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4 kittens

6:10 Do Hair

Posted on 2017.09.04 at 22:42
Labor Day weekend: we compounded, with five other families, in a compound near Kerrville. Here was our compound:

Apparently it used to be a honky tonk sort of rural bar. That panorama is pretty accurate, though: barren open field surrounded by dilapidated buildings. It was super cheap and we were not worried about our children destroying anything.

We stayed in the Paradise Room. (Only one spot you could step through the floorboards if you weren't paying attention. I'm being serious.)

The creepiest/best building:

Freestanding structure built entirely of lattice and windows. Inside:

The kids didn't seem to mind the layers of dust and lost souls of drunken revelry past.

The stairs next to the Lattice And Window Hut led to the Guadalupe River:

Distorted panorama.

Twelve of the sixteen kids jumped off this:

On Saturday, Pokey jumped off it several times, with just a few other kids. They had fun, except when they smacked the water a little too hard. Land on the soles of your feet! That day, Hawaii wouldn't go in the river at all.

But then on Sunday, Hawaii started swinging on the rope swing, and then - unexpectedly - marched herself up to the dock and jumped off. I was astonished and so proud of her.

And then! Her bravery kicked off a parade of kids, one by one, taking on the challenge of the dock. They each perched up there and confronted their inner demons publicly, visibly, on stage. The evident psychology was epic. We all whooped and cheered from our tubes down below. (Most of the kids were glad they jumped, but not all.)

I personally think rope swings are super fun, much more fun than smacking the water off a high dive.  But watching those kids, one-by-one, volunteer to wrestle with their brains and take it on was truly something to behold.

These doofuses trawled up and down the river now and then:

What is that? Let's zoom in!

You know, Huck Finn's tiki bar raft with trawling motor. It puttered by each day, looking very pleased with itself. Ostentatious dumbasses.

We threw Jammies a teeny-tiny surprise 40th party:

He was indeed surprised! We all wore unicorn horns and mugged on him.

It was a very good weekend.

Minutia from last week

I came home to this family portrait:

The horned melon and pomegranate are from HEB, the wrinkly green brain is from my hurricane stroll with Pokey:

Tree shed of its wrinkly green brains. (It was rather rainy and windy at that point in our hurricane stroll, so I was taking the photo through plastic protection.)


I've spent the the summer having tooth-pullingly slow conversations with Pokey about our feelings. So much boring silence, so much "I don't know." And perhaps he doesn't! Just lots of agonizingly content-devoid feelings-conversations, while we try to find substitutes for violence when frustrated.

Then last week, Ace tore up Hawaii's paper. Hawaii reciprocated. They were each furious. I intervened.

Talking with Ace and Hawaii about their feelings...holy moly, were they eager to dish. Especially Ace. She cozied up and launched into intricate reflections: "Hawaii gave me the paper and I said I liked it, but I DIDN'T. I only said it to be nice. Do you know I sometimes say things to be nice but I don't mean them?" So many feelings, and so much pleasure in articulating and expressing them.  So acutely opposite of Pokey's basic lack of pleasure of those sorts of talks.


Hawaii is now riding the bus to school. Hawaii's bus arrives at 6:45.

Here is her morning schedule:

Do you think that I made her plan her morning in five minute increments? It was not forced upon her.

There was even a morning schedule rough draft preceding the polished version:

I didn't make her do a rough draft or a final draft, but I certainly enjoyed the whole process - and facilitated it - because Hawaii was really into it. (That's my handwriting.)

Here are things I had no idea were part of her morning schedule:
 - Showering. Since when?! I guess she's outgrown a weekly bath.
 - Stretching routine
 - Doing her hair.


Pokey is at his new school, supposedly learning Spanish. He told me, "Uno, dos, tres, ojos a mi!" and then the class says, "Uno, dos, tres, ojos a ti!" It's a call and response thing. We're familiar with the English version, where the teacher says, "One, two, three, eyes on me!" and the class responds, "One, two, eyes on you!"

Pokey with one of his very best friends, on the first day of school.

The point is this: when Pokey first said, ojos I thought he'd said ochos, but not quite. It was a sound in between the h and the ch. I am at taking that to mean his accent will be legit.


Our house lifting is complete. The stairs are painted and stained. The contractor has packed up his supplies. Remember our workaholic contractor? Here are two last things that want commemorating:

1. He built us a little child-sized picnic table with the excess lumber, on his own.

2. He put together a photo album for us, of our project:

This is the cover - it's plastic sleeves, bound, ready to go in a binder.

Sample interior page.

I know everyone loves their fur-contractor-baby and posts cuddly-contractor photos all over Facebook every time they get a home renovation.  But did your special contractor make you a photo album of your project?  Mm-hmm.

(For the record, we also love our contractor from when we built the addition. We are very thankful.)


This is the edge of Harvey. To the left, blue skies began. To the right, dark gray clouds still swirled. This was last Monday.

In each of my classes, I had everyone take out a sheet of paper and answer the following:

1. What percentage of your brain is preoccupied with Harvey damage/friends/family? What percentage of your brain is present here in your school semester?

2. Is there anything you'd like me to know about your situation?

A majority of students were not too preoccupied; a few were very preoccupied. Some shared details which were not related to Harvey at all: "My parents kicked me out and I'm living with my boyfriend," or "I'm really stressed out about this semester and not sure if I'm going to be able to handle it."

I was like, "Fuck." As in, argh, I should probably be checking in and taking a snapshot of their mental health once or twice a semester, whether or not there's a hurricane. It's just not something math people usually do! But I should probably start doing so.


Magical neigh.


(Anonymous) at 2017-09-05 14:02 (UTC) (Link)
The legit accent was my very favorite thing about bilingual education. The way they'd drop into completely Spanish-sounding Spanish on any individual word just slew me somehow with the cuteness.

heebie_geebie at 2017-09-11 03:07 (UTC) (Link)
Yes! I can't wait to hear him rattle off an actual phrase, to surpass my Spanish. It's super delightful.
lacachet at 2017-09-06 00:32 (UTC) (Link)
You are giving the kids such good memories! And I especially like you and Jammies as unicorns--I would have been floored if my parents had done that, when I was a child :)
heebie_geebie at 2017-09-11 00:00 (UTC) (Link)
That is such a kind thing for you to say! You're so lovely.
(Anonymous) at 2017-09-10 10:55 (UTC) (Link)

Green Wrinkly Thing

The green wrinkly thing is an Osage Orange! (This may be something you already knew.)

As always, I enjoy catching up on your writing and your family!

- Parenthetical
(Anonymous) at 2017-09-10 12:40 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Green Wrinkly Thing

Also also, several hours later, I'm still marvelling that Hawaii is leaving the house over thirty minutes before I get up.......she's so organised!
heebie_geebie at 2017-09-11 00:05 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Green Wrinkly Thing

I had no idea what it was! Now I am reading up about how it's a myth that they serve as bug repellents, and if you're willing to do a lot of work, you can eat the seeds.
(Anonymous) at 2017-09-11 08:47 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Green Wrinkly Thing

Yes! I never ever got around to trying to eat one but I always kinda wanted to. - Paren
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