Monday, July 19 2021

a new spider, shooting pool, and rodney's party



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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everybody! Happy Monday. It's been a while since we last talked, and I was starting to miss you.

It was a crazy weekend. We packed a lot of action in the past few days. If only I had an extra weekend just to decompress from it all. I'd even take an extra Sunday, or just an extra Sunday evening to stare into the TV with a drink in my hand or absent-mindedly push code around on the computer. But time doesn't work that way, and we have no choice but to keep marching ahead.

You know what we have going on next weekend? You guessed it - absolutely nothing. And we intend to keep it that way.

Sip. When we last left off, we were starting to run around and plan for the party. Friday, just a few hours into the workday, a postal worker dropped a cardboard box on our porch. Seeing the package on her way back from running errands, Marissa came bursting through back door shouting "SPIDER TIME!"

I locked my computer and flew down the stairs. Rodney joined us at the table out of curiosity. Inside the box awaited new spider enclosures, a batch of pinhead crickets, and a brand new curly hair tarantula. We prepared the bedding, squirted some fresh water in his water bowl, and finally we unfurled the tiny tissue fortress. What awaited us inside - a dead spider? A half-dead spider? A panicked spider? An angry spider?

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Glassy's Paper Towel Fortress

None of the above. From the moment he left the safety of his moist paper towel cocoon, Glassy demonstrated utmost class and politeness. He casually stepped into his new enclosure like he owned the place, saying "Oh pardon me. Nice to see everyone," with his body language. After spending five days trapped in a warm cardboard box getting shipped halfway across the country, I wouldn't have been nearly so polite, but Glassy is just that kind of spider.

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Glassy is adjusting well. I've been trying to feed him pinhead crickets all weekend, but being the size of pinheads, they're difficult to maneuver. By the time I was able to snatch up one of the tiny crickets in my tongs, the thing was already crushed into the metal tips and Glassy had a difficult time taking it for himself. The tiny crickets weren't fattening him up either. Last night, as a last ditch effort, I tossed Glassy a piece of a chopped up super worm. I felt a wave of relief when he pulled the worm into his burrow an hour later. I think we can finally call it quits with the pinhead crickets.

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We also moved Karta into her new larger enclosure. Karta is just as stubborn as she is beautiful. The little hairy spider has two modes: sitting still, and bolting in an unpredictable direction. Even as we were moving her into her new enclosure, she flew up the highest branch just before we shut the lid. We gasped in shock, and nobody breathed while I calmly goaded her back down into the clear box.

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On Friday night, Marissa and I got a sitter and went out to dinner. We hid out in the Brass Ring all night. After finishing up dinner, we wandered into the back of the bar to play a few games of pool.

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Neither Marissa nor I play pool very often. I thought we would be evenly matched. But her game, over time, proved to be more consistent and effective.

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Even though she beat me three games in a row, I consider us both winners because neither of us had to deal with any kids for the entire evening.

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Marissa, moments before sealing another victory in the corner pocket.

Finally, the day of the party arrived. We felt the familiar last minute time crunch. We weaved around each other in our cramped kitchen trying to pull together pizza, cake, and appetizers. We didn't get everything done, but it was enough to throw a fun party.

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We had a wonderful time. Friends, family, and neighbors mingled in the backyard and in the living room. We ate pizza, drank beer, and snacked on gummy worms. We had some very topical discussions about the crazy bugs we've come across living in the hostile wilderness of Wisconsin.

Between decorations, food, invites, and gifts, there's a lot of little things about a party that can, ironically, distract your attention from the birthday boy. In the chaotic fog of the party, a small part of me wondered if Rodney was having fun. I didn't get much time with Rodney during the party, but I was relieved to see so many pictures of him grinning, cackling, and beaming with pride.

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After the party, we let Rodney stay up a little later. I thought he'd keep eating candy or tear into his toys, but the little guy was perfectly content just sitting at my desk working through his new How to Draw Dinosaurs book.

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The day after the party, we slept in and kept our to-do list short. Rodney and I snuck out in the morning to pick up coffee and some breakfast from McDonald's. Our only responsibility for that day was emptying out the rest of the beer keg into the street. For a magical five minutes, Union street was a golden yellow river of warm beer.

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What a great party. Thanks to everyone who came out, Rodney (and the rest of us) had an awesome time.

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