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4 kittens

And the head coach wants no sissies, so he reads to us from something called Ulysses

Posted on 2017.06.18 at 23:10
Y is for YMCA Camp.

When I took Pokey there on Thursday, Hawaii had been there for five days already, and we hadn't yet gotten any letters from her. I had no idea if she was homesick or happy as a clam. I wasn't sure if I should say hi and give her a quick hug, or if that would be awful for her.

Hawaii was standing with some kids at a picnic table right by the parking lot.  I walked a few yards away, and stage-whispered, "Hawaii...want to say hi and have a quick hug?"

She did not look over. She literally kept her eyes trained on her art project and made the shoo-fly, quit-bothering-me gesture in my direction.  I nearly laughed out loud and concluded she was having a great time. I shooed.

On Thursday and Friday,

Ace was the oldest kid. We let her sleep in Hawaii's bed and Rascal slept in Pokey's bed. This was because Ace and Rascal are sleeping on tiny nap-mats at the cabin, because the four of them are sleeping wedged like tetris pieces in that tiny room.

We're the only kids!

On the drive home from camp,

Pokey and Hawaii talked our ears off about all their great adventures. I suppose this is where the boundary of the blog lies - I can only record their lives to the extent that I'm there.  The older they get, the less I'm privy to.

I sometimes muse about how much this blog fails to capture Jammies' experience as their father. I have a tendency to think that all of life should be archived in real time, for future graduate students of Americana someday.

Anyway, I suppose as the kids get older, I'll have less and less access to their adventures. This blog will gradually return to being my humdrum thoughts, my own life and times, like it was pre-2009, except all the whimsy and silliness will have been stomped to smithereens. Maybe I'll be able to make forced jokes and laugh hollowly as they rattle, cough, and die on the floor? The jokes, not the children.

At camp pick-up, we were given a packet for each camper, with a little summary of each kid:

See, Pokey had to declare his goals as a camper. He chose "Being the best kayaker in Hopi", which was his (racistly-named, I know) cabin.

Good job, Pokey! That's a good goal!

What about Hawaii?

"Camper Goals: Be more organized."

Just your ordinary 7-year-old Container Store protege, why do you ask? Park your judgey attitude in some other filing cabinet, alpha-numerically by keyword then author, please. (What the ever-loving. That kid.)

Also: on both yellow slips if you look at the checklist on the left, "Things we LOVE about your Camper:" you'll notice that neither kid has a check mark next to "Humor". What the fuck? I feel like I'm failing as a parent. Kids, pay attention! This shit is important!

Anyway, the kids had a blast, and it's hard to return to a  dumb old family after being at summer camp, if I recall correctly.

The tattoo saga continues to discourage.

If you recall, after sitting on his waiting list for two years, the first tattoo artist balked and pawned me off on his friend. I met with the friend-artist, liked him, and put down a deposit.

Since then, I found myself feeling more and more uneasy about the second artist's technical skill, based on his Instagram feed. Finally I admitted to myself that the main reason I was sticking with him was so that I could get on with getting the tattoo, and avoid another two year waiting list.  Basically a sunk costs fallacy. One should walk away when it's not right. So I emailed the very nice artist and said I was cancelling. He asked me why, and promised that I wouldn't hurt his feelings. So I told him honestly why, and felt absolutely awful about it.  True to his word, he gave a thoughtful response, thanking me for my insight and helpful criticism. It was all terribly mature and I felt like shit about it.

On the same day, I had a consultation with a third, new artist in San Antonio. This guy had the same reaction as the first artist to seeing my cats: eergh-yuck-puke! what a terrible idea! This will look like shit! "They just don't flow with the muscles!" he said. "Think in terms of S-shapes, which wrap around the contours of the muscles."  This is similar to what the first guy said, except the first guy tacked on some shit about adding flowers or ivy or picture frames.

There's some truth to it - I'm sure that's why serpents and coi and dragons are drawn to coil and bend as they do.  But I think it's also narrow-minded - this guy has done tattoos of lions placed in similar spots. He's got portraits of bears. Goat-devils are currently in style. You know what's not in style? Big serious kitty-cats.

I also emailed a very talented woman in Austin for a consultation, and she tersely replied, "How's July 10th at 6 pm?" which was also discouraging.  Yes, okay, I will be there in three weeks and 20 hours.  Thank you may I have another.  (If I were an amazing tattoo artist, I would deliberately only schedule consultations a month out, just to filter out the yahoos who are too impatient to wait a month. "If they can't wait a month to meet with me, then they'll never wait an entire year for their appointment. Fuck 'em."  So maybe that's what she does, too. She'll see, I can wait a month, because I'm already a sedentary middle-aged soccer mom. Time is already distorted and monotonous and closing in on 40, what's one more month? Thank you, may I have another, indeed.)

So the whole thing is discouraging. Right now I'd estimate there is a 1/3 chance that I just abandon this whole tattoo adventure.  I no longer feel quite as mutilated as I did right after surgery, anyway. Maybe this stupid body is good enough, undecorated.

Here are the letters

that have arrived so far:

Dear Mom and Dad,

It is Monday. This morning we went to raise the flag. Then we all took a swim test for the pool. Then we played some outside games. Next we did our clubs. I chose art and hiking. Then we went to lunch. Oh, sorry, I forgot breakfast! That was in between Flag and the swim test. Now I'm writing this letter. Sorry that my writing is messy, I'm writing in my bed.

Love, Hawaii

Dear Mom and Dad,

Before I start talking, I want to tell you something. Yesterday I wrote you a letter after lunch, so you did not hear everything. That's a bummer because I rode horses! Anyway. It's Tuesday. Please don't tell Ace that I am making her a necklace. Well, I don't have any more room, so bye!

Love, Hawaii

These letters were maybe my favorite part of the week.

While transcribing them just now, I got an intense memory of Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah, which I now have learned is a novelty comedy song from 1964 by Allan Sherman, (whoever he was. I'm so unhip, when you say Allan, I think you're talking about Alan Turing. This lady ain't got no soul.)

Anyway, you know the song I'm thinking of: Hello Muddah, hello Faddah, Here I am at Camp Grenada.

Killer lines like:

I went hiking with Joe Spivey
He developed poison ivy
You remember Leonard Skinner
He got Ptomaine poisoning last night after dinner


Now I don't want this should scare ya'
But my bunkmate has Malaria
You remember Jeffery Hardy
They're about to organize a searching party

The 60s sure were a gas!  I remember a knock-off version that bragged about extensive drug use and ended with "I'm so fucked up I can barely write this letter!" (Hello mother, hello father. I've been smoking marijuana. It's all coming back to me now. Pot is good but [something transgressive]'s better...I'm so fucked up I can barely write this letter!) Good times.

Rascal Keeps Running Away:
1. On Thursday, a stranger brought him back from the edge of an alley, implying that she thought he was running away down the street. (We were listening to a concert in the alley; see stacked kids photo above.) Maybe he was and maybe he wasn't, but I'd rather not test it.

2. On Saturday morning, I awoke to him yelling, "Someone help me open the dooor!" He was rattling the front door, trying to get out of the cabin.  He thought Jammies was down by the river, and was trying to go find him.  Jammies had been down by the river the night before, when Rascal had fallen asleep, so the notion wasn't invented whole sale. (Whole cloth? Sale? Cloth.) Still nerve-wracking!

3. Also on Saturday: Jammies took the kids behind the restaurant at lunch, to play.  Somewhat near a country road with cars flying by.  He brought the kids back in to me, and disappeared to use the bathroom. While I was calculating tip and signing the check, Rascal disappeared back outside to go find Jammies. Aaaugh!

I do not like having a runaway kid. So far, none of these have been completely impulsive - he's always got a method to his bolting. It's still making me nervous!

Ace makes up a joke:
Q: What does the birthday girl's sister say?
A: I'm fat, I'm a cat, and I'm ready to wrap!

It's an actual joke with a double-entendre and everything. Hawaii brought home a rap from camp, I'm fat, I'm a cat, and I'm ready to rap! and so Ace was legitimately riffing. I was very pleased. (Maybe this will be the kid that gets a check mark next to Humor in her summer camp debriefing file. Let us hope.)

From Thursday, June 1 to Thursday, June 15th, I was more or less a SAHM, with the big kids. The littles still went to daycare. If I had to stay at home with kids, I suppose I'd develop tricks and practices that kept everything running smoothly, but I don't and I haven't.  I honestly had a lot of fun with them, but I dearly missed having some quiet time to myself to think clearly.  Balance is best.

How's the house, Heebie?

We've got pillars! Balance is best here, too.


Kelly Jennings
Kelly Jennings at 2017-06-19 14:55 (UTC) (Link)

Hello Mudder

Dr. Skull loves Alan Sherman. There's one about the streets of Miami that he can't listen to while he drives, b/c he laughs too hard.

heebie_geebie at 2017-06-26 10:39 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Hello Mudder

I looked up the Miami one, and sat through the whole thing, and laughed and laughed.
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