image(Tacoma, WA)  Being a grandparent is maybe not something I am  cut out for, and entertaining a three-year old may not seem like an UrbanSurvival skill, but I suppose now it is.

So there we were on the kid’s patio and the grandchild (almost 3) was playing with chalk that the other grandparents had picked up at a dollar-store on sale.

It made me crazy.  Ever watch a 3-year old with chalk?

I don’t do well with random noise.  A compulsion to sort things out – figure out where things are going, anticipate, predict, and profit.


You can’t do that with a 3-year old.

After about 15-minutes of coffee, it was making me nuts.

So I asked the son-in-law if he had a small piece of wood in his shop.  Bingo!

With three holes, two-seconds on the chop saw, and a drywall-screw, I had a  compass.

No more of those free-ham circles that never worked out.

As a bonus, I also had a pretty good straight-edge, too.  Left over from the chop saw cut.

Within no time, I was teaching her how to draw circles, how to use the straight edge to draw proper lines, and even how to make a bull’s eye so she could start working on fine large muscle hand-eye coordination.

Better yet:  How to draw two arcs on a line and draw a perpendicular line.  The a perfect square, and so forth…

Oh, yeah, used to be simple “toss” games with a taw (pet whatever), a beanbag, or whatever was handy when we were kids..

The taw in this case was a blue plastic jar top.

After a 10-minute  course in drawing, we have a Euclidian (Ureclidean?) three-year old in the family.

But the point isn’t about the three-year old.  It’s about all of us.  It’s about play.

It’s about our innate ability to see ideas where others may not.  To seek out resource, make tools, and then develop some art with them.  (Or design bombs, which we do well, too.)

After an entire holiday weekend, the simple question is this:  Did you unplug for a while?  Make a tool of any kind, and experience the joy of tool making and sharing?

We’re all children, just some of us have more time on the meter than others.  And it’s in how we occupy ourselves  that we develop and maintain our “sense of play.”

E and I may be aging, but we are still playful.

It’s a thing to be honored and I think oftentimes, people miss the point of living.  Which is to find (or make) toys and play as much as we can.   I’ve seen it turn a bitter life to wine.

When I was a kid, I used to make “hydroplanes” with my friend the retired Major.  We’d put nylon fishing line on them and play with them either in a bath tub, wading pool at the park, or sometimes towed behind our bikes.

Nowadays, the “Toys I’ve played with” list is getting pretty long.  Sailboats, sports cars, currently the airplane, but there’s the shop and the recording studio at home, the ham radio gear…

We only age on the outside, but inside we’re all still kids.  Thing is, once you run out of the sense play there’s not much left except dead.

A more dangerous toy, that one, and it sure doesn’t compete with other still-available tools and toys.

So if you want to extend the weekend by another day so you can play more, you have our permission and blessing.

Now:  About that Chicken Shock

We don’t eat a lot of Tennessee, or any other neighboring state’s fried chicken.

We also don’t lick our fingers, either.  Kids, or not.

But, about 9:30 last night, after the son-in-law worked 85-thousand pieces of mail through the post office (he’s one of the team that makes sure the bills get through, lol), we went on a fried chicken hunt.  Pizza would have been OK but taken longer.

We pull into the drive-through and OMG!

Hand me a nitro cap!  A 20-piece chicken bucket would be over $56 bucks!  And that’s before almost $5 bucks in tax which would have pushed it way past $60-bucks.

In fairness, we could have skipped the four sides.  Which, in the end we did. 

Downsized to a 16-piece, chicken-only and one tub of mashed potatoes for $35.

Down on the ranch, we don’t do much if anything in the way of convenience foods.  An  organic ready to bake pizza with add-on’s now and then.  But if we shopped specials, I’m thinking that $56-bucks could have purchased about 30 breasts, and who knows how much else.

Yeah…line up of cars full of people who don’t seem to be able to cook whole, fresh food.

Apparently, whatever is in the chicken makes people immune to cost-accounting disease and chicken shock.

Playing the Weather

We will leave Washington state either tomorrow, Wednesday, or Thursday morning in the old Beechcrate for our flight home, Washington to Texas.  If I can find an audio plug for the GoPro I will record it..

The chief pilot of Ure International Airways is not too happy with the prospect of a delay.  But it all comes down to how showers and t-storms develop in the forecast model later on today.

Meantime, if we stay, there’s the running around extending the rental car, yada yada.

Oh, and a trip to the UPS store because (again) we terribly over-packed.

We could have gotten along with 3-shirts/tops, three changes of underwear, and 2-3 pairs of cut-offs.

Instead, E packed half of Dillard’s, Marshalls, and Ross. but that cost airplane performance.

Nothing that a 75-foot a minute climb rate toward mountainous terrain, didn’t resolve, however.

Meanwhile, temps up here in the Seattle area are setting records.

The few people that we’ve talked to, if we mention we’re from Texas, promptly ask us to leave and take the hot weather with us.

We’re trying, we’re trying…

Write when you break-even or when the sunburn heals…


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