Celebrating the establishment of this country in MT for a long weekend of house painting brought more than pyrotechnic bangs.
Besides getting to spend time with my mom and Barry and my younger sister and her new husband, I also got to spend time with my dad. He showed off his new "birthday present" which of course has already been put to good use on varmint control. I prefer the term vermin, but am happy that dictionary.com hooked me up the correct spelling for the former as I had totally blown it on my guesstimate. Maybe I'll get to try it out on my next visit. I prefer target practice; no matter how undesirable pests are, somehow I just can't get behind killing animals myself. That may be the one thing I found that baby sis and I actually agree on.
Gorilla poachers might be an exception. Are they animals or not? Some people think people aren't animals, others like myself don't separate the two. Where the line gets drawn has all kinds of repercussions. Humans draw the line where they like for selfish gain. Isn't that what animals do? Nevertheless, animals are cooperative and altruistic, but this still ultimately benefits #1. Is there such thing as pure altruism? A deed done at clear expense to oneself for the clear gain of another with no benefit to oneself? That's a question I like to have my students grapple with in social psych but we also get into it in primate psychology too. After all, chimps are notoriously Machiavellian, just like people.
How manipulative are people? That's a question I'll have to leave to my number one sister to answer.
She brought some fireworks of her own on the trip. To my surprise she unpacked the same familiar stuff from her arsenal. You'd think I would be bored of it by now, but no Dice. I need something like Katy's waterproof coat to deflect all of the shrapnel from li'l sis's explosions.
Painting dad's house as a family defies categorization. I don't think there's a word in the English language to describe it, and despite my vast french, spanish, german, and arabic vocabulary I can't think of a single adjective to capture it. Mish mumkin.
Dad delivered a gem of wisdom as usual. He's a man of few words, but when he speaks, listen up! The wall is for working out your problems. I said I don't have any problems. That's not what I heard... Huh? You need a car. Oh yeah, that problem. I already solved it so I had nothing left to work out, leaving my mind free to enjoy the soft MT breeze, the sound of the paint brush on the cedar siding, the smell of thick latex paint, and the aches of muscles I had not felt for some time. Long ago when I experienced my first meditation practice I learned that aches are not easy to let alone. The buddhist monk who served as our guide and teacher told me to think of it as a baby. I must hold that feeling close, love it, and view it as a precious thing. Yeah. I walked out of the consultation room back to the pillow room to stew on my pain, not metaphysical pain, literal pain. Years later, about ten to be exact, I can say that I think I've developed the maturity necessary to treat that pain like a baby. Even so, I've never really known real pain. I mean real, actual pain. Like the pain of radiation treatments or losing a brother to cancer. Wisdom, like courage, is what you get after the war.
On the lighter side, I bought my first car in my hometown. It's an SUV, gulp. I thought I'd never go there.
A mini Copper, hell yeah!
A Smart car, you bet!
Couldn't wait that long... so a CRV it is. I negotiated the deal myself. $2500 off the sticker price, but I still think I could have done better by at least a grand if not two. At least I didn't have to do it in french. I would have liked the mint tea though...
Katy also showed up at Dad's house fully housebroken like a good little pup. She has an amazing handler though ;-) I think she made quite an impression. Hopefully none of them had a lasting effect on his hopefully soon-to-be-sold hardwood floor or her delicate little bones. She's not really little, at 15 weeks I think she's now more than 50 pounds. She'll be a real behemoth when she grows up and already, every time she flops herself down on the floor, you get a sense of what she'll be like. The walls shake. Everything in the room rattles, just like it does while watching a Bruce Willis flick with Dad. A trip home is not complete without one of those. Initially dad scoffed at having to pick her up because she's not supposed to climb stairs. Barry made a ramp for her out of an old door with some leftover carpeting tacked to it so she could go up and down the stairs safely. That was a huge help, especially at the inevitable 3 o'clock in the morning trip outside. After the initial eye rolling, dad hefted her up and down the other stairs and in and out of the The Truck like a precious little baby. I think he was happy to meet his furry new granddaughter. She'll have to tide him over for now!
On a final note, Dad issued the one word that reverberates through my mind as the perfect adjective to describe the week: