Monday, April 26 2021

minnie, baby bottle pops, and breeding worms



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Dear Journal,

Happy Monday, everyone. Also, welcome back to all the birds that were gone all winter. The quiet, distant chirping and cooing makes our neighborhood feel cozy and suburban.

How are you feeling today? I'm feeling half tired, but half hopeful. We've got a busy week ahead of us. Marissa and I are getting our second vaccines, and I'm taking Friday off to deal with the side effects. The strong side effects of vaccine don't sound fun. Everyone in my family who has already gotten it was out of commission for a whole day. That part kind of sucks, but at least I have plenty of time to plan ahead. We can stock the house up with cheese, crackers, and other staple sick foods and lean into it. How often do you get to plan on being sick?

Unfortunately we weren't able to get our second shot anywhere closer to home. The second shot, for both of us, will again be in Racine. Marissa is making the majestic drive across Wisconsin on Tuesday afternoon, and my turn will be on Thursday.

Sip. Rodney just hollered downstairs that he needed to use the potty. At 8:38 AM, he's right on time.

So how did your weekend go? How are the little animals in your life? Minnie's personality is coming into form, and it's one of adorable little contradictions. She's gentle and shy, but has moments of supreme confidence and tenacity. She's a criminal with a heart of gold.

2021 04 26 minnie crimes

The other night, I caught her trying to swipe another container of baby food out of the pantry. While my back was turned at the sink, she snagged an apricot baby food container right off the top of the stack and bolted to the dining room table. I shut the sink off and followed her.

"MINNIE." I bellowed. Minnie immediately surrendered, whimpering, relinquishing the cup of baby food that had a single tooth hole piercing the plastic lid. She's a criminal, but she's one racked with guilt.

2021 04 26 puppy sleep

Most of our attention these days follows our new puppy Minnie, but it happens that Miles is entering a golden period of his own. He's content to sit and play alone in his play corner. Every time I look at him, he's got a big drooly grin plastered on his face. He's transitioned to a new size of baby clothes, and in the interim all of his outfits look just slightly too big on him, which does wonders for his comedic effect.

Our manufactured caricature for Miles is a bit of a proud dork - very articulate, easy going, and always looking for an opportunity to plug is Chess club. We tuck his t shirts into his shorts, because that's what we feel like he would do if it were up to him.

2021 04 26 charles mingus

We had a great weekend. We had lots of time to relax, spend time outside, catch up on stuff, and cook good food. I took Rodney with me to Hy-Vee yesterday. Following our custom, our last stop was at the candy wall where he'd be rewarded with a single piece of candy for his patience while shopping. Rodney went with a strawberry flavored Baby Bottle Pop - an exotic choice.

I buckled him into his car seat while he rubbed sanitizer on his hands. I unwrapped his prize.

"You're going to love this dude," I said, unscrewing the top of the candy. "You lick it. You dip it. YOU LICK IT AGAIN." While explaining it to him, I instinctively broke out into song, reciting the jingle from the commercial.

I continued. "It's a BABY BOTTLE POP. BABY BOTTLE POP."

Rodney looked at me like I was from another planet, and it dawned on me that TV commercials probably won't be as big of a part in his childhood as they were for mine. That's probably for the better. It disturbs me how even after going a full decade without thinking of Baby Bottle Pops, I could still sing the song from memory, Rodney's candy activating me like a cable commercial Manchurian candidate.

2021 04 26 baby bottle pop

In other news, the controversial proposal to bring a tarantula into our home was approved, ratified by Marissa only a few days ago. "I'm officially on-board," she said. I haven't made any serious purchases yet. I'm just in the research phase, and that has led me down the wonderful and distracting rabbit hole that is breeding bugs.

Tarantulas are modest, opportunistic eaters. They eat one or two bugs once a week, but they can go months without a feed. They like crickets, larva, and pretty much anything that wriggles and is smaller than their abdomen.

I didn't know this, but their prey's diet matters as well. For example, before feeding them crickets, they need to be "gut loaded", meaning set aside to eat fresh vegetables for at least twenty-four hours. To have a successful, thriving tarantula, it seems you need a whole separate habitat just for the food.

I watched a fascinating YouTube video where a spider-keeper demonstrated how they breed super worms, a thick docile beetle larva. Using a set of small plastic Rubbermaid drawers, the worms can be kept in one of the drawers filled with oats until they turn to small, hard pupas. The pupas need to be moved to a separate drawer before they hatch, because otherwise the resulting beetles will start to eat the other worms. The separated beetles mate and lay eggs, which hatch into more worms and get moved to the first drawer where the cycle begins all over again.

Chump of the week goes to... (drumroll)... Rodney, whose first time enjoying a Baby Bottle Pop was a tremendous failure. After relocating to the dining room table, it only took a few minutes before there was a mound of fine pink sugary powder forming a halo around his plate. Rodney, I sang you the song. The instructions are clear - lick it, dip it, and LICK IT AGAIN. At no point does the jingle recommend you shake it, dump it out, and eat it face first off the table like Al Pacino in Scarface. What a chump!

2021 04 26 chump

Thanks for stopping by today. Have a great day everyone.