Saturday, February 21, 2009

A Rainbow Post

Slowly, very slowly, we are returning to off-crunch-mode season. The changes are subtle, and it can be hard to appreciate that fewer hours are being spent at the office and school... for one thing we are not totally out of the woods on either front, and secondly we are all so worn out and overextended from the last several months that the reprieve is a bit like too little, too late.

After many years of living with this kind of work pattern, when months of all nighters and 7 day work weeks are the norm, I have learned that the end of it is not the hard part. The hard part is re-entry.

Here, at Garage Mahal, we make do and find a rhythm that works when we are one parent shy of a family unit. There are hardships and challenges, there is lack of sleep and days on end without back-up, but we find ways to make it work and in some ways we just plain get used to it. Then, often quite suddenly, Geoff reappears at the dining table, in the car, next to us on the sofa.

Who is this exhausted stranger and why is he hogging the bed covers? And by the way, he gets cranky when he's worn out...

What's that?
Do I get cranky when I am worn out?
What do you mean?!
Aren't I entitled to be just a bit cranky?

Did I have a point?

Oh, yes. Look at the rainbow world Maria drew for me! Can you find the bird in the nest, at the top of the tree house. Even the sun is a rainbow. Sigh.

Yes, re-entry is not an easy transition, but soon enough we will make do and find a rhythm that works and we'll just plain get used to it, and life will be rainbow sunshines again.

I want to keep everyone interested in robotics up to date. The 6 week build season finished at 7:57 AM on Tuesday, when after another all nighter, the team managed to assemble the robot, reduce its over the limit weight and make the software operate the robot. They were seriously scrambling to accomplish all of this, and being locked out of one of the classrooms caused an unfortunate delay, but I think they are in a good place. Things kind of ease up a bit, but there are still parts to be built and things to do.

The cool thing is that Alex has had a couple of opportunities to get personal attention and some metal shop lessons from the club VP and the high school teacher, Mr. S. (Oh, and that is not Alex in the fez. That's the physics teacher, Mr. S. If you notice a festive, geeky fez trend sweeping the nation, remember Alex started it.) So, Alex is learning how to mill, and we're still hoping to get him in to this school so he can take metal shop and physics and Japanese and music and world history.

We miss Alex when he is away at robotics,and I am already anticipating, with a bit of trepidation, the long hours he'll be committed to when he participates again next year, and the next! It's all good. I am so happy he has a place to express his inventor self and people to share the process with.

He made this. It's milled. It's metal. It has holes in it. 12. Yeah, 12 holes. It's technical, technical stuff.

Seriously, I am beaming proud and happy about what he is gaining.

Meanwhile back at the ranch Garage Mahal, Maria and I like to break out the heavy machinery and make stuff too, like lunch.

Mmmmm lunch.

She really has about mastered the fine art of pressing the masa for corn tortillas, and like any true master she has found her signature touch. Her smiley faced tortillas toast nicely, are soft inside and taste delicious.

My Mommy has been in Canada, Ontario, the cold part, for about a month. She writes often, but lately I have been missing her regular calls, which bums me out. I miss her, which is funny, because she lives 20 hours away when she is home. It's not like I am any more likely to drop by and visit her when she is in Oregon, but still I feel the difference. Technically she is further away and in a foreign country too! What if she comes home speaking Canadian and I don't understand her? I kid.

I think of my Mom when Maria and I are cooking and chatting together. It's happy. It's a connection.

During this lunch Maria talked about trees. For at least a year she has been fascinated by the idea of planting trees, especially apple trees. She frequently asks when will we plant an apple tree? And now she is wondering about planting an avocado tree. I wonder... if I start a tree from this pit, will we be in a home in time to plant it in the ground?

Benjamin thinks he got a Valentine, but really it's mine.

The rose centered heart, the charming design and the playful kitty... all of it together, with the kindness and love of a thoughtful friend made it a dear and timely gift. Thank you, I needed that.


nikkipolani said...

How thoughtful of Benjamin to pose with your valentine. Hugs :-) As I scrolled through the past few days' entries, the thought that comes to the forefront of my mind is that your kids are geniuses. And you nurture them.

Anna Banana said...

Congrats on being runner-up for Dairy Queen. You should have won.

warren said...

Fez on a physics teacher...garage mahal...what a crazy bunch of stuff you have going on! Looks great!

Tiglizzyclone said...

Benjamin must have a valentine!

village mama said...

I love Maria's signture on the tortillas.

Where in Ontario is your mama? I live in Toronto, Ontario, if she's close by I'd love to give her a care package to take to you. Let me know. xoxo

Tracy said...

So much sweetness, Natalie! I love Maria's rainbow world and Alex's cleverness...Kitties mus have Valentin's....even pretend ones! ;o) What a lovely card. Wishing you all rainbow-filled days! :o) ((HUGS))

Jennifer said...

We sometimes live a microcosm of the daddy work/re-entry process -- enough for me to feel that I can be entirely sympathetic with both aspects of the adjustment struggle.... What we do.

I want to help somehow to make sure this school comes through for you; maybe there's something concrete I can do that you can tell me and maybe it's the force of my will to wish it so. I'm focusing on it right now---