Cider Press Hill


Thursday, 10:04 pm

By Kate




We are just two and a half weeks into the school year and I’m already having some concerns. How much is too much for a kid to do? Today was a fairly typical day and the lad’s schedule went like this: Up at 6:30. At school by 7:30. Out of school at 2:15. At cross-country practice by 3:00 and done at 5:00. Home to grab a bite to eat and take a shower. At work by 6:00. Out of work at 9:00. Home by 9:15 and immediately began homework. Still at his homework. He says he’ll quit at 1:00AM. Start all over again tomorrow. Except, he doesn’t have to work tomorrow evening. Instead, he’ll work on homework and read his lit book, Catcher in the Rye, due on Monday. Plus some Math and Chemistry homework. X-Country practice early Saturday morning. Some chores. Catching up on homework. Six hours of work from 7AM til 1:00 on Sunday. Then he’s supposed to spend a few hours with his Dad who wanted him to spend the weekend, but there wasn’t enough free time. Possibly he’ll have some time over the weekend to catch his breath, but certainly not much. Or enough.

He’s not rebelling. Yet. But I am. It’s nuts. But I’m having no success convincing him that he needs to slow down just a little bit. His guidance counselor thinks he should be doing volunteer work on top of everything else. Urgently pressing him to do it. I have already received the memo pointing out the importance/necessity of community service in addition to his other extra-curricular activites. It is an important building block toward his future endeavors. The only thing she didn’t have anything to say about is where he can carve out the 8-10 hours a week for his volunteer work. Is it unrealistic to think that kids should still have a little time to do kid things?



Saturday, 3:04 pm

By KateC




What I learned today is that clipping a cat’s toenails is as life threatening as giving a cat a bath. This job is one for the vet. I don’t have the body armor for it. I’ve never seen a cat sprout so many legs, all flailing at the same time. And that long jagged rip up my forearm? He’s still feeling smug about it. Thinking to himself, “Bet she won’t try that again!”



Friday, 9:33 am

By KateC




The lad woke in high spirits this morning despite facing a physical late this morning. He wasn’t going to let it bother him. No problem. No problem at all. I dropped him off at the appoinment, ran an errand, and returned to the doc’s office. The lad was the lone person in the waiting room when I arrived. After another ten minutes or so, the nurse practitioner walked out pulling on her latex gloves. She called his name and looked at him, loudly snapping the last glove in place and wiggling her fingers. The snap reverberated. “Oh God,” he said, clutching the edges of his chair. The look on his face was priceless. Something between horror and terror. He was a diminished man and meeky followed her into the catacombs.

And as soon as he’d left the waiting room I dissolved into peals of laughter. It was funny and it was classic. As it turned out she was only preparing to draw his blood. He apparently was so relieved that he didn’t even remember which arm she stuck. He’s fine, he’s healthy, and it is blessedly over for another year.


To the Rescue

Thursday, 11:51 am

By KateC




It wasn’t so many years ago that I’d be in hopping up and down hysterics if a spider crossed my path. My mother was fond of telling the story of her little blonde munchkin standing in the middle of her living room, screaming at deafening decibels, with great big tears rolling down her cheeks, pointing to a dark spot on the wall no larger than the eraser head of a pencil. Yessiree, it was a teeny tiny spider cowering on the wall, undoubtedly sensing a great big disturbance in its universe.

So you can appreciate how far I’ve come in spider matters when a quarter-sized one went scuttling across my kitchen floor last night and all I said was, “Oh, hi spidey!”

It’s that time of year when my wolf spider (one of mine) population begins looking for winter living arrangements. They start appearing in my house around this time annually. The one that came calling last night was a half-grown one. One of this year’s crop. I like wolf spiders. They’re pretty and docile and harmless. And they work tirelessly to keep my gardens free of pests. The females labor mightily while carrying their enormous egg sacs around with them in the early summer and then tote all their hatchlings around on their backs until the wee ones are able to fend for themselves. I admire that kind of maternal devotion. I’ve read, in a number of places, that wolf spiders make good pets. If one wants a spider for a pet. I’d rather see them outside living their normal spider lives. But when a couple of them migrate indoors in the autumn, I’m rather pleased. They generally stay away from humans and cats, but occassionally make their presence known.

The adolescent spider, last night, explored the edges of the kitchen for a while. It finally ended up in a corner beneath the kitchen cabinets. And then I noticed it struggling. As if it was caught in something. Alarm bells went off. Autumn also brings daddy long legs spiders into the house.

I’m less sanguine about them. They would take over the house if I’d let them. Daily I vacuum corners and other places where they like to set up housekeeping and the next day there are another couple who have moved in and constructed a wispy web. I have no difficulty sucking most of them up in the vacuum, although I let a couple hang out in one or two ceiling corners in out of the way locations. They are formidable hunters and really do help keep other unwanted insects or spiders under control. Their favorite snack is other spiders.

So the half-grown wolf spider began struggling and I dived for the floor. And sure enough, a daddy long legs was zeroing in for the kill. I sliced my finger through the wispy web and pushed the wolf spider out onto the floor. It still struggled with bits of web still clinging to its two back legs. I grabbed the dustpan brush and used the tip to gently dab at the spider’s back legs, trying to pull the sticky webbing off. After a couple of tries, we had success and the wolf spider made off across the floor to someplace safer.

Well, hopefully safer. The life of a spider might be more dangerous inside than outside with daddy long legs setting up shop in out of the way corners and with cats on the prowl for fun things to eat. I hope the wolf spider has found a safe place to live.


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