Friday, May 30, 2014

the only one

Are you tired of hearing about our chicks?  I am sorry.

I am still going to tell you about our chicks today.

It will begin with a bit of a parenting of middle school children moment though.  Just to shake things up a bit.

I want you to come.  The dance we are doing is kind of cool.  I want you to see it.  I just don't want you to be the only parent there.  That would be weird.  Nicholas announced this from the backseat as he remembered to tell me about a miniperformance by his performing arts group as we closed in on school. The morning of the performance.

I swallowed my frustration about this last minute reminder and the bit of homework for me that came along with it.  That I would need to text, call, and email around to a few friends to see if other parents were going, if perhaps their children had remembered to tell them about the performance that day.

Because I was happy he wanted me there at least.

Just don't be the only one.  That would be kind of awkward.  He said as he hopped out of the car in the drop off circle, door slamming behind him.

And I wasn't.  One text, one phone call, and a confusing email later and I had assured myself that there was already a small line up of parents that would be there as well.  And therefore I was ready.  I knew my presence there would not be awkward.  And I am so glad I went.  Because there is something quite wonderful about watching children of this age perform.  The competence and self consciousness and social dance of coolness mixed in with giddy joy when they are enjoying what they are doing.  I got to see it laid out before me for a few minutes this morning.

I enjoyed myself in the back row.  And arriving late as I did, I ran into Nicholas in the back of the room, getting ready to do his group's performance of Irish step dancing and Moorish sword dancing.  As I passed by him, no one was looking.  And I was able to give his flop of hair a tussle unnoticed.  And he smiled unselfconsciously back at me.  And then rejoined his group of friends.

Why was I running late?  Well.  I will tell you.  This is where the chicks come in.  After dropping the kids at school, I had driven like mad across town before the performance to our local UHaul store to pick up a few extra large boxes.  Because I had a project before me when I got home.  And it was a half day at school.  And I needed all the moments I could rustle up when I got home after watching Nicholas step ball change with his lacrosse socks and wooden sword with his friends.

And, looking about the room at the parents and friends with me?  I was pretty sure I was the only one there with a chicken plan for my morning.

The bin Jonathan fashioned for me into a chick brooder was getting a bit crowded.  There was a lot of scrambling and squawking and fluttering going on in there.  Their bodies are growing at such a steady rate.  And they are experimenting with flying and their personalities, including those who seem to have a natural instinct to lead make for a good deal of hootenanny and also a need for some of the smaller chicks to have a bit more space to retreat.  And, it turns out, hanging out under the roosting pole is a messy activity.

Peep needed a bath.

And a warm snuggle while she dried to stay warm.

And so, sideways glance and man-nod public acknowledgement from Nicholas received and returned with my best version of something similar, I dashed to my Subaru and headed home.

I got my materials ready.

Spent a few moments deciding how to maximize space.

And started cutting.

Using the flaps of the box to make the "brooder" tall enough to allow for a bit of flying made it impossible to reach down into the box to tape things together.  So I climbed in.

I used duct tape, until my roll ran out.  And then grabbed the left over packing tape from our last move here.  And reaffirmed for myself that we are never moving again.  And that UHaul boxes will only be used in my home for crafting from now on.

It does say they are designed for multiple purposes.  I am just not sure that this was one of the purposes they had in mind.

I grabbed for the kids' school supplies when my visual spatial skills were challenged and needed to redo a few cuts here and there.  Felt clever when I realized I did not need to run to the garden shed for the yard stick because the edge of the box was just as good for straight long lines.  And tape really solves all problems.

And then, a glance at my watch told me it was time to go pick up the kids.  Which was kind of disappointing because I had not finished yet.  I texted Jonathan partially completed cardboard coffin in the middle of family room.  FYI.  I did not hear back from him, but given that I had not told him of my plans for the day, I wondered how he explained this text to himself.  We had just watched as I Lay Dying last week...

But picking up the kids also turned out to be very helpful.  Because small children fit in boxes better.

And they really do make it more fun, if also more time consuming.  Slightly disturbing but also quite silly photo below.

And only children would think of the things I had forgotten to include.  Such as a label.  Thank you, Julia.

And decor.  

Sideways Michelangelo work here.

All this work and effort and it was soon time for Jonathan to be home.  Who jumped right in.  And installed the heat lamp for us.  

And he procured a large screen from the basement to serve as a lid/cat protector.  Because I still do not go to the basement except in absolute emergencies.

Nicholas showed off his dance moves while helping me install the garbage bag liner for the bottom.

And Elliott and Jonathan fashioned a roosting bar.

And then, we filled it with fresh wood shavings.

And Elliott worked on his Zen Garden skills with a fireplace tool to spread the shavings flat.

And then, one by one, the chicks were placed in their new, for now, home.

And so, as you can see, they are rehomed.  In a bigger, more spacious brooder.

Why do I have The Jefferson's theme song in my head?  Well we're movin' on up....

Like I said, I am pretty sure we are the only family we know who spent a good part of the afternoon doing this.

And I can see why.  Why, sometimes?  Nicholas would like to blend a bit.  And not be the only one.

Point well taken.  We can be a little bit weird.

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