Wednesday, July 27 2022

a goose egg, neighborhood kids, and an electric fence

page banner

Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone. How are you feeling today? Even after the world's busiest Sunday, I'm feeling energized today. Last night, Marissa and I installed a new shade over our bedroom window. My first night of sleep without a lovely-but-rude burst of morning sunshine flooding our room at the crack of dawn left me feeling rested and thankful. Now that I'm up, there's only one place to go from here - head first into a fresh cup of coffee.

Sip. We sprung for the fancy shades. They included this tiny, minimalist remote. When you tap the down, a sleek wall of shade drops smoothly over the window, making a soothing humming sound. It adds a nice amount of science-fiction flare to our mornings.

Except there's a small problem. Right now it seems like the remote is the only way to move the shades. Even worse, when the battery in the motor runs out, we have no choice but to unfurl an ugly looking power brick, attach it to the top of the wall, and run it all the way to the nearest outlet with an extension cord. Next time I see sleek, wireless, self-moving doors and windows in a science fiction movie, I'm going to wonder if each of those motors need to be charged with a wall outlet.

I'm talking about shades, so it should be no surprise to you that not much has happened in the last few days. But it's not like nothing happened, so let me regale you with the story of how Miles got this nasty goose egg on his forehead.


After we finished lunch, Miles and Rodney began to rough house in the dining room. Rodney used his hands to cover Miles' eyes, and while giggling Miles tried to knock his brother's hands away by shaking his head. Miles head-butted the computer desk and stumbled away in a daze.

Ziggy and I were just returning from our after lunch walk, and we saw the aftermath through the dining room window. Miles wasn't bleeding, but from behind the thin blue skin at the peak of the soft protrusion we could see a nasty bruise forming. Marissa took him to a walk-in clinic. The swelling subsided in the waiting room. Miles, proud of how well he affixed his mask to his face, was too distracted to cry. After a short visit with the doctor, he declared that Miles would be fine.


A masked Miles and Magnus await their turn to see the Harper College doctor

On the verge of being late to an agility class, Marissa called ahead before pulling into the driveway. With the speed of a racecar pit-stop, she handed me Miles and I handed her Ziggy. I set Miles up on the couch with a sippie cup of juice and some pretzels, and he sailed away into paw patrol bliss.

I noticed two neighborhood kids riding their bikes and scooters around our cul-de-sac. I rapped on Rodney's door and asked him if he wanted to play outside. Rodney would have rather scrubbed our toilets than quietly play in his room by himself, so needless to say getting out of quiet time to play with kids outside was a dream come true. In a flash, Rodney dropped his lego's to the ground and sprinted down our driveway, flagging down the neighborhood kids. They exchanged some words, and Rodney immediately ran back to the garage to get his bike.

I met the three of them in our backyard gathered around a pile of toys that Rodney had dragged out of the living room.

"Where do you guys live?" I asked.

"We... we... live in SHAWM-BURG," said the oldest boy.

"In the neighborhood? Which house?" I replied.

The two boys stared at each other in bewilderment. The youngest boy just recited a house number from memory - no street, just a house number.

"We have to look both ways," he added.

The older boy looked up, like he remembered something. "Do you know BOB [last name]?"

"Is that your dad?" I laughed. The boys nodded. "I don't know Bob, I'm sorry."

Even though I had no idea who these boys were or where they lived, I had no choice but to let them continue to fiddle with Rodney's Paw Patrol action figures in my backyard until they felt like going home - assuming they could find their way home. Such is life in the suburbs.

Luckily the boys' mom followed them into the backyard. "I saw a third boy and I wanted to check it out," she said. Very sensible. She explained that they lived only a few miles away, but they frequently visit their grandparents' house across the street from our house. Things are a lot more comfortable when the adults finally have a chance to talk. Me, the boys' mom, and their grandma chatted in the driveway, and once we all had a chance to perform our own mental "creep" check, we all felt better about the spontaneous play date. Rodney followed the boys over to their yard where they played for another hour. He returned with four freshly grown cherry tomatoes.

"I wanted to check with you before he ate any of them," said their Mom. "You know, allergies and what-not. You never know."

Marissa called me on the way home from agility. "Check snapchat, and call me back," she said. In the first video, she was petting some friendly donkeys that were penned up oustide where she and Ziggy practiced. In the next video, out of breath, she explained how she zapped herself on an electric fence while petting the donkeys.

Flustered and laughing, she retold the story over the phone. "They said it was fine," she said. "I parked and left ziggy in her crate... and they were really nice and I was having fun. But when I knelt down to take a selfie with them, the fence zapped me."

Marissa screamed. The donkeys bolted away from her in a panic. "Did you have your arm around them?" I laughed. "They probably got zapped too."

When she got home, I helped her record a quick video for one of her ink sponsors. Still laughing about the electric fence that zapped her, I tried to convince her to submit this blooper as the final version.

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