A Month of Quarantine: A daily log of Parenting Part 4

A Month of Quarantine: A daily log of Parenting Part 4

I have been keeping a Facebook log of my time at home during quarantine. I decided to do this mostly because 1. We didn’t know how long this would last, so a log helped me keep track of the days, and 2. I wanted a way to remember all the crazy, silly, fun, infuriating, and hopeless things I was feeling as a parent during this time. This is a compilation of the first month.

I chose to end each post with #staysafe because it seemed appropriate given our orders to stay away from others during this time.

These are my unfiltered thoughts full of humor, frustration, anger, and obscurity. I think many parents can relate.

Enjoy.

Day 94: The little one almost made me spew today. She was playing peacefully with Duplos in the living room, minding her own business. I was responding to some work emails. At some point my parent sense kicked in and I realized she had been quiet for too long. I looked up over my screen and 3 things happened in quick succession. 1. The little one jammed a finger up her nose. 2. She yawned and rubbed her eyes. 3. The giant goober she had extracted, now on her index finger, was mashed into her eyelashes and eyelids. I stifled a gag, picked her up to go gently wash and wipe her eyes. Considering my aversion to things going on around or in the eye area, I think I did remarkably well. I set her back down to play, went upstairs, screamed into a pillow, and curled up for a minute. I returned minutes later as though everything was totally fine. Children are gross.

I did lots of cooking today; French onion soup, garlic cheddar bread, and banana pudding. It’s really a lot of fall or winter food, but we had about a gallon of broth I needed to use. I have also been craving some homemade banana pudding for a long time. I’ve never had leftover soup on a 90-degree day. I guess we’ll find out what that’s like this week. Maybe I’ll just set the pot in the driveway tomorrow and retrieve it at dinner. Driveway soup could be a new thing.

Tonight I have my 3rd Monday night zoom with some of the kids. I still don’t know what next fall is going to look like, but at least this is a somewhat viable option if things look rough. Still, the no contact part of this really stinks. Sometimes you just want to give someone a hug, you know?

#staysafe

Day 95: I think we’ve really set expectations pretty high for the offspring and their meals. I prepped dinner for the little one tonight; a delicious plate of white rice, garden strawberries, and nectarines. When she came to the table, she saw a plate with only rice and strawberries. The nectarines were in a large bowl for us to share. Her response? “Dad!! There are only two things! (pointing at an empty space on her plate) Why isn’t there anything here?” The first time she cooks for me, there had better be at least three items on my plate.

Lots of outdoor time this afternoon. The girls played well while I sat on the front porch and worked. I went to grab my golf clubs around 3:30. After chipping for a few minutes, the bigger one came out of the garage with her clubs, shortly followed by the little one with her toddler set. We all golfed around the yard for a bit before I decided to clean my clubs. Both the offspring followed me to the porch where I sat down with a spray bottle and cloth. They did the same. Life is good sitting with the kiddos, cleaning your clubs, listening to the Queen’s Greatest Hits album.

The little one performed one of my favorite moves today. She had a small accident while outside after dinner. Not a common occurrence anymore, but small accidents happen from time to time. She told the older one, who then acted the informant and told us. When confronted, the counterpart asked the little one if she had an accident. She said no. Naturally the counterpart took two steps forward and said, “I’m going to check.” The little one responded by raising both hands up like a lineman about to engage a defender and loudly exclaiming, “No Momma! No!” When the counterpart asked why not, the little one said, “Because I don’t want you to get pee on your hand!” Boom. Gotcha. Outsmarted the 3-year-old yet again.

#staysafe

Day 96: We finished up our Outreach group tonight. 35 of us gathered together in the church parking lot to celebrate and finish the wackiest year. Even though not everyone could be there, I was so grateful for a chance to finish the year in person. Quick timeline:

September: I finalize a trip to Madison, Wisconsin for 50 people.

October-December: Our group fundraises thousands of dollars to pay for travel, food, housing, etc…

January-February: We continue to work on service projects and make plans for the second half of the year projects.

March: Corona hits. All plans put on hold.

April: Quarantine is extended. Plans are postponed indefinitely.

May: Outreach is officially canceled. A 500-year flood hits Midland. Dams fail. A quarter of the town is evacuated. Outreach has come to our own homes. The Outreach team, and people from all over Michigan, bombard the town with donations and volunteers.

June: The cleanup continues. We wrap up the year with a gathering based on Mark 12: 28-31, love thy neighbor. I tried to make clear the meaning of this. It was a beautiful evening with some beautiful young people. I will miss them terribly over the summer.

#staysafe

Day 97: Went to church today with the older one. We filmed an instructional video for the 2nd graders about to receive first communion and confirmation. She was really good, however, she was also really nervous. As we left she asked, “is this going to be on TV?” I assured her it would not, but would likely go up on the website and be emailed to all the families. Her anxiety level went down dramatically. I think her future may be behind the scenes rather than in front. We’ve referred to her as “the director” since she was 2 for a reason.

I missed some excitement with a lost cat and some rather large stag beetles in the yard last night. Luckily tonight I had my own crawly-things experience to make up for it. A spider landed on my arm while eating dinner on the back patio. No biggie. I flicked it off. While reading to the older one in her room at bedtime, I found two more shimmying up my arm. I found that odd. After getting her into bed, I decided to take a shower. Found a couple more in my hair. I shampooed, conditioned, and scrubbed my hair until my scalp hurt. The counterpart assured me she would not get into bed with me if I wasn’t sure they were all gone. Now I feel phantom tickles all over.

Next week is my last full week of work before I am off the month of July. First time this has ever been the case for me. I’m looking forward to lots of golf, some morning walks, time to read, getting back to learning the guitar, and trying new crafts. Just kidding. I’m a dad to two young kids. I’ll be happy if the counterpart and I can play a game of scrabble without interruption. Living life to the fullest.

#staysafe

Day 98: The counterpart took a vacation day today, which she needs to use up before the end of June. Like any good vacation day, we spent the day cleaning the basement. Turns out we have a lot of high school and early college mementos. Highlights: lots of pictures of old significant others. CDs we couldn’t live without. (Looking at you Green Day and Barenaked Ladies, Fiona Apple, Lauren Hill, and Backstreet Boys) I wonder what songs I have on my iPod shuffle mini? Only one way to find out. Somehow we still managed to clean the entire laundry area despite the rediscovery of all our treasures. The offspring thoroughly enjoyed playing with all my action figures while we worked. I’ve never seen Captain Picard fighting Wolverine while the ghostbusters watched. This is what the people want, Hollywood!

We officially picked out a paint color for the house. It’s a nice color Grue/Blay (grayish blue). Why are all the color names so dumb? Ours is apparently called Keepsake. If I ever hope to sound as pretentious as possible, I’ll whip out that little tidbit.

I made the older one’s favorite dill pickle pasta salad tonight. She always enjoys it. Plus, it’s loaded with dill pickle. Can’t go wrong there. Next is to get her to start liking olives. I’m going to carefully slip them into her foods and see how long it takes her to notice.

#staysafe

Day 99: Woke up with some pretty bad back pain around 4:30am. Think I tweaked it while moving things yesterday. Constant back pain really stinks. It affects every movement. That said, I do not understand the involuntary noises I make due to this pain. Like, why do I “Ughhh” when I lift a something heavy, but I “Ooof” when I lay on the floor to stretch? Perhaps someone who has studied such things can enlighten me. Or better yet, maybe I can find a podcast! I’ll have to inform the counterpart of my findings. She will be really enthused, I’m sure.

Spent much of the day with a set of the in-laws. So good to see their faces in person for the first time in months. Good day full of some grilled food, nature, sunshine, and family. The little one took a big step on her continued journey to consistently execute #2 on the potty. We’ve been done with everything else for a long time. It’s a mental hurtle, and one which she feels most confident attempting to tackle at home. When it was clear she had to “go” today she said, “my bottom is telling me it’s time to go home.” I’ve never directly listened to my butt, but it seems like a fairly good strategy. Asstuition is an underrated skill.

This the longest we’ve been away from the dog since quarantine started. He faired very well, but was raring to go out when we walked in the door. As always, I wonder what he does when we are away? Seems like he spends a lot of time curled up on either the older one’s bean bag or in the sunshine coming through the back door even when we are home. He play bites with the counterpart and me or chases his toys around the house if we throw them. He’s really gentle with the little one when she wants to play with him. She knows the rules about good touching, so it’s a mutual respect. Dogs. A humans’ best friend.

#staysafe

Day 100: Happy Father’s Day to all the dads! I was lucky to grow up with a great one. Today is a good day to remember all the great moments and enjoy some new ones.

Today marks day 100 of our quarantine. The older one got some new books for summer reading. The younger one got a new Elsa dress (also a reward to doing a great job doing #2 on the big potty!). The counterpart and I spent time outside planting a delphinium and beginning the house painting job. I went on get the water table off the back deck and got stung 3 times by wasps. This felt especially personal as all wasps with stingers are female, so I couldn’t even bond with those stripped jerks over their Father’s Day duties.

We’re going to celebrate with brownies and an adult beverage tonight. Then we might sit out on the porch and watch the sunset. Then I’m going to kill every wasp within a 50-yard radius of our house because I’m angry and my arm hurts and wasps suck.

#staysafe

Day 101: I sorted and bagged a boatload of cans and bottles today for a fundraiser. The garage is not the ideal place for this on a 90-degree day. Still, I finished the task and got everything dropped off. You know how many bottles and cans accumulate during a 3-month quarantine? Neither do I. After bag 6 I stopped counting. You know what doesn’t smell great on a 90-degree day in the garage sorting 3 month old cans? Me. Maybe the stench will ward off any more wasps.

Speaking of which, my arm still really hurts and is now Popeye-like in appearance. The counterpart and I discussed last night, however, the alternative scenarios. The older one could easily have been the one to go grab the water table to bring out front. The younger one could easily have gone with her. We all go out the deck slider all the time. It’s really miraculous that it was me who got stung. We had a discussion with the older one about what to do if wasps or hornets goes after you. Now she is aware. As much as this stinks and as bad as my allergic reaction has been, this could have been immensely worse.

Also related to the stings, I’ve used a recently purchased tool meant to pull poison out of stings and reduce the inflammation of mosquito bites. While my reaction was too big to be contained, the tool has definitely pulled some poison or infected puss every time I’ve used it. It’s really weird and really gross, but I think it has been working. The itching seems less severe after I’ve used it. Placebo? Maybe. But an effective one.

#staysafe

Day 102: I learned two important things today. 1. Antihistamines really work. 2. All the wasps are dead, but I’m seeing wasp shadows. Took some meds last night that dramatically cleared up my itchy, red, swollen arm. Tonight, however, I took out the garbage and yard waste for pickup tomorrow, and saw some things flying around the bins. I cautiously approached, hands raised, whether for defense or surrender I’m still not sure. When I got close enough I realized the winged menaces were merely flies. Perhaps I should start carrying pocket Raid. It’s probably safe to carry combustible poison with you all day, right?

The little one is still on a feasting rampage. Tonight I made BLTs and mixed berry smoothies for dinner. She ate 2 pieces of pita bread, a dozen strawberries, 2oz cheese, a tomato slice, 4oz smoothie, and 2 strips of bacon. When I offered her bacon she said, “I don’t know if I’ll like this.” She took a bite and chimed, “Mmmm. This is awfully good.” Hearing a little kid use descriptive adjectives and adverbs always tickles me, especially when it’s an oxymoron. Next goal is to get her to remain seated throughout dinner. The kid just lets the music take her. Tonight was the rhythmic classic, Take On Me. Took her right into the living room.

I bought the older one a couple books about AWESOME FACTS! I thought this would be good summer reading. So far she’s told me 45 minutes’ worth of facts about spiders. Suddenly I have a new appreciation for the counterpart after I listen to one of my podcasts.

#staysafe

Day 103: We are moving forward with plans to paint the house on our own. When a business comes in and gives you an estimate double what you are expecting, it’s time to re-evaluate. Even if we do it in stages and with some hired young guns to help (looking at you youths who would like to earn some extra cash this summer) we are nowhere close to the cost of the pros. I may not be a smart man, but I can paint the side of a house for less than 3 grand for a 2-day job.

Tomorrow is the first communion and confirmation day for the older one. We’ll all dress up in hard pants and dresses and go together INTO a building, other than our house, for the first time in more than 3 months. We may have to barter with the little one to wear something other than her Elsa dress. So far that garment has made an appearance every day since it was gifted. I want her to wear her batwoman dress. Nothing says “Not Today Satan!” like a frilly dress with the bat symbol.

This is the week we moved into our house 4 years ago. Pretty crazy. I really didn’t see us living in this kind of world 4 years ago. Considering we do not even know what the world will look like in 4 weeks, let alone 4 more years, I can only guess what we’ll witness. My predictions:

-SpaceX lands on the moon only to discover a previous civilization already built an underground habitat which is now infested with moon worms.

-Ohio sells Toledo back to Michigan in exchange for Lake Ontario. Doesn’t catch the error until it’s too late.

-The little one masters the art baton twirling. She is made honorary drum major at Stanford University. She encourages them to become the Stanford Cardinals, plural, instead of the infuriating Stanford Cardinal. The university final sees reason.

-The older one becomes the Jeopardy Juniors champion. All those useless knowledge books and random podcasts are key to her success. The counterpart is in disbelief. I sit in the audience with a satisfied smile when the Final Jeopardy question is about the history of jackhammers.

#staysafe

Day 104: Today was a lesson on the butterfly effect. Not the terrible movie, but rather the chaos theory phenomena.

The older one had her first communion and confirmation tonight. It was a really nice mass and ceremony with 5 other families and sponsors, even with the little one letting out a big ol’ toot in the middle of the explanation about confirmation. We are very proud of her and happy we were able to do this before next year.

Begin butterfly effect. I did not empty and load the dishwasher this morning. I slept in and then went right to the computer to start creating a booklet for work. I went into the office, came home around 1:30 and had a fairly normal day the rest of the day.

While getting ready for church, I decided to clean up the kitchen counters and put some toys away. Still no dishes. We came home from church and the girls went outside for more pictures. I opened up our crate of pickles (so excited for this) and changed clothes. It was then that I finally decided to unload the dishes.

As the counters were cleaned off of papers, projects and other tchotchkes, I made the decision to unload onto the counter instead of putting things directly away. Not my usual habit. As I set the things on the counter, I placed a pot next to the glasses. The handle knocked into a glass which fell to the floor and broke into a million pieces. At that moment the counterpart and the offspring come to the door to enter the house into the kitchen. I ask them to wait so I can clean up the glass.

In the 3 minutes it takes to clean the glass, the older one gets a splinter on the back deck. She is a lovely, intelligent child, but a total wuss with minor injuries. The first splinter she ever had caused her to literally speak in tongues, kick and hit both of us as I tried to restrain her, and genuinely turn into a child of the undead. One of the few moments I really wish we had recorded despite how awful it was.

With some good work by the counterpart, she managed to extract the deadly particle with only minor hyperventilation and no hitting. Now, however, we had to get the little one to bed, and still start the promised movie and make popcorn for the older one. Kind of a rushed evening. All because I didn’t do the dishes this morning.

#staysafe

Day 105: ¡WARNING! Golf Talk Ahead!

Today was a fun adventure and celebration day. This morning I spent time on my last big project for work, then I took the bigger one to meet grandpa for her first ever round of golf. It was a good day to pass out Father’s Day gifts and to celebrate her first communion and confirmation. We brought her clubs and she picked out her own golfing outfit. We also made sandwiches to bring with us for lunch. Something about a golf course sandwich hits just right on a 90-degree day.

The round was fun and filled with some decent shots for my first time out this year. Shot 77, so not too bad. The parental unit played well too, shooting in the low 80s. The bigger one hit a few shots around the green, some tee shots, and putted on about half the holes. The highlight was a ball she hit about 50 yards off the tee that got some nice height. She needs to work on putting. When she remembers to aim, she’s ok. Like most kids, she just likes to whack the ball and see where it goes.

She pooped out with about 4 holes to go. Understandable for a hot day and her first time playing.

We spent the afternoon delivering packets around town to the incoming 9th grade class. We drove with the windows down listening to music on shuffle and talking about what school could look like next fall. Then we grabbed dinner and came home. It was a really great day. Next on the docket is to hit the driving range. I need to rebuild some calluses and work on my short game. I also need to get the bigger one a book on golf etiquette because we doN’T TALK WHILE PEOPLE ARE TRYING TO HIT THE StUpId LitTLe WHITE THING, EVIE!!!

Update: I did not do the dishes tonight. This can only prove unwise come morning.

#staysafe

Day 106: Some quality time in the basement today while I (almost!) finished my last work project. It’s funny to me that the offspring are SUPER pumped to be in the basement to play. It’s like a treat. We usually don’t spend time down there on weekdays because the counterpart has her office set up down there. Today they watched Atlantis while they played with Duplos and dolls. I was hoping the offspring would bring me a beverage while I worked, but no luck. Time to train them up.

Dinner brought about 2 fruitful discussions. The first was version 117 of: What is your favorite…? Tonight the topic was utensils. The little one inquired about our favorite forks and spoons. She is partial to her Doc McStuffins fork and the Olaf spoon. The thing is, she is genuinely interested in our answers. She is also learning beneficial conversation skills, which is something the counterpart and I need to remind ourselves during these sessions. As for me, I find the red fork preferential. It has a nice divot below the tines which provides ease in scooping. I agree with the Olaf spoon. It’s just so happy.

Later in the meal the conversation turned towards birth (because, of course it did) which lead to the older one intoning, “You know, Norah’s birth was difficult, but mine was just fine.” If you ever desire to give a woman whiplash, go ahead and refer to their birth process as “just fine” while not in their direct line of vision. What followed was a 10-minute conversation on the merits of different types of birth and reminiscing about the days preceding each of the offspring’s birth stories. I’ll take this moment to say, thanks mom. Sorry I caused you so much pain. Even though I’m the middle child, I still appreciate you.

#staysafe

Day 107: The older one had a big realization today. We decided to continue our family tradition to rent a house up north for a few days this summer. We have gone with extended family almost every year. While discussing the coming trip, we mentioned that the house we rented this year does not have Wi-Fi. After explaining the concept of Wi-Fi, she realized that this meant we will not be connected to the internet with any devices for the duration of our stay. To her credit, the look of shock and dismay lasted only momentarily. Luckily we will have plenty to do with games, beach time, some scenic drives, and nature walks. Let’s hope the mosquitos are less veracious where we are going.

While eating lunch, the little one mentioned something about the “other dad.” A slip of the tongue? Maybe. All I know is the counterpart looked up pretty quickly to correct and refute the slip up… Maybe a little too quickly… All I can say is, good luck trying to get the dog to accept you, “other dad.” No chance unless you ALSO know how to get him water and fill his food dish. I feel good about my odds.

I grilled dogs and brats for dinner tonight. For our side, I spent a good 20 minutes making a delicious fry sauce. A new thing for me. It was not difficult, but I wanted to try something with a vegan mayonnaise base that the little one could safely be around. It turned out better than I thought. There is very little or no difference in flavor, consistency, or smell. If I had actually remembered to get fries, it would have been a perfect summer meal.

#staysafe

Day 108: Finished up the last of my meetings with the kiddos tonight. I’m just so grateful for all of them. None of us expected this year to go this way. They did not get the chance to share much of what they worked on for the people who would have gone with us for Y2Y 2020, but these memories will be wonderful for a lifetime.

This senior class will always be special to me. A lot of firsts and new beginnings.

While we do not know what the next year or any of the future will bring, I have confidence in the young people I have been blessed to know this year to lead us into a bright tomorrow. A feeling I am trying to embrace given all that continues to happen in the world around us.

#staysafe

Day 109: Today was my last day before I am off for a month. Feels weird. Maybe I’ll wake the girls up at 6:00 tomorrow morning to celebrate my free time.

The older one consistently plays two games at meal times. 1. What is the expiration date? Ever since we told her what the numbers on the jars and packages mean, she is obsessed. At least we’ll know if anything gets remotely close to the due date. 2. What’s the temperature outside? Our instant read thermometer tells both the outside and inside temps. She asks each of us at least twice a day to guess the outside temp, usually at super convenient times like while typing an email to a major donor or while writing curriculum for the fall.

The offspring find the need to repeat everything they hear until we, as the parents, find it physically impossible not to say, “OK! ENOUGH!” or something similar. Today this occurrence happened when I asked the little one if she wanted another piece of apple. The older one misheard this as “pita apple,” and then proceeded to yell “pita apple” 15 times, which then morphed into “pooda oople,” which then changed to “scoopa doople.” Each change also repeated 15 times in quick succession by both children. I know this is not a unique phenomenon to our unit, but every time it happens I am privately thankful that we are not seen by the neighbors.

We are getting ready to purchase our celebratory underwear now that we have nearly made it to vacation time. Not back to normal, certainly, but at least we get to leave home with safety precautions. The older one wanted Star Wars underwear. An excellent choice. Except there are NO STAR WARS UNDERWEAR FOR GIRLS! Last time I checked, girls like Star Wars too. The older one went on a rant about it at lunch. That’a girl. Raise hell. You’re on my list Fruit of the Loom and Hanes. Do better.

#staysafe

Day 110: The little one was in rare form tonight at dinner. I was able to document the use of her continued use of “skeptical face” starting at 2 months old through the evening. Photo evidence provided. (2 months old with aunt Ashley. 3 years 7 months old at dinner tonight. 2 month photos taken approximately 1 second apart.) I don’t know what we did to make this happen but she definitely has a distinctive expression.

Introducing a new segment tonight: Animal Facts with Norah!

(All facts provided while “reading” the older one’s National Geographic magazine. *All facts provided with no source material or research. Publisher is not liable for misinformation or alternative facts.*)

The gorillas and the ants grow up to see the world.

Hippos are the same as us on the inside except hippos poop hippo water.

The inch worms come down and then they (with a very frustrated inflection) eat our strawberries!

Starfish are the same as hammers and hair salons.

Air stops the Aaron Birds.

The witch travels around and lands on the blue things, like the trees.

#staysafe

Day 111: Took the offspring on a scavenger hunt around town in the car. We found almost everything in our allotted hour. The little one was short 1 green convertible. The bigger one was shy a chicken and a couple hold hands. I guess love is dead.

I appreciate that the offspring have begun to pick up after themselves on a regular basis. I find it fascinating, however, that the little one can ALMOST complete the cleanup process, but seems to lack the enthusiasm to actually finish. Tonight I asked her to put her toy house away in the den. She made it all the way into the den, set it on the ground 2 feet in front of the shelf where it lives, and came back upstairs. At bedtime, she left the bathroom to have the counterpart check her teeth. After completion, she brought her toothbrush back upstairs and left it in the doorway half in and half out of the bathroom. So close.

The counterpart and I taught the bigger one a new card game. We have to think of a better name for “Oh, Hell” or “Screw Your Neighbor,” the only names I know for this particular game. We started calling it “O-H” but could not continue due to the unfortunate affiliation with the school down south. The necessity for a name change is still very real as, after one hand, the bigger one quipped, “How did I just screw daddy?”

#staysafe

Day 112: Holding off on Hamilton until Sunday. Got things done today instead. Oil changes for the cars, gas filled up in both, bought the house paint and the rest of the painting materials, dog taken to the groomers (more to come), sorted some things for vacation, grilled burgers and made corn on the cob for dinner. Good summer day.

Is there anything more disappointing than when your offspring play house and pretend to go to sleep but it only lasts about 4 seconds? Maybe when they want you to pretend to sleep but wake you up before you actually go to sleep. This happened to me twice this afternoon. The second time I “woke up” I actually felt mildly angry.

Got the dog groomed. He no longer looks like a wizened old man. Poor guy just needed a trim and his nails done. I also did something a little uncharacteristic while leaving the pet store. Sometimes I have thoughts about yelling at strangers, but today I actually did. I scolded a lady for letting her dog stand on the hot pavement while she stood around talking to some people, all of whom were standing shoulder length apart and not wearing masks. The dog was lifting its paws up and whining, clearly at least uncomfortable if not in outright pain. After I yelled at her she gave me a look but did pick it up. Don’t be like that lady. Wear a mask. Treat your pet with decency. Ugh.

#staysafe

Day 113: A day full of squirt gun fights, bike rides, a couple beers, and friendly neighborhood fireworks which scare the dog. The high point of the day was setting up a squirt gun shooting gallery on the front porch. Scores: The Little One – 12 cups in 1 minute (decent considering the railing is taller than her); The Bigger One – all cups in 30 seconds; The Counterpart – all cups in 12.50 seconds; The Dad – all cups in 9.38 seconds.

After squirt gun battles, we competed in a flip-cone challenge, similar to the bottle flip challenge. The counterpart and I both made our fair share of cones, but the real highlight was the little one randomly laying down on the driveway, removing the top half of her bathing suit (she would be nude 100% of the time if she could), closing her eyes and saying, “Ugh, I’m dead. Evie, come get me. I’m dead.” Sadly, the bigger one left the dead behind for the greener pastures of a lawn chair and the shade. Heartless.

The evening consisted of the Potato Head wars and some games with the bigger one. A brief history of the Potato Head wars: From my understanding, the Potato Head wars began when the potato head twins rose up against their oppressive potato head father and his somewhat mysterious suitcase of accessories. Desiring their fair share of inheritance, the little one and the twins lead a fateful charge into enemy territory against the formidable duo of the bigger one and the intolerable potato head father. The battle that ensued was one worthy of song and praise. I have never been in real battle, but if what I have witnessed is any indication, most altercations can be resolved by waiting until the younger combatant becomes sleepy and asks for a story, at which time the older one will inquire about her chances for ice cream. I suppose history will be the judge.

#staysafe

Day 114: The counterpart and I went on our first date 17 years ago today. We saw fireworks. The rest is history.

Today was Hamilton Day at our house. The older one decorated the basement with streamers, a crown, and a light up gold star. She also wore her Belle gown as it is the closest to a Schuyler dress that she owns. We all found it difficult not to sing along. The little one enjoyed the show as well, but she needed a snack break during intermission. We have all been lucky enough to experience the show in person, but it was thoroughly enjoyable with the original Broadway cast. My thoughts: One Last Time brought me to tears. The recitation of Washington’s farewell address is full of humility and care. A joy to hear. Renée Elise Goldsberry was stunning. Tears freely flowed during the final 40 minutes.

The Hamilton Day celebration and Independence Day also brought about a discussion of slavery, the flag, soldiers, and protests with the bigger one. It was a fruitful discussion with lots of follow up. We never want the girls to shy away from asking us any questions. I was very proud of her thoughtfulness.

The little one has finally mastered #2 on the potty. She earned Minnie Mouse big girl undies. 8 years and thousands of dollars worth of diapers and pull-ups are coming to an end. Wooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!

#staysafe

Day 115: A new power washer arrived today courtesy of Tom Sutherland and Helen Marie Sutherland. I may have rushed to the window like a 4-year-old every time I heard a diesel engine go by. It arrived about 2:00. I never even brought the box in the house. I unpacked on the front porch, assembled, read the manual, and within 30 minutes we were washing. I learned two things very quickly. 1. The blowback is immense. I was soaked in no time. Considering the heat today, I did not mind one bit. 2. Power washing is easily one of the most satisfying jobs in the universe. The counterpart and I spent most of the afternoon cleaning the front of the house, trading off so we each had a chance enjoy this new pastime. I wish we had done a set of before and after pictures. Things are now ready to be painted!

I know I mention the little one’s meals a lot, but my goodness… it’s really stunning. Tonight she ate 1 3/4 hot dogs, a bun, 13 strawberries, 2 pickles, a bit of cauliflower, and a cup of water; easily double what the older one consumed. I mean, she pooped today. The counterpart thinks she needed to reload.

Back to power washing. I enjoyed this so much that I warned the counterpart she may wake up to find me missing. If she hears a strange noise around 5:00a.m. it’ll be me power washing the neighbor’s houses, driveways, sidewalks, public roads, and anything else I can find. My new goal for the summer is to find all the uses for the power washer. Car wash? Power washer. Rapidly water the garden? Power washer. Annoying wasps? Power washer! Low flying aircraft? POWER WASHER!

#staysafe

Day 116: I painted today. A lot. That’s the update. The house looks beautiful so far.

The offspring have played and entertained themselves fantastically while we have power washed, painted and cleaned the outside. We have taken regular breaks because it has been so hot.

We have 3 days to finish. We can do this.

#staysafe

Day 117: More painting. So hot. House is more than half done. Another big day tomorrow then a rest day on Friday. Time to sleep in the fetal position to fight the aches.

The little one continues the onslaught on the refrigerator. The bigger one receives an American Girl catalog in the mail today. She wants everything. Her $18 is enough to get one shoe. Time to start the Christmas list.

#staysafe

Day 118: Only a little painting this morning, then it was just too dang hot! We spent almost all day inside. Now with the threat of rain this evening, finally, I don’t think we will be able to paint tonight or tomorrow morning. The counterpart and I hope it clears up enough by tomorrow afternoon to get some trim done. At least I do not need to also mow through all this. The grass is only mostly dead, but certainly not growing. Paint-maggedon 2020 will continue!

I remember, as a kid, playing with my action figures with my brother and childhood friend. We would have X-Men drafts to pick teams and then battle. Yeah, we were the coolest. The version of this in my current household is a Barbie and Disney Princess extravaganza. There are tea parties, of course, but also wrestling matches, usually with the characters in the nude. So far Elsa has been dominating both the tea parties and the wresting.

I am going to run and get ice cream for the adults after the offspring are in bed. They had banana swirl after dinner. Hahahahahahahahaha!! Fools! They’ll never know! I wonder how many cool things my parents did after we went to bed? I assume that’s probably when they drank the New Coke and crimped their hair like all 80s parents did.

#staysafe

At 119: No painting today as it rained most of the day. That did leave a lot of time for puzzle making, games, and a little inside cleaning and laundry. The bigger one and I have also been reading/rereading the original Percy Jackson series. Now she is really into looking up things about Greek mythology. It’s pretty cool other than all the affairs and torture and whatnot. Maybe next we’ll move on to Norse mythology. Nothing sordid there except all the fratricide, genocide, and more affairs.

The little one and I played Barbies for a while again today. After I had finished and went to cook dinner, she stopped me and to ask what I would like to drink out of all her Barbie beverage accessories. I said milk. She said, “Mmm, are you sure? Would you like a beer?” The training continues unabated.

The older one has alien faces painted on her fingernails. We accomplished this earlier this week. They have begun to chip. At lunch she referred to them as “sad alien faces,” which is a tremendous example of one of our favorite games: New Band Name. I was cleaning off the roof during a recent painting endeavor, came off the ladder and remarked that I had a “pocket full of schmutz.” So if a band of middle aged Jewish men are looking for a new name, I’ve got a great one.

#staysafe

Day 120: More painting. About 3/4 done. So sore. Male parental unit helped me with a giant ladder and trim work. Going to take a break for a few days. My body needs to recover. I lost at Mario Kart because my remote crapped out. I was so tired I couldn’t even throw my remote in frustration. I just bulleted across the finish line like a dope. I did, however throw the remote away. That felt a little better.

Things happened with the offspring. We ate food. The normal drill. No more cogent thoughts.

#staysafe

Day 121: Why is the house the cleanest right before a vacation? I guess if anybody breaks in they can admire how spotless the kitchen looks before they take everything.

Road updates with the older one: 20 minutes into the drive, “Only 2 hours to go!” 32 minutes into the drive, “Only 1 hour 48 minutes to go!” Repeat and continue for 2 hours.

Just passed someone going exactly the speed limit in a 1989 Buick Regal. They turned into a roadside convenience store with giant signs for recreational marijuana. Everything about that makes sense.

Signs you don’t usually see down state: Caution Logging

We just saw a large man wearing overalls with no shirt. Already feeling like our trip up north is complete.

How you know your kids are not country kids: (2 minutes on a dirt road and another 2 minutes to go, super whiny) “When are we going to be off this dirt road?!?”

Limited updates while we are on vacation. Going to actually enjoy time with the family and basically not phones.

#staysafe

Day 122: Vacation day 1: Favorite moment from vacation day one:

The little one: “What’s your favorite color snail?”

#staysafe

Day 123: Vacation day 2: just finished the evenings games with a rousing round of who can roll a potato closest to the edge of the table, followed by who can flick an M&M closest to the edge.

We are all completely sober.

#staysafe

Day 124: Vacation day 3: just finished a 2 1/2-hour game of Catan. All four players finished with at least 8 points. The last 30 minutes was so stressful we need to play cards now so we can relax before bed. The offspring will be awake in 7 hours. Time to pony up.

#staysafe

Day 125: Vacation day 4: We spent the afternoon at the beach. A wonderful time with the offspring and family. The bigger one enjoyed the water and digging beach holes. The little one spent a good 2 hours throwing stones into the lake. Some team games tonight to wrap up our last night. Home tomorrow.

#staysafe

Day 126: Vacation day 5: Final day up north. Back home this afternoon.

First thing the older one said when we got back home: “Hey, what do you think the temperature is outside?” Good to be home.

We literally have no food. Better purchase items tomorrow so we can feed the children.

#staysafe

I will continue this project for as long as we are in quarantine. I find the process cathartic. If you have not been keeping a journal of your thoughts, I encourage you to start.

God bless.

Stay safe.


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