Wednesday, December 29 2021

snow, scary depot, and an empty enclosure

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone. Happy Wednesday. I'm sending you good vibes from my desk today. Isn't it funny how much a little bit of snow can lift your mood? I forgot how gratifying it feels to walk through a fresh layer of powder in your front yard. Taking the garbage can in yesterday, my shoes left fresh impressions in the driveway, each step making a deeply satisfying muffled squeesh sound behind me.

Sure, it would have been nice to have some snow on Christmas, but we still managed to win the fickle favor of winter. It snowed the day after Christmas, just after we arrived home and finished putting the house away. It thawed the next day just in time for us to shlep our Christmas tree to the curb and pack away the Christmas lights. Then the heavy stuff finally came down - heavy, wet flakes drifting through the air.

Somewhere in the fray of this past year, we lost our snow shovel. Marissa fuzzily remembers it breaking while shoveling heavy ice at the bottom of our driveway. I have a wishy-washy memory of grabbing it out of the shed to move rocks or heavy dirt in the yard this summer. But whatever happened to our shovel, we needed a new one. So Marissa and Minnie took a short trip to Home Depot. Marissa brings Minnie along for exposure therapy, and for this reason we nicknamed it Scary Depot.


So much space. So many smells and strangers. So many stimuli to process. I can hardly imagine what tiny Minnie thinks of the high pitched whizzing buzz saw or the whirring fork lifts. But in terms of outings to Scary Depot, this was one of Minnie's most successful exhibitions. Marissa tells me that throughout the entire visit, she only made one small muffled bark - a bork. Probably just reminding herself to be brave.


Minnie says that a hero is no braver than an ordinary pup - just a pup that is brave five minutes longer

Sip. It's good to be here. How's the abbreviated work week coming along? While waiting for the coffee to finish this morning, I took a short pass at the living room, kicking the toys into their respective piles and cleaning up the remnants from the unlucky ones that Minnie destroyed. The new Christmas toys have already been thoroughly incorporated into our home ecosystem. Cardboard pizza and tiny kitchen utensils litter the play corner. Foam darts and plastic spider-man webs roll freely on the carpet. I poured a cup of coffee and trudged upstairs to take a shower with Mr. Salt and Mrs. Pepper - nothing weird going on in my marriage - I'm simply talking about the toys in Miles' new Blue's Clues bath play set. The bright blue bucket replaced the Paw Patrol rescue boat, which on the day we converted it into a bath toy it soaked up a pocket of water into its hull that never fully dried out. Welcome to the party, Mr. Salt and Mrs. Pepper. I prefer your company over the Mold Patrol rescue boat any day.

Speaking of gifts, I have been exploring my new video game collection. Last night I booted up my new Madden game. I made a custom player in my likeness and dropped him into the Bears roster as starting quarterback. On the first drive, I completed an eighty yard bomb to Brandon Marshall, but after taking a ten yard sack I was benched the rest of the game for Cutler. It's no wonder Trestman didn't work out. Out of spite, I ejected the disc and played Call of Duty instead.

In other news, I have an animal dilemma. Among my Christmas haul, I got a new glass enclosure - the exo terra nano. It's a smaller, boxier version of Ducky's enclosure. My original plan was to use this enclosure to build a bioactive home for an Asian Forest scorpion. "Bioactve" in this case means a living system: natural soil, plants, and even a colony of scavenging arthropods living in the soil, which do great cleaning up after a messy and reckless scorpion feeding.

But I've already talked myself out of the scorpion idea. A scorpion would quickly outgrow the cozy 8x8x8 tank. Scorpions like heat, and I didn't account for space to hide a heat pad. On top of it all, Rodney hates the idea of getting a scorpion.

"I don't want a scorpion," he confessed. "I don't want it to sting me."

So it's probably not going to be a scorpion. Marissa gave me the idea of rescuing a tarantula. I love the idea of taking on a malnourished, unwanted tarantula and setting him up for retirement in a beautiful bioactive paradise - a moving "rags to riches" story. I thought about the tarantulas they keep at our local Pet World. I used to love visiting them with Rodney, but now after getting into spiders I can't bear to see them cowering in cramped deli cups without space to dig, hid, or stretch their legs. But if I bought one of those Spiders, I'd just be further financing the problem, encouraging Pet World to restock another tarantula to suffer in its place.

Marissa suggested I try Facebook. I spent an hour sifting through groups and postings. It appears surrendered tarantulas are not that common. The most promising bite was a two year old news story in a local Boston paper about a tarantula named Rosa who was recovered from illegal animal trade. "Thank you for your interest, but Rosa was adopted many months ago," they replied cordially in their email.

So I have no idea what's going in this beautiful empty enclosure. It's probably not going to be a scorpion. It may not be a rescue tarantula. Sadly, it won't be the local Boston celebrity Rosa either. What would you do with a tiny glass enclosure - which pet would you get?

Thanks for stopping by today. Have a great Wednesday.