Thursday, September 29, 2016

Camping in the Library

"No food in the library!" I said to David as I saw him
munching on a granola bar. "Look at this beautiful new 
carpeting and I don't want mice in my library."
He put the granola bar away and I asked everyone
to grab a corner of the tent to unfurl it.
Dirt and needles and filth spilled from the tent
and I realized my husband and son did not shake
it out after their camping trip last month.
So much for my beautiful new carpet. 
I looked on with horror inside as the two brothers
next inserted the tent poles into each other.
Were the assembled poles ALWAYS that long?!
I had the six kids ranging from six to twelve
who were unable to go to camp with the rest of the school.
After our writing lesson on evergreen trees,
we were sitting on a small line of chairs next to
the tiny ten foot square I had cleared from the 
boxes of books everywhere. While it was the 
fourth week of school, I still did not have shelves.
My shelves arrived last week, but were the wrong 
size and were shipped back.
 The ten and twelve year old brother team had
camped before and I had them showing the younger
students how to assemble the poles.
When the pole was twenty feet long it popped 
open a ceiling tile before I could jump up 
and guide it over sixteen feet of tables and boxes of
books. I smiled and said, "Well done David and Ken!"
I next had Calliope, John and Chang assemble the second pole 
with me guiding it so it didn't remove ceiling tiles.
Smiling and praising the poles teams, I pretended this
was part of my plan. I had no plan or at best, a vague plan.
It was now clear that the tent would NOT fit in the library.
"Each team take the ends of the poles and we'll now
carry them to the grassy area."  The long poles 
barely cleared the tiny room and hallway, banging 
into all the new equipment still stored willy-nilly everywhere.
Once we cleared the double doors I breathed a sigh of relief.
The unscheduled sun had come out and the grassy area
between our two remodeled buildings was dry.
I directed David and Ken to insert the twenty foot pole
through the tent guides. The filthy tent flopped wildly
and I pretended that was normal as the kids laughed.
As we tried to insert the legs to the tent-bottom pins
it occured to me that it required strength. The three of
us groaned from the exertion as we managed to insert the
pole at both ends. We now had a half-circle of tent up
flapping more crazily than before. 
Callipope, John and Chang and I wrestled the second pole in place 
and the whole thing flopped over. What a disaster this lesson was so 
naturally I smiled and said, "Well done! All we have to 
do is tie the top of the tent to the crossed poles."
Now, it dawned on me that Terry & my sons are all
over six feet tall and had ALWAYS done this for me.
"New plan kids, everyone gently grab the bottom of the 
tent and pull it out to form a circle."  
The side that had been up in the air came down and 
amazingly enough it looked like a tent!
"Time to go camping kids, everyone in the tent."
I instructed the kids to lie down and they all said,
"It's too dirty Mrs. Nixon!" New plan...
"Everyone close your eyes and pretend it is nighttime
in the forest and listen for animal sounds."
They obediently stood in the tent with their eyes
closed except for David who was running around
on the grass. I let out a soft, "Who whooo."
and the kids giggled.  Next we heard a huge
"ROAR!" as David ran at the tent like an 
attacking bear.  Thankfully.
"Okay kids! Time for some Bear Tag!"
Everyone ran around screaming and laughing.
It was all part of the plan.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Teddy's Grand Canyon

I was all blissed out from a perfect day
which included sunshine (not a given in Seattle)
a last minute Seahawk win
and a delicious pot roast dinner.
Terry was even willing to sit in a chair
next to the quail pen to keep me company
As I cleaned the pen. I looked over and 
RIGHT NEXT to the trail under the pink tree
at the foot of our yard is a 100 square foot pit,
four feet deep, ten by ten feet..
Teddy had dug out the dirt and hauled it to
his and Owen's raised garden which they finished this morning.
Someone will kill themselves falling in the hole.
I was too tired from the Seahawk win to muster much
yelling, and ended up with only a limp,
Plus I yelled that they had dug up my quail cemetery.
To which Owen replied,
"Excellent. That will make great fertilizer."