Friday, February 19, 2016

Journal Post

Early one morning last week, the electricians arrived. I took them to the basement -- showing them through the furnace room, a future bathroom, laundry room, bedroom and family room. I spoke with a falsely confident voice saying things like, “We want that light moved so it isn’t touching that pipe, and, of course, we’ll want it hard-wired in.” And, “Just one surface mount in here.” And, “The contractor thought we’d want a CO detector in here, but we worry that would just set us up for false alarms, so maybe just put them wherever it’s standard.” And even, “We’d like things all code – not any hidden junction boxes that we can’t access or anything.”

And they bought it. They discussed can lights and outlets with me like I had a firm understanding of what they were saying (or even what I’d been saying). They even double checked with me if they’d judged the placement of one light correctly. Of course I’d faked the whole thing. Mike had walked me through the night before – telling me what to point out to them. I’d stopped him mid way in and said I’d better get a paper and pen, but it appears I fooled them – and fooled them well because the job is now complete and, apparently, just as “we” wanted it!


I must work much harder to get pictures of Mike and my older kids. I really really enjoy just following people about, taking their pictures, occasionally forcing them to sit or stand here or there, all while they are mostly oblivious and unconcerned about it all. It gets much harder for me once they are old enough to feel aware and possibly even self conscious when I point my lens their way. I have never had any interest at all in shooting professionally. It just doesn’t appeal to me (and that might be one of the main reasons it doesn’t). Except . . . I think I would maybe love birth photography. It might possibly be the one time I could take pictures of adults while they were mostly oblivious to me. Plus. I mean come on. Birth! (Mind you, I have no plans of actually doing such a thing. It would be so unpredictable and require such open availability that I couldn’t possibly manage it while having my own kids at home. But someday I’d like to be behind the camera at a birth or two. Maybe for my own grandkids.)



Penny checked out Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words from the library awhile back. Have you heard of this book? It’s kind of fun. All sorts of crazy stuff explained using only the thousand most common words. Jesse has found it fascinating. (Though I must admit to sometimes feeling a bit frustrated by the thousand word limit. It sometimes takes a bit too much energy deciphering just what is being talked about. “Fire water? What is . . . fire . . . oh, does he mean gas? Is that gas he’s talking about?”)

Anyway, the other day at dinner Jesse asked about lightning and what causes it. I deferred to Abe who explained it with a fair amount of hazy and uncertain wording. Upon finishing his explanation, Abe informed me that he was thinking of writing his own version of Thing Explainer. “Complicated Stuff in Vague Words”.

Funny. That Abe. I like his sense of humor so much. And, while we have all sorts of very very different strengths around this house, and I’m all for being aware of and celebrating the things beyond just the clearly “brag worthy”, let us pause and brag all the same for just a wee minute because I do also quite like that he comes home nearly every day with some new award or some tale of being harassed good-naturedly by his friends or teachers for doing so . . . well at everything. “I may as well just have Abe teach this,” his physics teacher will say. “After all, he’s smarter than I am.”  Last week, on top of being, “king of the world in honors math” (or something – I forget the royal title he was given for the month), he won “librarian’s choice award” for his bookmark design, and . . . some other award for the poem he had to write for English (which will now be published in their school’s literary magazine).


We spent President’s Day and Valentine’s weekend at the cabin with Mike’s sister and her family. Our oldest four (Penny for her first time) went with their three kids skiing one of the days. And weren’t the kids surprised when strangers at Bear Lake knew we’d be at the cabin and left doorbell ditched Valentine treats on our doorstep! (We must discuss sometime this tradition that I thought, growing up, was the whole of what Valentine’s Day was . . . only to discover, when I became a teenager, nobody else knew anything about. That hasn’t stopped me from carrying the tradition on with my own kids though. And someday they can be just as confused when none of their friends know what they are talking about when they mention doorbells rung and secret treats left on the porch all day.)



Carol said...

Isn't it awesome when you can fool the professionals?? And does Abe tutor in physics? I've got a child that is struggling so badly. :-( And it's so sad that the door bell ditching for Valentine's has gone by the wayside. It was so fun as a kid waiting for the bell to ring.

Nancy said...

Carol -- Abe has actually tutored a friend in our ward in Physics. Having as many kids as we do we know all about the full spectrum from things coming easy to them really being a struggle!! I hope Abe realizes what a blessing it is to have things come simply for him.

And you know about doorbell ditching! It was all we waited for on Valentine's growing up! But it must have just been my parents all along because nobody I've talked to since has known what I'm talking about! My kids think it's all neighbors but it's all me leaving treats now. It takes some serious trickiness!

Kara said...

Love the clean, crisp feel of the images. That one-eyes pic of Mette... Breathtaking.

Marilyn said...

I love, love your sneaky use of jargon to convince the workers you knew what was what. I really don't know if I'd be able to pull that off even with notes to refer to! So awesome.

Your Abe is amazing and I love funny kids. Good job Abe. And I want to read that book. I heard of it somewhere else too. I want to read Abe's vague-terms book also so he better get writing it!

And finally your valentines doorbell-ditching is hilarious and totally weird. What on earth? I never heard of such a thing. I wish we were your neighbors though because we'd totally do it. However, we celebrated May Day growing up (taking little bouquets of flowers to people on May 1st) and I don't know ANYONE else who did that, so I guess I'm hardly one to point the finger. :)

Marilyn said...

ps do you remember where you got Mette's elephant dress? I love it.

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