Monday, October 3 2022

fever dreams, chief reptile, and hibachi

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everybody. Welcome to Monday. Once I finished brewing coffee, showering, and getting settled, the house fell silent. The cold, morning air in my corner of the studio chills my feet. The buzz of my little electric gnat trap lulls me into focus. But if I really want to get my brain cells percolating, I'm going to need one more crucial ingredient.

Sip. Ah, there it is. The coffee hits different today. I dipped into some of my birthday Amazon money to treat myself to a new coffee grinder. The little $10 blade grinder it replaced has no reason to feel shame, but it simply can't compete with the smooth, quiet motor that gently crushes coffee beans into an even powder. Plus, the automatic timer is a lot more reliable, so for the first time in a while I've enjoyed the luxury of multi tasking in the kitchen while the coffee grinds. Think of all the precious seconds I'm getting back!

It's been a weird morning so far. All weekend, we've played cat-and-mouse with this pesky flu that Rodney picked up from school. During the day, Rodney rough-houses with Miles, fiddles with toys, and plays in the yard. But at night, he feels restless and feverish. An hour ago, shivering in his bed, he blurted out one last lucid thought before drifting off to sleep.

"I think I need to go to the doctor on Wednesday - then we're going to get a bowl of cheese balls and eat them on the couch together while we watch Zubumafu."

He needs sleep, not cheese balls. Plus, I finished all the cheese balls last night.

Earlier in the night, he shot up in bed crying from a fever dream. Marissa sat with him, and in hopes of cheering him up, I grabbed Miles out of his crib. Miles had no appreciation for being let out of his crib at 10 PM. Instead, Miles bolted straight into the kitchen and began making demands.

Rodney had another interesting dream. A few days ago, when we thought he was on the mend, we had this exchange:

"I had a dream about Archer. What was that place where you walk around outside and drink beer?"

"The biergarten," I suggested. "The place we took you in Madison."

Rodney went on. "Yeah, Archer and I were at the biergarten by ourselves after they closed. We were just sitting by the water watching the sunset, and I just put my arm around him."

We never met Archer at the biergarten, but the scene he described still felt profound. Maybe Rodney doesn't feel settled yet. A big move, a new school, and different kids - Rodney's fever dreams gave us a peak into the stress and uncertainty he's battling.

It's a shame he's been under the weather. I would have love to take him to Chief Reptile. Without my go-to copilot, I had to make the adventure to spend my birthday share of the family budget alone. I stood like a statue in the back of the store, staring indecisively into their collection of spiders.


I went with a juvenile Aphonopelma seemani. I've wanted one in my collection ever since I recognized the species from the original Home Alone movie. Even though the movie characterizes Buzz's tarantula as a dangerous creature, I've heard the opposite - that they're really docile. Sure enough, this one wandered out of its deli cup like a timid puppy. I've noticed that whenever I sit down at my desk, it walks out onto the flat dirt like it's observing me.


Rehousing the A. seemani

I came home with two spiders, but that wasn't my fault. I got to chatting with their resident tarantula person, and she decided to treat me to a free Nandu chromatus. "I want it to go to a good home," she said.

This smaller sling was a lot jumpier, so I didn't get any pictures. I repurposed its original piece of cork bark as a hide. He immediately bolted for cover, and the next morning I found it burrowed in a perfectly circular hole in the dirt. It looked like it was made by a power drill.


In other news, Marissa had to send out a small package.


This hanging, sculpted canvas piece needed to get to New York. Marissa built a wooden crate in the garage. We hosted a guessing pool to see who would get the weight right.

For my birthday, we took the kids to a Hibachi restaurant. They were dazzled by flying knives, spatulas, and shrimp tails.


During the chef's warm up routine, he dropped his spatula. It went skittering off the table. Rodney belted out the word "MISTAKE". For the rest of the routine, Rodney studied his actions closely, ready to call out any more mistakes.


Let's end the entry with some more napkin doodles. Sometimes during the weekend when Rodney is too excited to fall asleep, I peek my head into his room for impromptu hand to hand combat. We punch, kick, and wrestle. I throw stuffed animals at him, and he uses his keen ninja reflexes to dodge them. It's an ongoing war - two ultimate warriors trying to settle an endless debate. Who is stronger?


Hockey is back. Out of all of us, Marissa is the most grateful.


It's a shame Rodney had to stay home from school today. He's missing the first pizza Monday, and he's also missing the opportunity to find this horrifying cartoon in his lunchbox today.


Have a great Monday, everyone.