Adam was feeling under the weather yesterday so he traded places with little brother and stayed home from school and then a visit to the doctor this morning revealed a double ear infection, which on a Friday has to be considered an automatic visit to Scarecrow Video for a movie (he picked out the third installment of the Harry Potter series). I sensed he was in need of a brain-break after finishing his class-assigned weekly homework yesterday and on top of that, reading The Thickety from cover-to-cover and also listening while I read to him from The Hobbit (normally we take turns every couple pages). And you know, the little double ear infection thing. At any rate, he and I challenged ourselves to recite the names of the thirteen dwarves at the unexpected party: Balin, Dwalin, Dori, Nori, Ori, Oin, Gloin, Kili, Fili, Bifur, Bofur, Bombur and Thorin. I tried to not take offense when he declared I was the clumsy Bombur.
Speaking of which, here’s Oliver Fern making like a hobbit (or dwarf?) trying to keep up with big brother on an old growth stump (yes, those are the springboard notches you see below Adam’s feet) at Kachess Lake a couple weeks ago. Oliver is the classic archetype of the relentless little brother, constantly trying to match Adam stride for stride. Much to the determined but silly little boy’s chagrin he was no match for this ancient tree (well, what used to be a tree) and got stuck halfway up before slide-clawing rather cartoonishly down the silty, spongy wood, haha! I had to go running to his rescue but not before I documented his perilous plight for posterity.
This excursion to Kachess Lake, a large lake and reservoir in the Cascades above Seattle, was a bit of a dumpster dive but we found solitude and a place where the boys could do socially inappropriate things at their leisure. I would not want to be here when the reservoir and campground are full: Powerboats grumble all over the place, beer cans get crumpled (maybe smashed on a few foreheads that are bored of fishing), arguments probably take place about the Seattle Seahawks. But when large sections of the lake have been drained to mud and stumps? It’s quieter than a library. A very muddy library.
Postscript: I wrote this on Friday. It’s Sunday. In not an entirely roundabout way, Sir Alexander Fleming saved the weekend: Oliver’s case of disgusting pinkeye cleared up surprisingly fast. Adam’s fever broke Friday night and he ate a humongous stack of pancakes and sausages the next morning and felt so energized by half a tree’s worth of Vermont maple syrup that we spent a lazy yesterday up north at antique shops, on breezy Padilla Bay and in a muddy pumpkin patch.
Post-Postscript: It’s Monday. After riding the big bike twelve-ish sometimes hilly miles (the weekend closure of the Montlake Bridge forced us to detour over to the University Bridge) here-and-thereabouts the city yesterday afternoon with Adam on the back so I could help him find a five dollar scary pumpkin-face mask (the Archie McPhee store in Wallingford) and then coming home and carving five real pumpkins, I felt unusually flush and tired and had a lot of bad dreams last night that could be interpreted to represent my continuing anxiety about what a poor father I am in this late stage.
Final, Concluding Remarks: It’s Wednesday. This afternoon I planted a Douglas Fir in my backyard that will topple in a November storm seventy years from now and cause a power outage to 15,000 residents of Seattle. Adam got out of bed last night and came downstairs with a baby tooth in his hand and knowing twinkle in his eye so I told him to get out my wallet and he put his hands on his hips and grinned like the Cheshire cat and blurted out “I KNEW it!” I was relieved but realized right away I’d opened up a can of worms. Next, I was not shocked but it caught me off-guard as to the extent of his serious doubts regarding the existence of Santa Claus. We practically knocked each other down trying to see who could get to his mother first (him to disclose my flippant betrayal of childhood, me to engage in a cover-up of my indiscretion but I couldn’t think of anything on the way to the living-room) whereupon she attempted damage control with an unconvincing rebuttal at my lack of faith in fairies that was met by Adam with a roll of the eyes and he answered “Um, tooth fairies? Flying reindeer?” And that was just about the most pleasant conclusion to that little snafu I could have imagined, no dodging bullets necessary. Of course, I’ll be conducting the scandalous special talk with Adam about preserving Oliver Fern’s innocence regarding the existence of fairies and wood sprites. He’s such an exceedingly good big brother, I know he’ll take great joy in perpetuating the time-honored tradition of various deceptions. I may have to talk to him about toning things down a little as he tends to go overboard and I can’t have him casting doubts in Oliver’s mind too soon.