04 March 2009

Physics of Fear.....or Trixie the Brave

I held down the fort quite nicely while Kirk was on his TDY to Turkey. All was well and I made the mistake of thinking, “this is going okay, after all!” Then it happened. That fateful night I took Trixie out for her last nightly constitutional of the day. As I looked back to the front porch I saw IT.

And it was staring at me.

Now, everytime I tell this story this spider gets bigger, but suffice to say it was at least as big as a bear paw (the pastry) or a really big quarter. And the look on his tiny face was menacing. His look said, “I can take you. Fear me”.

So, surveying my options I quickly realized that the other two doors leading into the house were locked and my only option was climbing into a window. The window on our front porch leads to the bathroom and it is a tiny window. I feared that I would be ensnared in a Winnie the Pooh in the honey tree siutation, so I opted out of that one. But, I remembered that Katy and Claire’s room is not far from the front yard. I reasoned that I could go to Katy’s window, knock just lightly enough to wake her, but not hard enough to wake Claire, (shyeah, right!) have Katy open the window, hand the pooch up and over the windowsill and shimmy in myself. Forgetting, of course, that the window is too high for me to climb into unassisted and maybe Katy could hand me her trash can and I could invert it and use it as a step-stool.

Perfect plan.

Except for one thing.

I don’t dust the outsides of the windows. (Oh,yeah, you can all just gasp now in shock and horror. Good for you, if you go around dusting the outside of your house……in a stated that popularized the term “duststorm”.)
I now realized that it was likely that I would be forced to pass through a spider web, possibly FULL of spiders just to aviod the one on the porch.

Plan B. We will RUN AS FAST AS WE CAN to get back inside and I will leap over the spider. I explained to Trixie how we would have to get a good running start and leap over the spider at just the right time to clear his nasty little body to get ourselves to safety. We discussed the velocity necessary to jump over the spider, but not crash into the front door. We argued about arc and just how high the arc needed to be to complete our plan safely. I explained our plan, complete with sign language and some translations into Spanish. (Trixie, is, after all, from Panama and I can never tell how much English she has picked up. Spanish is her first language.) So, sure that Trixie understood we now attempted some practice jumps.

There we were, leaping all over the front yard like a chubby sprite and her faithful canine companion. Confident that we were ready to execute the jump of a lifetime, one that would undoubtedly deliver us from fear, we began our run. We ran full-out to the porch and, as Trixie approached, it was obvious we spent too much time in negotiating the physics of the jump and not enough time in practice. That intrepid pup ran right past the spider. She never even attempted to become airborn! As she passed the spider it jumped onto her right rear paw. I saw it and gasped. My first thought was, “oh, Trixie!” but my brave pup just shook the spider off and went inside. Brave indeed. I knew now that just being in her presence was going to make ME braver still just by virtue of proximity.

I had the courage to jump. I knew I could do it. I ran, I leapt into the air, completing my arc with as much grace and fine form that one would assume of a chubby woman in her 30’s. I landed a little too close to the front door, with the door handle in my grasp and quickly retreated inside.

To keep this from happening in the future I decided to keep a supply of coffee cups on our front porch. Kirk came home three weeks later to find 5 mugs, each trapping a scary spider within.