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4 kittens

Dremelling and labelling.

Posted on 2016.10.30 at 22:50
"I keep some of my toys in the minivan, in case our house burns down," says Pokey.

We've had several discussions about fires and natural disasters.  I tell him that our house absolutely, 100% will not burn down, because I feel like natural disasters and crimes and illnesses are a thing parents should sometimes just lie to their kids about.

I just want him to have the illusion of safety as a baseline, so that later when he discovers it's all a lie, a corner of his brain that feels safe. He generally doesn't believe me.

"Can an animal have fangs on both the top and bottom jaws?"  I don't know!
"Is a moose faster or an elk?" I don't know!
(E. Messily helpfully interjected that moose are called "elk" in Europe.)

Pokey and I went on an adventure, in which we found this patch of flowers swarming with monarch butterflies and bees. It was very pretty.


When I was twelve, my grandmother, my mom's cousin, and my second-cousin took a trip to Mexico together. We stayed with some distant relative, a relatively wealthy expat in a fancy sort of compound - several disjoint buildings on a big lot. I have no idea where we were - a little village that seemed interior to the country. Mid-southish.

I remember the finicky plumbing, the bottle of water in the bathroom for brushing teeth, getting orange soda poured into a plastic bag with a straw, so that the glass bottle could be re-used.

The distant Mexican cousin's daughter attended a local girl's school, who happened to have a girl's expo soccer game - sort of a novelty powderpuff game - while we were in town. I was invited or allowed to play. I was so excited - I was great out there! I could dribble and score! But I got winded within ten seconds, and could only sort of participate. We all agreed to blame the altitude (but versions of this - where I'm ostensibly in shape but pathetically winded - have dogged me my whole life.)

 I vividly remember the photos I took - I thought I was taking beautiful portraits, like one of a giant lot of succulents - but they all turned out pretty shitty and my mom asked me if the camera had been taking photos accidentally.

I wrote all that out above, preparing to talk about the mimosa pudica plant I saw there, the sensitive plant that closes in response to touch.

 Except I just now realized that I didn't see the touchy plants in Mexico when I was twelve, I saw them in Costa Rica when I was sixteen. OH WELL.  A different time, I'll tell you about Costa Rica. My brother got me super drunk playing Asshole and I puked all over his shoes.

The point is that I was in Latin America, young, and smitten with those touchy plants. So exotic and amazing! Just touch them!  Then I got back to Gainesville and spotted them at the high school field, all over the place, and realized we had them at home, too. Rampant, and I'd just never known.

On Tuesday, I was walking across the field behind the Catholic church, to my P&Z meeting, and I looked down, and:

they're here too! hooray.


Hawaii asked Jammies, "When do I go that school where you live someplace else?"
Jammies said, "Boarding school?"
Hawaii said, "Yes!"
Jammies said, "You don't. Eventually you get to go to college." Hawaii really wants to go to boarding school, it turns out.

I am pretty sure that this is because she wants unlimited access to candy.

Here is how well I know Hawaii:
Hawaii was brushing her teeth, and said, "Oh! I picked out the wrong shirt for tomorrow! I wanted to wear something with pockets. Can I go change?"
I said, "Did you want to wear pockets so that you can smuggle candy into art class?"
and her jaw dropped. I swear I just guessed, based on the fact that she needed pockets on a Friday.

That said, she really doesn't gorge when given the chance. I was equally obsessive about candy as a kid, but tended to gorge myself silly if possible.


A girl and her label-maker.  She also printed out each kid's name, and labelled the sides of the bathroom according to who was allowed to be on her side, and who ought to stay far, far away. However, she affixed those directly to the mirror and Jammies removed them before I took a photo.

"Lost-minded Kids
Yesterday, me and my brothers and sisters played lost-minded kids. Rascal was Gashen, Ace was Aleesha, Pokey was I-yi-yi, and I was nobody. Because we were lost-minded, we all had crazy talents. Rascal was running away, Ace's was screaming, Pokey's was pulling down people by their arm, and mine was hanging on to people and never letting go. It was great fun!"
Those are pretty good talents.


I was giving Pokey and Hawaii little math problems, to pass the time. Hawaii's were of the form: "You start with a mystery number. Then you subtract seven, double it, and you have ten. What mystery number did you start with?"

She said, "Hang on, I need to write this down." She got a pencil and paper, and wrote it down as an equation, using ? for the mystery number. I was so proud of her for doing so. My heart swelled.


Rascal sings, a lot. Mostly Twinkle Twinkle/ABCs.

Rascal likes to point out every car and truck that we drive by. Each one is super exciting. "A cah! A cah! Anough cah! A white cah! A boo tuck!" (a car, a car, another car, a white car, a blue truck, etc.)

He's fairly verbal now, but still loves labelling things. (Not like Hawaii.) "A pumpkin! Anough pumpkin! Anough pumpkin!" Round and round the table, labelling the same four pumpkins. "Mah pumpkin! Wiiyys pumpkin! Mahl pumpkin! Ray pumpkin!" Round and round.


E. Messily conceived and executed the most amazing costumes for Rascal, Jammies, and I, but Rascal won't put his on:

Doo-doo, do do doo! Mahna mahna. This is the best we could do:

We'll try again tomorrow, on Actual Halloween.


Exactly one year ago, it flooded. This year, we waited until the last second to carve the pumpkins, to cut down on the instant rotting.



Every time Jammies drilled a hole, Rascal yelped, "OW!"
After a few holes, Hawaii and joined in, yelping "OW!" This is not the kind of joke Jammies likes, but he tolerated us.

Sticker-affixing. (Her choice.)

More de-gooping.

I wouldn't fuss if it were ten degrees colder. I'm ready to wear a sweater.

Here's the final glory:

(Cat by Pokey, angry face by Hawaii.)


I didn't carve a pumpkin, but I did purchase this:

It is from the 1930s, and it is exquisite, and I am enamored. Look at the twiggy detail:

Side view twiggy harlequins:



Right now we are in a plague of flies. The plague of moths has receded, as has the plague of cockroaches. But we all know this is cyclical.

happy Halloweekend.

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