Thursday, February 24 2022

a pizza party, buying roaches, and caring for snakes

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everybody. It's Thursday, and that means it's time to kick back and read a journal entry. Are you feeling cozy? Did you remember to make coffee this morning? Let's get into it.

Sip. It was a quiet day yesterday. I spent the whole workday glued to my computer. All week I've had my teeth in a big code change, and yesterday all the little pieces finally started to fall into place. On days like that, it's hard to pull myself away from the action. I'd compare it to a game of solitaire, when you get the feeling you're about to win and you know you're only a few moves away from getting to see the gratifying animation of cards flying around the screen.

The only time I remember getting up from my computer yesterday was to eat some quick lunch. With Rodney gone at school and Marissa out running errands, it was just me and Miles. The two of us had our own pizza party, picking at the same plate of leftover Little Caesar's.

Have you ever had lunch alone with a toddler? There's not much to talk about. The conversation went as far as just yelling "PIZZA PIZZA PIZZA" at each other in a high pitched voice. But to my surprise, Miles repeated the jingle back to me in his own way. PIZZ PIZZ PIZZ. I accidentally taught him a new word. He knew Mama, Dada, please, and now PIZZ.

The way he says "pizza" sounds a lot like the way he says "please". Both words dribble out of his mouth, sounding like the same munged prieeze sound. I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if in the coming weeks, he gets his baby wires crossed and grows accustomed to answering the question What do we say? with an exuberant PIZZA!.


After the workday, Rodney and I jumped in the car and drove to ice skating practice. I sat in the bleachers, watching him obediently carve, swizzle, and dip at his teacher's instruction, giving him a thumbs up whenever he turned around to look at me. However, another girl in his class also began to the same. Timidly, she looked in my direction and hesitantly gave a thumbs up. I had no idea who she was, but I gave her one right back. She seemed put-off by my gesture, and that's because her dad was sitting on the bleachers a few rows behind me. Maybe it's because of all the social distancing, but it's been a really long time since that's happened to me.

We returned home to the smell of stuffed pasta and blueberry scones wafting out of Marissa's kitchen. She informed us dinner would be on the later side, but I learned that this was just a conspiracy between her and Rodney so we would have more time to play video games. "Cook dinner really slowly so we can play LOTS of video games", Rodney told her earlier that day.

"You got it dude," she agreed. "I'll cook dinner in slow motion."

In other news, I've got bugs on the mind. Caring for a growing leopard gecko, you have to really stay on top of your supply of bugs. By herself, Ducky can clear out a healthy roach colony in two weeks, so I'm trying to get in the habit of making occasional trips to the reptile shop and picking up other bugs for her to try. We made our way out last weekend. I picked out some Dubia roaches.

Something comes over me when I shop at the nearby local reptile store. Perhaps I'm so focused on appearing like a competent pet owner that I psyche myself out and buy the wrong thing. I told the girl behind the counter that I wanted large roaches. She even took one out of the box to show it to me. In my moment of temporary shopper's stupidity, it didn't even register with me that the massive two inch roaches would be way too big for our lizard, and I said "Yep, that looks great! Bag em up!"


The big ones are way too big for Ducky, but at least there some smaller ones mixed into the colony. She absolutely loves those. Feeding her, I barely have time to dip the roach in vitamin powder before she's attacking the tongs.

In the store, I handed Rodney my phone so he could explore the wall of terrariums. He returned with a hundred blurry pictures of the same two snakes.


Rodney wants to get his own snake. He's already surrounded by plenty of animals at home, but I guess it's his streak of older brother independence that makes him want to have his own. I was curious, so I looked into the daily upkeep for a small garter snake. They're not dangerous, but they're active snakes that need a lot of space to roam. They need a steady diverse diet of mice, worms, and even small fish.

"Maybe he should work his way up to the responsibility," I said, talking it over with Marissa. "Like get a beta fish or something first."

"I've never liked that argument," said Marissa. "To me it always sounded like, First prove you can take care of an animal that you're not really curious about. I agree that he should wait - he's not old enough to take care of a snake."

On the same day, Rodney asked me if he could also get an electric eel. The silly request made me feel relieved. It was a good reminder that Rodney doesn't even know what he wants, and suddenly I felt OK about turning down his pet requests until he's a little older. Maybe I should make Rodney work his way up to an electric eel. He can start with something smaller like an electric goldfish.

Thanks for stopping by today. Have a great Thursday.