Tuesday, December 14 2021

window stickers, hating school, and spilling things



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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone. Happy Tuesday. We're still over a full week away from the real celebrations, but it's already beginning to look a lot like Christmas on our end of the street. At night, we enjoy the glow of our soft white Christmas lights that wrap around the yard. Our beloved shimmering holiday Corgi also reappeared to take his rightful throne on our front porch.

For holiday decorations, Rodney is partial to these window stickers.

penguins

We left him three sheets of these gel stickies to distribute around his own habitat. He placed a pair of penguins on the dining room window. Instead of just enjoying their presence, he finds time once a day to fiddle with them, rearranging their body parts in new ways. But not even these penguins have it as bad as the one he put on the inside of the car window. That penguin hardly lasted a day before we unwittingly sent him to a brutal death when we rolled Rodney's window down. The poor Christmas penguin was sucked into the car door, never to be seen again.

Do you have your coffee? Good. Today let's toast to the penguin sticker forever lost in our car door. Here's to you, Christmas penguin. We hope you find comfort in whatever else Rodney has stuck to the inside of the car window and lost in the same way.

Sip. How are you feeling today? Do you feel social and open to people, or would you rather fulfill all your social responsibilities while hiding behind a dirt wall. If you said the latter, than you share yet another thing in common with Spidey the tarantula.

The other night, Spidey came out to the mouth of his burrow while I happened to be standing in front of the shelf. I stared into his little beady eyes, and we shared a brief moment of special creature connectedness - or so I thought. That moment of eye contact inspired Spidey to spend the rest of the night feverishly digging deeper into his burrow, using the spare dirt to make a perfect semicircle wall directly in my line of site.

walls

I'm doing my best not to take it personally. Spiders are low maintenance pets, but they're also not very loving pets. In all likelihood, tarantulas can't even recognize faces. You can give them all the love and care you want, but they're not biologically wired to reciprocate that love. In fact, sometimes they can quickly decide to put up drastic barriers, and you have to respect them.

Last note on the subject of spiders. I ordered a new one a few weeks ago. Late at night, influenced by some wine, I pulled the trigger on an Aphonopelma hentzi, also known as the Texas Brown tarantula. They're small, ruddy tarantulas native to the warmer parts of the United States. In the fall the males can be seen wandering around the suburbs of Arizona, Colorado, Texas, and Oklahoma looking for females. They're also incredibly slow growing and long-lived - the females can sometimes stick around for thirty years, and even the males can make it a decade.

But sadly, I bought the Spider before I realized the online shop was closed for the holidays. Even though I have Tex's enclosure ready to go, he won't ship until January. But first thing in 2022, we'll have a seventh spider join the bookshelf kingdom.

In other news, Rodney was excited to be back at school, but we can tell the extended sick break messed with his internal clock. Last night, Marissa sent him upstairs to pick out an outfit. Rodney shot back, "Why?"

"Because you have school tomorrow," she answered.

"School? School again?" He rolled his eyes, like he had just heard the punchline of a joke. Marissa and I shared a laugh later.

Rodney is very school positive. I wonder when that will change? Doesn't every kid grow to hate school? I have this vivid memory from sixth grade. I was sitting at my desk surrounded by the sound of scratching pencils. We were supposed to be working on something, but I instead spent the whole time staring at the clock in the front of the room. I remember being gripped with the realization that at in sixth grade I wasn't even half way done - that for all the time I had already spent sitting in a desk taking instructions from a teacher, there would be even more of that in the future. I decided that I didn't hate school, but that I was just thoroughly annoyed with it and would silently celebrate my first day as an adult where I'd finally be left alone.

The crummy thing about being an adult is that the responsibility doesn't all just funnel through a single social establishment. It seems to fly in from all over the place. You have to coordinate schedules with friends and family. You have to drop your car off to be fixed, and be home to let repair people in, and you have to sift through your junk mail to find important letters from the city. Thinking about it makes me miss the days where all of life's responsibilities fit inside my backpack.

We had a zoom call with the college friends last night. By a fluke, it started a whole hour earlier. Ben signed on first to test the zoom link I sent around, and by total coincidence, Chi Won joined the call - he forgot to re-adjust his American clock for daylight savings. I was planning on jumping on just after dinner, but Rodney spilled a full glass of milk on his lap. But I was grateful I had a good story to tell.

"He was balancing a full glass of milk between the table and his chin," I laughed. "And he was just wearing underwear, and spilled it right into his lap." In retelling the moments that led preceded sitting down at my computer, I did my best to capture our horror when Rodney took off his underwear and cleaned himself up with a single swipe of paper towel starting from between his legs and ending at his mouth.

Ben shared a good story of spilling Cheerios at church. His son threw himself on the ground and started to eat them. Then, seeing that Ben was trying to clean them up, his toddler stretched himself over the Cheerios, as if to protect them. "He was like Smaug guarding his treasures," was the line that finally made me chortle.

Kids are crazy. Thanks for stopping by today, have a great Tuesday, everyone.