a brief discussion of clip-on ties and moldy pumpkins in the everyday life of a family in seattle of the pacific northwest during a period in which the arguably more screwed-on parental householder had gone out of town leaving the other householder (a father) at the mercy of the children who will tend do such things as conduct marathon Kraftwerk festivals involving robotic-like calisthenics performed from the livingroom sofa
Adam went to school this morning with mismatched shoes on his feet and a clip-on tie fastened to the sagging neckline of his ratty long-sleeve tee. I made a halfhearted attempt to get him to change into something with a collar but this was a predictable affront to his stylistic integrity. He goes to a big-city school and he’s in a younger grade so I worry a little about him getting picked on but at the same time I refuse to squelch his individuality. It’s very validating to me that he wants to be a dorky nonconformist. I’ll be sad if he does come home with a story about an elementary school big-kid meanie. But I’ll wear a ridiculous clip-on tie in solidarity if I have to. I can’t wear mismatched shoes, that’s asking for back spasms.
I’m a little disappointed about the annual moldy jack-o-lantern photography extravaganza. With the exception of two smaller pumpkins, the rest of our jack-o-lanterns did what could only be described as pooping out, sagging (I want to use the word “collapse” but that seems far too strong) inward into folds of soft, flabby orange and gooey rind. Last year I left the entire rotted mess on the steps down to the sidewalk for weeks, perhaps to the consternation of a certain Type A neighbor who I find eminently likable and fascinating despite the fact he has alienated half the neighborhood for going gangbusters in recent years over various perceived civil offensiveness and I thought for sure it was my turn to get roasted, particularly after seasons ago when he barely bit his tongue because I painted the bottom half of our house before giving up out of frustration at the severe mismatch between the old paint in the bucket versus that on the siding which had been exposed to ultraviolet radiation for the past twelve years (our humble classic box fortunately has horizontal trim conveniently spaced halfway between the first and second stories which now serves as the dividing line between two accents of blue that sort of look as if they were meant to compliment each other-my work and that of professional painters of yore). At any rate, this year’s pumpkins were past their freshness date and extremely gross but they never got to the shriveled-up, funny face stage. They went directly to moldy mush, so goopy that even the rats couldn’t bother for a nibble on their way to the chicken coop. I knew if I waited too long to move the pumpkins to the compost pile a racoon was going to come along and make a big mess (because that’s what they do) of it and then I was going to have to worry about the postal carrier slipping and breaking his or her leg.
But then I got very lucky by accident (the residue of design?): Oliver and I were tinkering outside a couple days ago before nap-time when he insisted upon emptying the water out of the last uncompromised jack-o-lantern and suddenly the thing broke apart in his hands. He wasn’t disappointed in the least because this was his opportunity to smash the thing further and add to the grossness of the mini-compost pile I started in the driveway across from the front porch (it occupies a gardening space I created out of hard pan last summer but which I never got around to finishing before winter so I’m gradually adding juicy stuff for worms, fungi and other critters to feast upon so that nature can run its course and make some deluxe soil for me by next springtime). Next thing I knew I’d scored a nice photo opportunity for this year’s edition of rotten pumpkins!
I happened to be testing the capabilities of my first new camera in five years, the Nikon D750 (so lightweight, it feels like a dream). The L bracket (a small piece of metal I use to attach the camera body to my tripod ballhead) for the new body hadn’t yet arrived so I was limited in how I could shoot in this shady spot. With all the pretty leaves in the foreground I might have stopped down a lot if I’d had that option but it was not such a big deal because shooting wider open is my artistic default when it comes to closer-up work.
The boys and I were on our own last week. We holed up like cavemen and let the house fall apart where it may. One night, Adam and Oliver had an extremely intense Kraftwerk marathon and Neon Lights was repeated approximately 73 times. I read The Hobbit to them at dinner all week long. Oliver reliably transplanted himself into bed with me several nights in a row between the hours of 2 and 4 AM: This sort of thing is dangerously habit-forming but he’s a very sensitive boy when it comes to his mother leaving town. Earlier in the evenings once the boys had fallen asleep and I was by myself, I was a little surprised at how lonely I felt. Ordinarily I’m happy to be alone, but it’s different when I have the boys by myself. It feels like I’ve been handed the controls to the space shuttle and I’ve been asked to dock with the International Space Station even though I have no piloting experience whatsoever. Sheesh, that metaphor is probably going a little overboard. Speaking of which, once upon a time I did take over the controls of a small plane above the San Juan Islands. But that’s like when your dad let you steer the car down the driveway while you sat on his lap, it wasn’t exactly the autonomous experience you thought it was…….