Wednesday, June 22 2022

nature, garbage day, and legoland

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Dear Journal,

Hey everyone. Good morning. How is everyone feeling today?

I just finished letting the dogs out. Everything that happens pre-coffee tends to be a little fuzzy, and that's why at first I didn't even realize that our backyard fence was finally finished. This morning, I wouldn't have to take each dog outside individually with a leash. I just cracked the back door open and let them tear into the yard - what a relief!

The dark ages are finally over. No more boxing out my dogs when I head out into the back yard. No more locking the door each time I leave for fear that Miles will accidentally let them out. No more escorting Ollie around while he patiently sniffs out the perfect poop spot (a small insight into the mind of Ollie, there is no such thing as the perfect poop spot, but Ollie will always look for it anyway).

It's funny watching how each dog enjoys the new territory. This morning, Minnie and Ziggy tore around the backyard, forming a single black, white, and grey blur. Ollie just waltzed around the yard at his leisure, probably just enjoying the privacy of his morning poop without an impatient chaperone.

Sip. It's good to be here today. It's Wednesday, and around this neighborhood, Wednesday is garbage day. I lugged both of my cans to the edge of the driveway last night, carefully pulling the cans out so I wouldn't disturb the fat toad sitting beside them.


Is this the beginning of a beautiful friendship?

I'm fascinated with the wildlife around our house. All I remember from our last house was worms and squirrels. Now we have ear wigs, garden spiders, and lightning bugs. There's a robin nest in our pine tree. A family of rabbits wandered through our backyard, and a family of raccoons crossed our driveway. Marissa spotted a fat possum walking up the road. In a woodpile, I found an army of carpenter ants frantically relocating a stash of their eggs. My back yard is like a real life episode of Planet Earth.

This morning, our cans are arranged neatly at the base of the driveway.


Marissa and I are just happy to have a normal garbage day for a change. Last week, we had twelve lawn bags, eight bundles of brush, a stack of metal blinds, some sawed up furniture, and an intimidating mountain of tied up cardboard. Feeling self conscious about all the garbage, we were afraid that the neighbors were going to think we were hoarders or something. With anticipation, we all stared out our front window with anticipation as the big green trucked heaved to a stop.

"Here - go run out a snack to him," I said to Rodney. I dashed to the fridge and grabbed a cheese stick out of the bottom drawer."

"Uh, that... that's OK you do it," Rodney stammered. I shoved him out the front door anyway. He cautiously approached the driver with a cheese stick in hand. He grinned and waved Rodney over.

"Hey, you just bought this house, right?" hollered the garbage man. "Look, put your cans here next time. 'Den I don't have to get out of da' truck. I'll be around for another five years!"

I flashed the driver a thumbs up. I'm glad we started off on a good foot with the garbage man. Have you ever pissed off a garbage man? That can be a difficult relationship to repair.

We had a busy weekend, freshly moved and heading into an art show in downtown Chicago. When it was all wrapped, we decided to use our last day of moving vacation to treat ourselves. We took the boys to Legoland, located in the Streets of Woodfield. My old Starbucks has closed down. Before we even entered the building, we marveled at the strange combination of stores that now occupied the once bustling outdoor shopping center - a comedy club, an Omaha Steaks, a Nordstrom Rack, a Jamba Juice, and a competitive axe throwing club. We would have to explore axe throwing another time - we were there for Legoland. Miles and Rodney ran straight towards the giant Lego bricked giraffe that towered over the door.


Thanks to all the LEGO library books he checked out in kindergarten, Rodney was well-versed in his Ninjago lore. He posed for pictures with cardboard cutouts of each ninja, and he seemed a little star struck.


Rodney pays his respects to Sensei Wu, the most venerated of Spinjitzu masters

We wandered through a dark Lego jungle. There was a life sized tiger and a gaping hippo.


My Legoland favorite would have to be the Chicago replica.


Transformer robots and dinosaurs stomped around Navy Pier. Dozens of little flashing cop cars piled in front of a stage headlined by the Lego Blue's Brothers. Little Lego tourists took selfies in front of a more blockish rendition of The Bean.


At the end of the visit, we let Rodney pick a new Lego set. The dirty trick about Legoland is that there's a slight markup on everything they sell. The twenty dollar dragon we bought for Rodney probably would have cost ten or fifteen dollars at Target. I was just grateful that Miles didn't want anything - he was content staring at the giant glowing wall of LEGO pieces.

We left the store, and to our surprise an employee chased us down just before we crossed into the parking lot. Without saying anything, he knelt down by Rodney and handed him a LEGO figurine. "It's Kai from Ninjago," said Rodney happily. The employee awkwardly waved, then ran back into the store.

"That was really nice," said Marissa.

That's what I got today. Have a great Wednesday, everyone.