Friday, October 22 2021

a throwback morning, the school picture, and duckys gotcha day

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everybody. Happy Friday. It feels like it should already be the weekend now, doesn't it? If I didn't know any better, I'd think somebody slipped an extra work day into this week. But that doesn't matter now - we've finally reached the end, and we finally have some rest coming our way. Here's to soup, taking naps on the couch, and - if we're feeling ambitious - maybe making our way out to the yard to clean up some leaves or dog poop.

Rodney doesn't have school today. We didn't have to worry about packing his lunch, laying out his clothes, or setting out his breakfast. There was no mad morning rush to get him out the door on time. Today, I got to travel back in time before the school routine and relive what the mornings used to feel like. For me, it felt like a throwback morning. Minnie joined me in the kitchen while I put dishes away, brewed coffee, and read. It was nice.

Of course, Rodney is so accustomed to waking up early, he was ready to kick down his bedroom door an hour ago. I had to bribe him to stay in his room by delivering a glass of milk and a bowl of peanut butter captain crunch to his bedside like I was hotel room service.

The real benefactor of this no-school day is Marissa. She's adapted admirably to her new job as Rodney's daily school bus driver, but Marissa is just not wired for early mornings. She can sleep in as much as she wants - she's earned it. Plus, that just leaves more fresh coffee for me.

Sip. How are we feeling today? Where's our energy at? I felt a little bit left out watching Marissa and Rodney settle into their weekend last night. I was the stick in the mud that still had work the next day.

Rodney came home yesterday with the Thursday edition of his Friday folder. Inside, there was a little strip of paper with three head shots. It was his picture day preview. Without further ado, here's the kindergarten school photo.


Here's the question - do we bother with a retake? His "smile" with both rows of teeth looks more like a grimace, but at least both his eyes are open. Half his shirt collar is flipped up, but at least he's still wearing his shirt. And as a bonus, he doesn't have any scratches, dried blood, marker, paint, or boogers decorating his face. I think this is the best you can hope for on picture day from a five year old boy.

In other news, Marissa awoke from a morning power nap to a sharp rap on the front door. The FedEx truck sputtered away, leaving a small package on the front step. We both realized it was Ducky, and I came bumbling down the stairs as she sprang out of the living room blanket.

Marissa cut open the package. We felt relived to immediately see a living, breathing lizard wriggling in the plastic cup.


We quickly brought Ducky upstairs to her terrarium. Marissa gently coaxed her out of the plastic cup.


The exhausted, chilly lizard went straight to the heat lamp. She stretched her limbs out onto the warm tile. Her scaly belly inflated like a balloon and she took a deep breath, like a sigh of relief.


Once Ducky had warmed up, she went for a brisk jog around her enclosure. Marissa beamed as Ducky traversed her lovingly decorated terrain. Ducky peeked into her cave. She clambered up her wooden branch. She dug her feet into her soft dirt pile. Once satisfied, she slithered back into her mossy cave. She buried her head in a cool, damp corner of the hide and finally let her heavy eyelids close.

"Look, she's even sleeping with one arm swept back. It's like a lizard sploot," laughed Marissa quietly.


As I share an office with Ducky, I was more than happy to report back to Marissa on how she was acclimating. "How's the duckysaurus doing?" wrote Marissa over slack. I sent back this picture.



Ducky spent most of the day catching up on sleep in her mossy cave. But every now and then I'd hear tiny scratching on the door. Ducky used her tiny arms to pull herself up onto the bar like a chin-up. She stared at me with her silly lizard half-smile.

Technically, leopard geckos are nocturnal. Ducky really came out of her shell at night just before bedtime. Marissa cracked open the terrarium door to set Ducky up for the night with some calcium dusted mealworms, and to our surprise Ducky climbed right out of the cage onto my hand.


"I read that they actually like to be held. Your hand probably feels really warm," said Marissa. "And the breeder said that she's especially outgoing."

That was the first time I've ever held a gecko. Ducky, I'm looking forward to watching you grow up. I think your going to fit right into this family.

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