Wednesday, May 11 2022

self-checkout, gotham bagel lunches, and skate

page banner

Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone. How's your Wednesday going so far?

Waking up this morning, I first noticed the humid, muggy temperature. We saw the temperature climb into the nineties yesterday. Weird things happen when the temperature changes so quickly. Yesterday afternoon lasting all the way into the evening, all of south and central Wisconsin was under a tornado watch. I wondered how Rodney would fair living a real life version of his recurring nightmare coming home to a yellow sky and a funnel cloud in the distance. But Rodney didn't have to face his fear, the whole thing blew over and turned into kind of a nice summer evening.

Yesterday, our AC was cranking so hard that I practically lost feeling in my feet. I work barefoot, and my feet sit directly in front of the vent. Through the morning, I closed the cold air vent and opened the window to balance things out. Another funny thing I noticed about the temperature change - whenever it gets above 73-74 degrees in the room, all my spiders come out of their burrows and nestle their bodies up against the glass. I bet that warm plastic must feel pretty cozy to a spider.

Enough weather talk. Where's my coffee?

Sip. It's good to be here today, and it feels nice to sit down and write. I had to work double time this morning because I completely spaced out last night and forgot to assemble Rodney's lunch. I moved swiftly, and in the time it took for our first pot of coffee to brew, I slapped together a quick peanut butter and jelly sandwich and penned a silly robot on his napkin with a sharpie. The speech balloon read CUSTOMER NEEDS ASSISTANCE IN SELF-CHECKOUT. Rodney will know what that means - after all he told me the story yesterday, and it made him double over with laughter. He and Marissa made a small trip to Home Depot after school. Scanning the first item across the laser at the self-checkout stand, the register malfunctioned, and at a deafening volume it announced CUSTOMER NEEDS ASSISTANCE IN SELF-CHECKOUT on repeat. The warning was so loud and repetitive, seemingly everyone shopping at Home Depot turned their heads and stared at them. But the two employees that were supposed to be helping people in self checkout somehow didn't notice.

"They were just chit-chatting," said Rodney.

"Then Rodney started to yell 'WE NEED ASSISTANCE'," laughs Marissa.

When it comes to errand-running sidekicks, you can't pick a better one than Rodney. Sure - he might dress like Spider-Man and try to fast-talk you into buying silly snacks, but he takes the institution of grocery shopping seriously. The other day I took him to Hy-Vee, and he made his own grocery list.


The first line says "APPLES". He collected four Golden Delicious apples from the fruit stand before crossing them off. "Oh, and if we get apples, we need this too," he explained while reaching for a tub of caramel dip. See how smooth he is? Rodney's salesmanship is the reason why you can come home with more sweets than sustenance if you don't keep him in check.

The second item in his list read "strawberries". He tried to scoop up a four back of pre-made angel food cakes, but I was ready for him that time.

We didn't do any shopping or cooking yesterday. In the morning, Marissa and I sat down to sync up our calendars - moving weekends, a going away party, art shows, and corgi nationals later this summer. We covered so much ground that we decided to reward ourselves with a Gotham Bagel lunch.

"Do you want a PHP?" asked Marissa. I nodded enthusiastically. In our jargon, a PHP stands for "piled-high-pastrami". It comes with sharp dijon mustard, and for extra flavor I get it on an everything bagel. Marissa gets some kind of chicken salad sandwich on wheat with leafy greens. To be honest, I don't even know what she gets. I stare at it for just long enough to confirm it's not filled with tender pastrami meat and immediately slide it in her direction.

We get Miles a classic ham and egg sandwich. Recently we added scallion cream cheese. Miles doesn't really care, and we took the liberty of customizing his order because he can't finish the whole thing and the rest of the sandwich gets split up between me and Marissa. The bonus Miles sandwich stukje - the grand finale of our Gotham Bagel lunches.

Moving has been stressful, and the built up stress has manifested in strange ways. Marissa and I are more irritable and tired than usual. I feel a bit like the dogs do when there is an annoying squirrel camping out on our window sill.

We took the boys out to dinner at the Brass Ring, but first Rodney and I played video games in the living room. I expected him to pick the LEGO Avengers game, but he surprised me by grabbing the disk jacket for Skate 3 instead. "That's one player, are you good taking turns?" I asked.

Rodney nodded. I booted into the game and handed him the controller. Skate's a complicated game, and it's not very kid-friendly. Even simple tricks require some timing and a combination of buttons. But Rodney surprised me with how much he was able to figure out on his own.

I let him keep the controller. Skate is one of those games where playing and watching someone play is equally enjoyable. I could have watched Rodney for hours if the twitchy, rotating camera and dated graphics didn't start to give me motion sickness. Being thirty sucks.

That's what I got today. I've got a busy day today beginning an on-call shift, and I have to run a meeting this morning. I'm going to give myself some extra time to get settled in upstairs.

Hey - thanks for stopping by today. I hope you have a good Wednesday.