Thursday, September 1 2022

covid, chair shopping, and highland park

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone. Happy Thursday. I haven't written a journal entry in a while, and my excuse is pretty simple - coronavirus. Ever heard of it? By now, I made it through the uncomfortable stuff - the headaches, the fatigue, and the muscle cramps. Sitting here at my desk this morning, it just feels like I'm on the mend from a routine cold. I've been sneezing a lot, but who doesn't enjoy a good sneeze once in a while?

Sip. It's hard to believe we avoided catching COVID for almost two years. I would have liked to have the satisfaction of a glaringly positive test, but you know how dodgy those at-home tests can be. I swabbed my nose twice - nothing. Marissa's test, on the other hand, was an enthusiastic positive. "My little bar even showed up before the control group," she boasted.


Marissa, Miles, and I snivvled and napped our way through the week. I felt bad for Rodney. Somehow, he didn't catch it, and as his school advised, he continued to show up to class everyday. We barely went outside, reserving our energy for helping Rodney memorize his mailing address and study for his math test. We at ready-made soup from Jewel all week. I felt bad for Rodney.

Not a lot of adventure this week, but before COVID put the brakes on our home life, we got into some good adventures. The day before I found out I was sick, I took Miles chair shopping at Staples. I knew he'd be grateful to tag along, but I didn't expect him to be so opinionated about chairs. He practically ordered me around, threatening to throw a fit if I stood up before he had a chance to sit next to me.


This past weekend, we set up for Marissa's last summer show in Highland Park. Taking walks around the festival to pick up food and drop things off for Marissa, I got plenty of chances to take in the tranquil scenery of the little Chicago adjacent town.


"Look at this building," I said to Marissa, holding out my phone. "I can't figure out what it is." A wikipedia article later told me this is the iconic Highland Park water tower - not to be confused with the similar one in Minneapolis, which weirdly is also called the Highland Park water tower.


Following the awful shooting that happened here just two months ago, we wondered if this art show would feel any different. Flower memorials, sidewalk chalk murals, and "Highland Park Strong" window signs testified to the town's quiet resolve. Family's filled the streets. Kids played tag on the pavilion. The festival was in full force, even on the same block where the shooting happened.


My duties at these art shows consist of the following: sit with Marissa, swipe credit cards on her square app, and curate a local selection of foods. This weekend, we were blessed by the greasy, crispy, burnt-cheesy experience of Lefty's pizza.


One morning, I filed in a line out the door of "That Little French Guy" pastry shop. They had a sign on the wall that read food is universal, pastry is French (in French of course). I think when it comes to pastries, a little bit of arrogance is a good sign that you made the right choice.


We had good weather up until the last minute of the show - and I mean the last minute. In a turn of awful luck, a vigorous summer downpour started up immediately after we took down the tent. Marissa and I scrambled to get the paintings in the back of the truck. Marissa, after hitting the bony part of her shin on the metal door, yelled in my ear, "I'm not doing any more outdoor shows. I'm an artist - not a friggen' dock worker."

Inching through traffic while rain clapped against the windshield, we discussed the trade-offs of outdoor shows. Setting up a bulky metal tent, sitting in the sun for hours, and inevitably losing some paintings whenever it rained - was it worth it?

We packed up the family and made one evening last trip to drop off the u-haul. We pulled into Nana's and ordered a round of shakes, hotdogs, and italian beefs just a few minutes before they closed. It was a fitting reward for the hectic load out, and a high point in the weekend.


I'll leave you with a napkin drawing before I go. We've been watching a lot of TV lately while recovering from COVID on the couch, and I guess I have TV on the brain.


Thanks for stopping by. Have a great Thursday.