Wednesday, August 06, 2014


1. I've gotten in a lot of trouble this summer. I lost Max at Hullaballoo for forty-seven seconds. Yesterday, I got in trouble for swimming while Max watched from the side of the pool. I got yelled at (rightfully so) but the woman at the hot springs when I tried to get the kids in for free. The driver pulling the Hummer with the boat yelled at me for letting Zoe ride her bike, you know, where only Hummers are allowed to go. I didn't send the grant forms the right day and didn't process my one grant through sponsored projects. I had typos. I had agent-types tell me I wasn't a science-writer (no duh) and agents say essay collections are impossible to sell. I had to tell people no, thanks, for the grant opportunity but it's not going to work. It's been hard on me. I'm usually such a pleaser-type. Don't get mad at me! But one thing I like about getting in trouble is that I get used to the pain and then I can get in trouble a little bit more. It's a risky life. Might as well live it. I plan to write trouble all day tomorrow when I can get in less trouble with the kids.

2. I am on a mission to tell Max "no" less for that very reason. You develop an armor against "no" and then what's one "no" versus another. Of course, Max's requests are often unreasonable like can I have another Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle show and can I have another Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle fruit snack and can I have another Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle t-shirt and can I take my sword on my hike. I let him take his sword on the hike because otherwise I would have to say nothing but "no." My friend Julie once mentioned some of the best child-rearing advice she heard: It's not about saying "yes" or "no" but about the slide toward "yes" from "no." If you're going to say "yes," say "yes" right off the bat, which I'm, like Molly Bloom, trying to do.

3. On the last day before school starts, I made the kids go hiking with me on Fat Man's Loop on Mt. Elden because a) it's our last day of summer, b) I wanted to spend time with just them and no Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (sword and fruit snacks notwithstanding) and c) I wanted them to remember, summer has its own pain. We hiked up the hill. Up was easy. Down was slippery sand. Max fell a bunch and said, "I never ever ever ever want to go on this hike again." Success! Think about when I drop him off at school tomorrow. I can be like, that's fine, let's go home. We can hike Fat Man's Loop again.

In the future, I will regret not wearing a hat every day of my life. But hats are hot. But I will wrinkle. I will regret having spent most of my life a well-temperatured, hat-free person when I am old and wrinkly. Maybe it's not too late. (It's too late.)

Truly, I think they liked it, mostly. There were fruit snacks. Rocks to climb. Fruiting yucca plants. Views of Flagstaff as far as you could see. Alligator Junipers. Lizards. A sign that you could walk to Buffalo Park in only 3.8 miles. They noticed the way the trailer builders dug logs into the trail to keep the water from washing out the path. Evidence of rain channels ran to the left and the right. They figured out why they couldn't see downtown or NAU or the airport (Mt. Elden is in the middle of town. Flagstaff wraps around it. If we kept walking toward Buffalo Park, we could have seen the 180 degree view of the town).

My dream is that tonight will be like last night and we will walk over to my mother-in-law's to check on her plants while Zoe rides her bike and Max practices riding his push bike, then we'll come back and sit on the side deck and watch the sunset but instead we will be packing lunches and backpacks and getting to bed at a reasonable hour. Unless we decide we should get in just a little more trouble.


What Now? said...

Not the point of the post at all, but why is it called "Fat Man's Loop"? Was there a particular fat man (or a particularly fat man) who designed this hike? Did he mind having the trail titled after his girth?

Nik said...

Here's my favorite thing about Flagstaff. I looked up "Why Is Fat Man's Loop Called Fat Man's Loop" and found this review on Trip Advisor. By one of my best friends, Karen.

Nik said...

Here's one version of why, although not so helpful:
"It is so-called because along the trail you’ll pass through huge boulders just a few feet apart at Fatman’s Gap."

What Now? said...

Gorgeous photos at both of those websites!

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