It's the first day of school in these parts and this means that I am 1) crying as my firstborn trots off to highschool and 2) happy to have use of my computer again. Logging on today, I notice a home page full of new games and a desk cluttered with Coyote's new PlayStation paraphernalia... And then I apparently needed a few weeks before I came back to my computer.
|West Thumb Geyser Basin, a super hot spring on Yellowstone Lake|
Coyote saved up his money from several years of birthdays and Christmases and ordered the step-up from his Wii. I worried that the only reason he wanted the PS4 was so that he could play the grittier games. He was no longer was satisfied with Wii's Lego Batman and MarioKart (although who could possibly tire of MarioKart?! Not me! Never!) But Coyote assured me that there were plenty of great, non-first-person-shooter games available, namely Little Big Planet which he mastered in 3 weeks. He inevitably longed for a new challenge, a better game. There weren't any. There was only a horror game called Dying Light and if I didn't let him get it then the whole P$4 endeavor was wasted and he might as well throw the machine out.
So we let him buy Grand Theft Auto 5. Yes. We did that. Turns out the name is the most salacious part of the game. And kids have been playing cops and robbers, prey and predator, chase, whatever you want to call it, for centuries. Video games, like all games of all times and media, can be a way to play and pretend at things we would never want to act on. They can be a way to see an imagined situation through to its end without the risks of real life. And all his friends already have it. Or so I thought. One mom got all up in my face about it. It's okay to forbid the game, different parents, different kids and all that, and that you don't want your kid playing it at our house. Fine. No big deal. But the big deal comes in when I'm not even allowed to say that I do allow it. The "forbid" opinion is not the only right one. And if you get to tell me you forbid it, I get to tell you that I don't. And frankly, it's a really fun game. Silly and hilarious, I enjoy playing it with Coyote, although I hate looking my character in the face because he scares me and when the police show up I always scream and drop the controls. Playing it with Coyote allows for conversations about the things that come up in the game. We had no screens in this house for many many years, but now that the kids are of discussion age, if find it much better to allow and discuss rather than forbid and never speak of such things. The former is more complicated and takes more time, that latter is easier and apparently allows for the adrenaline shot of self-righteousness.
|Just a peek at the Grand Teitons|
|Mammoth Hot Springs|
Meanwhile, Blue and I were nursing our addiction to West Wing. It's what we call a "pact show" which means we can't watch it without the other person. So I'm sitting here by myself now, fully aware that 10,000 episodes are available just over there. She'd never know right?
|Yellowstone's Grand Canyon|
On those hottest of days, I got up at 5 and worked in the garden for an hour. But I quickly tired of being grumpy and sleep deprived. During the hottest days, all of the garden grew at an astonishing rate, especially the weeds. I took a few days off of my 5 am risings and when I returned, the weeds were so large that removing them would have uprooted my plants as well. No matter, I still had tomatoes a month early. My determinant tomato plants actually produced through an entire life-cycle and died a natural, non-frost death. I have never seen it before. Everything produced well and it was a miracle if I could find the fruits of my labor among the 5 foot tall grasses and weeds.
|Mammoth hot springs|
When we returned home, we found our garage freezer had quit and was full of ick and goop created by a week of 100 degree days. And we discovered Captain Jack on the back porch with a filleted and infected leg. He needed emergency surgery that night (which cost as much as our entire vacation) with three layers of stitches to sew the flesh back on to the bone. He's fine now, but it was a frightening moment and exhausting on top of it all.