Friday, May 13, 2011

The Sequel to Our Creature Feature

When we moved into our church four years ago, the renovations had not been fully completed.  For example, the doors separating the bell tower from rest of the structure had yet to be installed leaving a gap that exposed the interior of our walls.  This was usually not a big deal, but did become a concern one evening. I was quietly working at a desk in the bell tower, and felt as though I was being watched.  I was.  A black rat snake was curiously observing me paying bills; his head peeked out from the space that should have contained a door frame.

Snakes make me uncomfortable, but I developed a fondness towards this particular one.  After that single encounter, he retreated to our cellar and was never seen again.  I respect how quickly he assessed our (lack of) compatibility as roommates and moved on with his life.  Our newest creepy-crawly visitor is not as astute so we are having boundary issues.

Last night, while reading Ezra a bedtime story I once again felt like I was being watched.  Again, I was.  Directly above us, listening to The Monster at the End of This Book, was the giant, colossal mega-spider Amanda found earlier this week.
Actual size (if it looks HUGE on your monitor)!

At least I hope it was the same spider.  This spider spotting took place on the opposite side of the house and on a different floor than the first meeting.  I am still undecided on which scenario is preferable: having multiple 5”, furry spiders in our house or having only one spider that likes to roam around and can be anywhere at anytime. 

Unlike the snake, the spider is not shy.  He did not flinch upon his discovery, and happily (or defiantly?) sat in his spot while we photographed him.  Amanda, the biologist, mocked my fright over the 4-foot snake living in the wall*, but she also found the spider(s) unsettling.  Ezra found him fascinating.  He smiled, pointed and repeated, “spider.”  After we shooed the spider away, Ezra said “spider, want more!”  Ezra, we are going to have to agree to disagree.

*I have been unable to convince her that most people would find this situation troubling.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Itsy-Bitsy Spider

Just this morning I read this post about the courtship dance of male jumping spiders with a very cool video. I'm a biologist, I like spiders - I even have a tattoo of a spider (Mom, did you know I had a tattoo? Happy Mother's Day!) - and I'm entertained and intrigued by the complexity of this mating routine. With his fancy 8-legged footwork the male spider is saying, "Wowza, ladies, look at me!" Seriously, watch the video. Not impressed by his moves? He doesn't care. Male jumping spiders will also try and woo dead, freeze-dried, and even fake females. In bird species, female robots are being used to study male courtship behavior too. Oh, men.

Fast forward 12 hours and I find a 3-inch wolf spider in our house. Okay, find isn't really accurate. More of "Ahhh! What the hell is that?" I like spiders ... right? Even very large spiders? This is really the largest spider I've ever seen indoors. If it starts a mating display, it has to move. No spider families allowed!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

First Haircut

Ezra had his first haircut this weekend! I have been looking forward to this day for weeks. In general, I’m supportive of people having fun with their hairstyles, but I don’t think Ezra’s wacky, mad-scientist look was intentional or flattering . . .

Amanda and I have changed hairstyles and colors many times, but we haven’t been able to change our looks nearly as quickly as Ezra has his first 19 months.  He was born with dark brown hair that lightened to red.  He abandoned gingerhood for total, shiny baldness, and when his hair grew back it was slightly wavy and very blonde. A haircut marks our first opportunity to offer input (besides sharing our genes) in determining what his hair should look like. Though we have rarely shied away from doing drastic things to our own hair, we decided Ezra was already too close to perfect to change much – not to mention he was a little nervous and reluctant to embrace this new experience.  We decided “a little off the sides” was plenty.