sneaky chipmunks deal with rocking horse wagons and sideless cribs

“So, Dan,” Nazy asked. “Are so bereft of ideas that you’re going to complain about Emirates’ luggage debacle for yet another issue of The Weekly Letter?”

“Of course not!” I responded indignantly. “
Now what will I write about?” I thought.

Darius is visiting, Mitra will be driving up and Melika is local, so we’re taking advantage of this rare confluence of Martin Family members to…

“ … sort through the storage!” I trumpeted.

“Argh!” Darius tweeted.

“Don’t ‘Argh!’ me, Dar. We have 30 boxes of your books and your Rocking Horse.”

“I don’t want..”

“We also have Mitra’s little red

“Mitra doesn’t want the
wagon, Dad.”
rocking horse

“I think she was using it as coffee table in her dorm.”

“She graduated from college years ago.”

“It has sentimental value. We got that wagon in The Netherlands. I needed something to carry the Thanksgiving turkey to our home on


“Remember? Mom mixed up kilograms and pounds. She ordered an 18 kilo turkey.”

“I thought we were having ostrich.”

“It looked like a pterodactyl to me. So you see: we can’t give something like that away, Dar.”

“Sorting and discarding will be gut-wrenching, Dad.” Darius replied. “I would love to help, but I’ve got to work on my research.”

“What should we do with your paint-by-numbers set from third grade?”

don’t want…”

“I know! You can take it to Lebanon as checked baggage on Emirates. They’ll lose it. Voila: problem solved.”

We are, in truth (and in fact) braving an examination of
THE STORAGE. Things were put in storage when we moved to Switzerland in 2001. But..

“It’s actually worse than that, Nazy.” I claimed. “We also stored things that we hadn’t unpacked when we came back from The Netherlands in 1994.”

“I believe that it included things that we’d stored when we went to The Netherlands in 1989.”

“And, probably, things we hadn’t unpacked when we moved from Houston..”

“… and Vancouver and Memphis.”

“I think I recall the suitcase you brought when you went to college.”

“I can’t wait to explore all this exciting stuff!” Nazy concluded.

“Right.” I replied. “
Insurance!” I thought. “I wish we’d stored this stuff in a fire-prone area.

There is another wild fire near Santa Barbara. Unfortunately, this one is threatening homes; we are lucky to not be in the path. However, we can hear helicopters carrying retardant flying overhead. The weather remains dry and long-range forecasts indicate a dry ‘rainy’ season.

The Wildfire

Wild fire

Meanwhile, Tiger has passed a milestone. He has figured out how to climb out of the crib…

“And he goes head first,” Yari, the nanny, explained.

“I’m glad he’s going to
MyGym,” I replied. “Tuck and roll,” I thought.

We removed one slide of the crib so that he can climb down without falling. The results reminded me of Melika’s crib — which she destroyed by shaking the bars so hard that the glue failed. Tiger’s crib was much stronger. It was better quality to begin with, and also hadn’t been subjected to banging from three children (none of whom had gone to MyGym).

Tiger is also much happier with Arrow even though he is generally unimpressed with his brother’s current capability: “All he can do, Dan, is sleep, poop, cry and eat Mama’s milk.”

Nazy, Melika, Arrow and Tiger

nazy, tiger, mel and arrow August 2016

Darius is also visiting — and learning to babysit. Here he is with Arrow.

While I was writing this week’s letter, Nazy alerted me to an animal control problem:

“There is a black bushy tailed chipmunk in the house!”

“Chipmunks aren’t black, my dear.” I replied. “Maybe it’s a baby skunk.”

“I have called Santa Barbara animal control, Dan. They will know what to do.” Nazy said. “
Unlike you,” Nazy thought.

Dar and Arrow August 2016

“I got the raccoon out of our house in New Hampshire.”

“You? The raccoon hissed at you and then took a leisurely stroll down the stairs before stopping to finish off the cat food and lead it’s three offspring into the backyard.”

I closed the door behind him.”

Animal control was unable to catch the chipmunk. (It did, unexpectedly, have a black tail.) But they were able to direct it out the door. I conclude that letting wild animals find their own way out is a good plan.

And, finally, before young Arrow was born, Mitra wrote a poem to help Tiger get prepared. Nazy painted watercolors for each verse of the poem. (
I provided narration and project management.) We made a book — a real book — and I also created a PowerPoint presentation as an electronic representation of the final analog product. I wanted to ‘save the presentation as a movie’. Unfortunately, while that worked, saving the sound along with the movie didn’t work. I scoured the web and discovered that the requisite feature might be available on an older edition of PowerPoint. Darius had an older edition — perhaps not old enough. Mitra, however, converted the PowerPoint to Keynote (Apple’s product) and saved the whole thing as a movie with audio. The idea was to introduce Tiger to his new brother in a way that was fun and meaningful. Melika, Tom and Tiger (and monster the cat) live on Nirvana in Santa Barbara. He has some Tiger pants. The story is focused on him. It was a great family project.

The final version is available by clicking
here. I hope you enjoy.

A couple of sample pages from the book are at the end of this issue.

For last week's letter, click here

Tiger, Daddy and the twister

page 6 painting

Searching under the Moon
(And Saturn, Mars and Jupiter)

painting page 8

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