August 2001

Doug lets loose the sponge at the Penasquitos Luthern VBS Carnival

The dog days of summer. Iím tempted to say we didnít do anything.  And while itís true that there were no vacations like the last two months, Newtonís first law (bodies in motion tend to remain in motion) held true as Kristi did an excellent job entertaining the kids on their last month off from school: two trips to the beach, a couple of trips to the local YMCA pool, another trip to Seaworld, a Padre game, two vacation bible schoolsÖ You get the idea.  Iíve said it before, and Iíll say it again: them kids are getting a lot more bang for their summer than we remember getting for ours.  And, they donít know how good they have it!  Same as it ever was.

A cautionary tale about holding on to one's youth

Percussion on Parade with Brad and Kristi on TPCC Life Enrichment Week

In the very early to mid 80s (high school through college) Keith was heavily involved in game playing through the mail, specifically the game Diplomacy.  There was at the time a vibrant postal hobby of players, game masters (third parties that ran the games for the 7 players) and publishers that dittoed, mimeographed, or photocopied amateur "ízines" (short for magazines) that contained the latest moves for the games, letters, articles, and general silliness.  (This postal hobby has since been decimated by email and computer programs that have replaced the human game master.)  For a time (83-84?) I even published my own Ďzine, The Inner Light.  I collected Ďzines and built a nearly complete archive of hobby zines from 1980-1984, the hobbyís golden age. The archives are 12 linear feet, in 7 apple boxes, and weigh who knows how much.  In short, they are a lot of paper.  A lot of paper that I have been hauling around for 15-20 years for no other reasons than it represents my youth.  Of course if I realized by this late time that it doesnít represent my youth, I've invested too much effort to just throw it all away. 

Douglas in a smock of many colors at TPCC Life Erichment Week

That was the set up, now hereís the payoff (for what itís worth): This winter the archives moved yet again, this time from the garage (where they have rested since we moved in 7 years ago) up to the attic. In the garage, they took up valuable space and taunted me daily when I saw them.  Up there, out of sight and out of mind, I thought they would rest indefinitely. Wrong.  I apparently didn't get these heavy boxes set in the attic correctly, for they have poked their corners through the ceiling, out of the attic and into two rooms below. Gladly, it was not a catastrophic attic floor failure, merely cosmetic.  But the warning was noted: the boxes have laboriously been moved back down to the garage, where they call me: "Sisyphus! Sisyphus!"

Gameboy hide and seek

Bradley learning the art of African drumming at Life Enrichment Week.

We gave each boy an electronic gadget for "graduation" last June: Doug received a Gameboy, and Brad a personal CD Player (i.e. Walkman).  The gifts served a dual purpose: not only did they recognize each boy for their truly outstanding school years, but they were also calculated to keep them docile for the thousands of miles of vacations planned for June and July.  (It should be noted that Brad received a Gameboy last year after second grade and before that yearís multiple van trips.)  As parents we know intrinsically that personal electronics are a double-edged sword.  Actual experience confirmed it.  While they are an opiate to while away the hours on the road or in the air, they isolate the user.  Users donít take part in spontaneous discussions or instantaneous discoveries out the windows.  Also, once experienced on an hours-long road trip, these devices require constant vigilance lest they are broken out for every short hop to the grocery store or church.

The boys on the way to their first day of school, Aug 27, 2001

In June when we left Doug with Nana, with left the Gameboy too, letting Nana know it was a lever to be used wisely while she had him.  Doug made it back home from Nanaís with his Gameboy, but it inexplicably disappeared sometime the following week.  We waited for it to reappear.  It didnít.  We began to search the house daily.  Kristi in particular acted with a certain urgency searching the same rooms each day as the long plane ride to Illinois loomed nearer.  Bradley, who has been know to hide his brotherís things as a prank, was asked repeatedly if he might have hidden it, and forgotten.  When he just as repeatedly protested his innocence, the question was changed to, "If you had hidden it, which we know you didnít, where might you have put it?"

Doug to first grade, Brad to fourth, and Mom to the office....

A few days before the plane flight, we had to make a decision: stand on principle and donít replace the lost gift (and the game which Douglas bought with his own money), or take the path of least resistance and buy a replacement to make the ride bearable for Kristi.  Nana, for one, was betting weíd buy the replacement.  But principle won out (or the crush to get every thing done before leaving, Iím not sure which).  As Kristi said upon return, "Do you know how many card games I played on the plane?"  While everyone but Keith was gone on Vacation in July, he had the carpets cleaned.  This required moving nearly every piece of furniture in the house, and also convinced him that the Gameboy was indeed gone, probably collected and tossed out with newspapers from the top of the coffee table.

All things turn up, of course, after you stop looking for them (because you no longer need them).  And so it was with the Gameboy.  Douglas found it this month, long after the plane ride, under his bed.  We have trundle drawers under the bed, and it was against the wall behind them.  It wasn't moved during the carpet cleaning.  Don't know exactly how he found it, but there was great rejoicing.










Harmless Childhood Habits that Aggravate Parents to No End:
When riding in the back of the convertible with the top down, the boys like to put up the two back windows while the front door windows are down.  They think it looks cool.  I've always denigrated convertibles configured this way when I see them.  Next time, before scoffing at the driver of a convertible with top down and back windows up,  I'll check if there are kids in the back seat.

Overheard lately:
Doug, "Hey Mom, look!" (Blinking his eyes and scrunching his nose.) "Are my ears wiggling?"
Brad, as Dad is carefully heating milk in a pan for hot chocolate, "If Mom were doing this, it would have taken her just three minutes.  I guess compared to her we're just a couple of amatuers."

Reading List:
Harry Potter and The Prisinor of Azkaban (Keith to Doug) 
Hardy Boys: the Firebird Rocket (Kristi to Doug)
The Princess Bride (Keith to Brad) 
House of Sand and Fog (Kristi)
On the Road (Keith)
A Wrinkle in Time (Keith)
Mr. Popper's Penguins (Brad)


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