So I have started playing video games, pretty much for the first time ever. I mean I used to be into Zork back in the boop beep boop bop blrrrrrrrrr eeeeep kssssssssssssssshhh bding bding KSSSHHHHH dialup days but that’s definitely been a while and I don’t know if you know this but games have totally advanced since then? Anyway I got this game called Subnautica on a whim and I spent actual entire human days playing it — I know this because the load screen gives you a little ongoing tally of how much of your life you’ve been wasting — and I got OBSESSED. I was taking notes and printing maps and then I was watching those YouTube videos of dudes who publish their gameplay which I had previously believed was probably the lamest corner of the entire Internet. Who watches a video of a stranger playing a game? The middle-aged lady who can’t figure out how to get past the scary LEVIATHAN REAPER, that’s who.

I had such a good time with Subnautica I started checking out other titles, and Tomb Raider was on sale so I started playing that, and I’m thinking about Portal and Stardew Valley, and also I am letting Riley play Far Cry 5 because it is delightfully profane and there is an awesome dog who attacks evil hillbillies on your behalf.

Games! Turns out they are fun!

Plus they maybe add a little vicarious thrill to a pleasant but decidedly un-thrilling lifestyle, along with a satisfying sense of linear progress when one is trapped in a pile of ever-replenishing tween laundry.

Last week was the kids’ spring break, and they, along with their cousin, spent two days with John’s parents in Coos Bay. That meant John and I had two days on our own, which was delightful. We felt so drunk with freedom one night we went out for pie — at 8 PM.

There’s a big difference between briefly stepping out without the kids (our normal ultra-lame getaway is what we call the store date, which is where us adults go to Safeway and wander the aisles bullshitting while the kids are back home staring at YouTube), and having them totally under someone else’s care for a decent period of time. It’s rejuvenating, a bit like coming up for an extra-oxygenated inhale. It’s an opportunity to actually connect as married people, not married people with kids.

(I mean, even though we tend to talk about the kids the whole time.)

This stage of parenting is much less hands-on than those early bootcamp years, but it’s consuming all the same. Now we have, like, people around all the time, people who are present in a way small children are not, so pretty much everything we talk about and everything we do is as a foursome. It can be hard to step out of that and be reminded, this is who I still am as an individual, or this is who we are as a couple.

It was so great to have that break from our usual routine, be able to take a minute to think, Oh hey, it’s us. I like us. Let’s go get us some pie.

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