Friday, July 22 2022

cool mom, bugs, and walks

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, friends. Happy Friday. Today the dining room feels quiet and inviting. Beside me at the computer desk, our clownfish Ib and Ob happily chase each other around their new aquarium. Their old place still sits in the hallway that leads to the back door.

Why the relocation? Their old tank got a little banged up during the move, and despite Marissa's efforts she couldn't get the water chemistry back to what it used to be. So Ib and Ob get a fresh start in a new house - just like us.

Oh and I forgot about the third fish, shy boy. He's still in the mix too, but he's not as friendly as the clown fish. While the clownfish adorably chase each other around the tank, he's just leering at them from behind a rock. Talk about a third wheel, right?

Just like fish, I also need a carefully calibrated cocktail of chemicals to thrive in my environment. On second thought, my creature needs are a little simpler. The coffee just needs to be hot, brown, and laced with as much caffeine as possible.

Sip. It's good to be here today, and thank you for giving me the day off writing yesterday. It's been a quiet week here at home recovering from a busy weekend, so there hasn't been too much to write about. The other day, Marissa ventured out to the new fish store in town, and she bravely took both the boys with her.

"I was trying to be cool mom," said Marissa. "But the boys were too much. They drove me crazy."

This happens to me and Marissa a little too often. We get some free time, then we guilt ourselves into bringing the boys along in hopes of creating a precious memory. Then when we're on our way, we inevitably regret bringing them along. I'm sure Marissa only got a few bites into her own breakfast before she began to question her decision to sacrifice a quiet morning errand.

"Rodney wanted to bring his hat, his gloves, and his other crap," she said. "But he got tired of carrying it, so she stuck it in my purse."

"Typical," I sneered.

"I was trying to keep Miles from touching stuff in the fish store, and then Rodney decides he wants his hat," said Marissa. "So he grabbed my purse and tugged, and he said stop moving mom."

I began to chuckle, anticipating what happened next.

"I got really close to his face and growled CARRY YOUR OWN HAT," said Marissa.

To help Marissa bounce back from the stressful concentrated bout of childcare, we took the boys to our staple Mexican restaurant. We ate outside beneath tall trees and a symphony of screaming cicadas.

"This is actually kind of nice," I hollered over the drowning noise. "Miles can scream as much as he wants out here."


Can I speak about the bugs here in Illinois? For the last handful of years I've spent living in Wisconsin, I convinced myself that there were more bugs there than in Illinois. I chalked it up to swampy land surrounding the isthmus. But now that we're back in Illinois, it's clear to me that there are a whole lot of bugs here too, and part of the shock of moving is just getting used to the common species in the area. While taking out the garbage yesterday, this colorful beetle stopped me in my tracks.


Wikipedia tells me this is the Eburia quadrigeminata or the Ivory Marked Beetle. As a larva, it burrows into trees, and it can remain in solid wood sometimes for 40 years before it emerges as a colorful adult. This beetle may have been alive in 1982.

During the day I take Ziggy for walks around our neighborhood. I kind of miss our old walking route from Madison. Walking to the end of Union street and back was the perfect distance needed to digest lunch and get the blood moving. Here in our new neighborhood, it feels like every combination of turns and side streets is just a little too long. We battle the muggy weather, the hot afternoon sun, and the long gradual slope leading up to our house.


In other news, Marissa's fish tacos finally made it to Chicago. While she cooked, I sat in my office on a Zoom camera chatting with my teammates in Melbourne and San Francisco.

"What pizza did you get?" asked Janak.

"Not a pizza today," I replied. "Marissa is making fish tacos."


That's what I got today. Have a great Friday, everyone. I'll see you next week.