Monday, October 31 2022

mondays, the dinosaur head, and the pickle jar

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everybody. Is it Monday already?

Sip. I was hacking on my website over the weekend, and I noticed that the header on my homepage still reads "Daily, public journal by Alex Recker". Judging by the last few weeks, this is turning into more of a "Monday" blog.

Dear Monday. Good morning, Monday. How's everyone's Monday doing?

I just changed the header. I'm still not sure how often I want to write, but I don't want to just be a Monday blog either. I can blame the lapse on a number of things. The WGN morning crew still has a strange psychological hold over my delicate morning brain. At least once or twice last week, I sat down to write but instead longingly stared in the direction of the TV listening to the faint sound of the 9-at-9 music.

Also, the kids are tiring us out. They have their moments, but lately life with them has felt so exhausting that in the rare quiet moments around the house, I immediately go into self-care mode.

This one, especially. I see the appeal, but lately I'm not a fan of this one.


"He sleeps like a jerk", said Marissa quietly while she scooped all thirteen of his stuffed animals back into his bed.

Either Miles is still sick from the last virus or he just dovetailed into a new one. He hasn't been sleeping well, which makes him grumpy in the mornings. The grumpiness worsens throughout the day, especially when it's time to sit down at the table and eat.

Enough complaining. Today is Halloween, and it's time to celebrate. Last week, Rodney's school held a "Trunk or Treat" event. Being our first ever Trunk or Treat, we wanted to get it right. Marissa, hankering for a good paper mache project, got to work on a giant dinosaur head.


Day 1: the "giant hunk of carboard" phase


Day 2: the "sticky" phase

She diligently worked out the details solo. But when it was time to do something fun like attach teeth, paint eyes, or slather on a goopy layer of glue, she assembled her useless assistants. The glue night was particularly fun.


Glue night, closely followed by bath night


The finished product.

The giant dinosaur head created quite the buzz. We even managed to pass off the prop onto another family that had to attend a different trunk or treat. As much fun as it would be to watch our garbage man try to wrestle the giant T-rex head into the garbage trunk, paying it forward felt good too.

Trunk or Treat was a fun, chaotic night. After dumping six big bags of candy into the cardboard dinosaur's mouth, I never expected to run out before the end of the night. But that's the kind of thing that happens when you're a captive audience handing out candy to the same 100 kids in the parking lot.

Also, Miles and Rodney aren't great at trick or treating. Rodney, feeling too social, just followed his school friends around. Miles just made panicked laps around the parking lot with a few unwrapped dum-dum's rattling around in his bucket. While distracted by a giant inflatable Pikachu costume, Miles ran into a parent and fell to the ground. The stranger knelt down to help him pick up his candy, but hesitated when he saw his bucket was just filled with a few unwrapped dum-dum's.

"It's fine," I said. "He's not eating them, those are just, uh, souvenirs."

A few more moments of zen from the week. Remember the cute little letterboard in Rodney's room that read "Rodney's Room"?


How did Rodney get a hold of my Windows XP product key?

Our kitchen is in full cold weather mode. During a slow work morning, I ventured out to do some quiet grocery shopping and returned with fresh pancetta from the deli and a beautifully marbled pot roast. We stewed the meat with cubed pork belly and mushrooms. I got tired of calling this dish bouef bourgin, so we just simply call it "beef stew" now.


Rodney and I returned to the Polish grocery store. Still on a quest to find the most delicious Eastern European treat it has to offer, we rolled the dice on a hefty jar of pickles. When we got to the front of the register, the cashier noticed it didn't have a bar code. She asked me how much it was.

Well, she first asked me something in Polish. But I heard the words "no" and "barcode", so I made the connection.

"I dunno - five dollars?" I shrugged.

The cashier gave me a worried look. "No..." she said. "Too much."

"How about four dollars?" I asked.

At this point, our checkout line began to fill up, and the other patrons waited they happily listened in on the pickle drama. A husband and wife couple and an older lady all shook their heads in disappointment at my last suggestion of four dollars. The older lady leaned in close.

"That is still too much. It should be cheaper."

What do I know? This is a big jar of pickles. It's even still got the bayleaf and peppercorns floating around in the brine - gourmet stuff. If this jar were sitting on a shelf at whole foods, four dollars would have been a bargain, if you ask me.


Tonight, I'm taking these two wingisses around the block to pick up more candy. More updates to follow.


Have a great Monday, everyone.