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Saturday, May 5, 2018

"Number 16" ─ A Most Amazing Australian Trapdoor Spider

It must be age ─ I always try to remember to check the time at night once I am into bed; and again in the morning before I opt to rise ─ yet I seem unable to retain the information more often than not by the time I commence a post in this blog in the afternoon.

I think that it may have been 12:44 a.m. once I was in bed last night. My younger brother Mark had been surprisingly normal company once he arrived home in the evening ─ there were none of the usual displays of offensive drunken behaviour that are so off-putting, and have me now intending to henceforth forsake his presence anytime he becomes so inebriated.

As I wrote yesterday, I am even seriously considering sleeping out in the backyard tool-shed anytime it happens on those evenings that I expect my wife Jack to come home and spend the night.

It would bother me some to leave the house to sleep in the tool-shed, thereby abandoning her to be coming home to Mark (if he is in that condition) without me being there as a buffer for her.

But after the conflict that she and I underwent yesterday afternoon, and her unannounced and sullen departure thereafter to return to Vancouver where she spends most of each week (she is not likely to be back home until late Monday evening, so she could at least have said that she was leaving even if she did not want to say a good-bye), I have lost much of the concern I have always nurtured concerning her comfort here at home.

Besides, she clearly does not care that much about being here, and tries to spend as few nights as possible here at home with me.

And if I find myself able to sleep in that tool-shed, it would allow me to retire early in an evening and not later have my sleep disrupted by Jack's homecoming.

Anyway, I seemed to have enjoyed an excellent initial block of sleep overnight, and only became aware when I experienced the sensation of brilliant morning daylight permeating my visual consciousness ─ it was as if in just a matter of a few seconds, the darkness that had been the order was quickly dispersed by a rapidly increasing illumination of daybreak.

I opened my eyes, and saw the time to be (I believe) 5:22 a.m. I was not feeling adequately-slept, but I resolved to rise and get to work on the edit of an old post that I am involved with at Siam-Longings, one of my six hosted websites.

It actually took me about three minutes to galvanize myself and get up and out of bed. 

Incidentally, there was not all that much daylight outside ─ I am unsure of what inspired that notion of a breaking day unfolding upon my closed eyelids, for the window blinds were closed any rising Sun would be on the opposite side of the house.

We were nonetheless to have a sunny day.

I had a specific amount of work that I wanted to minimally perform for this morning in that post edit, but it was a struggle to achieve it ─ I was to grow clumsily groggy.

A temporary help attended a break I took to have my day's 13 or so minutes of exercise out in that backyard tool-shed ─ I wanted to get it done before Mark was out of bed.

It was 8:22 a.m. when the session was finished, and I was of course feeling very invigorated. I was a little surprised to return into the house and find that Mark was shut up in the bathroom, and had just finished having his morning shower.

He was in the main bathroom. His bedroom's ensuite shower has been out of commission since he began some maintenance on it two days ago that he quickly discovered may be beyond his level of skill.

There is nothing amiss with the plumbing. Rather, it is carpentry ─ he removed a strip of four tiles covering a raised cross-section of the shower's doorway, and discovered the wood beneath to be rotten.

His concern is that the rot may extend well beyond that raised cross-section, and thus the shower foundation may itself require extensive overhauling.

That's another story, though.

I had less than an hour's work remaining to get the edit assignment done that was my target for the website post this morning, but toward the end I had again grown groggy.

Naturally, once I was able to call a halt for today, I returned to bed for a deep nap. Again, I cannot recall just when it was that I was back into bed, nor what the time was when I checked after awaking, but I would conjecture that I had to have been in bed for a certain 1½ hours.

I found Mark to be shut up in his bedroom in apparent pursuit of his own nap, but my eldest stepson Tho was finally up for the day.

Tho's younger brother Poté does not seem to have been home overnight; and I am wondering just what my wife Jack advised him last afternoon when she called him and seemed to me to have been declaring to him that I was furious about his girlfriend just walking into the unlocked house earlier that morning when only I was as yet up for the day.

That visitation had been a mere minute or two after 6:00 a.m., and it did anger me that Poté must have left the house door unlocked so that she would be able to easily access the interior.

They likely both expected that if I was up, I would most likely be upstairs here where my computer is, and thus I would never know of her unheralded entrance.

But I was downstairs awaiting boiled water for my morning's first hot beverage, and I saw her walking up the driveway.

The girlfriend has been coming here for possibly a half-year, and regularly sleeps with Poté. But I have not yet exchanged even one word with her in all of that time, and so I have grown to become most resentful of her ongoing, recurring presence here.

I certainly do not need her with ready access to the house! After all, Poté has not contributed a cent since 2016 to the monthly house mortgage that keeps me a hostage to all concerned because it devours my monthly pension and reduces me to this reclusive, friendless fate.

Thus I am wondering exactly what it may have been that Jack said in Thai to her son last afternoon when she phoned him. Did she possibly declare that I was in a rage and no longer wanted the young lady coming here at all? ─ or maybe at least, that her visitations here need to be infrequent?

I sure don't know.

But maybe their absence overnight was simply coincidental, and I am incorrectly translating any significance to it.

In fact, he may have begun working a part-time trial with a VISA calling centre in Vancouver ─ the position will require shift work, for it is a 24-hour operation. Maybe he has begun that trial.

It is rare that I am informed much. My main purpose seems to be to keep tabs on the monthly mortgage, and ensure that there is enough money in the joint chequing account I have with my rather estranged ─ definitely aloof ─ wife Jack.

It is good that I wisely had my exercise early in the morning, for after Mark emerged from having his nap in his bedroom, he set about doing some fence repair and further work with his shower.

I was unwilling to lose the afternoon, so after getting this blog post begun, I broke and went outside to sit in the backyard, spending just over 40 minutes seated in a lawn- or deck-chair removed from the tool-shed area where Mark was frequenting.

That sunning session in just a pair of cut-offs began at 1:48 p.m.

And that brings me to the present at 2:43 p.m. as I type this statement.

This morning while I was working on the Siam-Longings post edit, I came across an article that I could not refrain from taking the time to read:

WashingtonPost.com

What a rather sad end to such a long-lived creature out there in the wild, potentially killed by some parasitic wasp that might only live a year, for all we know.

I hoped that the woman who had observed it for almost all of its 43 years ─ or even the female reporter and the undergraduate ecology student who got involved late in the life of the spider ─ had filmed some of the story, but although YouTube is full of supposed accounts, not one of them are original. They all have a static image from the article I linked to, and then just add changing text that the viewer is supposed to read.

There was even one video where a robotic voice narrated while the static imagery displayed.

Such cheap videos designed just to capitalize on a great news story when the YouTubers have absolutely nothing of their own to add just burns me ─ I shut right out of each of those worthless videos, hoping that YouTube somehow can take note of how quickly a viewer does something like that. 

Maybe YouTube somehow records in the said video's statistics this fact of apparent gross disinterest by someone like me.

Anyway, I now have a whole new respect for spiders ─ certainly for Australian trapdoor spiders as represented by Number 16, at any rate.  

The amazing creature apparently died sometime in 2016, but the world never knew or cared until a scientific article was published about it last month:

Publish.CSIRO.au

By the way, feel free to access that research article, for it is easily enough understood by any layman, for the most part.

Well, my brother Mark headed away for the afternoon around 3:15 p.m. after at least two cellphone conversations ─ he's hooking up with one or two of his drinking buddies, I expect. 

In announcing his departure, he just said, "See you later." But I don't know if he intends showing up here later today, or if he just spoke the phrase as a form of good-bye. Mark usually spends Saturday nights at the home of his girlfriend Bev. 

I want to post the following photo that I took this morning at 8:05 a.m. just before I undertook my exercising out in the backyard tool-shed.

The strip of garden you will see is alongside part of the back of our house, and just below both a dining room and a kitchen window. The description is from the Google Photos album where I uploaded the image:

The tallest of maybe a half-dozen probable kale plants that I rescued from the foot of our backyard fence over the past year or so ─ escapees from a neighbour's foiled attempt to do some vegetable gardening too late into the Summer of 2016.

I don't know just what he was thinking to raise, but his attempt included tomato plants.

Anyway, some seeds of the kale plants managed to germinate and try to survive around the base of our wooden fence, and my younger brother Mark would periodically just weed-eat the poor things along with the grass he would be whacking.

I gradually dug up some of the plants whenever the whim struck, replanting them here.

That one plant is perhaps four feet tall.

That little strip of garden is quite unregulated, and apart from kale and tulips, also contains (among other things) potatoes and mint.
There are an entire thick strip of tulip plants there, but only three managed to bloom this year. There is a fourth that may yet manage to open up a bloom.

Also in that garden strip are some poppies that keep springing forth from some seeds I brought back maybe 15 years ago during one of the visits Mark and I made to visit our mother Irene Dorosh in Keremeos when she was living there (she died there alone in mid-March 2006 just before what would have been her 90th birthday).

But I feel that I have taken enough time with this post for today, so I am going to close out now with this old journal entry of mine from 41 years ago when I was 27 years old, and living in a basement housekeeping unit in New Westminster.

I was renting the small affair in a private home located on Ninth Street [Google map], and two houses up from Third Avenue.
THURSDAY, May 5, 1977

I slept well, and didn't force myself up till maybe 8:00 a.m.

Yesterday I believe my instructional driver's licence expired.

[This would be my learner's permit. I am certain that I got around to renewing it, but I never progressed further and actually tried for a driver's licence. I always figured that there was no need if I was never to be able to afford a car.]

I laundered, and spent $1.90 on 3 comics and June's Fantastic digest. 

It's been a cloudy day, and I wasted most of it, including a nap. At least I'll be mailing Terri a letter.

[Terri Martin was a U.S. pen-pal I had back then whom I wish I had maintained contact with.] 

I left here at 3:45 p.m. for Mark's, intending to shop in Whalley.

[My younger brother Mark was renting a duplex unit out in Surrey, and I would have walked to his suite. He was living a short distance down Semiahmoo Road (Google map) from where it abuts Old Yale Road. The duplex may even have been almost directly across the street from where 102nd Avenue ends on Semiahmoo Road, but I could be misremembering.]  

There was more sun than my earlier observation suggests.

I had just started on my way over the bridge when some honking brought Esther to my attention as she passed. She almost risked stopping for me. I prayed she wouldn't be waiting for me on the other side, for I feared she was going to move Melody or something, and I wanted no socializing.

[Esther St. Jean was the dear mother of my ex-girlfriend ─ 20-year-old Melody St. Jean, who could just not seem to be faithful with her boyfriends.] 

But she was waiting ─ with the information that Melody was in the Surrey Memorial after taking vitamin, calcium, and aspirin tablets in a supposed effort at suicide. Her landlord won't let her move without paying about $500 in rent, or forfeiting her furniture.

She's apparently under some pressure.

I rode with Esther to Whalley, a bit unsure what I should say.

At Safeway I spent $3.98.

Mark was home when I arrived.

By 7:00 p.m. he'd gone with Chris to play baseball and he didn't return till 10:00 p.m.

[Chris was a co-worker of Mark ─ and also the latest new boyfriend of Melody. Their involvement in fact forced me to break up with her. However, the two of them had by this time fallen out.]

I watched The Man from Atlantis, sequel to another show of the same name.

Bill phoned between it and Streets of San Francisco, an episode Mark & I enjoyed, for it featured Arnold Schwarzenegger as an over-sensitive bodybuilder.

I ate very heavily of grain & flour cakes, and felt ill coming home; it was a strain.

Bed at 12:30 a.m. 
Melody and Chris had gotten an apartment or duplex unit less than a half-mile from where Mark was living, and my old friend William Alan Gill had initially been living with them, too.

But eventually Bill felt driven out because of the foul messes the young couple's doberman(s) kept making that was not often smartly nor effectively cleaned up. 

Chris had finally gotten his fill of Melody when she would too liberally fraternize with other guys, and she also persisted in seeing the boyfriend ─ Garry Foreman, or something like that ─ who had preceded me.

Within the past year as I have been reliving via my journal my original experiences with Melody, I discovered in research that Melody died fairly early in 1990 at the age of 33 ─ and still Single. However, I have no idea how she died ─ just that the information that I had found indicated that her death was "pending investigation."

She had meant so very much to me when we were together ─ she was absolutely addicting. And she was the first girlfriend I had with whom I had full sexual relations ─ i.e., ejaculation. That level of relationship cannot be dismissed and forever forgotten.

Sometimes over the years I would wonder about her, and what might have happened with us if she had been capable of remaining a one-man woman.

By the way, I honestly do not recall Melody being in the hospital ─ it was a little surprising to read about it in my journal.
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