March 2nd, 2021


Dig and dig and dig

I fear we have made a grave error. Last night, Grawp missed out on the chance to play Minecraft with his friend from church, so he asked us if we could get Minecraft so we could play with him. It had come up before, soon after he got the game for Christmas, and at that time he seemed to want us to stay away from it so he could learn all the ropes and be The Expert, and we were cool with that, because Minecraft never really interested us. I still don't get the appeal of blocky character designs.

Anyway. Now that Grawp seemed to want us to get it, after seeming to not want us to get it, we were like, "Well, maybe we should get it." So when he asked, Athena told him we were waiting on a payment, and when that came, we could get Minecraft. It came this morning, so we bought the game and started it installing while we went to work. We've been trying to finish this manga translation for much, much longer than we think is reasonable, and we were determined to make a lot of progress today.

We had worked for about an hour to an hour and a half when Grawp called. He had just beat the last boss in Splatoon (which was another bit of drama that happened last night, involving which of the children would get to try fighting it first; we're told it was resolved amicably this morning). We weren't quite sure what to do while we were on the phone and he watching Splatoon credits, so, to make conversation, we told Grawp that we'd gotten the payment we were waiting for. To our surprise (because we're not used to people remembering things we tell them about ourselves for longer than the duration of a conversation), he said, "Does that mean you get to buy Minecraft?" We told him that yes, we had already bought it!

And thus began our nearly three-hour break from work to play Minecraft. It was very cute, and amusing to see him taming horses and taking his pet wolf everywhere, but American designed games tend to not be very intuitive to us, and we hadn't had a chance to learn the ropes before Grawp said, "I'm going to have lunch. You build a house while I hide in a cave." There was a pretty big learning curve and very little help. When he came back, things got more interesting, but we were still pretty eager to get back to work, so we were relieved when we heard his mom say he had a Zoom meeting in 15 minutes.

But that's when Hermie started talking about how she wanted to play with us, too. There was a bit of a tantrum when she wanted to play with us on her account, which doesn't connect to the internet, but Grawp solved it admirably by saying, "I know! We'll build a house for you right here in this account, and we can be neighbors!" So he wandered the area to let Hermie look around and choose a spot for a house, and when she asked for it to be a little closer, he said, "I know!" and went to the top of the house Athena and Grawp share, and said she could live above us. It was very sweet.

Meanwhile, there was suddenly a herd of horses. Grawp had tamed one for himself, then another one came along, so he tamed it for Athena, then two more came along, so now we each had two. And while we were trying to get that situation all worked out, with the horses outfitted in the proper colors for each owner, they had two foals, which everyone agreed could be Hermie's horses. It was around this time that Grawp had to go to his Zoom meeting, so he gave the controller to Hermie, and he tried to stick around and monitor the situation, but when his mother realized he was watching video games during his Zoom meeting, she was like, "Not a chance, mister." And we were like, "But--!!!!" It's hard enough trying to describe game controls to children over the phone when we do know what they are.

Hermie just wanted to get on one of her horses. But she was holding an apple, and that resulted in her feeding horses, and that resulted in horses breeding, and we were in danger of being overrun by horses. We finally got her to put the apple away (and somewhere in there she managed to explain to Athena how to put the saddle and armor on a horse, without ever figuring out how to ride one herself; everything about this game is an enigma), and then she was all, "I'm going to go look for more horses!" and we were like, "NO!!! We do not need any more horses!" She responded with, "Okay. ...But just in case..." and proceeded to do something involving looking for more horses.

Eventually, with the help of Google, we figured out why Athena wasn't able to move up and down, so we fixed the problem and Athena was able to proceed with construction on Hermie's house. Athena had to do it because Hermie didn't know how, but at one point, Hermie had made it into the house and started installing windows and lighting, so "I don't know how" is getting to be more and more of a mystery.

Finally, it was time for Hermie's Zoom meeting, and we were able to get back to work. Happily, the pace of work picked up and we were able to finish the translation! This was extra good news, because we weren't sure that was going to be a thing even without the extended Minecraft break.

We just had enough time to do the rounds in Animal Crossing, have dinner, and play about fifteen minutes of Mario Kart before it was time for our weekly phone call to our mother. Little did we know that, this week, they were determined to experiment with Jackbox Games. So then we got to spend more time on games that we had to figure out the mechanics of--this time because we had to figure out how to do remote play for a game that was not designed for such. It has been a long day, and I'm glad we still have chocolate.

Today I'm thankful for finishing our work in less time than we expected, getting to play with the kiddos, getting a new recipe(!!!) from Pascal, Hermie's adorable yet infuriating "just in case," and having chocolate.