Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Itsy Bitsy Spider Becomes a Huge Scary Monster Who Will Suck Your Brains Out Through Your Ear

I have a spider problem.

Which is fitting, I suppose, seeing as how it's almost Halloween.

But, see, it didn't start as a spider problem. It started as a tiny spider.

A tiny spider with a dream.

About a week or so ago, I noticed a web when I came returned to my house from school. The web was out of my way, so I didn't really think anything of it except to scan the immediate vicinity for spiders. Which I hate. Because I'm convinced that they will somehow kill me and eat my brains. True story.

When I spotted the spider, I affectionately named it the "Itsy Bitsy Spider." It was so tiny. And it had such a huge web. But still, the web WAS strategically placed (right in front of my porch light where insects are attracted at night) and who am I to crush a spider's dreams? You go, spider. Besides, the cold weather was coming soon, so the spider wasn't going to last much longer. And I have a "live and let live" policy with any sort of being that has more than 4 legs. If you enter my house, I will not kill you if you don't bother me. Besides, I have a bad-ass cat that will take care of you for me. I'll just have to keep an eye out for your carcass in my shoes sometime in the near future.* But outside? You stay out of my way, and I'll stay out of yours.

And so it went. Each time I came home or left to walk the dog, I would take a quick look to ensure that Itsy Bitsy was nowhere near me, and hurry along on my way. The spider didn't bother me, so I didn't bother it.

But I did notice that it was growing. At an alarming rate. Maybe because of the GIGANTIC moths it was catching in the remarkably warm weather we had instead of the cold that had been predicted. It got to the point where I was having conversations with Itsy Bitsy about how she** needed to stop growing because I was getting a bit uncomfortable with her at my door.

She didn't listen.

Eventually I decided that if she was going to keep growing, at least it was Halloween. She could scare the kids who came to trick-or-treat.***

But now? Well... Here's a side view of Itsy Bitsy this morning. I know there's nothing really there for size perspective, so let me tell you this. There was no way I was getting within at least five feet of her. And I only used about 1/8th of the zoom capability on my phone. As a courtesy, I left the picture full size so that you can click on it and make it the size of your screen.

You're welcome.

It's gotten to the point where I'm going to need Itsy Bitsy to weave messages into her web, a la Charlotte, to tell me that basically she comes in peace. Any message like, "Not interested in brains" or "Won't eat you" or even "Thanks for not killing me when you had the chance because we both know there's no way you can do it now" would do.

Wait, what's that you say? You want to see another view? Okay. Zoom settings unchanged to protect the terrified. Seriously. The spider. It is huge.

And I don't know what to do. This is stretching the boundaries of my "live and let live" policy. But on the other hand, would YOU want to try and kill that thing? And while she's expanded her web away from my door, she's not come any closer to me. So technically, nothing's changed.

Well, nothing except the fact that she's going to be the size of Rhode Island soon if something isn't done.

This morning I started going through my option list. It is woefully short.

- Enlist the boy to kill the spider when he comes to visit on Friday. (Won't work. Boy shares my "live and let live" philosophy and while he'll kill spiders for me, he's actually not a huge fan of them either.)

- Call my friend Ann and have her send over her husband to commit arachnocide.****

And that's it. Those are my options.

I was kind of hoping that Mother Nature would take care of the situation for me. But no amount of wind will shake Itsy Bitsy. And she's strategically placed under the eve of my roof, so the rain is pretty much deflected from where she is.

I told you she was smart. One might say diabolically smart if, you know, one were paranoid that Itsy Bitsy has a master plan.

So if anyone has any fool-proof spider killing techniques, please pass them along. And no, none of them may contain throwing or spraying anything from any distance away. Because, seriously, if I miss? And she gets angry? I may have to move. And leave all of my stuff behind.

Bonus picture: This is with no zoom. On the sidewalk in front of my house. For perspective. I'm alarmed that you can still actually see her.

*Which is totally a sign of love, and not a threatening gesture. FYI.
**Given her insect catching success, I figured it was only appropriate to call her a "she" at this point.
***That I won't be able to give candy to because I'll be at a Husbandry exam. From 7:00pm to 9:00pm. Tell me THAT doesn't suck.
****I totally just made that word up.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Week 9

Week nine of vet school began today. There was no fanfare. I'm still waiting to see my histology grade for a test I took two weeks ago. I'm dreading my physiology exam tomorrow. I get to work with cows today.

You know. The usual.

After the horror that was working with sheep, I'm not exactly excited to work with the cows, but I will admit that I do love the cows more. At least there's no danger of me riding them.

The routine here is so... I don't want to say normal... but the amount of stress there doesn't vary. So while it feels like this is a terrible thing I got myself into and I miss my "old life." The days doing this are generally all the same with occasional bright spots like working with cows. Or finding out that our dissection dog had heart worms. (Seriously very cool, but probably pretty gross to non-vet students, yes?) Sometimes I just want a nap.

It's getting cooler here, and I know that I've been here 8 weeks. But I was walking the dog this morning and realized that Orion was directly in front of me and to my right instead of to the left like it had been at the beginning of the semester. That was sort of a wake up call that yes, time is passing, seasons are changing, and there is life outside of vet school.

I'm glad I keep finding things to remind me of this.

I had some friends join me this past weekend to watch a Purdue Women's Volleyball game, and one of them asked me how much "downtime" I get to just relax in any given day. My answer was immediate. None. I mean, I get an hour lunch, but even then we're usually studying or discussing a particularly difficult issue we were just given in lecture. My downtime is when I walk my dog and eat dinner in the evenings. It's sandwiched between finishing classes and studying for the evening. So it's gotten to the point that when people ask how I'm doing, I don't even try to sugarcoat with "Fine." I answer "It's hard."

That's not to say I'm not enjoying this. I love love LOVE anatomy. Seriously. This comes as a huge surprise. The class that requires the most memorization? I love that class the most? Why yes. Yes I do. I find it endlessly fascinating. And my Applications and Integrations class where we're given actual cases that have been in the veterinary teaching hospital? (names and identifying details changed to protect the innocent, of course) That class is equally as interesting. It's all problem based learning, and while my peers had some difficulty adjusting to a style of learning that isn't all lecture/regurgitation, I found that after years out in the "real world" that's how I learn best. Radiographs to interpret? Yes please. Blood work to analyze? Sweet. I even asked a friend to send me some bloodwork she had been given last year so that I could review it again with all my new found knowledge. That was pretty darn cool.

Also? Cats are the exception to everything. Also? What happens when you look at a horse sideways? Colic.

We have a cat lab tomorrow where we were originally told to "bring our own cats." I am the only one who lives with a cat in my group, so that means Laney would have been the cat to practice our physical examinations and restraint on. Since I haven't heard the final word on whether or not we need our own cats, I think Laney will be staying at home. She's relieved. She had no interest in seeing the place where I live these days. And although my group members don't know it, they're relieved also.

I sort of wish I would have pictures of me with the cows to show you, but then again, the coveralls are NOT flattering in the least, so maybe we're all better off this way...