Thursday, June 10, 2010

It takes a village to graduate a Tanner

Also beginning in late February Tanner and Alicia moved in with us. They are students at the high school Matt works at. I volunteer there, teaching creative writing. (We won't go into the details of the whys behind their moving in, but contrary to jokes among the staff, we don't plan to take on two kids every year. The house is full up for now.)

At right is Alicia, catching up on some English homework, while Tanner does math.

After settling in, Tanner suddenly decided (in May) that he wanted to graduate this year after all, rather than after fall term -- a decision that required piles of work to be done: 180 pages of math worksheets, plus 28 hours logged on a computer for more math, two books read and two 4-page reports written about them, among other assignments. There was absolutely no way he could do it all without a set schedule that portioned all the work out into one small mountain to be summited each night. We all pitched in, including Ronan, who supplied us with math formulas for calculating percentages over and over again when we couldn't remember them from one problem to the next. Although Tanner likes science fiction, reading is not something that comes easily for him, so I did a "Story Time" every night for an hour or so to get those books done. I intend to pick "Story Time" back up and make it a regular family event ... starting maybe after graduation. Which Tanner is going to!! Saturday! June 12!!! He's not the only one counting down the days. [Above is Matthew taking a shift at helping with math.]

Tanner also has his first real job interview today, in just a couple of hours. For Oregon Woods. He wants to do wildland firefighting this summer (if it ever stops raining). He's all nervous ... and clean, and shaved, and dressed neatly. It's so cute. (Man, this is the way to have teenagers -- get them after they've done all their crazy rebellious stuff. ... or so we hope.)

At right is a picture of Tanner helping make pizza for dinner. Between rolling out crusts, he drew a picture of an oak tree in floor on the new stainless steel counter. He was taking a picture of his artwork.

Alicia is at least two years away from graduating. She'll be doing independent projects from home next year, studying writing, sewing, gardening, auto mechanics, math, and art -- for starters. We both hope we can make that work for her.

Haiti Benefit

Did this really happen this year? The benefit in late February seems so long ago. It was held at the Axe and Fiddle, so many bands playing in seven hours that we had to move each one on and off in about 45 minutes. Began with the Coyote Singers native drumming group -- which could be heard for a block down the street -- and ending with Fijian bluesman Inoke Baravilala. Other friends made Haitian style food to serve to people. There were raffles, etc.. Next time I think "Well Matt and I could send a hundred dollars to Haiti or we could spend a hundred dollars to have a benefit and raise more..." I need to remember the 60+ hours of coordination that went into it. But Partners In Health got over $1000 and everyone had a good time. Can't get the beautiful flyer made by Ivan Delsol to upload, possibly because it's a pdf file.

I've been planning to have a second benefit for Haiti this summer, specifically for the cinema school that was leveled. Show films from and about Haiti and from the film school. May wait for my daughter to get here from England with her partner so I can dragoon them into helping.

Floor is done -- on to the next thing

Been a long time and many adventures and misadventures have happened fast enough to keep me from keeping up with this blog. I'm trying to post a few updates in quick succession now.

Here is our kitchen at its worst. To the left of Kyle is the little orange heavy-duty jack that was all that was holding this side of a two-storey house up. We were reallly lucky that this particular part of the winter was mild. With just a double layer of blankets closing off the kitchen we were able to keep the house toasty warm with Stella (our cookstove) going morning and night.

Kyle DeBord here always comes to help out when we have gnarly construction projects that are two big for us.

Over two months after we started we finally had a floor and soon after that we could stop living with a refrigerator parked at the end of the dinner table -- although sometimes this was a handy location for it. Here is Ronan getting her only chance to skate on a smooth surface a country girl is ever likely to have. Even the paved parts of the Weyerhaeuser logging road are so rough that skating on them would jar even a young person's teeth loose.

Five months later we do have a sink and several counter- and cupboard-like items installed but the trim still remains to be done. (I say it this way because everything we've put in the new kitchen is easily removable, even -- or especially -- my gorgeous steel sink with both basins deep enough to get a five-gallon carboy under the faucet.) I never seem to have the camera on hand during the two seconds every few days that the kitchen is clean enough to have its picture taken. Nor have I had any time lately to brew beer or make wine, which was the whole point to the deep sink.