Monday, July 12 2021

party food, a pet update, and kalahari

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone. Happy Monday. Time to put on a brave face, roll out of bed, and do my best to pretend I didn't eat the rest of Rodney's birthday cake right out of the tupperware with the fridge door open. Our go-to recipe really lives up to the name "mistake cake". Every time we make one for a birthday, Marissa and I are always left with a big, empty tupperware container and a stomach full of frosting and regret.

Late night gluttony aside, it's good to be here, and I'm glad you can join me for the first journal entry of the week. We're heading into another busy week. Rodney's birthday party is this Saturday, and seeing that the poor guy missed out on a birthday last year, we'd like to bring the party back in style for our first vaccinated summer.

Last night, we were discussing what kind of food to do for the party. We already told a few family members about our plan to make street style tacos, but as the date came closer, I felt less convinced. Making three and a half plates for our small family dinners is one thing, but I wasn't convinced we'd be able to scale it for the party. When I think of tacos, I think of keeping a lot of small ingredients warm. I think of a lot of people flocking around a small table. I think of quickly exhausting every piece of plate-ware in our kitchen arsenal.

"Why don't we just do choni," I suggested. Marissa and I had a simultaneous sigh of relief. When you pick a good recipe for a party, it just feels right. For parties, choni is bullet proof. It's easy to scale up and tag team the ingredients. You bake it, cut it up into party-friendly squares, and people can immediately stack their plate to their hearts content. Plus, it wouldn't hurt to start burning through our surplus of backyard basil.

Sip. How about a pet update? Exciting news for the fish - Marissa finally settled on a rock formation. "I think I'm going to super glue it like this," she laughed. "The guy at the pet store told me not do just in case I changed my mind, but I'm going to do it anyway."


The aesthetically pleasing rock formation is only the beginning. This new tank is pretty sweet because it provides a secret compartment in the back for all the hardware. Rather than suspending a heater, filter, and skimmer on the sides of the tank, Marissa can install them all in back where the water is continuously pulled into a holding tank. To the viewer, it's just a magic box filled with water, coral, and fish. Marissa is still waiting for a few more parts, but eventually she'll begin rescuing the fish and coral from the first tank.

The fish aren't the only creatures due for a new habitat. Our Mexican Red Knee Karta has only eaten two halves of a warm during her stay, but she's already looking just a little too big for the small acrylic cube.


Karta enjoys a fresh worm butt, a refreshing summer time drink for spiders.

She needs a bigger house, as well as a new bed of dirt that isn't so swampy. Remember those cute little water bowls we fashioned from the bottom of a plastic pipet? That was a resourceful temporary measure, but it didn't take long for the plastic to come apart at the seam and leak water. Thinking Karta was just a really enthusiastic water drinker, I kept filling the bowl, which would leak more water into her dirt. It's no wonder why she spends so much time hanging out in her fake plants like a spider monkey - it's either that, or braving the damp swamp beneath her feet.

We have a big shipment from our friends at Jamie's Tarantulas on the way. We're getting a new enclosure for Karta that is twice the size. We're getting some pinhead crickets for the kids to hunt, just to keep their instincts sharp. And we have a third juvenile curly haired tarantula on the way. Rodney, who holds the sacred responsibility of naming all of the pets in our house, has settled on the name Glassy for our new spider.

In other news, we went to Kalahari water park yesterday. We left in the late afternoon, which proved to be a brilliant move. Opposite to us on the highway, we drove past a miserable traffic jam of cars returning to Illinois with kayaks and bikes. When we got to the water park, it was practically empty.

We weren't sure how Miles would behave. He seems to like splashing around in the tub, but going from our bathtub to a Wisconsin Dells water park is quite a leap for a quiet little COVID baby like Miles.

Miles loved every minute of it. He screamed and grinned from his little corner of the kiddie pool. He was fascinated with the little geysers and plastic rock beds. Always the little thrill seeker, he loved the slides, cackling on his back each time he reached the bottom.


Rodney, a recent member of the four-foot-two club, gained access to newer, more exciting rides. For the first time ever, we were able to ride some of the bigger raft slides together. We rode the same slide three times in a row. Rodney was so excited that he tried to stand-up in the tube while we were hurdling through a dark tunnel, and I had to hold him down with the drawstring of his floaties.

Rodney also got to try out the body-boarding pool. Being the one attraction in Kalahari that requires some skill, it draws a peculiar crowd of douche-bags and show-offs, and watching them try to ham it up is an attraction in its own right. The lifeguards were so fed up with the usual clientele, that they went all out for Rodney. They helped him launch the board up the waves and balance. They showed him how to steer with his hips and ride the crest. They even offered to let him jump forward in line and try again.


The great part about body boarding is that even the wipe-outs are fun.


Then it was my turn. Wanting to bring the Kalahari body-boarding ride to its truer roots, I did my best to act the part of a typical body-boarding show-off.


Kalahari was awesome. Thanks for stopping by today, hope you have a great week.