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4 kittens

Now that's what I call a new access road!

Posted on 2017.10.08 at 22:32
JAMMIES.

My tattoo story has spanned years and multiple artists and has been a royal mess.

Jammies also has a tattoo story:



His is a very short story: Happy 40th birthday!  I absolutely love it.

He got the black and white part about a month ago, and we've had to keep a secret for a MONTH:



Secrets are hard.

My mom said, "Tell Jammies that that is one fantastic horse!"

Jammies' mom said, "Really that big?!?"

HEEBIE.

Things with my tattoo artist got worse, and then they got better.  Last Sunday she sent me a few mock ups:



Also some drawn on the photographs of my torso. Ornate cats, and with added flowers.

I felt very queasy. She was trying, definitely. I had this sinking feeling. She kept saying, "We can make the cats look more realistic or more stylized..." as she described my options.

Finally I asked, (this is all over text message), "By 'realistic' do you mean more photographic, or more like Clare Turlay Newberry's and Ferdinand Oger's cats?"

She replied, "I mean my style, which is surreal. I can't "copy" another artist." She stopped short of saying how dare you, you asshole, but I inferred it.

I wrote back, "Oh. I know it sounds dumb, but I hadn't realized that." I stopped short of saying I've looked at hundreds of artists' work. How on earth would your ten minute sketch be better than these great historical masterpieces?

I showed up to our scheduled meeting on Thursday anyway. I was super pessimistic. I hoped she would help me connect with another artist, and I felt pretty sure she'd refund my deposit, at least.

I arrived and she brought out her sketches and started talking. (As an aside: she is very susceptible to the manipulation where you fall silent and the other person feels compelled to talk and keep talking and keeps talking to fill the silence.)  So she rambled and I sat there.



Finally I said, "I'm feeling a bit paralyzed. I just have such a strong connection to those particular cats by those particular artists. I'm not sure what to do." Which was the honest-to-god truth.

She paused. Then she apologized, for missing the point when we met last July. She said, "You've got to understand - no one does that. No one shows up with an exact thing that they want. They all have sort of a loose idea, some inspiration, and that's all."

Fair enough.

She continued, "If you were getting a small piece, just one kitten, I'd tell you that I'm not the right artist for you." But, she said, she is very intrigued by the size and scale and nature of this unconventional project. She wants to be a part of it. So she's setting aside her convictions for me. I was pretty relieved.

We started looking at my cats. Originally I'd sent her my six cats, plus some extras for inspiration. She said that my kittens would not age well over time, and that she'd need to thicken up some of the lines to make it work.  (For your recollection pleasure, the kittens are:




In order: Hawaii, Pokey, Ace, Rascal.)  I was okay with that - it did not seem like it'd compromise the essence of their kitten-ness.

Then she asked if I was concerned about having three different artists. (For your recollection, Mama and Daddy:




.) I admitted that it was something I was concerned about. She pointed out one of my extra cats:



and said, "That shading would make a great tattoo. What do you think about doing them all in that style?"  I was intrigued.  (I can't figure out who painted that cat. I did a reverse image search but I'm just getting a bunch of tumblr reposts. It reminds me of the cats by Bela Tarcsay, who paints amazing cats:



but I don't think it's his.) So we developed this idea - still my cats, in the original places that I picked, but shaded like that watercolor cat above. I love it. Hard edges to the cats, not that mushy watercolor bleeding style you see sometimes.

Next: she'd added some goddamn flowers for connectivity in her sketches. In response, I made a pinterest board of potential backgrounds which I showed her. We both liked this one:



So we're thinking a ribbon of that stippling behind the watercolor cats.

So it has evolved! I'm terribly excited. We begin next Sunday.  As I left the tattoo parlor, this little guy came up to say hello:



Of course it is a sign, and a good one.

....

TXDOT gave me an amazing present over the summer. They built two new access roads, just for me. They take me directly from the highway outside of SadTown to my office door, and back, shaving almost ten minutes off my commute. It saves me about three traffic lights. It's truly a highway miracle.

....

HAWAII



I'm very fond of the 3/4-angle that we're viewing her face from. "She's not watching TV," said Hawaii. "She's looking at books. Everyone thinks she's watching TV, so I had to write LIBRARY in the corner."



POKEY






"It's my secret language."

What does it mean?



"Attacking: In America, people were sending boats to China. It was a World War."

...

At karate on Tuesday, one of the lesser instructors was warming up the group. They were all doing push ups. He called out "White belts, you can stop!" and then a bit later, "Yellow belts can stop!" and then orange and purple. One of the purple belts kept doing push ups.

"Hey! you can stop!" stage-whispered the other kids at her. She kept doing push ups.

The instructor called everyone to their feet. "I want to point out two students!" he barked, pointing at the girl and another boy. "These two have had me before! They know that they should do extra! That's how you grow!" He belabored the point a little bit, telling a story of a time a student did 100 extra push ups, just because you should always do more than is required.

Much later,  Hawaii and Pokey's small group was on the far side of the room, with the same instructor. They had both been eliminated from a balancing contest. Two kids were still wobbling on one foot. I looked for Pokey and Hawaii. Hawaii was sitting off to the side. Pokey was doing push ups, and calling out "88...89...90..."

I guffawed. That is so Pokey. It's so his competitive side and quirky side and driven side. (Mind you, these are the back-arch/neck-wrench terrible kid push ups. He's not doing 100 actual push ups.  But he did do 100 neck wrench push ups, and flopped down.)

The instructor was aware, but did not fuss over him, which was probably for the best.



And here's Pokey, setting up check mate positions. For the longest time, when I was a kid, I didn't understand the concept of checkmate - I thought that you might sneak up on your opponent, and take their king when they weren't paying attention. Whereas Pokey sets up these airtight scenes where the king is trapped, and he'll walk you through the various reasons why the king's goose is cooked in all eight directions.

....

Pokey and I had a playday on Saturday - we went and visited PGF and her boys, and all went to Dart Em Up to shoot nerf guns and eat Asian food.



We bought a tremendous assortment of candy from the Asian grocery store, and had a little tasting party back with the other geeblets.

PGF's boys have an astonishing assortment of creepy pets. This is the shedded skin of their tarantula:



It was as soft as a kitten.

ACE

Scene: Hawaii and Ace are working on a puzzle together.
Hawaii: I'm bored to DEATH by this puzzle.
Ace: Bored to death! I learned a new word from Hawaii! Bored to death! Bored to death!



Ace and I had a playday on Sunday. We had a fancy tea party out on the tiny picnic table that our contractor built for us.



We wore matching shoes:



When Hawaii was four, she and I bought those matching gold shoes together:



 We had a cheer: "Matching gold shoes at the railyard!"  and Hawaii hugged and kissed those shoes, she loved them so much. I'm a bit misty-eyed to remember it. And to continue it with Ace.

RASCAL

Scene: eating edamame at dinner.
Pokey: I'm not eating any Obamabeans.
Rascal: Obamabeans! Obamabeans! [continues for the next 30 minutes]



Rascal is a champion echoer. Last month, at the Mermaid parade, Ace said, "Now that's what I call King Triton!" pointing at a particularly fancy King Triton.

Rascal spent the morning wearing out that construction: "Now that's what I call a chair!" "Now that's what I call a Mama!" "Now that's what I call a rock!" That's what I call lovable.

MORE HEEBIE

The worst hour of my week is 4:30-5:30 on Monday afternoons. I hate it so much. I take Ace to dance class and grade homeworks while she dances. She finishes up at 4:30. It's hot, and I'm hungry.

It's the worst because Ace is still in a five point harness, in her car seat. She still needs to be buckled and unbuckled by an adult. So I buckle her and we leave dance. We drive two minutes. I unbuckle Ace, get a grumpy Hawaii, and rebuckle Ace. We drive five minutes. I unbuckle Ace, get a grumpy Pokey, and rebuckle Ace. We drive ten minutes. I unbuckle Ace, get a manic Rascal, and rebuckle Ace, and also buckle in Rascal. We drive home and unbuckle. It's a solid hour, when I'm hungry and tired, of coaxing and buckling and unbuckling, while Hawaii and Pokey terrorize each other in their harried grumpy hungry state. It's the worst.

Of course, if that's the worst of my pain, then I should be so lucky, right? Yes yes. It's October. It's the beginning of the best time of year. September is over.  The calendar goes straight from the worst month to one of the best months, and I always feel a little euphoric.

The mosquitoes have been the worst, though. They're particularly annoying in the car, and in one of my classrooms.



This dumb door in my building.  Some doors are located in ways that are hazardous - they somehow invite the user to swing them recklessly open, and someone's poor nose gets smashed on the other side.

This door does not invite recklessness. It is big and heavy, and it has a fucking window. You can verify that no one is coming.  SAFETY FIRST. Please lecture me about door safety, Officer Door. "People may be approaching from the other side." Yes. Because it's a door.

Whereas the door at the top of the stairs has no window, and no sign, and is mildly more dangerous, except we're all goddamn adults who know how to use doors.

Comments:


treereenee at 2017-10-09 12:40 (UTC) (Link)
Heebie! I made a post on my blog just for you today!
heebie-geebie
heebie_geebie at 2017-10-16 02:45 (UTC) (Link)
I am still all kinds of touched that you took the time to write up a post for me. I also think we would be friends in real life.
treereenee at 2017-10-16 03:20 (UTC) (Link)
:) I love reading your posts Monday morning right when I wake up. They steel me for the week. I will think of you at random times, mostly parenting related stuff but sometimes your stories about cats or grandparents or boobs or weird neighbors. I will write another post next time I think of you!
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