Tuesday, October 19 2021

video games, closets, and a tour of the gecko enclosure

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everybody. Happy Tuesday. How are you feeling this time around - content? Rested? Tired from staying up too late playing video games?

After closing up the house last night, Marissa took a seat at the desk to go through her calendar for the next day. I joined her and booted up the Xbox. "You're going to be tired," she sighed.

"Just a level or two," I said, brushing off her warning.

At the moment, I'm playing through Call of Duty: World at War. The game includes an addictive mini-game where you defend an abandoned building from zombified Nazi soldiers. Marissa and I used to play so often, we joked that mowing down waves of Nazi zombies was practically like a form of marriage counseling. Now that the xbox is set up again, we think it's high time to reprise on of our favorite forms of couples' therapy.

But you have to actually beat the game to unlock Nazi Zombie mode. Yesterday, I dutifully created a new campaign, and I've been speed-running my way through World War II ever since. I booted up the Xbox after work. Rodney, across the hall in quiet time, curiously leaned into the hallway. "What are you playing, dadda?" he asked.

"It's a video game. Sorry dude, you can't watch this one it's too scary," I warned.

"But I'm not scared," said Rodney persuasively. "Maybe I just watch with you?"

"I'll play a Spider-Man game with you later, dude. This one is too scary." With that, I wheeled my chair to the right, and gently closed our bedroom door in his face.

Sip. It's good to be here today. What outfit are you wearing? Today Rodney is wearing his silly Minecraft t-shirt - the one with the face of a creeper. He tells me that Carter has the same shirt. "Maybe Carter will wear his Minecraft shirt and we'll be twinning," he said.

Today I'm wearing a new t-shirt I got from Reef-A-Palooza, and I can tell it's already going to be an instant classic. On the shirt, a dapper clownfish grins and gives a thumbs up under the words TANK IT EASY. It's got a neon colored Chicago flag on the right sleeve with four pink starfish standing in for the stars. It also smells like a new t-shirt. New t-shirt might be the finest fragrance in the world.

Speaking of clothes, allow me to blow your socks off with this big news. Marissa and I have combined our clothes closets. We've moved all of my clothes into hers, and have repurposed my bedroom closet for hobbies.

I'm still getting used to the new arrangement, especially when it comes to my morning routine. This morning, I sleepily wandered into my old closet with my phone flashlight in hand, reaching for the hook where my robe used to hang. But there are no clothes in there now. Just roaches, worms, fish salt, sand, dirt bricks, moss, dechlorinater, feeding tongs, some bins, and our big ugly metal filing cabinet.

But apart from the fact that my routine-set brain still automatically leads me to my old closet, the great hobby closet experiment has been wildly successful. Somehow both of the closets feel cleaner with the same amount of cumulative stuff.

In other news, our new Leopard Gecko Ducky arrives in the mail tomorrow. Marissa was putting the finishing touches on Ducky's enclosure. Let me give you a tour.

This is the cool side.


Marissa had to redo the collapsed clay burrow in the corner after the balloon technique backfired. But she still left plenty of shade, cover, and fluffy dirt for Ducky to hide. Away from the heat lamp, this area will probably make for cozy afternoon naps when the midday sun heats our bedroom and raised the temperature. This side is also Ducky's poop corner - hopefully. We tried to make it an obvious choice, but as the old saying goes, you can lead a gecko to the poop corner but you can't make it poop there.

This is the warm side.


Along with other places to hide, Ducky has a warm piece of black tile under the heat lamp. Ducky also has a mossy cave, which is great for making extra humidity.


Ducky's knowledgable breeder has been fantastic with fielding questions. Marissa tells me she responded to her before she even got to the pet store for extra supplies. The breeder tells us that Ducky is currently eating about five meal worms per day. So to ease her into the transition, we picked up batch of mealworms - yet another colony of bugs to live in the secluded hobby closet. Their living space was not so lavish as Ducky's - just a plastic box filled with oats and decorated with a single peeled potato.

Compared to spiders, Gecko's go through a lot of insects, and they need some variety. It sounds like a good way to cull the numbers. The last thing I want is for my roach colony or worm colony to get too big and plan an organized revolt.

Speaking of enclosures, I can tell that Spidey is almost ready for a bigger house. He hasn't rearranged his burrow in months. Instead of digging, he wanders the walls and hangs off the ceiling during the day. He's even been so bold to cautiously wander over the sides of his enclosure while I was changing his water. This might sound unsettling, but I've come to understand that Spiders need to feel established in their environment. At least as juveniles, they're not the kind of creatures that are looking for the next chance to make a run for it. When Spidey is exploring, the smallest table nudge or flick of a paint brush will send him scurrying back to his familiar hole in a panic. Sometimes when spiders explore a new area, they leave behind a thin web trail so they can follow the scent and find their way back. They can explore, but they need to stay anchored to somewhere familiar.


If I had to guess, he has one more molt before he needs a new home.

That's what I got today. Hey - thanks for reading. I'll see you around the Internet.