Don't Rush Me
Remembering the week that just was
Jumping Zebra Spiders and Lots o' Miles!
June 15, 2011 - Last week was a week, I tell you . . . a week of milestones and new acquaintances. And, to keep up your illusions that you really know me, I 'll fill you in on the week before this one.
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So, there I was sitting at one of my desks at work. (Yes, as a highly skilled and under appreciated man of the people, I have two offices and two desks in two towns. If you are jealous, don't be . . . it is a pain in the keister.) I turned my head to the right to look at the notes I had scribbled onto a piece of scrap paper; digested the information, computed the scrawl's meaning and turned back to the key board to type it up and there she was. Shiny black hair Ė frosted streaks of white. I couldn't take my eyes off her.
I'm not ashamed to say my new office mate is a beaut and when I first spied her, she made my heart skip a beat!
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Did I mention she also has two big, green eyes set with the other six smaller eyes and a bunch of hairy legs. She's a spider and she scared the heck out of me cuz she was about four inches from my hand.
I am not gonna' tell you I screamed like some girly-man, but neither did I squash it with my fists like a knuckle-dragging' Neanderthal. I slowly moved my hand away.
She just kind of stares at me, like she's trying to figure out how to take me down, immobilize me and then suck the juices out of me for the next year. It's a good thing she ain't any bigger or that I ain't any smaller. I shoe her back to the far side of the desk (another foot of distance between us is a good thing) when she hops on the keyboard or gets inside my personal space. We have an agreement. She can stay as long has I can see her and that she keeps her distance. It's a mutually beneficial arrangement: she gets to live with me, I don't have to kill her.
I went online and googled "black hairy spiders in Michigan." Icky is all I really want to say about the multitude of spider pictures that popped up on my computer screen.
But, I did discover my girl is a jumping Zebra spider Ė one of the most common spiders around. She ain't poisonous. I went onto a couple of "chat" rooms about them and found posted comments like, "boy they sure seem smart," or "it watches me."
I also went to Orkin's website (Orkin being the insect/spider/pest irraticator extraordinaire) and here's what they say about jumping zebra spiders:
First identified in 1757, the zebra jumping spider is one of the most common jumping spider species . . .
. . . Zebra jumping spiders are easily identified by characteristic black and white stripes along the abdomen. Adult zebra spiders have stout bodies that rarely exceed eight millimeters in length. Females grow slightly larger than males, which are darker in color and feature larger chelicerae . . . They are known for their excellent eyesight . . . These arachnids dwell in various habitats, such as foliage, rock formations, and trees. (And, Don's desk.) They are also considered common household and garden spiders . . . Zebra jumping spiders do not weave webs, but stalk and ambush prey instead. In general, zebra jumping spiders attack prey of the same size or smaller than they are. However, they may also attack larger, competing spiders.
I think I need to give her a name. Got any ideas?
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The milestone that happened to me last week, actually happened to my pickup truck. The "Racing Sonoma" (as my boys have dubbed it) turned 200,000 miles last Tuesday, June 7, 2011 at 3:17 p.m. I was on Oakwood Road coming into Ortonville Village. I pulled off the road, onto the shoulder and took the picture you see.
The Racing Sonoma rolled off the assembly line in 1999. It comes complete with a four-cylinder (2.2 liter) engine, a driver's door that only opens from the outside, an oil pan that leaks out the drain-plug and a custom rust job. Oh, and a brand new starter, because the old one gave up the ghost and was replaced. That starter started its last time when the odometer hit 200,232 miles Monday morning at 6:15 a.m.
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So, now that you know what's going on with me, what is up with you, Dear Reader?
E-mail Rush, Don@ShermanPublications.org
Don is Assistant Publisher for Sherman Publications, Inc. He has worked for the company since 1985. He has won numerous awards for column, editorial and feature writing as well as for photography. He has two, sons Shamus and Sean and resides in the area. To read archived copies of his columns, click on his name, just under his picture up top . . . He can be e-mailed at: email@example.com