Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat.--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

REDIRECT ALERT! (Scroll down past this mess if you're trying to read an archived post. Thanks. No, really, thanks.)

Due to my inability to control my temper and complacently accept continued silliness with not-quite-as-reliable-as-it-ought-to-be Blogger/Blogspot, your beloved Possumblog will now waddle across the Information Dirt Road and park its prehensile tail at http://possumblog.mu.nu.

This site will remain in place as a backup in case Munuvia gets hit by a bus or something, but I don't think they have as much trouble with this as some places do. ::cough::blogspot::cough:: So click here and adjust your links. I apologize for the inconvenience, but it's one of those things.

Monday, February 28, 2005

As you all remember, Boy has a thing every year at school where he and all the other little eggheaded smart kids in the Egghead Smart Kid program get together and pretend like they have a business and make stuff to sell at school so as to learn the various intricacies of the free market. This also includes some proto-Communist thinking that requires the children to donate their profits (if they make any) to the Egghead Smart Kid Program slush fund so they can buy little extras for the kids. Stuff like red bandanas and pictures of Che, I guess.

Anyway, every year, we have to find a way for Boy to hide his true profit from the revenooers so that he can actually keep some of his money. Usually this is through a combination of raw material price inflation, crushing facility rental fees, and extreme usury. So far, he’s actually done pretty well, although the stuff he sells doesn’t really do that well in the marketplace. This year, however, his idea was to go in with two other little boys and each one would do a different item. One kid was doing sand-filled balloon stress balls, and the other one was doing some other something-or-other, and Jonathan? Well, he decided he wanted to make bean bags.

Now, we’ve known about this for a while, so I can’t really fuss at him for not having done anything until this weekend, because we have been covered up with OTHER things to do. But since the marketplace starts this week, there was no more putting things off.

The bean bags needed to be made.

“Can we go skate now?” Poor Cat. She had gotten put off last week due to the lack of time, and now this was going to happen. “Well, sugar, I don’t know--we have to help Jonathan cut out the fabric for his bean bags, and get them sewn together, so I don’t know if we’ll have time this week, either. We’ll just have to see.” She seemed to take it pretty well, although it required the promise of letting her help with the bean bags. This gave her great joy, mainly because it perturbed Boy that she was going to get to help. Anything to be a perturbation.

I asked Boy how he intended to make these things, and he said, “Well, I’m going to take some bit of cloth, and sew them up. I can sew real good, you know. I made that little figure of me.” Indeed he had--Reba’s mom had a box of scraps, and Jonathan managed to whip together a perfectly presentable voodoo doll of himself. (It might be a good project for next year.) But the stitching and assembly was a slow process, and he had decided to make twenty bean bags. At his glacial production pace, he could probably have had them ready in about a month.

“Well, buddy, why don’t you pick out some cloth from the scraps we have here, and I’ll sew them up on the sewing machine so we can get them made quicker.”

And thus I become a sweatshop laborer.

He and Catherine ran off to get the various bundles of fabric we have all over the house, and we laid them all out on the dining room table. I let them pick out samples in turn, and I cut out the shapes with the pinking shears--mostly squares, but a couple of long rectangles and three triangles and one odd, vaguely circular one, just for the sake of variety. All finished up and ready to go on to the next step, and--“Can we go skating now?”

“Cat, look, we just got them cut out, and we need to sew them, and then fill them up. I don’t know if we’re going to be able to finish before the rink closes.”

“Can I watch you sew?”

Of course. I got out the machine and set about trying to remember how to wind the bobbin and all that garbage. Good thing it’s got instructions. For the most part, it did okay, although I seemed to have more than my share of the thread coming out of the needle eye while I was intently poking holes in the cloth. By about the tenth one, I finally had that solved, although the triangle ones posed several problems, including one particularly bothersome one that got itself hung down into the inner workings of the machine and required much discrete bad language.

As I got each one sewn, I would take one of the kid’s plastic paintbrushes and turn the little bags right side out, which Jonathan and Catherine seemed to take great pleasure in. I don’t know why.

Along about 4:30, Jonathan began running to look at the clock to see if we were going to be finished in time. I was only about halfway through. “4:37. Just 23 minutes until closing time.”

“4:42. Just 18 minutes to closing time.”

“Can we go skate now, Daddy?”

“4:53. Only seven minutes until closing time.”

“5:10. Ten minutes past closing time.”

“Can we go skate NEXT Saturday, Daddy?”

“5:18. 18 minutes ago, the skating rink closed.”

“STOP! Y’all stop talking about the stinkin’ skating rink! I don’t want to hear ANY MORE how long it was open, or when it closed, or how long it’s been since it closed!”

“But will we get to go skate next week, Daddy?”

::sigh:: “We will just have to wait and see, Catherine.”

I think we’re going to HAVE to, for my own sanity if nothing else.

Anyway, we finally got all twenty stitched and turned inside out, and then it was time to fill them up. We decided that given their small size, rice would be a better filling, so we opened up a big bag of the stuff and started stuffing. This was made much more manageable by the use of a small funnel. They still managed to get an entire paddy’s worth in the floor, though.

Supper, and then send them all away to get their hair washed and get ready for bed, and then I decided to sit down at the kitchen table after it was all nice and quiet and go ahead and finish the process by whipstitching the little corner holes closed. The fabric was all different colors and patterns, so I decided to make a bold design statement by using bright gold colored thread for the finishing touch. They all turned out very nicely, and Boy was greatly impressed when he saw them Sunday morning.

And all twenty little bags have managed to not be split open or have anything spilled on them!


Everyone up Sunday and ready for church, and saw on the news that we were in for yet more rain. For the past two weeks, every time we’ve gone to church, it’s rained. Out the door, and managed to make it all the way there and inside before the rain started. Which it did, right as it was time to get out. The younger kids were having one of their “eat lunch and have a devotional” things afterwards, so I had to run go get something to drink and to dessert on.

They did that, then we finally got to go home, where I was able to read the paper in relative peace and quiet, then I drifted off into a odd stupor, and then we had to turn around and go right back for Oldest to do her songleading stuff. Evening worship was very nice--it was question and answer night, and I always enjoy that--and then it was time to head back again toward home. In the rain, of course.

Home, leftovers for supper, and then time to TYPE SOMEONE’S REPORT. Rebecca had a paper due today in which she described her idea of the perfect day at the beach. I never remember typing papers when I was in the sixth grade, but apparently it’s the thing to do now. So, I fixed her up with some superb word-processing, and watched the Oscars.

The Oscars.

Chris Rock. Eh. I saw one story that called him “edgy,” but only people who use the term “edgy” would ever have used it to describe his tepid performance.

“Needs A Double Cheeseburger, Fries, and a Chocolate Milkshake STAT!”--Natalie Portman, Hilary Swank, Emmy Rossum, Cate Blanchett, and Renee Zellweger, who also needs to do something so her face isn’t all squished up like she’s been sucking on persimmons, and who appeared to have a hitch in her getalong as she walked across the stage. Hilary is one of those odd girls who can look very nice or very unnice, depending on the lighting, but that bony back of hers needed less exposure.

“Rrowl!”--Halle Berry, Bouncy Knowles, Hayek ‘n’ Cruz, Charlize Theron (who actually could use a cheeseburger, but she's just so darned pretty in that girl sort of way), Kate Winslet, Julia Roberts, and a hearty Newcomer Rrowl for Catalina Sandino Moreno, who definitely does NOT have a bony back.

“Why?” Oprah Winfrey--why did they keep showing her? Barbra Streisand--ick on a stick.

“Sit Down and Shut Up”--Robin Williams. Seen it a billion times, and it’s getting old. Sean “I have no sense of humor about the fine actor Jude Law, and by the way, I played Jeff Spicoli in Fast Times at Ridgemont High” Penn. What a schmoo.

“Best Moment”--Well, Jamie Foxx talking about his grandmother wanting him to grow up and act like somebody, and to be a Southern gentleman. Those of us down here know exactly what he’s talking about, and appreciate the effect grandmamas can have on impressionable youngsters.

Overall, it was okay. But if they never had another one, I wouldn’t be too disappointed.

On then to Sleepyland, and now, here we are again, ready for a new week.

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