diet coke. I finished a whole diet coke at Portillo's with my burger, then I finished Marissa's diet coke while walking around Target. It's funny how sensitive my body has become. Marissa and I drink coffee like the world is ending. It's all just caffeine. But somehow, when it's delivered by way of diet coke instead of coffee, it wrecks havoc on my sleep. That's fine with me, I could definitely do without diet coke. I believe it was former President Trump that once said "I've never seen a skinny person drinking diet coke."

It's a busy time. Amidst work, exercise, and trying to keep the boys entertained, we're trying to wrap our heads around adult home buying stuff, like interest rates. They're on the rise, and that's bad timing, since we're buying a house soon. Marissa talked to our lender on the phone, who assured us we can lock in a rate to what it's at now, but there's still a lot of details to sift through. How much money does that cost us now, and how much do we get back? What if we can't find a house in 120 days, or what if the rates go down again? It all sounds a little tedious and obsessive, but every percent translates to a couple hundred dollars in every mortgage payment. It sucks, and it's also important to figure it out before we commit to a loan that will take thirty years to pay off.

In a hectic time like this, Marissa and I are finding little things to get us through the day. Thank God for our dogs, who have a keen ability to make us laugh just by staring at us.


Just before turning the lights off for the night, Marissa spends fifteen minutes sorting out details in her planner. But she makes this time a little less stressful by taking Ducky out, her planner buddy.


What am I into? Maps. An unintended consequence of staring at a map and waiting for houses to appear, I discovered that I love maps. I love learning how towns are cut up into business and residential areas. I love learning roads and boundaries. Thanks to the miracle of satellite images and computers, I can fully indulge this new hobby and do things like measure the dimensions of people's backyards and find walkable restaurants for our next visit. It's freeing, like you can travel anywhere without leaving your desk.

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