My mother heard too many disturbing stories about Der Judith and her apparent death wish. She sent my brother Reuben over last weekend to remedy the situation. He probably had other things to do, but she didn’t care. “Go build your idiot sister a fence.”
Judith is a regular Houdini. And with so many people in this house the front door gets left open way to much. The kid has a sixth sense for open doors. Not only does she feel the urge to go outside, she has the urge to keep going. I’m pretty sure if left to her own devices she could make it to the Quickie Mart and not even miss me.
Judith was also so kind as to validate Reuben’s 7 hour trip by waltzing out in the crosswalk and bringing traffic to a halt. “Yes, that’s my kid. Thanks. Did you notice that we’re building a fence?” In the end we had to put her under armed guard. Judith would pace from one end of the yard to the other trying to get out. It’s not like she would sit in the grass and play. No, she wanted to go to the ends of the earth. And she found it repellent that someone should dare to thwart her.
Along with Natalie, his trusty sidekick, of course. You can see her mouth open in this picture saying something irrelevant like, “You had better not blog any pictures of me.”
The boys got put to work too.
Saturday the kids took the day off and went to church. Later they loaded in the van with Daddy Boy to do some volunteer cat rescue and a hike.
The kids think cat rescues are the coolest. They especially love the less docile ones that daddy has to stuff in a rucksack. Although it looks like this one was of the more cooperative variety.
Gideon’s favorite thing to do is explore along the river. More specifically, the homeless camps along the river.
You would think Marc would just take them to the park with the normal children. But that would be boring.
My favorite was when the homeless men themselves felt like obliged to give Boy a little parenting advice. “Um, sir. Have you educated your children about the nature of the garbage in this area? See, over there? That’s a hypodermic needle. Don’t let your three year-old eat it.”
Next the boys found a place where you could climb up on the overpass and perturb the oncoming traffic.
“What, is that a little boy? Is he going to jump out in the street? Where are his parents?”
Seriously, too much fun. Maybe next time we will let them bring sidewalk chalk and practice their graffiti.
I remember my father being the worst babysitter ever. His idea of a good time was dropping us off at the top of a ravine and seeing if we made it to the bottom before dark. My mother made a point about freaking out every Saturday afternoon because she just new we were all going to go do something terrible. Like take my little brother tree-topping, hook the rope up to the minivan, and then break a few of his ribs. Better fun was never had.
The downside of having 10 people in your house is that you have to feed them. Worse than that, you have to clean up after feeding them. This is pretty much all I did. While Natalie spent most of her time cleaning up after me. We made homemade naan, okra curry, lemon-cream cheese coffee cake, burritos, fried potatoes, soft-boiled eggs, smoothies, Thai-quinoa salad, lemon tart, pancakes, fried eggs, fake bacon, real deer burgers, and homemade boba tea. When you have a crew, food becomes a full time job. That’s why scullery wenches were invented. And Natalie comes top of the line.
Sunday they were back to work. The neat thing about this fence is that it cost me $50. It’s our back-yard privacy fence slyly re-purposed. What is decidedly less sly is that it is now obvious to the whole world that I really should clean my back-yard.
We were even able to re-use all the old posts. Since this fence is much shorter we were able to cut off the parts that had rotted. We didn’t even have to pull the nails on the cedar slats. Reuben just ran his skill saw in-between the 2×4’s on the panels and the pickets came out just the right size.
Although you cannot imagine the crying when I insisted they 45 the tops of the pickets. They wanted to leave them square. Because they are men and slaves to idle logic. And they said it was too hard. I said, “You are an architect, and you are an engineer. I THINK you can figure it out.”
Natalie, a wench of many uses.
The fence in progress. I think it has turned out quite nice. But I can tell you right now it’s going to be a bummer to paint. And convict baby will probably never forgive us.