I'm way behind on everything but work this week - we're out on a big drilling program for Portland Water Bureau (and, of course, everything ELSE we need to pick up) so just as an example I left the house before sunrise yesterday at 5:30, spent the day drilling holes in southeast Portland, then back to the shop to drop off logs and samples, e-mail data to the client...and then back in the truck to ride up to north Portland to read the inclinometer at the north portal of the BES "Big Pipe" project. I got home some time after 8:00.
But I had to post this. Understand that the Peeper is SO over "Thomas the Train". Done. Finito. Thomas is as stale as last month's bread. His little sister does give Thomas a prop or two but way less than she's all about Barbie or Dora or even Little Ponies, dear God may I claw my eyes out before I have to watch another "Little Pony" video... So last month the Peep put all his Thomas wooden trains up for sale on Craigslist and raked in a bundle - seventy bucks, which is wealth beyond dreams of avarice for a six-and-a-half-year-old. The entire wad was blown, incidently, on a monster Star Wars LEGO toy. Six-and-a-half-year-olds have the financial self-control of a Goldman Sachs investment banker. But then, you know that.
Anyway, the nice woman and her little boy who bought the lot were very...Portland. Intelligent. Polite. Well-informed. Clad in fleece, natural fibers and Gore-tex, and probably active in good causes, like fair-trade coffee and the public option for health care reform. And Nice Mom knew exactly which of the made-in-China Thomas toys she didn't want; that is, the ones that some nameless Chinese toymaker had slathered with enough lead paint to retard an entire daycare.
One of these was "Old Slowcoach", who we had bought back when the Peeper was about four or so knowing that he was over the whole "toys taste so good, let's put one in our mouth and relax" thing.
So Old Slowcoach stayed behind, sadly, while all his other train friends went to their new home to play with the Groovy Girls and gender-neutral blocks and balls that Portland parents prefer - we are ones ourselves, or at least were before the ur-boy butterfly emerged from the gentle toddler crystalis and spread his armored wings, flying off to blasters and lightsabers and everything that explodes or shoots something.
But the entire farrago brought one thing home to our little family: the lead-paint issue as it relates to toys, ingestion and brain development. And, also in typical Fire Direction family style, the way it settled into the family patois was more than a little warped. So now, when one of the children is going a bit out of control, or being extra silly, or funny, Mojo or I will roll our eyes at them and ask:
"Has one of you been licking Old Slowcoach again..?"
So...here are the kids after an Old Slowcoach lollipop: