Tuesday, September 7 2021

snorting, arachnophobia, and steak guilt

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everybody. Happy Tuesday. Hope you had a long and relaxing holiday break. Even for all the naps and downtime I've had these past few days, I feel a bit like a zombie this morning. Ziggy had us up at five in the morning today trying to snort and wheeze something out of her nose. We think she may have sucked a hair, a dead bug, or some pretzel salt into her snout. After the snorting fit last night, I sighed looking at my phone clock on the night stand. "See you in an hour," I chuckled before collapsing back into bed for a mercilessly short stint of sleep. It felt so cruel that I'd have to fire up the morning only an hour later.

Marissa called the vet, but Ziggy already seems fine. And like I've said, before all this dog drama I was more than caught up on sleep. Regardless, thank goodness we have coffee to help cover the sleep debt.

Sip. How was your weekend? We packed a lot of work, play, and rest into ours. On Friday, I kicked things off in style by going on a lunch date with my co-located co-worker Joe Beaman. Marissa and I jokingly referred to last Friday as Joe Beaman Day. Joe picked me up in his Harley. I donned his leather biker vest, and the two of us went roaring down the street together.


Joe assured me I looked very natural on a motorcycle.

"Marissa and I always complain about how loud motorcycles are on this road," I yelled into the wind. "But I kind of get it now, this is really fun." I don't spend a lot of time on motorcycles, and it had been long enough since my last ride that every time Joe twisted the throttle, I felt a flutter of adrenaline.

After wrapping up the work day, Rodney and I picked up some frozen pizzas for dinner. I was beginning my on-call shift for the holiday weekend, so we just hung around the house. After putting the kids to bed, I had plans to catch up on chores or work on some code, but seeing Karta flipped over onto her back, all those plans flew out the window. I'd spend most of Friday night watching her molt. I set up a camera to capture a time lapse. Call me crazy, but there was something very powerful watching such a painful and exhausting transition. Watching Karta flipped over onto her back, heaving her old self off with slow contractions, I thought about all the transitions happening our family. Sending Rodney off to Kindergarten. Getting ready to move. Figuring out how to handle the next wave of COVID.

We had Alex and Cassie over for dinner. Somewhere between playing a game of Sproingin' Spiders and mentioning Karta's molt, Cassie felt move to make a confession.

"I'm sorry, but I had to mute you on Instagram," she admitted. "I have such bad arachnophobia. Like, one time we saw a really big black spider on our couch, and I still think about that spider every time I sit down in the living room."

Arachnophobia is a very real thing, and people can't control it. Even for as much enthusiasm I have about spiders, I still carry some of my own. In handling my own spiders, sometimes my hands shake, my breathing quickens, and my heart throbs. Some of that is just from a healthy respect for a wild animal, but I also think our brains are partly programmed to be afraid of spiders. I think just hairy legs, beady eyes, and shiny fangs are enough to tell our own reptile brains stay back!.

"People deal with their own fears in weird ways," said Marissa. "Alex gets a lot of messages now about his spider posts."

"It's true," I laughed. "Since I got into the hobby and started sharing it, I get a lot of hate mail."

No hard feelings. Everybody has their own fears and we deal with them in our own ways. I'm probably never going to stop sharing stuff about my spiders, but if you feel the need to mute me on Instagram or block me on Facebook, I'm not going to take it personally.

In other news, Marissa offered to grill something for our labor day dinner. She sent Rodney and I to Hy-Vee to pick up some steaks.

Buying steaks at Hy-Vee is never an easy decision. At Hy-Vee, you can either pay average price for a bad steak, or an embarrassing price for a good steak. I went the embarrassing route. I felt a twinge of guilt watching the butcher tag them, and I felt the same twinge again ringing it up at the checkout. Returning home, the weight of my own steak guilt made me practically shake Marissa out of her nap on the couch.

"I spent way too much money on the steaks," said Marissa. "We can't mess these up."

Marissa rose to the occasion. We hung outside while she seared and finished the steaks to perfection.


The steak was delicious. So delicious, it almost absolved me of my guilt for spending so much at the grocery store.


What a great weekend. It's going to be hard building some momentum for the work week with all this good food still churning around in my stomach, but we had might as well try. Thanks for stopping by today, I hope you have a great Tuesday.