Wednesday, June 30 2021

eve, minnies routine, and my dead neighbor pam

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everybody. Happy Wednesday. Thank you for visiting my bug blog, I have numerous bug updates and close-up pictures of bugs to share.

After yesterday, I was planning on laying off the bug content for a while. But this morning I happened to catch another beetle emerging from a pupa. Time of birth: 8:12 AM. Our Eve was wriggling out of her pupa like you might escape a sweaty sleeping bag.


She's an "honorary" she. I don't know the actual sexes of these two beetles. I read online that if they are well fed, you can apply a bit of pressure to their head and pop out their genitals on the other side of their body for a clear inspection, but it's a little too early in the morning for that kind of rough treatment. Welcome to the nursery, Eve (or Steve).


I had a feeling her pupa was on the way. Last night, I took out one of the cups for Rodney to look at. Most of the pupas are tough and sturdy, like little lego pieces. But Eve's pupa wriggled. Rodney and I gasped. The pupas look enough like little sci-fi aliens, but watching one of them gently wriggle reached a whole new level of the heeby jeebies.

That's it, done with the bug talk. It's safe to resume reading and drinking your coffee at the same time. Speaking of which, how does your coffee taste today? How are you feeling? Good, bad, happy, or tired, it's already Wednesday and we're hot on the heels of a long holiday weekend.

Sip. I haven't talked about Minnie in a while. Minnie is still a puppy in spirit, but she's growing into her awkward teenaged body. Marissa and I compare her butt to a wiggly pencil eraser. The hair around her ears continue to grow out, making her look like a tiny mad scientist.

She had her own little routine. Just after all the dogs wolf down their breakfast, Ollie and Ziggy retreat upstairs for more sleep, and this drives Minnie crazy. She follows them up the stairs, trying to entice them into a morning romp by biting at Ziggy's neck and ears. Minnie's tiny feet bound down the stairs moments later and she prowls around the living room, hunting for something to amuse her. From around the corner, while I'm making coffee I usually hear her break into Miles' play corner where she feels the freedom to behave like a real toddler. She digs around in the soft bins and cubbies for a toy selection, then over the course of five minutes, gently destroys it.

"OK, Minnie. It's dead. Good job, now move on," I sighed, scooping up a plastic toy plate riddled with teeth marks. Minnie reluctantly moved on to her favorite toy: the plushy drill with the hidden button that says "DRILL! BZZZZZZZZ".


Minnie in morning playtime.

After Marissa, Miles, and Rodney awake, Ziggy joins Marissa on the couch or curls around her feet while she works at the computer. Interestingly, Minnie prefers to join me and Ollie upstairs for most of the work day. Minnie doesn't seem like the industrious type, but we suspect that she's just vying to get on Ollie's good side. She sleeps in the back of his crate. Ollie treats Minnie like his ditzy summer intern. If she sticks with it, in time she'll learn to facilitate design discussions and proofread my code the way Ollie does, but for now it's better for her to just sit quietly and watch how the work gets done.


Still learning the ropes.

Ah, I just remembered that I promised to finish that story about my dead neighbor Pam. I don't mean to be so crass about her death, but there's no need to be delicate because Pam is no longer dead. Pam lives in a leafy burnt orange house across the street from us. She happened to be mingling on her porch while Marissa was fending off a pushy solicitor. Marissa waved, and Pam drifted into our front yard for a friendly chat.

"I was worried about you," said Marissa. "I saw you get taken away in an ambulance and then we didn't hear from you in a while, I'm glad you're OK."

"I was dead," said Pam. "The doctor gave me the wrong medicine and my heart stopped. I was dead in my house for eighteen minutes."

That was enough of a tag line to draw me into the story. I left my empty garbage can in the middle of the driveway so I could hear her explanation. Pam said that the doctors barely revived her, but she was practically brain dead. They told her husband she didn't have a chance, but she credits her husband for convincing them to try anyway. They froze Pam in an induced coma. She died in December and woke up in mid February the following year.

"It was weird," said Pam. "Cus, you know where they do all this stuff is not a regular hospital room. I woke up in this giant building, like the size of your house, and there were guys wearing hazmat suits." Pam describes her first moment of consciousness like an alien abduction.

"Did you see anything?" I asked.

Pam smirked. "Oh, like while I was dead?" Pam rocked nervously on her heels. "I promise I'm not weird," she said unprompted. "I always thought there was something after death, and now I know. I talked to old friends and met new people. I remember talking to an Indian girl in a tipi - I promise I'm not weird!" she laughed.

"Everything was great at first," she continued, "but then all of the sudden everything got dark, and I saw a lot of horrible things. I think it was while they were un-thawing me."

Pam explained her theory about how things started to get a lot scarier when the doctors were bringing her out of the coma. They had to slowly raise her body temperature, and somewhere in her subconscious this led her to believe that she was burning in hell.

"I saw horrible things," she reiterated. "My hands looked so burnt and charred from fire that they looked like they belonged on a gorilla. I felt overwhelmed with sadness. It was like I realized that if I believe all the good things that happen after death, I have to believe all the bad things too."

Her conclusion almost felt too profound for a mid morning chat in our front yard. "So that was my quarantine. The doctors called it a miracle," said Pam, breaking the stagnant silence. "They said my brain would never work again, but look at me now!"

We thanked Pam for the interesting story. She politely waved, then staggered back to her leafy burnt orange house. As she walked away I felt lucky to know someone who was embraced by death, frozen in a coma, shuttled through heaven, hell, and back to the land of the living just to resume daily life at the corner of Union street. That's the story about my (formerly) dead neighbor Pam.

Thanks for stopping by today. Have a great Wednesday, everyone.