2

Flipping his lid

Thank goodness it’s almost bedtime.

Spurred out of bed before dawn after Philip kept me up late, I was beat by Tuesday night. I invoked a prayer of gratitude that we seemed on track for a decent bedtime. Per his after-bath ritual, Philip had read a Curious George book, kissed Peter goodnight, and went to the kitchen.

Rather than grabbing his nightcap of milk out of the fridge, Philip took a container of leftover popcorn out of the pantry. He hadn’t eaten supper with us, so I assumed he was hungry. Instead, he abandoned the bowl and commandeered the lid. I was pleased that Philip had forfeited the snack. Taking it for myself I reasoned, Wouldn’t want this to go stale, now would I?

My gluttony would soon be punished.

While I munched, Philip constructed. Using the orange lid as a base, he trimmed and decorated a fun hatpiece of paper and formed it into a cylinder.  He attached the paper crown onto the plastic brim with two pieces of tape. Then he rooted in a pile of toys until he found an object from a sculpture kit. He placed the wooden shape on the brim where it could roll around the crown. Philip had assembled a “Fully Automatic Monkey Fun Hat” a la Curious George.

fun hat 003Up to this point, Philip had only interrupted my snacking to request tape and scissors. With the chapeau complete, I assumed Philip would continue to entertain himself until bed time. Yet, just like Curious George, Philip did not want to keep this fantastic headgear for himself. No, Philip made me wear the hat. I had to wear it sitting at the desk. I had to model it standing up. He posed me in the kitchen. He adjusted my placement in the living room. He manipulated me into position in my office. He corrected my stance in his bedroom.

At first, since there wasn’t a hole for my head, I balanced the lid-hat on my noggin with both hands. When my fingers tingled from impaired circulation, I held it with one hand and then the other. Every time I made the switch, I tipped the lid-hat and jostled the orbiting object. Philip whimpered until he moved it back into its proper place.

Two hours later, the two pieces of tape were coming unstuck. I was coming unstuck, too, and leaned just like the crown. Upon seeing his lid-hat askew, Philip vocalized loudly.  I straightened up and tried to hold it flat. He whined at a higher pitch as the black object shifted. I feared a complete meltdown was imminent, one that would further delay sleep for us both.

To calm himself, Philip rocked. As luck would have it, Philip rocked right into a cracked plastic bucket on his bedroom floor. He picked it up to dangle from his finger. Then he was inspired to hook the handle onto a plastic hanger for double the dangling delight.

With Philip distracted, I escaped to the kitchen with the lid-hat. Praying I wouldn’t upset Philip by altering his creation, I reinforced the cylinder with additional tape. I also implored please, please, please let him go to sleep. To prove my worthiness and atone for my earlier sin, I gave the rest of the popcorn to the dog.

Repairs complete, I tiptoed back to Philip’s room.  Philip was no longer imitating Curious George but laying in bed watching him.  I stashed the lid-hat in the office, turned off his light, and uttered a benediction:

Please don’t let that monkey give Philip any more ideas.

 

I submitted a draft of this story for critique to the yeah write summer series bronze lounge. You can read the original here. Thanks to everyone who suggested revisions. I hope you enjoy this new, improved version. 

3

Close encounters of the Philip kind

The library doesn’t open until 10:00 am on Saturday.

Philip and I arrived at 9:47 am.

Fortunately, there is a park behind the library, so I led Philip there. Ironically, one reason we arrived early was that I had refused Philip’s request to go outside and play at home. It had rained overnight, so the grass was wet. I didn’t want him to get messy before going to the library.

Ha!

I had had the foresight to have Philip wear his rain boots. These came in handy when he stomped in every puddle he found. The best puddles were on the merry-go-rounds. There are two at this park and both are terrible. They quite low to the ground and make horrible screeching sounds as one strains to propel them. On the plus side, it took Philip quite a bit of effort to push them and he loved watching the water ripple. Hurray for heavy work and interesting visual stimuli!

I thought for sure that the worst that would happen would be Philip getting a wet butt from either the swings and slides. Nope. Philip had something even messier in mind.

Reminding me of Richard Dreyfuss sculpting Devil’s Tower National Monument but with more smiling, Philip piled and shaped sand, dirt, and other debris on a bench. My favorite part was watching him attempt to carry fistfuls of water to his construction.

By the time I made him stop, Philip had dirt up to his elbows. He had tried to clean up by wiping his hands on his pants. We made a quick trip to the bathroom to wash up before heading into the library.

 

 

 

0

Sunday Slideshow: Yesteryear Machinery Club Show

There is something reassuring about a 111-year-old Ford driving past you. If that car is still going after all these years, what’s my excuse?

I was thus inspired last Sunday when we attended the twenty-third annual Yesteryear Machinery Club Show. This year’s featured brand was Massey Ferguson/Massey Harris. Even though there were many red tractors at the event, all were welcome. We saw the green (and pink!) of John Deeres, the yellow of Minneapolis-Molines, blue Fords, and a variety of other colors. Engines and all kinds of equipment were on display. There was also a car show just getting underway when we arrived.

This is the third year that we’ve taken Philip. He definitely showed more interest in the tractors and plows this time. Of course, he was most fascinated by the pond on the grounds of the career center where the event was held. This wouldn’t have been a problem except Peter and I were both interested in an activity that took place in a pavilion near the pond: radio control tractor and truck pulls.

Peter and I are both pulling fans, but neither of us knew that scale model pulling existed. There were model trucks, tractors, and semis. There was a sled built to scale. The only thing out of proportion was the garden tractor used to prep the track. Unfortunately, this made the track uneven, and the vehicles kept crashing into the sides. We didn’t stay long since this got old quickly plus Philip kept dragging me to the pond.

On our way out, we noticed a 1930 Ford Model A Roadster. It was the same vehicle that Philip had sat in last summer at a different event. The owner was busy talking to another attendee, otherwise we would have given Philip another chance to blow the horn again. I still got a picture. You’ll find it in the slide show below.

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1

for critique: flipping his lid

Tuesday night after bath, I thought Philip wanted popcorn. I had microwaved a bag the night before. Philip grabbed the orange bowl that held the leftovers and carried it to the kitchen table. I helped him remove the lid.

It wasn’t the popcorn that he wanted. Instead, Philip commandeered the lid. When he took the lid to his desk, I hoped he would quietly play for several minutes before going to bed. Meanwhile, my mouth watered at the prospect of gobbling up the rest of the snack myself. Wouldn’t want it to go stale, I told myself.

My gluttony would soon be punished.

While I munched on salty goodness, Philip requested scissors. He trimmed the edge off a piece of paper and then drew one red and one green balloon on it. He signed his picture “Phiip.” Next, he rolled the paper into a cylinder. After taping it into shape, he centered it on the lid. He attached the cylinder to the lid with two more pieces of tape.

At this point, I recognized what was being created: a “Fully Automatic Monkey Fun Hat” a la Curious George. In order to complete such a chapeau, Philip rooted in the pile of toys until he found a black object from a sculpture kit. He placed it on the edge of the lid where he could roll it around the cylinder.

Believing that Philip would entertain himself  with the hat until, at any minute, he went to sleep, I sat at the computer to catch up on social media and polish off the popcorn.

My sloth would soon be punished.

Just like Curious George, Philip did not want to keep this fantastic headgear for himself. No, Philip made me wear the hat. I had to wear it sitting at the desk. I had to wear it standing up. He posed me in the kitchen. He adjusted my placement in the living room. He manipulated me into position in my office. He corrected my stance in his bedroom.

At first, I held the lid-hat in place with both hands. When my fingers tingled from lack of blood flow, I held it on my head with one hand and then the other. Every time I made the switch, I tipped the lid and jostled the orbiting object. Philip whimpered until he moved it back into its proper place.

Two hours later, the two measly pieces of tape were threatening to come unstuck. Exhausted, I leaned just like the cylinder. Upon seeing his lid-hat askew, Philip vocalized loudly.  I straightened up and tried to hold the lid-hat flat. He whined at a higher pitch as the black object shifted. I feared a complete meltdown  was imminent, one that would further delay much-needed sleep for us both.

To calm himself, Philip rocked. As luck would have it, Philip rocked right into a cracked plastic bucket on his bedroom floor. He picked it up to dangle from his finger. Then he was inspired to hook the handle onto a plastic hanger for double the dangling delight.

With Philip distracted, I snuck to the kitchen with lid-hat in hand. I risked upsetting Philip by altering his creation. Still, I reinforced the cylinder with additional tape. I whispered a please, please, please let him go to sleep prayer. To atone for my earlier sins, I gave the rest of the popcorn to the dog and turned off the computer.

I tiptoed down the hall and chanced a peak in Philip’s room.  Philip was no longer imitating Curious George but laying in bed watching him on his TV.  I backed out, went into my office, and stashed the lid-hat on the bookcase. I uttered one more prayer before turning off the lights.

Please, don’t let that monkey give Philip any more ideas.

 

I submitted this to the yeah write summer series bronze lounge for feedback. Thanks to everyone who suggested ways to strengthen the story. You can read the revised version here.

 

34

silent frequencies

Music once caressed my ear as softly as rose petals. Melodies seeded by harmonies blossomed into colorful aural bouquets. Then disease flooded the inner canal with its thick, bitter nectar. Now songs sting my ear like buzzing bees with nothing to pollinate.

Singing out a gargleblaster for the yeah write #170 Summer Series supergrid.