The Lighthouse

the lighthouse

24 July 2010

Some woe, a Moe and the show

Poor old Bob has been unwell for some time. Not long ago he was leaking from one (or several) of his inner parts and Bil would pour replacement liquid back into the bowels of Bob (boBob?) The worst of it was expensively repaired a few weeks ago, during the process of which we learned that one of the wheels was due to fall off at any time and nearly every hose needed overhauling. (We know about hose, don't we ladies? Nasty stuff, that) I think the brakes needed doing as well - something I pay attention to, because brakes have shoes.

However, we are brave and hearty folk (I don't call us the Nuts for nothing) and last Sunday saw us preparing for a road trip to the Big City for some Big Fun. We packed snacks, had plenty of drinks, hair was pulled back and windows were down. We had hours of travellin' tunes lined up... I'm telling you, we are experienced road trip professionals.

As every road trip professional (R.T.P, or, in military terms r-teep) knows, the first stop you make is at a gas station. It's much more fun getting where you want to go than being stranded at the side of the road because you weren’t paying attention to the fuel indicator light. And so it was that four songs into our expedition we found ourselves at a gas station, where we discovered Bob had sprung another leak. Not so much a drip-drip-drip as a pour-pour-pour. Obviously, no more road trip for the Nuts.

Back home went we, vastly disappointed at our curtailed adventure but recognizing the wisdom of being safe, not sorry.

Two days later, Bil and Bob arrived home from work just in time for all the fluid in the radiator to come gushing out like a mini, radiator-fed Niagara Falls. Bob was not going anywhere, anymore. What were we to do? My car, the Honourable Red Rocket has been temporarily decommissioned (though not yet discharged) so it is unavailable for immediate service. Bil must get to work and back, which even in Sohoe includes hills and traffic and distance. Fortunately he enjoys a good bike ride, so he madly pedals his way around town.

Our plight hit cyberspace as we told the story of Bob’s demise on Waste Book and Bil wrote an ad on a local trading site explaining Bob’s ailments and the impact on our situation (5 children + 0 vehicle = inconvenience 100)

That is how we came to know a man named Moe. He replied to the ad, saying that he’d like to help. If Bil could afford a couple hundred dollars for parts, he would come by and help do the work here. We went from needing thousands of dollars for repairs at the dealership (or getting a new Bob) – totally impossible right now - or somehow getting by without a vehicle, to a solution within our means all through the kindness of an absolute stranger – our Good Samaritan Moe.

Saturday morning dawned sunny with a threat of rain. Bil and Moe went to purchase parts from wherever such things are done and then set about attempting to put Bob back to rights. Only Bob is a complex construction. His parts are all piled on top of each other in what I consider an unhelpful and illogical fashion. He is NOT German designed. I found it hard to tell what was going on, but it did seem to be taking a while for the appearance of progress at least. Apparently Bob’s bolts are stubborn and their placement awkward, so Moe found himself involved in a job that was rather more involved than he’d anticipated.

All of which he endured even as he became the Main Event. There he was, wrestling with temperamental Bob in our driveway, with 3 of the Peanuts lined up on lawn chairs right beside him, watching the proceedings. They even had drinks and snacks. As far as they were concerned, it was better than a movie: this was real! A man was taking their car apart! The engine was sitting right there on the pavement! He had lots of cool tools! I don’t think Moe was terribly keen on being under such close observation – or maybe it was the cardboard guns they were holding that made him nervous? Anyway, soon enough they were lured away by soccer balls and wagons and left Moe and his trusty sidekick Bil to their efforts.

And then, it rained. No no. Correction: it poured. It deluged. And still Moe worked. He wouldn’t accept food or drink and kept on working. And still Bob resisted giving up his bits. After a full day of cursing and coaxing, the men decided to quit while still sane. As I look out the window at Bob, he looks like a victim of plastic surgery left halfway through the procedure – he’s rather droopy and misshapen – a sad sight, indeed.

This story is as yet unfinished. Will Bob be road worthy once again? Will Moe come back tomorrow? Stay tuned. There is a lovely postscript however. The evening of the waterfalling radiator episode, a gentleman from down the street brought over a beautiful red Radio Flyer wagon and it was full of toy cars and trucks for the boys to keep. Weren’t they the happiest boys in Sohoe? Nay, the world? Aren’t people wonderful, underneath it all?

22 July 2010

The wait is nearly over

Four, Five and I walked to our park today. I've mentioned before the 'make work project' in our municipality of rebuilding and updating the play structures in our parks. They were to be completed by the end of June - a date all parents recognize as when the kids are finished school, will be home all day, and will need some occupation. Such as a handy park nearby.

We are now well and truly past the end of June. In fact, the end of July is close enough I can count its freckles, and our park still stands incomplete and unused. Mama Nut phoned the relevant people last week, to inquire very politely into the reasons for the long delay and was assured with confidence that all systems would be a go by the end of this week. It is now Thursday, so the end of the week is close enough I can hear it breathe.

Last night I took Two and Three with me to the library by bicycle, and the babies were very disappointed they couldn't come on their tricycle and plastic push-car. So I promised them an outing to the park in the morning, just the three of us.

And so, this morning we duly set off, parkwardbound. I fully expected to find the park as it has been all summer - skeletons of swing sets without swing seats, and climbing bars perched in concrete... not exactly child-friendly. Lo, though, and behold, there were men at work! Bob the Builder and his crew were laying the soft and squishy ground cover. Surely even hours from now we can play?

Though we couldn't yet swing and slide, we sat on a conveniently placed bench and watched the workers go about their task. They seemed to do so rather inefficiently... I was so tempted to suggest alternatives but decided to let them at it, while Four fairly strained to hunker down right beside them to observe closely how they hammered the fuzzy fake grass into place, or cut through the material with very sharp knives.

It would seem all that remains is to complete the carpeting and hang the swings before the park will be open for business - our wait is well and truly nearly over!

20 July 2010

Offerings of the earth

The growing season is in full swing, here in Sohoe. Corn is tall and in tassel; grape vines are fully dressed in foliage and actual clusters of tender green grapes; trees bear their offerings of cherry and peach, while strawberries and blueberries are being picked by the bushels.

As for our own bounty, we have sampled lettuce grown at our front door. A hot pepper is currently drying in the kitchen prior to being a welcome addition to something yummy in a few days. The Whopper tomato plant has one small fruit undertaking its journey to bigness (or so I am expecting. The helpful plastic information tag that came with it promises a bountiful harvest of large fruit) after flirting with an early demise. The Sweet Millions is literally bursting with life, growing four inches in all directions every day and now fostering cherry-sized fruit by the dozens. The earliest are now a glossy deep green, so we can expect some to be ready for picking any day now. (When I say 'every direction' I do mean 'every direction'. Some branches are so long now, this plant resembles a vine as they creep along the ground) The Patio Tomato has a cluster of green crab-apple sized tomatoes, and two days ago we noticed one was blushing. Today it is a proper tomato red, ready for harvest. Hoorah!

Our bucket-o-potatoes is flourishing - or at least the green leafy bits are. We've been teasing ourselves with the thought that there might not be actual potatoes in the soil, but even so, we are proud as peacocks at having managed to produce these lush green plants. Yesterday, I convinced my sister to rootle her hand in the dirt to discover if we were indeed the proud parents of baby potatoes. We are.

These are modest efforts, for sure. You experienced gardeners out there are probably chuckling over how excited we are over a potential potato, but to go from 'plant killer' to 'tomato grower' is a heady transition.

How does your garden grow?

19 July 2010

Of the resumption of life, postBIOF

I promise, this is not a post about football, so please feel free to keep reading.

It's been over a month since I've inhabited the lighthouse. I can feel the return of creativity, and it is wonderful. Oma Nut recently asked me if I still believed that I HAD to write, and the answer was a quick and certain affirmative. After a rather long drought, there are tender shoots of ideas seeking light, ready to grow. The challenge will be to impose some discipline and resist the languor brought on by this outrageous heat and humidity so many of you are feeling.

The same holds for the routines of homekeeping. First there was the sumptuous banquet of the Beautiful Game that had us reclining on our couches rather than sorting, dusting, cleaning, baking etc. Only the necessary details of eating and taking out the garbage were attended to; only the very necessary clothes were washed; only the dirtiest bodies were bathed; and only when the cupboards offered nothing but stale, forgotten crackers did we leave the house (ie. the tv) for the shops.

We don't have that excuse anymore. Now we are dealing with extreme weather conditions which make roasting a turkey for 5 hours in the oven, or cleaning behind the fridge, or putting junk mail into the recycling bins seem like the most arduous and sweat-inducing tasks ever. I would walk 500 miles through snow backwards and uphill rather than exert myself in this weather.

It seems we have gone from the hibernation of winter to the hibernation of climate-controlled summer with only the briefest respite of active spring in which to plant gardens, paint houses or walk energetically to the mail box. Now we move slowly and only when absolutely necessary, hoping that the weeds will not kill the plants before September rolls around, when - God willing - the humidity will finally dry up and I will not have disintegrated like macaroni left in the water too long.

So, with these challenges in place, I shall attempt to develop a work ethic and partake in the activities of ordinary life (such as returning books to the library).

I hope you are all doing well and enjoying summer. Try to stay al dente, ok?

12 July 2010


What am I forget abouting? Three asking Two what he was forgetting.

Can I have plain bread when I'm done my pie? Two, negotiating to have a plain tortia shell. The price was eating a piece of pie first. These are truly unusual children.

Take the stick out of your bread before it ends up in your nose. Mama Nut to Two, who had decorated the aforementioned flat bread with toothpicks.

Somebody! Somebody! Help-a me! Wipe-a my bum! Four, sounding like a little Italian boy, who still needs a little assistance in the loo.

Five, on being given a sandwich for lunch, responded with, "Nooooo" (in ascending octaves) "I don't want a sandwich. I want ice cream!"

Several evenings later, icecream was part of dessert. The bucket sat empty on the table, and Five, not believing it was indeed empty, asked to see inside it. And so, he stuck his whole head inside to inspect it, holding it up to his mouth, in case there were any drops remaining inside for him to catch on his tongue. Then he looked over at his father and said, "Get more, Dad."

05 July 2010


Today is Number Three Nephew's birthday. He is now seven years old.

He's a very special Peanut, this Three; he has a way about him that goes right to your heart.

He's got a very well-developed sense of humour, with a real knack for telling a joke. He's got timing down pat, and is able to deliver a line that can make you spit your juice across the supper table. (I've seen it happen)

Three has a wonderful, Disney-worthy voice. Not just his own voice, which sounds perfect for a wise-beyone-his-years cartoon character, but he's able to 'do' voices very well, too. Need someone to voice a cranky crocodile? Three's your boy! Have a stalwart superhero in need of some spunk? Three can do it, no problem!

From his earliest days, Three made people work for it, and he had a finely-tuned intuition into people. Older folk would coo over him, begging for smiles, and he would gaze back at them, assessing them, often delivering his judgement - like the time he called a fellow a bad man, or told a woman at the beach she needed to put her clothes on.

While naturally athletic, he tends to hang back when undertaking a new activity, like swimming or riding a two-wheeler He observes carefully how it's done, then he will practice on his own until he's on his way to mastery. Over the winter he developed a passion for hockey, and would spend hours in the basement doing ball drills for hours at a time. Now, soccer is his consuming passion, and at every opportunity is to be found outdoors, shooting the ball against a fence. He's showing signs of real footballing intelligence - understanding where the ball is going to be, and where it should be, and how to move himself around while controlling the ball.

Three doesn't have much of his very own. 'Having' things isn't important to him, and it gives him pleasure to share what he does have. When taken out of school to spend a special day with Mama and Papa Nut, he was intent on bringing somethig home for his brothers, so they could share in his gift.

While being very close to his brothers, he's not an overly demonstrative sort. While he may burst into a room asking "Where are my brothers?", he will also squirm and whimper if he has to share a bed, because they are touching him.

He is a very tender-hearted soul: when USA lost the gold medal hockey game in Vancouver 2010, he cried for them. He's not shy to express his happiness: each time Germany scored a goal over Argentina in the World Cup 2010 quarter final game (four times!) he leapt into my arms, overcome with joy.

One of the favourite stories from Peanut Family Lore is from when they went to Disney. Three was actually three years-old, and he walked and walked and walked, from one end of the kingdom to the other without complaint or fatigue.

He used to call the Dollar Store the Weapon Store, because they stock foam swords and plastic water guns. He used to point out 'army guys' in any book we read, managing to find the one and only gun-carrying Indian in a book about early America.

He's a soldier in the making, beloved Three. May God bless his fierce heart with courage and conviction.