Wednesday, August 24 2022

weekend in pictures

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, friends. It's Wednesday today, but I think it's never too early (or too late) to think about the weekend. Grab your coffee and get in here, it's time for a belated weekend in pictures.

We're getting to know our cul-de-sac neighbors John and Kathy better. Things must be going well, because they promoted us to homegrown cucumbers tier. Do you remember the first time you learned that cucumbers and pickles were the same vegetable? John and Kathy's cucumbers actually look like pickles, so it's easier to wrap my head around that fun fact while snacking on these at night. Also, each time I snack on cucumbers, Marissa reminds me of the time early in our marriage where I scolded her in an unbecoming way for putting salt on cucumber slices. "Only a psychopath would put salt on a fresh cucumber," I reply with unflinching honesty.


When you move, certain areas of the new place inevitably turn into "junk rooms" - and hopefully that's a temporary arrangement. Sometimes you just need to save some unpacking for another time and get on with sprucing up the areas of you house you spend more time in. Our garage became one of these places. I avoided going in there because of the pang of guilt I felt for leaving such a beautiful garage in turmoil. The only reason I'm going to show you a picture of the garage in this state is because we cleaned it over the weekend, and now I'm so proud of it I find any excuse to walk through it.


I also captured the moment Marissa glanced inside a forgotten moldy coffee cup.

We worked into the afternoon, and we were visited by some exciting, thundering summer rain. After garage cleaning, we'd have rain soaked kids and dogs to deal with.


Moving a pile of scrap wood, we discovered a brave band of crickets. We never used to get crickets in our yard in Madison, and the boys were fascinated. Miles tormented the same cricket for a half hour. He affectionately pinched him off the ground and screamed every time the cricket tried to jump to freedom. That cricket had a strange day.


Rodney helped me move our boxes of Christmas decorations to the attic. Rodney had his hesitations about climbing into the unexplored, dark, humid lair, but he couldn't pass up the opportunity to try out his learned ninja gymnastic skills on the tall metal ladder. Dad knows best - never pass up the opportunity to hang out in the attic. It's cool up there.


At last, my server rack is back. It lives in our laundry room, and surrounded by all the other whirring machines and loud ventilation, it feels right at home. I cracked a smile at the realization that I can buy noisier components now that this hunk of metal is no longer running in our bedroom.


Minnie has just about decided on her college major, but she would be open to an internship in IT as sort of a stepping stone. A resume with a little variety never hurts.


I've wondered how the rest of my family feels now that we've permanently moved to their Dad's hometown. Schaumburg is not a big place, and our normal errands often take us past my childhood house and other places from my past. Last week, we went out of the way to hang out a place my sisters and I called "castle park". "The playground used to be made out of wood, and it was painted to look like a red castle," I explained. All that's been torn down and replaced with shiny, round metal. We each took a seat on a swing. We held a contest to see who could throw their shoes the furthest. The loser had to run into dairy queen and pick us up some icecream.


"Is it just me, or is the sky more interesting to look at here?" I asked, rocking gently on the swing. "It feels like the clouds do more interesting things in Illinois."


"Take a look at my sword," said Rodney. We stepped outside for a photo shoot - no questions asked. No smiles, of course. Just the stoic gaze of a k'nex warrior-inventor.


We ate dinner at the hotly mentioned Kuma's, and we were not impressed. They've won so many awards that I don't think they'll even notice my bad press. The famous Kuma's burger was impressive, but only as much as you can be impressed by a the overplayed "big ass burger" theme. I feel like I've eaten this same meal hundreds of times in Madison.


Kuma's reminded us of the burger place we tried in Brookfield. It had the same loud death metal music, tatted up serving staff, and anarcho-satanic-biker dining room feel. Marissa found a pentagram on the wall and reprised our favorite inside joke from that visit: "Look kids, it's the devil."

Another vigorous summer rain passed through, and that was unlucky for us because we were eating outside. Really, it was just unlucky for Miles - we were under the tent, but his high chair sat directly beneath the downspout of cold rain water.


"Do you get it?" asked Marissa. "I heard it on Facebook."

"I could tell," I said, raising my eyebrows. I would not dignify this joke with a laugh, but I suppose it can join the napkin wall.


That's a weekend. Thanks for stopping by, and have a great Wednesday.