Thursday, October 7 2021

meetings, picture day outfits, and new spiders

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everybody. Happy Thursday.

Right now, my brain is in hurry up and write mode. Today I've got a meeting at 9:15, which is a whole fifteen minutes before I usually make it to my desk with a cup of coffee. So this morning, I had a decision to make - would I cut the fifteen minute shower, or the fifteen minutes I spend staring out the window and drinking coffee?

Don't worry - I kept the shower. There will be plenty of time to stare out the window and drink a choice beverage when I've finished out the work week at the end of the day. Plus, I think it's physically impossible for my brain to function without the daily rush of hot water on my face.

I'm grateful today is the last day of my work week, but I have an absolute gauntet to run before I make it to my extended weekend. Today, my work day is book-ended by two meetings - one at 9:15 and another evening sync up at 5:30, and there are plenty of meetings and ongoing slack conversations sprinkled throughout the day. However this goes, I see an excellent nap in my future - the kind where we stay in bed until dinner time, leaving just enough time to unpack the takeout food and set the table. Here's to naps, takeout food, and of course coffee.

Sip. So good morning, everyone. How are you feeling today?

It's picture day today at Rodney's school. On any other morning, Rodney would happily waltz into the dining room in a casual dinosaur t shirt, but this morning I overheard a parental skirmish in his bedroom. Rodney was reluctant to don his blue plaid button-down shirt.

The night before, we witnessed a promising moment where Rodney tried on the shirt as a practice run. "See, no big deal," he boasted, quickly removing the shirt throwing it to the side. But it appears that even Rodney could put on a dress shirt if he had the assurance that he could immediately rip it off. The real thing this morning didn't go nearly so smoothly. Tears streamed down his face. He hyperventilated. He wormed in his seat at the breakfast table, uncomfortably tugging at the top button of his dress shirt.

"Remember, dude," said Marissa. "If you pull this off, you get icecream after school."

Watching Rodney try to suppress his outfit anxiety made me think of the childish wardrobe conflicts I've had in my own life. By far, the most memorable of which happened over a pin-striped dress shirt I had to wear in fifth grade. Royal blue stripes streaked vertically down a crisp white dress shirt with a broad, angular collar. The shirt tail was stylishly tapered, but that didn't matter since my school made us tuck our shirts in anyway. Objectively, it was a cool shirt, but I felt like such an asshole whenever I wore it, and being only a fifth grader I just lacked the words to express to my parents how self-conscience it made me feel. When you're a boy in school, wearing any kind of outfit that people notice feels strange enough. While wearing that blue pinstriped shirt, a kid or teacher uttering the words "hey, nice shirt" sent me into a mental spiral of embarassement. I just wanted to wear clothes that made me feel cool, not clothes that would get me noticed by people. Maybe Rodney will have better luck growing into that than I did.


Cartoon Corgi in his picture day best, in honor of picture day.

Yesterday was a big day for bugs. My birthday shipment of spiders arrived on our doorstep in the early morning. Marissa cleared the table in a hurry. Luckily, I had a half hour between meetings to get the new specimens out of the shipping tubes and safely tucked into their enclosures with water.


Also lucky that I happened to wear my spider shirt yesterday.

We first opened Leo, the Green Bottle Blue tarantula. Leo looks like a spider, but his body language makes him feel more like a space alien. He climbs confidently and comfortably over obstacles, and despite being just three quarters of an inch, he exhibits no fear. Leo's hornet-like yellow striped abdomen would be more off-putting if he didn't also have fuzzy pink legs tipped with cartoonish black feet.


Chromatopelma cyanopubescens, AKA "Leo"

I was mesmerized by the way Leo effortlessly scaled the walls of his enclosure, leaving thin airy web behind him. This morning, Leo hung lazily from a new web he made in the corner.


Next, we opened Spiker, the Chaco Golden Knee. I gave Spiker the mossy enclosure, and he must have appreciated that because the second he left his catch cup and darted into a tuft of moss was the last second I saw him the rest of the day.


Grammastola pulchripes, AKA "Spiker"

This morning, Spiker had set up shop in his moss covered shack, pushing a pile of dirt into the opening to serve as a hastily made door - at least I hope it's a door. Spiker had better not try fasting before he gets at least one good meal.


Lastly was Venom, our Brazillian Black. Just to be clear, I named this one "Venom" because his species gets really big and they exhibit a gorgeous velvety black color. Think "Venom" as in "Spider-man vs. Venom", not venomous. But little Venom has a lot of growing to do before he reaches his full potential as a dark, giant monster. At the moment, he's a fuzzy little nervous wreck quivering in the corner.


Grammastola pulchra, AKA "Venom"

New things - stuffy outfits for picture day or scary new plastic enclosures - can be overwhelming. It's OK to take time to adjust to changes and embrace them when you feel ready. That's what I got today. Have a great Thursday everyone, I've got a meeting to run to.