Wednesday, March 30 2022

distractions, dreadlocks, and exercise

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone. Happy Wednesday.

You might remember that I like to kick off every entry with a brief description of my surroundings. Well this morning, there's a lot of action happening around me. There's a trio of songbirds riffing outside our dining room window. Ziggy is perched on the living room couch, hackles up, using her scary bark to cuss out a squirrel. But the most dominant sound within earshot emanates out of one of the upstairs bedrooms. Whap whap whap.

It's some kind of wet slapping against the wall. What is that? Whap whap whap. Even though the sound fills my head, I can't tell if it's a bare foot, an open hand, or some kind of tool. What the hell is going on upstairs, is Rodney playing squash? Is Miles swinging a fish around his room?

Optimistically, I opened up a Facebook tab, hoping to aimlessly scroll my feed until the sound went away. Then I got sucked into reading a lively comment thread debate in my neighborhood group. The question - do white people deserve to be teased for wearing dreadlocks? I'm not sure yet, the Facebook scholars are still hashing it out with lively debate, but I did learn that old dreadlocks are compost-able. After we move, I hope I can remain undetected in this near East side Madison Facebook group. I'm not ready to use Facebook without this prime entertainment. It might be one of the best parts of living here.

I'm having a distracting morning. I don't have a shred of writing notes to work with. In the same spirit, I guess today's banner image of my two sons wildly thrashing on the floor seems on point thematically. There's a gag in Impractical Jokers where the guys say to each other, "Hey I think it's kind of slippery over there," - their cue to immediately start falling backwards and tripping over air. As you can tell, Rodney and Miles loved the joke, and it kept derailing our dinner time.

OK, enough distracted rambling. Maybe some coffee will help me feel a little more focused on writing.

Sip. That's the good stuff.

The week seems to drag along slowly, but we have a lot of nice things to look forward to. My on-call shift ends today. I have a lunch date tomorrow with some local work friends that I haven't seen in a while. We're on the heels of a wide open weekend. Perhaps most exciting of all, Marissa and I are going to a Blackhawks game during her birthday weekend.

But these are no ordinary tickets. A few weeks ago, inspired by a fresh paycheck (and a bottle of wine), we sprung for the special all inclusive fan experience tickets. Before the game, we get to go ice skating on the team practice rink. We get to tour the locker rooms and eat dinner at a buffet. We're sitting rink side only a few rows behind the team bench. On the night we pulled the trigger, Marissa felt so guilty about it that she couldn't bring herself to click the "purchase" button. While she averted her own eyes and held her arms behind her back, I reached across her seat at the computer and clicked the mouse. "It's done," I said quietly. "You deserve this - you only turn twenty-nine once in your life."

I think that's the way to make questionable, indulgent purchases. Move swiftly. Be decisive. Do it well in advance so there is plenty of time for the residual guilt to dissipate. Now only a week away, all that remains is excitement.

"I'm going to try to sneak a note into one of their lockers," said Marissa.

"What, like a love note?" I teased.

Kevin Lankinen, Marissa's favorite player and crush from afar, seems like the obvious choice, but Marissa is employing a different strategy. "I think I'm going to go with Dylan Strome," she said. "He seems like the most down-to-earth guy on the team, and I don't think he would be offended."

"Maybe you can give him a note to give to Kevin Lankinen," I replied. "You know, one that says 'DO YOU LIKE ME?' with big checkboxes for 'YES' and 'NO'."

Blackhawks birthday weekend began on an impulse, but now that it has nearly arrived, the timing seems perfect. Having just sold our house, we've passed the first major milestone of moving our family. We're also entering into the final week of Trainer Greg's transformation program.

In the sweaty, painful haze of these evening living room exercise sessions, we can be heard exclaiming things like I'D RATHER JUST BE FAT and GREG THIS IS WRONG, but make no mistake, we're grateful for his program. Somehow behind all the sore muscles, I feel stronger and more durable. It's made me more in-tune with my body. It's shown me that I have a higher tolerance for pain than I thought. I'm not the brawler type, but I feel tough enough to hold my own in a fight. Not against a really big dude, but perhaps a typical Madison hippie with dreadlocks.

Still, after his program it will be nice to get our evening free time back. Marissa shared that with these daily exercises, it's nearly impossible to find time to paint. She feels like ideas are falling out of her head, and she has to steal time to try them. Ten minutes over our usual "hard-cut" time, I found her staring into a canvas in her studio, using a thick paint brush to smear white flower-like shapes .

"Sorry," she sighed. "I just had an idea, and I had to try it. I'll be up soon."


"Take your time," I said. "You're not missing much, I'm just watching YouTube videos."

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