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Month: August 2009 (page 1 of 3)

self-absorbed, 5:00 on a friday afternoon

Of your own accord
Training wheels discarded
On the garage floor.
With my fingers through my hair
I said sure.
We hit the black top
Lot next door,
Knowing the fragility of self–
Esteem and bones.
Like that drunken teenager
I remember from years ago
On his bike by the Taco Bell,
I smiled and held my breath
And watched you crash
Into the chain-link fence,
Cheating most certain death;
You laughed.
Behind I ran, suffering,
In my work loafers and middle-aged gut.
You didn’t notice me there,
Hanging on, until I let go.
You kicked your legs out
With all abandon
And careened helplessly
Into the barberry bush.
You’re just six I sighed
And promised we’d try again
By and by.

look mom, no training wheels!

All summer we’ve been asking Aidan if he’s ready to try his bike without the training wheels, and all summer he responded with an adamant “Noooo!” Well, [singlepic=504,200,200]tonight Aidan decided this was the day.  It was very cool having him announce that he wanted his training wheels off and we definitely wanted to embrace and encourage his decision so we went for it! Mike took off the training wheels and we all went over [singlepic=505,200,200]to the large driveway next door and with our encouragement, and me wielding the camera, and Mike holding on to the back of the seat (at first) and running behind him, Aidan did it! The moments without any assistance were brief, and at first when Aidan realized Mike wasn’t holding on he stopped pedaling–he actually kicked his legs out to the side causing him and his bike to dip down to one side due to the loss of balance (luckily Mike caught him and he escaped all injuries)! Aidan, laughing, stated that he was trying “to coast”, but we suggested that he try to get his speed up and his balance in check before trying to coast again.  :) He continued trying until it was time for bed. It was a very fun and exciting evening for all of us, especially for Aidan who was bubbling over with a sense of accomplishment. I’m so proud of him and can’t wait for him to try again!

every kid needs a norwegian cabin

Having completed the deck–the largest (and first major) building project of my life–last summer, I thought it would be a while since I picked up a hammer again. But I was wrong. When Chris said to me one evening, “Should we have something in the yard for Aidan to play with–like a playhouse or something,” I knew I was in for another project. Don’t get me wrong, Chris (and Aidan too) would have certainly been happy with a couple sheets of plywood leaned up against each other–or one of those large cardboard appliance boxes. But that would be far too easy for me.

After browsing the book aisle at the home improvement store, I found an idea for a “Norwegian Cabin Playhouse.” It was in one of those books that are more ideas than building plans, if you know what I mean. Sure, there were a few photos on how to make the thing, but it certainly assumed a decent amount of building knowledge, as the plans were not very detailed. Perfect! I have very little knowledge but always enjoy a project far more challenging than it needs to be. (What’s wrong with me?)

I set to work, buying materials, thinking things through–all the while Chris and Aidan looking at me like I was a little crazy. (Remember, I’m a bookish English teacher type turned amateur builder. Could I pull it off?) As I began, it seemed that it actually wasn’t too difficult. I think after digging nearly forty 42-inch deep holes by myself for the deck last year, nothing seems too difficult by comparison. In the end, the project may have been a little time-consuming because I work kind of slow, but it really wasn’t that tough–again, not like the deck where there were some days I was nearly praying for death or just wanting to abandon the whole thing and move.

The little cabin actually turned out pretty well. It’s got an interior dimension of 6×8 plus a little 2×6 deck, has a green roof which is very cool, three large screened windows, a screened door, and a secret “jump-through window” for Aidan to escape out the back of the house if need be ;-) Aidan loves it. In fact, I like hanging out inside. It’s big enough for an adult and is the perfect retreat for all. I wonder what I’ll build next year. (There’s not much room left in the yard, though.) We’ll see. Check out the photos above.

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