Thursday, May 7, 2009

Just Another Thursday.

Elder Son has cello Thursday mornings. His teacher visits the high school, not the primary school, so we have to get him there by 0830. Normally, Natalie loads Younger Son on the bus first, but today she forgot the protocols.

Ah well. She took off with Elder Son. I made a lunch, loaded Younger Son and the Mau-Mau in the car (after spraying everyone with pyrethrin/orange-oil/ti-tree louse dismayer) and scooted down to Scottsdale. Dropped Younger Son at school, reminded him I'd be picking him up after lunch for afternoon Spanish.

Had a quick breakfast at the bakery with the Mau-Mau, which made her very happy. Then we zipped round to the hospital, and waited briefly for Natalie to show up with Elder Son and his cello. Loaded up. Headed home.

Elder Son started in on his typing exercises. The Mau-Mau got a dose of ABC kids cartoons, and I answered some email for about half an hour. Then I got together with Elder Son, and we tackled science: what's the difference between living things and non-living things?

I figured we should start in on the living world. We've been playing with magnets and electricity, but now we've made contact with the natural history curator at the museum, it made sense to look in another direction. Elder Son did a pretty good job coming up with stuff to define "life". Of his own accord, he decided that living things grow; that they take in stuff from their environment, change it, and return other stuff to the environment. He also decided that living things reproduce themselves. He had to be prompted to consider the concept of irritability/response to environmental stimuli, but I was pretty happy with the discussion anyhow.

After that, he ducked outside and found five different living organisms. While he did that, I made lunch. When he came back in, he wrote a paragraph about each of his living organisms (a sample from a lavender bush including flowers, a sample from a hazelnut tree including the nut, a mushroom, a shelf fungus and a grasshopper) detailing how they fit the description of 'life' that we'd worked out. He had to do a bit of reading on mushrooms and fungi to figure out that his samples were actually the reproductive/spore-bearing parts of the mycelium, but overall he did well.

We dashed back down to Scottsdale then. Collected Younger Son from school. Collected the post. Did some shopping for dinner. Zipped back home again.

The boys had to clean the cages of the rats and mice, so I took the time to read to the Mau-Mau for a while. Once the rodents were fixed up though, it was time for an afternoon of Spanish. Then we got into the cleaning and tidying, and I had laundry to do, firewood to split, fires to lay and start...

Fucking Dog has learned to jump the low wire fence I built around the clothesline. We've had a month or more of our laundry NOT being all over the ground. That's come to an end. At least part of my weekend will be spent building a higher fence. Short of actually killing the dog -- which tempts me at the moment, I admit -- there seems to be no way of convincing him that he doesn't want to swing by his teeth from the dangling laundry. So: picked up a lot of laundry off the grass, took the next load up to the dryer in the shed.

... made Yum Cha-style steamed dumplings for dinner: pork, chicken and prawn. Also ran up some crunchy spring rolls and some steamed vegies. Natalie was late coming home, unfortunately. It's a pity, since she loves her Chinese dumplings. Still, there wasn't much I could do about it.

Finally she did get home, and I sent the kids off for their bath, fed her... and then, at last, retired to the study for a beer. Where I am. Now. Listening to Natalie wrangle the kids through tooth-brushing and pre-bed stuff. She's running late. The Mau-Mau has wound up something fierce. Ordinarily I'd step out and shut things down, but Natalie has insisted I shouldn't do that... so I figure it's her problem and she can deal with it herself. It's about time, anyhow. Figure if she's going to ask me not to intervene, then she's got to work out how to get a handle on things.

I have to admit to just a wee touch of schadenfreude here...


  1. Jeeze FH - that's one hell of a carbon footprint, all that zipping to and fro. Hope the petrol doesn't run out before the kids grow up and move to town!

    Yeay - cello! Little kids on the cello crack me up. I assume he's on a half size. l luuuurve my cello. More expensive than a small second hand car and worth every bloody penny. Wish I'd started at his age though. Bloody hard to pick something like that up in ones dotage.

    G man just bought a new Imac - the G4 finally died, and it's loaded up with Logic studio which has the capacity to score music. Once he figures out how it works, I'll be able to write my own stuff and print it up to practice on. Hoping it'll help in my desperate attempt to try to learn to read music. I'm one of those tragic types who's always been able to play by ear and therefore never got the hang of sight reading.

  2. I thought my 10 hours at the office yesterday was a mission. Of course on the way home I was first on the scene at serious car crash in the pouring rain and the dark. When I did make it home (soaked through and covered in someone elses blood) my nearly 16 year old had prepared a good stir fry - not yum cha unfortunately but I v happy none the less - and a load of washing was going in the machine. He was in the midst of heavy homework at the kitchen table. All is right in Lou's world. You run a high energy learning environment there Flint. I love your ideas. Your kids are privileged.

  3. Indeed, at warp 9 with all cells on charge as well.

    I laughed at "Figure if she's going to ask me not to intervene, then she's got to work out how to get a handle on things."

    OH yes, but nuffin, nuffin shuts down shenanigans like the 200 pound domestic gorilla, its a little bit of a giggle to have to sit back and watch, especially when you have been TOLD TOO. YEAH, OK..Knock ya self out.

  4. Hughesy: it's a half-size, and secondhand at that. It has a really lovely sound, though, and for some reason Elder Son has a fantastic 'attack'. Maybe it's the previous piano study or something, but he just doesn't do all that scraping: big, round sound. It's still simple music for him, but it's a pleasure to hear.

    Not much I can do about the toing-and-froing, though. We're on an economical diesel engine there, but still... I'm stuck with it.

    Lou: someone else's blood? Good. Always better than being covered in your own.

    And Havock? You are absolutely right.

  5. Yep, I too often end up intervening when Wifey is have dramas wrangling The Boy...

    Hughesy, I'm like you - learn songs by ear and can't read music for shit. My second and third sons both play multiple instruments and read music and laugh when I say I can't do it. Then stop laughing when I pick up a guitar and paly along with one of their recorded tunes (well mostly...son no.2 has a penchant for Heavy Metal of the drop D tuning/Cookie Monster vocals style).

  6. So did WW3 erupt in the end?

  7. BTW are you going to discuss things like prions and virions?

  8. I've already raised the question of viruses with him. We're both of the opinion that viruses probably aren't actually "alive" - that they border the land of the living. Prions and virions can wait, I think.

  9. I remember reading somewhere that the Y chromosome may have initially been a virus of some kind. Wish I could remember where.