Monday, October 11 2021

fart day, vaccines, agility, and roaches

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everybody. Welcome to Monday. How did your weekend go?

I had a hard time letting go of the weekend. Watching football while eating cookies on the couch, taking long afternoon naps with the dogs, and drinking fresh coffee during a morning bout of aimlessly browsing the Internet. These fall weekends feel too brief, and when Monday comes around it feels kind of bitter sweet. Sure, we have another weekend ahead of us, but I feel like I wasn't even finished with the last one.

Monday. Or should I say fart day. That's an inside joke we have with Rodney. He does this bit where he repeats phrases, unexpectedly adding the word "fart" in the somewhere in the middle. In fact, I chose to celebrate this running joke in Monday's issue of Rodney's lunchbox napkin doodle.


A stick figure comedian warms up the crowd with Rodney's favorite joke.

Marissa pointed out that such a text heavy concept would probably be lost on Rodney. But it's worth it, if anything just for the chance that Rodney will ask his teacher to read it to him.

Sip. So happy fart day everyone. How are you feeling? At the risk of sounding like a big baby, I'll admit that one of my biggest problems this morning is a sore arm. Our entire family took a short walk to the clinic on the corner of our street. Together we all filed into a cramped exam room where a nurse administered a flu shot to each of us, one at a time.

"You don't know about the trick?" said Marissa afterwards. "If you hold your arm limp while you get the shot, you don't get as sore."

I had never heard the trick. I didn't think it was possible to screw up a flu shot. But when I got mine, I had Rodney in my lap, holding my arm over his waist like a seat belt. Now I feel like I was punched in that arm a hundred times.

Rodney was next. He took the shot like a champ. He shrieked when the needle pierced his skin, crying vigorously for exactly two seconds. The nurse expertly took his mind off the pain by swiftly producing a cool dinosaur bandaid.

"Dude, just be thankful you're not Miles," I said. "He has to get it right in the thigh."

It's a little embarrassing to admit this now, but I never use to be very punctual with my own flu shots. I never went out of my way to get one until Marissa and I got married, and even after that I used to give her grief. "What's the point of getting the vaccine if it just mutates every year?" I'd say. "Why do I need to get the vaccine if I'm not likely to die from the flu?" One pandemic later, and I see things differently.

In other news, Marissa had a big weekend for dog agility. Both Ollie and Ziggy ran double qualifying rounds, and Ziggy was promoted to master class. This means that her run points now contribute toward her running total needed to get a masters championship. Take all that with a grain of salt, because no matter how often Marissa explains dog agility scoring to me, my understanding only gets murkier. How about this - they did an accurate, timely job following Marissa through a series of standardized obstacles. As a reward, Marissa forced them to pose in all their regalia.


Champions beaming with pride.

Minnie accompanied her siblings at the trial, but just as a spectator. We like to think that Minnie somehow thinks she's also competing - maybe for "best behaved pet" or "best puppy ice cream taster".


It was a big pet weekend, and not just for dogs. We invested a modest amount of money into some much needed infrastructure improvements to Roachford, our new cockroach colony. The citizens of Roachford now enjoy a luxurious heating pad and a plastic tray filled with special "roach chow".


The town of Roachford

We had our worries about mixing a heating pad with plastic, but these reptile heating pads are clever. The mat plugs into a thermostat that reads a temperature from a sensor and cuts off the power whenever it gets too hot. Also, the wide screen that Marissa fitted into the lid circulates the hot air out pretty quickly. During the day the internal temp barely reaches the high seventies, and it gets pretty chilly at night. Last night, the roaches were completely hidden, packing themselves into the egg crates along the warm plastic pad. Without the dozens of roaches scurrying, eating, and pooping, the bin actually looked kind of cozy.

Cochroaches still kind of give me the heebie jeebies, but they're a better feeder insect for a number of reasons. Not only are they safer and more nutritious, but they give the spider a chance to flex its hunting instincts. Marissa and I decided to feed Karta last night. I fished a medium sized cricked out of Roachford. Marissa sat at the ready, pointing her camera at the enclosure recording in slow motion mode. I fumbled the roach and it fell onto the floor. Marissa shrieked, and palmed the roach in her hand. To make matters even more embarrassing, while standing up we knocked our heads together like two of the three stooges. When it comes to handling cockroaches, I need a lot of practice.

Despite my blundering, Karta rose to the occasion. She gave us a magnificent strike, and Marissa captured the whole thing in slow motion.

We've embraced our identity as "crazy animal people". In fact, we're not even satisfied with dogs, fish, corals, spiders, worms, and roaches. Can you guess what's going in this new enclosure?


I'll give you a hint - it rhymes with shleapord gecko.


That's what I got today. Thanks for stopping by today, and I hope you have a happy Monday. Or should I say fart day.