If you like puzzle solving I would suggest taking up identifying insects as a new hobby. This spider was crawling across the kitchen floor at the creek house, carefully exploring every inch. Show virtually any spider to a kid and they will say "wolf spider!" I spent several hours identifying this spider and in this case the kid would be right.
After getting it into a box, I spent a lot of time finding the right container for positioning it to photograph the eyes, the key to identifying a spider's family.* Getting a spider to hold still for a mug shot is hard and the upper set of eyes are on top of the head. The wolf spider family, Lycosidae, has two prominent eyes in the middle and four below like a mustache, the outer pair being tiny. A small lateral pair above are above the "forehead" curve, hard to photograph in the same shot (see the red arrow on the reflection above).
My specimen was a male with diagnostic "boxing gloves" on the end of its palps. Unlike our version used to batter someone, these are handy if somewhat messy, used by the spider to collect and hold its sperm until transferring them to the female during mating.
I spent a lot of time staring at Common Spiders of North America by Richard Bradley. The drawing are excellent and I was able to narrow the search to Schizocosa species. With few markings on the dorsal abdomen this came down to two species, S. ocreata (the brushlegged wolf spider) and S. rovneri. Male brushlegs have dark front legs with dense hairs so this one was S. rovneri.
*Spider eyes by family
If you like puzzles, here is one for you from the next blog. This is a lepidoptera photo sent by Chris Barnhart.