Monday, April 25 2022

tornadoes, closing, and the farm

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone. Happy Monday, and welcome back to the journal. Are you ready to ride into another Monday together?

Yeah, I'm not so sure either. But you don't have to charge into every work week like it's a battle scene from the movie Braveheart. Instead, let's warm up for this Monday slowly, taking plenty of time to ease into things.

I've got a bad case of the Sunday scaries today. Have you ever noticed how the Sunday scaries are always a little worse after great weekends? It reminds me of what Rodney and I read in his library book last night - how tornadoes form from the meeting of hot air and cold air. Sleeping in, eating dinner with friends, and playing in the sun meets art show preparation and two conference talks that I haven't finished.

I think we'll be just fine. After all, we've got a secret weapon. It's hot, brown, and some of it is sloshing around in my stomach right now.

Sip. Rodney is still terrified of tornadoes, but you have to commend him for attacking his fear head-on. He brought home a book about tornados from the school library, and we finally got a chance to read through some of it last night. As my droning voice read through the dry facts and statistics, I could tell Rodney's head was elsewhere. Finally he blurted out his own burning questions.

"What if there's no basement?" he asked.

"Well, like the book says, you can go in a room with no windows, like a closet," I said softly.

"But then the tornado just has to open the door," said Rodney pretending to jiggle a doorknob. "It can still get you."

"It's not trying to get you," I laughed. "It's just weather - it's random."

Rodney tensed up and stared ahead at his wall. "Brick is too strong for tornados," he said unprompted. "But some of our house isn't made of brick, it's made of other stuff."

I interrupted. "Hey, you're just a kid. It's not your job to worry about tornados," I said. "If anything happens, we'll know what to do, it's me and momma's job."

"What if I'm lost and I'm by myself and I can't find you?" said Rodney. His voice cracked and he was on the verge of crying.

"We always know where you are, dude," I said. "That's our job."

Rodney rubbed his eyes and took a deep breath. "I kinda-pretty-wanna get a new library book tomorrow - I don't want to read about tornados."

Rodney's brief panic while reading about tornados was the only dark spot in a wonderful weekend. On Friday, while Rodney was in school, we drove to the near west side with Miles. We wrapped Miles in Rodney's spare coat and ran through the rain into a small building where we found our realtor sitting at a table in an empty room. "Ready to close?" asked Tobi with a friendly smile.

The couple buying our house was still in Texas, but we talked over Facetime. Marissa and I started to ramble about our favorite spots, our neighbors, and our favorite things to do in Madison. Finally, the lady from the title office had to politely interrupt us. Closing on our house was brief, but it left us with a feeling of assurance. The finality of signing paperwork was a welcome relief for our worried brains stuck in house limbo.

On Saturday, we took a drive to meet Archer and his parents at Eugster's farm. Eugster's? Euster's? Heugster's? I'm still not sure how to spell it, but whatever we put into our car GPS led us to a totally different farm. We drove twenty minutes too far south, which led us to some other farm.

"I think we accidentally navigated to Eugene's farm. Excuse me, are you Gene?" I teased while Marissa puzzled over the map on her screen. Lost in the vast Wisconsin country side with a near-empty tank of gas, we could have had a different kind of weekend if we spelled it wrongly a second time. But there was still time to make one last embarrassing maneuver before we parked our car. Without thinking, Marissa cranked the wheel too early and ran the car into a patch of traffic cones. We came to a lurch just in front of a friendly scarecrow holding up a sign that read ENTRANCE pointing in the opposite direction. One of the staff members crossed an empty corn field to redirect us.

We had a wonderful time on the farm. They had a new litter of baby goats for the kids to play with. Rodney found a small black and white goat named "MJ", but we instinctively wanted to call her "Minnie". "Take a picture with GOAT straunce," I laughed.


The kids crowded around a box of baby chicks.


They had baby ducks too. I captured the moment Marissa first lured a baby duck into her arms. It's easy to see why we ended up with so many animals. Marissa is a sap.


We capped off the fun Saturday on the farm by playing around on the tractors. Seeing Miles clumsily climb into the seat and fumble with the steering wheel took us back to 2019 when we first took Rodney to this farm. "I think we even have a picture of Rodney in that same seat," remembered Marissa.


2019 vs 2022

Here's a free baby laugh. Marissa's new bit where she pretends to sneeze sprinkles out of her nose brings the house down every time we have ice cream after dinner.