Wednesday, June 29 2022

petting dogs, chicken fingers, and baseball

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, friends. Happy Wednesday. I should have started writing a minute ago, but I got stuck petting my dogs. When I got up to take a shower, Minnie moved to my side of the bed, and I'm not just going to walk by without petting her. Do you have any friends that are consistently a few minutes late for things? It's nothing personal, they probably just have a dog that they like to pet when they are on their to do things.

Sip. The work continues, and burnout is starting to creep up on us. Marissa put in a long shift in the backyard today. She finally reached the end of the walkway. Watching a lot of Better Call Saul these days, she felt inspired to call our new walkway "the camino".


At work, I'm wrapping up an on-call shift. The long work day got to both of us, and when it came time to make dinner plans, we were already mentally in sync.

"Village Tavern?" Marissa asked hesitantly. I dramatically bobbed my head up and down in agreement.

The Village Tavern is this cozy little bar just west of our house. Their claim to fame is their chicken fingers, and we have yet to really order anything else off the menu. Maybe it's because of the time we spent in Wisconsin, but we immediately picked up on their big secret.

"This tastes exactly like a fish fry," I said with a mouth full of food. "But instead of fish, it's chicken."

"It's genius," added Marissa. "The worst part about eating fried fish is the fish. And they just replaced it with chicken."

A mere fifteen bucks gets your five of their massive chicken fingers. I only have the stomach to finish three of them. Between all of our unfinished plates, we came home with enough chicken to eat for lunch the next day.

Our dinner plans changed, but I had already promised Rodney we'd take a drive to Jewel. So Marissa and I schemed a last minute surprise. "I'm going to take him to the used sports equipment store next to Jewel and buy him a baseball glove."

Marissa helped lay the trap. She strolled through the hallway while Rodney was strapping his sandals. "So for dinner tonight, we're having something with a lot of onions, right?"

Rodney made a bleh noise under his breath.

"Yep," I nodded. "Lots of onions... and potatoes too. Just kind of a simple onion and potato meal."

I broke the news to him after he climbed into the car. "We're not going to Jewel," I smiled. "We're gonna get you some baseball stuff."

"Yeah," Rodney replied. "AND we're going to get tennis stuff too, because I want to play tennis."

What a dingiss, right? A minute earlier he thought he was going to Jewel to buy potatoes and onions. I make a big deal out of surprising him with some baseball gear, and what does he do? He tries to pile on some tennis gear too. At any rate, we had a great time at the used sports store. We bought him a red batting helmet and a new wooden bat. But buying a glove proved to be tricky - they had limited options for left handed throwers.

"Um, actually I can throw with this hand," said Rodney, holding up his right hand.

Rodney was telling the truth. I've seen him throw with both his left and right hand, and they're indistinguishable. "Are you sure?" I laughed. "I mean, they have barely any lefty gloves here, there are a lot more righty ones to choose from."

"Sure!" said Rodney flippantly. Problem solved - just like that, he declared himself a right-handed thrower.

We drifted to other areas around the store. Rodney handed me a lacrosse helmet. "Try this on," he instructed.


I strapped him into hockey pads. "Do you feel tough?" I asked.


He tried on a goalie glove and a blocker. He was fascinated by the hidden leather glove tucked behind the blocker.


"These are perfect for beat-the-crap," he laughed, slipping on a pair of boxing gloves.

We played some baseball in the yard before we left for dinner. Baseball is kind of like the piano lessons of sports. Like a lot of kids, it was one of the first organized sports I tried when I was little. All the specific rules and techniques are still ingrained in me. Without thinking, I began to dispense advice to Rodney that he never asked for. "Hold your glove out ahead to catch, and squeeze it around the ball when it gets to you," I instructed. "Don't lead with your wrist, because the ball is gonna bounce of that soft spot under your hand and hurt."

"Um, actually in baseball, you can catch the ball however you want," said Rodney. He seemed annoyed, but he was making an effort to be polite. He stuck out his hand, leading with his wrist. The ball gingerly landed in his glove. "See? It didn't bounce out," Rodney said.

Rodney even invented his own baseball traditions. "In baseball, your name is da-da-ba-da," he said. "I would say, hey, da-da-ba-da and you would say "hey rodney-ba-da." Surely, he must have heard me someone say hey, batter batter and got his wires crossed, but he was convinced that this was how baseball players addressed each other. So I humored him, and made an effort to mix in some "lessons" from Rodney into our play - that's the least I could do. Sometimes I launch too quickly into "teacher mode", and Rodney is quick to remind me that he likes to learn things on his own.

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