Fresh Air and the Ticket Queen

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Last night, we had dinner outside on our patio. Tabitha made this awesome shrimp stir-fry. Which may have even rivaled the Thai food, that we had picked up for date night, the night before. My wife is an amazing cook.

Sitting outside, enjoying the fresh air and cool breeze, I think we all felt liberated from the house. The warmer temperatures we’ve been experiencing, combined with humidity, have triggered us running the air conditioning.

Air conditioning, in the State of Texas, is a serious thing. Summers here make it feel like you are suddenly an astronaut. Your home, your car, even your place of work become your climate controlled spaceship. Every once in awhile, you’ll adventure out for an away mission. Perhaps you’ll even venture forth to work in the lawn followed up by a mandatory dip in the pool. But eventually, summers here make the pool water match the outside temperature. Nothing like diving into 80-85 degree water on a 90-100 degree day. Ah, so refreshing!

The Coronavirus, or as those more in the know call it COVID-19, has forced upon us social distancing as well as self quarantine. Even as the Governor of Texas opens up the State, the virus damage has already been inflicted. Self quarantine has triggered those mid-summer cabin fever feelings already. It is only May, and I am ready to escape the spaceship–I mean house–and enjoy fresh air.

That is why last night, I enjoyed spending time with family outdoors. Being able to enjoy the non-spaceship air; being able to eat good food and not eat family. We even managed to get a game of Ticket to Ride going. Wyatt (green train cars) destroyed Tabitha (yellow train cars) and I (red train cars).

Ticket to Ride

Playing Ticket to Ride, as a family, is a completely different experience than the silent games Tabitha and I play together. No longer is the game a battle between two powerful rail tycoons. Instead, Wyatt introduces a random element to the mix, another player to foil our track laying schemes.

As Wyatt cut me off from a crucial move, I whined out loud, “No!”. And then I kept whining until he won. Darth Vader would be proud.

It’s interesting to think that one day we could have another Ticket to Ride player in our house (nothing happening on the adoption front, FYI, all is quiet). Until that day, I’ll be working on destroying a little boy’s dreams… I mean… blocking a young man’s trains.

As the final points were counted, I ended up placing third. I am in no way salty about my ranking, as I am used to being beaten by Tabitha. Tabitha is the Ticket queen. Or maybe I should say, she was?

Embrace the Calories

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It is easy to find oneself lost in routine. Getting up, getting ready, and spending the day at work. Seeing family at lunch and then through the evening. The Texas summer heat serving to bake the daily routine into a stale, dry loaf.

I’m a creature of routine. I thrive in knowing what is going to happen. But I also think I dislike routines. We are all living paradoxes in some way.

Driving down the same streets everyday, I find myself desiring change. I feel stuck in the things I know, the places I’ve seen. So I’ll switch up my routine, drive down a different street, show my brain something new for the day.

Saw an article on twitter the other day, all I read was the headline:

“Are You Taking Your Family For Granted?”

The familiar, the routine, can cause us all to take things for granted, especially our relationships.

Last night, with my son gone at Vacation Bible School (VBS), my wife and I decided to go to dinner. Earlier in the day, she texted me and asked, “Are we going on a date?”

A date…

What had originally just been a meal out without the kid suddenly became something different.

A date!

Dates are exciting. Dates require thinking about what to wear, where to go, and being intentional in conversation. I found myself a bit out of practice (I can be honest here, right?). But I found out what my wife has been reading (she reads a ton). We dreamed. Tab and Wyatt will be studying California history this next semester. So we talked about where we want to visit when we visit California next. Just being with my wife, reconnecting with her on a date, was amazing. Dates always remind me of why I married Tab (like I need that reminder… but sometimes I do).

Breaking a routine means doing something out of the ordinary. A mid-week date for us was the perfect shake-up. I only wish we had ordered the Confetti Pizookie. When you live you might as well go all the way and embrace the calories.