Thursday, June 30 2022

feeling settled, a new grocery store, and civil war bread

page banner

Dear Journal,

Good morning, friends. Happy Thursday. This is kind of a late journal entry, isn't it? What the heck happened? No - I'm not sleeping off a bender and I didn't forget to set my alarm. I'm just moving my day around a bit to make time for a meeting in the evening. It feels weird to write so late in the morning while Miles hangs out in the other room.

I put on the movie Sing 2, then I forgot to stand up. With remote still in hand, I accidentally watched the first twenty minutes of the movie. It took some will power, but I finally pried myself up from the couch to get going with things.

First order of business: write a journal entry. I'm going to need lots of coffee.

Sip. That's the good stuff. It's just me and Miles today. Marissa took Rodney to an agility trial in Rockford. Ollie and Minnie are also floating around somewhere, but Ollie is making a deliberate effort to avoid Minnie. I even let him sit outside by himself in the shade to enjoy some alone time.

It's been a long week. Even though we've been in this house for almost a full month now, we don't feel totally settled. There are pockets of the house that feel comfortable - the dining room couch, the backyard, and my desk - but I still occasionally get lost trying to put things away. Marissa was feeling the same kind of burnout keeping up with outside tasks.

"There's a certain amount of work just to maintain everything," she explained. "Then on top of that, to change things to be the way I like them, it's more work."

We reflected on what it was like to move into our first house. It was a ton of work, and yet we didn't have any kids. "It was just Ollie," laughed Marissa. "He was so easy going about it, and it was still difficult."

Now, having kids around colors this work with a new shade of difficulty. Miles throws fits. Rodney, with nothing to occupy his time, naturally tries to involve himself in everything. Getting things done is so hard with them around, and yet we feel guilty just sticking them in front of the living room TV or sending them to their rooms for long quiet times.

Yesterday, I planned on picking up groceries alone. But I made eye contact with Rodney as I passed through the hallway. I also heard Miles thumping around awake in his crib. So I guilted myself into taking both boys along to the grocery store.

On a whim, we checked out a new grocery store - Valli Produce on Roselle Road. After driving by it on other occasions, Rodney knows it as the store where "grandpa Dirk used to take me to". More eclectic and diverse than our usual Jewel, I felt equally overwhelmed and excited with all the choices on the shelves. We picked up a pack of Spanish cookies. I helped myself to Polish paprika, Indian curry powder, and freshly ground Mexican cumin. I grabbed a head of garlic that was the size of a softball. They had fresh packed honey comb, chia seeds, and giant cans of imported tomatoes. I was just supposed to pick up enough items to make simple leftover pulled pork chi, but admittedly I went a little overboard.

And all so cheap too! If I had bought all that stuff from a Trader Joe's or from the Willie Street Co-op back home, I probably would have drained our checking account. Somehow, all these fresh vegetables, interesting snacks, and authentic spices only amounted to forty-four dollars.

The chili tasted fantastic - like our own personal melting pot of flavors. But the packaged cornbread I grabbed off the shelf was a crushing disappointment. For starters, it needed a whole extra ten minutes of baking time. The bread was heavy, dense, and flavorless. Somehow, it felt like it was diluting the taste of the chili.

And so we each took turns roasting the packaged cornbread I brought home from Valli Produce.

"This is civil war bread," I said.

"Is this what the first bread tasted like?" asked Marissa.

"This is what hermits eat during lent to remind themselves of their own sin," I laughed.

Miles crumbled a brick onto the floor - his way of joining in on the fun.


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