Thursday, January 30, 2014

Those Crazy Katz' of Windsong Lane: Chapter 27

Chapter 27: Adjustments

The people from the preserve came by that morning and were terribly sorry about what had happened. They assured the family that the damages would be covered, as it was their job to ensure the safety of the surrounding homes when burns like this were conducted. Johnathan said he understood. He had seen burns being set, and they usually burned low and slow and were easily controlled with a little preliminary precaution. It seemed that was where the managers had failed. A preliminary check would have ensured that the fence between the preserve and the house was clear of all flammable items. They also should have notified the family of the fire’s location ahead of time. These things just simply had not been done.

Rose and David came by that afternoon and extended an invitation for them to stay with them. She also said she would take the kids off of Karen and David’s hands for a while while things were worked out. This was a huge relief. Karen and Johnathan gladly accepted and told Rhea and Bob that they would be moving over to the Shwartz’s, explaining that the kids were used to being there. Also the Shwartz’s didn’t mind the pets. Rhea said she understood and had a hard time hiding her relief. It was a little farther to drive, but Rose was able to take them all in. They thanked the Davis’s again profusely. They were extraordinarily thankful for their kindness, especially since it had been so unexpected.

Karen went with the kids to get anything they had at the Davis’s, and then took the van, the kids, and a few of their smoke-soaked clothes and toys over to the Shwartz house. Rose and David provided them all with a lunch, and Karen brought some back to the damaged house for Johnathan. He had stayed behind to start packing and cleaning things.

That afternoon the landlord arrived to see the destruction. The Park officials came as well, and there was a long discussion about damages and reimbursement. Johnathan was extremely happy to be cleared of all blame. The park officials agreed to pay for the repairs to the house and any possessions that the Katz’s had that needed to be replaced. Johnathan knew that the park could ill afford the cost. Budgets were tight and getting tighter. Still, the error had been theirs. He was conflicted about this turn of events, but was glad they were taking responsibility.

The following day the insurance adjusters arrived, both the landlords and the Katz’s, and it looked like it would all be paid for. However, the Katz’s now had to find a new place to live and also to try to salvage their possessions. Also, where would the chickens go?

They decided to see if they could find a temporary apartment in town, and then move back to Raleigh just as soon as they could locate a home that suited them. This would mean a bit of travel back and forth and likely a storage unit until then. However, as the week went on, it became apparent that most of the furniture was not worth the cost and effort to clean up, and so the sofas and chairs, the beds and many of the books were consigned to a dumpster. The kitchen table had been burnt and was useless, but the dining room table, which had been a wedding gift to the Katz’s, was mercifully saved. The clothes and linens were taken over to the Shwartz’s and laundered, and later that week Johnathan was able to find a small furnished apartment for them in town.

The town was just outside of the golf zone. Pinehurst was nearby, and so there were a number of furnished apartments available for well-to-do golfers who wanted to come to the sandhills region for a while and get in a few games. Since the town was a little far away for most of this clientele, however, the cost of renting wasn’t too bad. It was, however, a tight fit for the family. They were used to sharing rooms, but Sarah and Ellie now had to share the pullout couch in the living room, while Jack, Emma, and Joe were in the second bedroom. In practice, however, Emma and Joe usually ended up in bed with Karen, and Johnathan ended up on the spare sofa in the living room with Ellie and Sarah.

Everyone in the living room was awakened by the first person up in the morning, which was usually Emma. The kitchen area was right next to the living room and there was no sleeping through her banging and chattering. Sometimes she even came over and sat on one or the other of them. Ellie was trying to decide what was more annoying, being woken up by a hungry cat or a hungry toddler. The scary night of the fire and all of the sudden changes in their living arrangements had also made Joe and Emma a little more needy than usual. They seemed to want to be with mom, dad, and Sarah at all times.

The place had a washer and drier, even though they were small, and they were being run pretty continuously to remove the smoky, sooty marks and smells from whatever could be laundered. The place quickly filled up with boxes and piles of the possessions they could salvage. Stacks of books and learning materials, and piles of bedding and papers were everywhere. It was so bad Karen worried Emma would pull on something and there would be an avalanche on top of her. Emma did, in fact do this more than once, but fortunately it was a stack of papers one time and a pile of blankets another.

Snitch and Yeller hated the apartment more than any of the kids. Neither was used to such close quarters, and it was necessary now to walk Snitch several times a day. This unfortunate job usually fell to Jack. He was fine with it at first, because it gave him a chance to get out and see what was around them, but he quickly realized that what was around the apartment complex was not terribly interesting. There was a semi-busy street, and a small park with a playground the next block over. The apartment was fronted by a smallish lawn, parking spaces, and a picnic table.

Jack soon started trying to talk Ellie in to doing the walking for him. Ellie didn’t mind the air either, but got as bored with the scenery as Jack. Between the two of them, though, they mostly kept Snitch comfortable. Snitch hated the leash and moped around like he was being punished. Yeller tried unsuccessfully to get out of the house every time the door was opened and they had to put a collar on her in case she did manage to escape. Other times she disappeared into the mess and they couldn’t find her.

They had stayed with Rose and David for three days, and in that time had felt right at home. Rose, as usual, said she missed her kids and loved the full house. If the inevitable chaos bothered her at all, she didn’t show it. Even when Joey got into her porcelain figurines, she didn’t get mad. He was actually very careful with them and only almost dropped one of them. She tucked kids into all corners of the small farmhouse to sleep and gave the cat and dog free rein. They had a cat of their own, her name was Precious, and she was Rose and David’s daughter’s cat. Precious wasn’t happy about the arrangement, but after hiding all of the first day, she came out and made friends with Yeller and Snitch. Snitch had learned his lesson and so didn’t bother her much.

 To get their minds off the fire, while Karen and Johnathan were out dealing with the mess and alternate arrangements, Rose had declared one day “Berry Day” and took the kids out to the blueberry patch. They spent the morning picking beautiful ripe blueberries. As many were eaten right off the bushes as were put in the pans. It was long, hot work and the berries seemed endless. It was fun nonetheless and it was an activity they all could do.

After they had as much they could carry, they tromped back to the house and got busy in the kitchen, making blueberry jam and blueberry muffins. The smaller kids had fun drawing some blueberries and Sarah made some hats out of blue construction paper that looked like the top of a blueberry. They all wore these and named themselves the “blue crew”. It was like a summer camp except better.

Another day, she got the kids baking cookies and even let Emma and Joe help. Sarah and Jack made sure the younger kids were taken care of. Emma and Joe didn’t like Mamma and Daddy leaving at all, but they were ok for the few hours needed and they were busy enough that they forgot to be upset. Sarah and Jack were good older siblings, and Rose was savvy enough when to push an issue and when to let it go. Not many people would have been comfortable taking on five kids at once, but Rose and David knew these kids and it all worked out fine.

Before leaving their house, Karen had told Rose in confidence that they would likely be heading back to Raleigh soon to look for a house. It would take a few weeks to find a place, but the thing she hated most was leaving Rose and David and all the wonderful people they had met. It had been an eventful year, and one they all would never forget.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

We interrupt this program for a homeschool update...

I am nearing the end of this little homeschool saga and thinking about how it will be nice to get back to blogging about other things. Funny how I don't seem to have the mental energy to do more than edit and post a chapter at a time, and sometimes it's days between those. Still, for the few who are reading and wondering how it'll end, I will stick it out and finish up! 

They say a snowstorm is on the way tonight, and because snow is somewhat rare where we live in North Carolina, all of our activities have been canceled for the time being. Jokes about the "snowapocalypse" and panicky people at the stores buying bread and milk aside, it's giving me a little bit of a much needed breather.

Somehow, we will make it through the next few months and then I am looking forward to re-thinking a great many things. Until then, I am organizing and planning a Geography Fair for our homeschool group...  as I have for the past few years. There are also birthdays coming up and a big party for my daughter... her Bat Mitzvah. For those that aren't in the know about these Jewish things, it's a right of passage for children turning thirteen. Up until recently, only boys went through this, but now girls do as well in the less conservative communities. In preparation, my daughter has been learning Hebrew, chanting, and Jewish history and customs. She doesn't buy into all of it, and it's been somewhat difficult for me, as I am not Jewish myself. Still, it's a part of her heritage and she chose to learn about that and so I have been trying to support her. There will be a service in which she leads the singing and prayers, and friends and family are expected to come from far and wide to be there. Even trying to keep it small, we are looking at a whole lot of people to celebrate with.

Homeschooling wise, we are distracted from any consistent learning at home by several things. A weekly theatrical performance with a local community theatre is one of them. Both of my kids are in this, and they travel around and do a play for various track-out camps and daycares each week. This is currently taking up our Thursdays.

My daughter is also taking the ACT for the first time in a couple of weeks. I am alternatively freaking out about how unprepared she is and deciding that it doesn't matter too much. She is, after all, taking it early and will have additional opportunities to improve her scores. I hate these tests. She hates these tests. We are having discussions about how stupid it is to have so much riding on a test that doesn't really measure what you know, and yet it must be done. You have to bow to the system sometimes, especially if you are collage bound. 

Finally, she is also supposed to be getting ready for the Science Olympiad, while my son is working with his team on Odyssey of the Mind problems. Both of these events are very worth while, but can also be very time consuming. Odyssey of the Mind is an event that strongly stresses teamwork, creativity, and an ability to think quickly on your feet. These are skills in high demand in the work force and largely lacking in the way we school our kids. The hardest part about this so far is seeing the team try to figure out how to work together harmoniously and come up with solutions without stepping in. The kids are supposed to do everything from coming up with their ideas to implementing them without much adult help. As a parent, it's so hard not to say anything when you are listening to a debate on how they will build something and seeing that they are stuck.  All these ideas are coming into your own head that would solve the problem but you can't say anything. They are working through it, and it's been a tremendous growing experience for my son. As frustrating as the beginning of this year was for him, it is already very much worth the effort. 

Science Olympiad is a bit more academic and science oriented. Kids can compete at Elementary, Middle School or High School levels. Teams are formed, and kids break up into smaller teams where each child will take on 1-4 events out of 20 or so, often pairing up with one or two others. My daughter is only doing two events this year. The first is academic. It's called "Water Quality", and the information she needs to know to compete in this amounts to a college level marine science course. The second event she is doing is more fun. It's called "Duct Tape Challenge". The idea is that the kids will be given a task to complete in a limited amount of time and they will have to build something with duct tape and get scored on it. An example is to build the highest tower possible to hold a golf ball, and you are given duct tape, a cup, some straws, a ball, and twenty minutes. There are other events like building a rocket, building an instrument, or learning about maps or other things like insects or diseases.

These kinds of project-oriented activities are really valuable, but I am finding that we are having issues with time management. I feel like we have lost our focus and balance as a family. When the kids were younger, I was perfectly happy to just jump rather randomly from opportunity to opportunity. I never really had a plan, but somehow we covered a great deal of ground, and the kids racked up a huge store of positive and informative experiences. 

Somehow, the yearly testing just worked out. We covered the basic material, but not always on a plan and not always in any sort of traditional way. Now that I've got one child poised for high school and one about to enter middle school, I'm getting that feeling that maybe a larger plan would be a good idea. The math, writing and science need a little more focus, among other things. I've had "plans" of course. Every summer I come up with a plan. I always seem to chuck it in the trash though. Opportunities come up and it all seems so much better than the book I bought.

Well, time for that will come. For now, we will continue with the commitments we made and do the best we can. If I survive to the summer, I'll breathe a big sigh of relief and re-evaluate and regroup.

Anyway, I guess this is getting a bit long. Here's the thing to remember. As long as your kids are happy and healthy and still look on learning as a good thing, everything will work out in the end. I have to remind myself of this often. Be a mom, not just a schoolmarm.

For those on the East coast especially in this storm, here's to toasty feet and warm hugs, sledding and cocoa mugs.

... and now we will return to our regularly scheduled program.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Those Crazy Katz' of WIndsong Lane: Chapter 26

Chapter 26: Damages

One evening after a lesson they came home to the smell of fire and a haze of smoke in the air. Johnathan said that the rangers on the preserve were doing a prescribed burn. He explained that fire was a natural part of this longleaf pine habitat. If they didn’t allow fire to come through periodically, the hardwoods would grow up and take over. The long leaf pines, themselves, actually needed the fire to reproduce. It seemed like the fire was close, because the smoky haze outside was pretty thick. They all stayed inside that day.

The haze was a fixture of their lives for the next week. They mostly stayed inside and they got used to not being able to see much beyond the house. Jack was worried about the chickens and the goats. This smoke couldn’t be good for them, but there was nowhere else for them to go. On the fifth day it seemed like the smoke was even thicker. Just beyond the backyard of the house was a border of the park. They actually saw flames this day. Several rangers were in sight of the house and reassured them that they would keep the fire in the preserve.

Unfortunately, a bale of hay had been placed against the fence and nobody had thought to move it. Before anyone had noticed, the bale was on fire and then it jumped to the goat pen. The goat pen was old and dry and went up like a candle. Ellie looked out the window and screamed. Karen ran to the window to look, and seeing what was going on, ushered everyone outside. Jack grabbed the cat and Ellie took Snitch. Johnathan ran downstairs and grabbed Emma. Karen had Joe. They all ran out front just as the henhouse caught fire.

Ellie screamed. “What about the goats Mommy?” “What about the goats?” There was nothing they could do. It was too hot and too dangerous to go into the backyard. The rangers who had been monitoring the flames were running and screaming on the other side of the fence and pretty soon a fire truck came howling up the lane. The Katz’s were crowded onto the lane in front of the house, watching in horror. The flames rose higher in the back and they listened to the screams of the goats and the screeching of the chickens, helpless to do anything for them. When the firemen finally got the fire out that night, the goat pen was gone, the chicken coop was gone, the barn was gone, the vegetable garden was gone and the back of the house was charred. The kitchen window had melted away along with the wall and was now open to the elements. It was all a terrible, wet, black mess. Most of the children were dazed and in shock. Ellie and Sarah were in tears. Karen also was in shock and exhausted from holding Emma. She didn’t want to put her down, for fear she would run off. Thank goodness they had all made it out safely, even the pets. It had been good that Jack had known where Yeller was because she had hidden under a bed and would easily have been left. Still, it looked like the house wasn’t in too bad a shape. It wasn’t their own house, but it had been home, and they still had all of their stuff inside of it.

They didn’t know what to do. The neighbors had come when the fire truck screamed up the lane. The Batcherlys and the new family were out there next to the Katzs. Rhea and her husband, Bob, offered to let them stay with them that night. Karen and Johnathan quietly accepted. Everyone was just too tired to deal with anything else. They would think about what to do in the morning. Mr. Batcherly assured them that the owner would understand that it was an accident they had been powerless to prevent and the Preserve managers would have to take responsibility for things getting out of hand. Repairs would likely be covered by the state. Still, all of that would have to wait. Johanthan sent Karen and the kids to Rhea and Bob’s and went, himself, around the house to make sure there were no animals left to care for. It was so sad, so horrible, to contemplate what had happened to the animals, but it was also entirely likely that at least the chickens had been able to jump out and run away. None of them had seen them, but it was possible.

He didn’t want to look at the black, charred, wet mess back there, but he forced himself to round the corner and look. There wasn’t much left. In the goat pen he thought he detected two lumps that had probably been the goats. He mourned them silently. This would be very hard for the kids. The chicken coop was gone, but he couldn’t tell if any of the chickens had been in there. There just was nothing left. He would have to look in the morning.

How could all of this have happened so fast? They had barely had time to grab their loved ones and get out. In a few moments time he could have lost everything and everyone he loved. He sat down in the middle of the yard on a rock and cried.

Meanwhile, at the house down the lane, Rhea and Bob Davis were doing everything they could to help the Katz’s out. They brought them into their home and provided them with the clothing they needed, a hot meal and blankets and beds for the night. Rhea seemed a little conflicted, she clearly didn’t like the necessary mess and disruption, but she said nothing and made sure that all of the kids were settled. Jack slept on the floor with the boys, the girls went into the floor of Lilly’s room, and Karen, Johnathan, and the two littlest slept in the living room together on the sofas.

The animals were a major problem. Rhea said the boys were allergic, and so, confused and upset, both animals spent the night in the garage. Snitch, in particular, did not like this and whined most of the night. He was used to sleeping at the foot of Karen and Johnathan’s bed. Karen found it hard to sleep, exhausted as she was, and it wasn’t just the whining. Like Johnathan, she couldn’t believe how fast it had all happened. When things like this happen, it’s hard not to feel the fragility of life and want to cling to all you have more tightly. She also felt horrible about the animals. A more awful way to die could be hardly imagined.

They awoke the next day and Rhea insisted that they have some breakfast before they went out. She made them all pancakes and eggs and coffee. Karen and Johnathan were very appreciative. Who would have known that a family so different and so clearly in dislike of them could show them such kindness?

Seeing everything in daylight was ten times worse than what they had seen the night before. Those lumps were indeed that was left of the goats, but to their surprise, all but three chickens were sitting in the yard waiting for breakfast. They must have flown out of the yard when the fire hit and stayed at a safe distance until everything had settled down. Everyone felt quite a bit better seeing them. It was a relief, and Jack was proud that what he thought of as “his” chickens had been wily enough to get themselves to safety.

The house was a mess. It wasn’t just that the kitchen and everything in it was burnt or damaged, the smoke had permeated the whole house and everything was covered in soot and smelt of the fire. They would be able to salvage much of their belongings, but it was going to be difficult to get the smell out of the furniture. Much of it was old and ratty anyway. Johnathan wondered if it would be easier to just dump it all and start over again. They did have renter’s insurance, so there was a good chance they would be ok. He felt bad for the owner. He lived in Asheville now, and would need to be called as soon as possible. Luckily, he found his phone upstairs. It was covered in soot, but it still worked.

Those Crazy Katz' of Windsong Lane: Chapter 25

Chapter 25: Late July

In late July the girls and Jack had been taking riding lessons for several months and had become pretty comfortable around the horses. They were allowed to come and start tacking up, or saddling, the horses on their own. During their rides, they had progressed from simply walking to trotting, and a tiny bit of cantering. They knew that the horses could be a little bit temperamental, and some days the horses just wouldn’t listen. Sarah, in particular, seemed to have trouble some days. If she were feeling the least hesitant, the horses would pick up on that feeling and would refuse to do what she asked.

Sarah also suffered from jumpiness when a horse would seem to go faster than she expected. One day they were cantering, and the horse she was on got spooked by a cat that jumped up on the railing. The horse reared slightly, Sarah let out a small scream, and the horse became even more spooked taking off at a gallop. Fortunately, they were in a ring, so he couldn’t go far. When he reached the far end of the ring he stopped, but Sarah had been terrified and had almost fallen off. It took her quite some time after that to work up the nerve to canter a horse again. Ellie was a natural and didn’t seem to have the problems with confidence that Sarah did.

Jack loved the horses just about as much as the girls did. It was an experience he had never had before. It wasn’t just about riding that was fun for him, it was as much about getting to know the “horsiness” of these animals; how they acted and reacted to things. The instructors taught them about the parts of a horse and they also got to see the vet when she came and do check ups a few times. Jack stayed and watched with an eye to seeing if it were something he would want to do some day. Thus far, he just couldn’t make up his mind. So many things were so interesting. It was hard to pick one thing.

They all enjoyed the lessons and were very thankful to have the opportunity to learn about horses. Working with such a large and mostly gentle animal was mostly confidence inspiring, and there was something about being in the stalls and grooming them that enriched their outlook on things in an indefinable way.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Those Crazy Katz' of Windsong Lane: Chapter 24

Chapter 24: New Neighbors

It was July when Ellie came into the house and said that someone was moving into Justin’s old place. Jack and Sarah went out with her to the lane to peek surreptitiously around the corner. There was a large moving truck in the driveway and men moving furniture into the house.  Each of the kids was secretly hoping that it would be a family and that that family would have kids their age. Jack pointed when he saw a tricycle come out of the truck and the three of them hi-fived each other. There were kids there, and even if they were small, they would be happy to have some other kids around.

In spare moments that week the kids took to riding their bikes up and down the lane. A few days after the moving truck, Jack saw two boys outside with jump ropes. One of the boys saw him and waved, so he rode up the drive. “Hi. I’m Jack.” He said.

The older boy said, “Do you live here?”

“We live just down the lane a bit.” Jack said. “We saw you move in.”

There was a moment of silence. “Well, bye!” Jack said, and left. He was feeling inexplicably a little shy, but he did go home and tell his sisters what he had seen. Karen overheard this and decided to do something neighborly. In the quiet hour while Emma was napping she made a cake to bring over to the neighbors that evening. Of course, Ellie and Sarah and Jack all wanted to go, so she ended up bringing all of the kids with her.

The woman that answered the door was dark haired and well dressed. A little taken aback by all of the kids on her front porch, she thanked them and invited them in. Karen, having seen the initial reaction, declined, saying she didn’t want to inundate her with all of these kids while they were moving in. They all introduced themselves, and the woman said that her name was Rhea and her two boys were Nicolas, age eleven, and William age eight. There was also a little girl named Lilly who was five. Jack was really happy there was a boy near his age, and it seemed like Lilly and Joe could play. Ellie was a little sad that William was a William and not a Wilamina. Why were all the kids her age around here boys? Karen invited them to come over any time.

Over the next few weeks, they got to know each other a little bit better. It wasn’t all happy and easy though, because William and Nicolas were not very physical, didn’t know how to climb trees, and weren’t allowed to get very dirty. The Katz kids were frequently outside shoeless and in old shorts and t-shirts, while these kids always had nice clothes on and were not allowed to take their shoes off. They might have shorts, but they were always nice shorts.

The boys didn’t know how to play a lot of the games the Katz’s knew or didn’t want to do the things that they suggested, so there was a great deal of negotiating and frustration sometimes. Poor little Lilly wasn’t allowed to go down the lane yet, so Karen would sometimes bring Joe over, but she didn’t really have time to sit and chat all day, so it didn’t happen as much as Joe would have liked.

Also, the kids were in school all week and it became somewhat apparent that Rhea didn’t entirely approve of the Katz’s. The differences were apparent in their family styles, and knowing that the Katz kids didn’t go to school made them even more unsavory, it seemed. It wasn’t anything obvious, but in small things the boys would say and the way Rhea would react to things, Karen started to get the idea that there was a great deal of disapproval. Only once did any of the family go into the house, and that was when Jack was over and asked if he could use the bathroom. The large crucifix in the entryway was hard to miss. He quietly told his mom about seeing that that night when she came to tuck him in (She still did this with all of her kids no matter how old they were. It was a chance to check in and catch up on the day’s events and how each kid was feeling.). Karen shrugged to herself and privately thought that the two families were as miss-matched as two families could be.

It was amazing that they got along at all and it was probably really lucky that they didn’t live directly next to each other. The Katz house was always busy, frequently loud, and almost always messy. Rhea’s husband worked at the bank and they had moved from the other side of town. They owned no pets and Rhea seemed to keep her home spotless. The Katz house had animals inside and out and enough kids to keep the commotion constant. Karen couldn’t understand why this family had chosen to move into an old farmhouse in the middle of a field. Maybe they had gotten an exceptionally good price on it.

Ellie’s preoccupation with bugs had made for some sticky situations as well. One weekend, William and Nicholas came over. They were bored and had come over hoping for something to do. There was little in their own yard of interest, and even though they knew that their mom didn’t really approve, they were somewhat fascinated with all of the stuff going on at the Katz house. Every time they came over there would be something new and interesting going on. One day they came over and the Katz’s were putting on a play reenacting the Barbarians overrunning Rome. Another day, they came over and the kids were exploding a baking soda and vinegar volcano. Today, they found Ellie in the front yard with her butterfly net and her sketchbook. Yeller was watching her from the front window. It looked like she had caught something interesting.

William came over and asked her what she had caught. She said it was a tiger beetle and showed it to them. William said, “Wow, that’s neat!” Ellie said he could hold it and put it in his hand. He looked a little afraid but also fascinated. He had wide eyes and quickly asked her to take it back. They sat and watched a little while longer but Ellie didn’t have anything else quite as neat, and watching her draw wasn’t very interesting. Nicholas took off his jacket while they sat there and put it next to the bug bucket. He left it there when they ran off to find Jack. Later that evening he got his jacket back and put it on and he and his brother went home.

When his mom went to wash the jacket that evening, the tiger beetle, having climbed on to the jacket and ridden on Nicholas’ back all the way home, was sitting right on top. Rhea screamed and ran out of the room. She did not like bugs one tiny bit and this one was big and creepy. William came in to see what was wrong and said that that was the bug that Ellie had showed them that afternoon. Rhea was not at all impressed. She asked him to remove it from the house. He picked it up and put it outside. Rhea couldn’t understand why it would be on the jacket unless it was put there intentionally and ever after she was even more suspicious of the Katz kids. Her distrust got bad enough that the boys stopped coming over, especially on weekdays.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Those Crazy Katz' of Windsong Lane: Chapter 23

Chapter 23: Sarah’s Turn

The following week, Sarah went with her dad to do his fieldwork. It was a much tenser group at that point. The graduate students were getting pretty tired. They were healthy, young and strong, but four solid weeks of hot outdoor work, dusk to dawn, was getting to all of them. This would be the last week and they would be wrapping things up. Everyone was in a hurry to get the work done.

If the grant was extended, they might be able to come back the next year, but the Katz’s had planned for this one year of solid work in the area. It was important to complete the work, because the more data they gathered, the more solid the conclusions. There were limits, though they were working as hard as possible.

Sarah did her best to keep up with the constant stream of numbers and observations. She thought the things that they found in the buckets were pretty neat. However, sometimes they would hike to a bucket and there would be nothing in it. Also, at each bucket they would record what was in it and then remove it, stow everything, and fill in the hole. They were wrapping everything up and trying to put everything back to the way they had found it. They were nowhere near the gopher tortoise hole, so Sarah wasn’t able to see that, and she was thoroughly exhausted by the time it was all over.

Personally, she knew her dad thought it was good for her to come out and see how he worked, but this was not her thing. She didn’t like sweating and she didn’t like being dirty and dealing with bugs, and she hated, HATED, wearing boots. When they were finally done and heading home she was glad to have had met Anaan and Phoebe and seen what her dad’s days were like, but she also hoped he didn’t insist she come with him ever again. For her, it was a kind of torture. She hadn’t complained, but Johnathan could clearly see the lack of enthusiasm. Since he loved what he did so much, he felt disappointed that his oldest child didn’t share that love, but he supposed you couldn’t win them all.

As they were driving through town on the way home, Sarah looked out the “window” of the open Jeep and saw a group of teens on the corner. Her first instinct was to duck, but before she could do that, she saw Leo and he looked right at her. He waved and she turned bright red and looked away. She was mortified. She was sweaty and her hair was a mess from the hat she had been wearing. She was sure she had dirt on her face. She must look awful. Then she thought, why do I care? She had so many confusing emotions. Fortunately, her dad didn’t notice at all. Phoebe did though, and she leaned over and said very quietly, “I think that young man likes you. Good looking guy!” She smiled at Sarah and Sarah smiled back. She didn’t know what else to say.

At the end of the week Johnathan called the sampling season over for the time being and invited Phoebe and Anaan over for dinner. When they came over they were bemused that their professor had such a large family. Anaan said he came from a big family himself and fit right in. He sat down on the floor with Joe and asked him about the puzzle he was doing. Phoebe and Karen started a conversation, and Phoebe was telling Karen how she hoped to be a Herpetologist some day and contribute a significant piece of research. She was particularly interested in the tropics, and she hoped to move on soon to a project in the Amazon.

Jack listened from nearby. To him, this sounded like the coolest thing he had ever heard. You could tell he was fascinated and a little bit in worship of this young College student. He hung on her every word. What she was saying seemed like the kind of thing that he read about in National Geographic. He always read those articles about faraway places avidly. The new and unusual places that the people would visit were so interesting. He wanted to go places and see things all over the world some day. He knew that the Amazon was a place of amazing numbers and kinds of plants and animals. How he would love to go there! It seemed way more exciting than his own life thus far.

They all sat around the dining room table and had spaghetti and meatballs. There just wasn’t any more room at the kitchen table. Emma didn’t really sit with them, but Joe tried. He wanted to be like the big people, but he only managed to sit until his food was eaten and then he had to go run around. Dinner was all very informal, though, so kids coming and going wasn’t a bit deal. The two college students had a wonderful evening and felt pretty lucky to be working with such a nice Professor. They knew other professors that seemed to enjoy giving people a hard time and generally being stuffy sticks-in-the-mud.

Johnathan was happy. He felt it had been a successful year and he could go back to Raleigh and be busy for some time to come. He just needed to get all of that data into the computer and start crunching the numbers. That and writing were what these and his other students would be doing for him in the coming months. Hopefully, he could get several papers out of it. On Monday he would head back to Raleigh for a bit to settle things and then he’d be able to stay home for a couple of weeks before they would need to start making plans for either moving back to Raleigh or staying here.

Karen and he had told the kids that this would be a temporary thing, but they had also discussed the possibility of not wanting to leave after a year. It was part of the reason why they had sold their house. They could have kept it, but paying for two places would have drained their finances and they hadn’t really been attached to the last house anyway. This house was pretty neat, but they were just renting it. It would be easy to move out when the lease was up. It had turned out to be a nice arrangement, and being able to stretch out at least mentally had been really nice. On the other hand, the resources here for classes and other homeschool friends were almost nonexistent. He and Karen had decided to wait until he was done to decide for sure.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Those Crazy Katz' of Windsong Lane: Chapter 22

Chapter 22: Birds and Butterflies

Ellie was feeling better the next day. When they had been wandering around outside the day before, she had noticed a number of different kinds of butterflies flitting around on the edges of the yard. With her butterfly net and sketch book in hand, she headed outside to see what she could find. She knew that a real entomologist would collect the butterflies and keep them after killing them to study. She couldn’t kill such beautiful creatures, though. She preferred to catch them and get a really good look at them and then let them go. If she sketched them she could remember the colors and shapes and look them up later.

She had seen so many new and beautiful butterflies out here. So far she had seen a few swallowtails, but since they were so big, those were the ones people noticed the most. She was finding that she was more and more interested in the little ones. Frequently they were beautiful colors, but they went unnoticed because of their size. The little white and orange “Orange Tip” looked like a pretty summer dress with its lacy green mottles and orange wing tips. The “Sleepy Orange” butterfly looked like an orange-cream popsicle. She caught another hairstreak and let it go. Many of these she had never seen in Raleigh. She wished Justin were still around. He wasn’t super interested in bugs like she was, but he had been willing to keep her company much of the time. There really weren’t any other kids out here her age to play with now.

Just then, Rose pulled into the driveway in her beat-up pickup truck. The dog bite incident had put a stop to their semi-solo bike rides to her house, so she often came over to say “hi” and bring them berries or vegetables.  Ellie was sitting cross-legged in the grass, sketching. She stood up when Rose came and ambled over to the car. “Hi” she said.

Rose said, “Can I see what you were doing there?”

“I guess so” said Ellie, and let Rose have a look at a new hairstreak sketch she had started.

Rose said, “You really are getting very good Ellie. I don’t think I’ve ever met another child your age who draws as well as you do.”

Ellie was feeling a bit shy about it, “Thanks” she said somewhat bashfully. Rose had something in her bag. She almost always brought something. Sometimes it was fresh bread, sometimes it was cookies, and sometimes it was something from her garden. Ellie wondered what she had brought today.

They went up onto the porch and into the house. Karen was just finishing the dishes. Rose took one look at her and said, “You look like you’ve had a tough morning.”

Karen gave her a level look and said, “You don’t know the half of it, but it is certainly better than yesterday.”

Rose said with a smile, “Sometimes coming over here makes me glad I’m done raising my own kids. Though, you never are truly done.”

“Thanks a lot!” said Karen. “I don’t think I want to think about being mom to five kids the rest of my life right now. I’m glad we can help you get over having an empty nest though!” This was all said in jest.

Rose said, “Well, I just got something for myself and they were so inexpensive, I got an extra one for you guys. Since the kids have been enjoying the bird feeder so much, I thought they might also like this hummingbird feeder.” Rose turned to Ellie. “Ellie, I’m going to put you in charge of filling this and making sure it’s got clean nectar all of the time. If you do that, you’ll get to see those little guys most every day.”

Ellie said, “I’m not sure I want more chores in the morning.”

Rose said, “Trust me. This will be worth it.” She showed Ellie how to mix up a batch of hummingbird nectar and put it in the feeder.

Next they had to decide where to hang it. In the end they hung it rather high up on the kitchen window. Ellie had to use a stool to get to it, but Rose explained that the higher up and more open the placing, the more likely the hummingbirds were to come and use it. Also, they loved the color red, and that was why the feeder was red plastic. Suction cups attached the feeder to the window.

Rose said, “Give it a few days. They’ll eventually find it and if they are brave enough to come around you crazy people, it’ll be a nice show to watch during your meals.”

Karen said, “Thanks Rose. You always have such interesting things up your sleeve. “

It did take almost a week before they saw any hummingbirds at the feeder. Ellie had had to clean it out once when the nectar had started to grow things. Finally, on the eighth day, they were all sitting down to a pancake breakfast when a tiny green ball of attitude landed on the feeder and took a long drink.

Soon after, that feeder was the source of constant activity as the little dive-bombers jockeyed for rights to the nectar. The little magenta-bibbed males would even chase others off, as is they thought the feeder belonged to them, and the yard would be full of whirring wings and chittering attitude all afternoon. Ellie found out that these were Ruby-throated hummingbirds, the most common kind on the East Coast. Yeller also enjoyed watching them and would sit by the window meowing softly, tail twitching.

Ellie also got to go out with her Dad that week. Johnathan had decided to take one kid a week on his workdays, and Sarah said she could wait, so Ellie was up next. The Graduate students enjoyed meeting yet another Katz kid and Ellie did pretty well as recorder, though she kept getting distracted by the flying, buzzing and fluttering things.

That day they caught a king snake and Ellie had to admit that it was pretty neat. Her dad told her that this snake was special in that it ate other snakes. One of the problems with this kind of sampling was the danger that something they had caught might eat something else they had caught. Judging by the size of this snake, it looked like it had had a recent meal. Johnathan wondered out loud if it had made a meal of another snake in the pitfall trap, but since they could only record what was actually seen, they could only guess at what it might have been.

Anaan and Phoebe were very impressed with Ellie’s bug knowledge and agreed with Johnathan that they might have an entomologist in the making in their midst. What Ellie learned about the most that day was how actual fieldwork was conducted and recorded. Everything had to be as consistent as possible and was done with exacting care. Here was the scientific method in action, and when she gave her report to her family that night, she spoke about that as well as the snake she saw.

Ellie also managed to get through the day having acquired only one tiny seed tick. Johnathan had begun to perfect his tick-avoidance strategies. Pants were always tucked into boots and covered with heavy socks. Long shirts with long sleeves were worn tucked in and everyone was sprayed well with bug spray. This was all pretty effective, if a bit funny looking and a bit warm.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Those Crazy Katz' of Windsong Lane: Chapter 21

Chapter 21: Emma and the Terrible Twos

While Jack and Johnathan were off having their adventure, Karen had been having one of her own. Sarah had spent the morning upstairs reading, while Ellie had gone outside to look after things right after breakfast. These days they had to take a basket out to collect all of the eggs. Karen sat Joe down and they were going to do some reading together.

These days she would read him a book and ask him to sound out words here and there. She had placed Emma on the floor with some blocks and puzzles, but had lost track of her when she was engrossed with Joe. When she and Joe had finished their story, she looked up and saw that Emma had toddled off and things were quiet, too quiet. Karen had an “oh no” moment. This wasn’t good. Quiet was almost never good with a two year old. She called “Emma!” and got up to start looking around. She didn’t find her in the kitchen or the living room, but then Karen noticed a light on in the bathroom. An awful smell came from there.

With a feeling of dread she looked in and saw Emma in the middle of the floor, diaperless, with poo all over her hands and streaks of it all over the walls. Emma said, “Me go potty!”

Karen said, “Oh, Emma, what a mess.” She wanted to throw up. The whole mess was so revolting. The smell was awful. She grabbed Emma under the arms and holding her at arms length, ran her upstairs to the bathtub. She and Emma spent a good half hour in there getting Emma cleaned up. Karen was just about done and was toweling Emma off when she heard a retching sound downstairs.

Joe came in and said “Ellie go blah” and then from downstairs an anguished sob.  

“MOM!!” Karen put her head in her hands. This was going to be a bad day. Why did things have to happen in these little storms?

She said, “Sarah! Please come here! I need your help!” Sarah had been completely oblivious this whole time. She was disappearing more and more in her own world these days, and Karen was at a loss of what to do with her sometimes.

Sarah got up and came into the bathroom. Karen said, “Please get Emma diapered and dressed, and be careful. She’s decided that taking her diaper off is fun. I gotta go help Ellie!”

With that, she ran out of the room and downstairs. Poor Ellie had taken one look at the bathroom downstairs and upchucked her breakfast all over the living room rug. She was in tears, “I’m so sorry mom!”

Karen went to go get her some towels and to clean up the mess. Now she had two messes to clean up, and quite frankly she was feeling a little queasy herself. As the mom, though, she had had to learn how to not do what Ellie had just done. It would just make the whole situation ten times worse. Somebody had to keep their composure!

She gave Ellie a rag and told her to go up and shower off and then set to work cleaning up the mess. This had not been one of her favorite mornings. It was almost as bad as when everyone had been sick at the same time. She crossed her fingers and prayed that this was her quota for the week. If she could just keep Emma from doing that again...

Emma was becoming progressively headstrong. People always talk about the terrible twos. Not all of her kids had been “terrible” at two. Sarah had always been a cautious and rather quiet little girl. Jack had been headstrong but easily distracted. Ellie had been difficult, and it seemed Emma was taking after her. It wasn’t malicious, they were just interested in everything and therefore into everything, and didn’t understand why they weren’t allowed to do whatever they wanted. They got upset and then got upset all over again when they couldn’t communicate what they wanted.

Emma had just probably not liked the feel of her dirty diaper, and having discovered how to get it off, had also discovered what was in it. Well, that was quite enough finger painting for one morning! She sent Joe to supervise the dressing of Emma while Ellie showered. From upstairs she heard “No! No pan. No pan!” (This meant no pants in Emma language.) She got some lunch going, hoping her stomach would settle soon. She’d put Emma down for a nap soon. Hopefully that would work out. This was another difficult area; Emma seemed to be on the cusp of not needing a nap but was too cranky still to stay up. If that worked at all, she would work with the older two on their schoolwork for a bit in the afternoon.

Unfortunately, Emma refused her nap and was whiney and cranky the rest of the afternoon. This made it very difficult for the other kids to work. Who could multiply fractions with a screaming toddler running around and looking for things to destroy? Joe also wanted some attention, so she ended up just taking everyone, except Sarah, outside. Sarah had her online class to attend to, and this was the only way to give her some quiet for that. It was especially hard sometimes trying to homeschool with a toddler around.

They roamed about visiting with the chickens and the goats. They also took a look at the garden and did some weeding (and mud throwing). At the end of that, Emma was tired enough that she did finally go inside and fall asleep on the couch, but it was late enough that Karen worried sleep in the evening was going to be a problem.

Karen had not actually planned for Emma. After Joe came along, she had felt that she had quite enough kids, but in the way fate seemed to decree things sometimes, Emma had come along unplanned. Karen had a lot of energy, but Emma was almost more that she could handle sometimes. She just felt more and more tired and old trying to keep up with this fifth toddler of hers. Thank goodness she had the older kids to help out at this point, and since they were all home together most of the time, the kids mostly got along with each other and were able to be mentors and friends to each other.

She scrambled to get the dishes and laundry done while Emma slept and Joe watched his favorite show on TV. Maybe tomorrow would be better.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Those Crazy Katz' of Windsong Lane: Chapter 20

Chapter 20: Tortoises and time with Dad

Meanwhile, Johnathan was deep in his field season and loving the work he was doing in the sandhills region. It was a very unique and special habitat type, full of distributions and types of reptiles seen nowhere else. On one of his site-scouting trips, he had actually spotted a gopher tortoise hole. This is something unheard of in North Carolina. Gopher tortoises generally stay further south where it is warmer, so to find one in North Carolina at all was newsworthy! He decided that since he was coming back the next day, he would bring Jack with him to see how the survey was being conducted and to see the hole.

When he went home that night and told Jack that he could come the next day, Jack was beside himself. He couldn’t wait! He could barely sleep and was up before the sun, dressed and ready to go before his dad even made it downstairs for breakfast. When it was time to go, they got into the Jeep his dad was using for the summer, along with all of the gear that usually stayed in it, and made the long drive to the study site.

This particular site was on the far side of the preserve. They met Johnathan’s graduate students just as the sun was coming up, and together they all went over the plans for the day. The students would spend the morning digging and carefully placing a series of pit traps and then come back in the afternoon to see what, if anything, they had caught. At that time they would take down notes and observations about each find.

Jack was put in charge of the clip-board, and as they set up each pit-trap, he was given all kinds of numbers, from the current temperature, to the number and type of surrounding trees and the GPS coordinates. It was long, hot, and exacting work and he was glad his dad had insisted on long pants and boots as well as a wide-brimmed hat, bug spray, and lots of water. At least he didn’t have to dig the holes!

Jack also liked meeting the graduate students. One was a young exchange student from India by the name of Anaan. He was a cheerful and very energetic individual who had always been fascinated with reptiles. He worked hard and was very exact in everything he did. He was also very friendly to Jack and spent a great deal of time either teasing him or showing him how to do things. His accent was pretty heavy, but Jack could understand him most of the time.

The other student there that day was a girl by the name of Phoebe. She was short and thin but very tough. She had a tan that made her look as dark as Anaan. She was friendly, but very focused, and Jack was a little bit confused by the big words she kept using. Much of the time he didn’t really understand what she was saying. She also spoke really fast, which just made it worse. She and Anaan drove from the hotel they were staying in, an hour away, each day during this intense part of the sampling. When the sampling was over, they would return to the college and their usual lodgings.

When all of the pitfall traps were set and the data collected for the morning, they took a break and sat around or in the trucks to eat their lunch. It was really nice to sit and listen to them talk over the day. Jack didn’t understand all of the things the grownups were concerned about, but he did ask them if they had found anything interesting yet.

His dad was reminded then about the gopher tortoise and how he wanted to show it to Jack. They finished up quickly and he and Jack set off on foot to find a spot about a quarter of a mile away. Johnathan had to use a GPS unit to find it again in the scrubby pine flatwoods. It was, after all, just a hole in the ground under a bush. After some searching they finally found it by looking for tracks in the sand.

Johnathan explained that the gopher tortoise was found primarily in Florida and Georgia as well as the South Carolina sandhill areas. It was an animal of special importance because it was considered a “keystone species”. Jack interrupted to ask what a keystone species was. Johnathan explained that it was a creature that was especially important in an ecosystem, because if it was lost, that loss would impact many, many other animals and could even lead to the loss of the ecosystem. He said that gopher tortoises made big holes in the sand to live in and lay eggs in. Other animals loved to use those holes. The holes were important, because they provided shelter from extreme temperatures, predators, and fire when it came. Researchers had found snakes, frogs, burrowing owls, lizards, opossums, raccoons… all kinds of animals living together in these holes. He said that the fact that there was a gopher tortoise here so far north was very special and that they mustn’t tell anyone else where this hole was, so that it would remain undisturbed.

When they found the tracks, they saw that they led under a bush, and pushing the bush aside, could see the tortoise, itself, sitting there at the entrance! When it saw them, though, it retreated further down the hole and wouldn’t come out. Johnathan said this was a small tortoise and wondered out loud how it had ended up so far north. Gopher tortoises could get to be as big as sixteen inches. This one was only about six inches. Johnathan also pointed out a snake track and said it was probably living in the burrow with the tortoise. Johnathan also said he wanted Jack to do a report about the gopher tortoise and use it to tell the rest of the family about what he saw that day.

Jack was pretty fascinated, though he was already pretty hot and sweaty and was wondering how his dad did this every day. No wonder he was so tired when he came home at night! They headed back to the trucks, where Johnathan let Jack have a bit of a break. The two students went off to record some data and check some old traps, and father and son just sat on the tailgate for a bit enjoying the sound of the birds and the quiet. There was a loud nasally “kack-kack-kack-kack” and a huge pileated woodpecker flew up to a tree nearby to look at them and them flew off. Jack was amazed! This was the biggest woodpecker he had ever seen! It was even bigger than most of the crows!

The late afternoon was filled with rechecking the traps they had set that morning. They would leave them overnight and check them the next morning. Only one of them already had something in it. It was a skink, which is something Jack saw around the house all of the time.

When they finally went home that evening, Jack was exhausted. He just wanted to climb into bed, but his mom insisted that he remove all of his clothing in the laundry room and she checked him over. She found three ticks on him. Ewww! He was so, so freaked out! He loved animals but he hated ticks! Having had a lot of experience with tick-removal though, they soon had them off of him and he was sent upstairs to scrub himself really well in the shower.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Those Crazy Katz' of Windsong Lane: Chapter 19

Chapter 19: Sarah

It was an eventful week for Sarah. Later that week, when the family was at the library, Sarah was approached by a young man. He introduced himself as Leo and said he knew Beth-Ann and wanted to meet the girl who was her friend but was never in school. He said she fit Beth-Ann’s description so he figured she must be Sarah. Sarah was flustered, she didn’t know what to think! Most teenage boys were not so forward. She flushed bright pink and said, “Nice to meet you,” and then stood there awkwardly because she didn’t know what to say.

After a pause, he said, “So how do you manage that? I thought everyone HAD to go to school?”

Sarah replied, “Well, it’s not like I don’t learn anything at all. I just do school at home.”

“What? You don’t just not like us people at school and try to stay away from us?” He was trying to be funny, she could tell. He wasn’t succeeding, but she smiled anyway.

Sarah said, “No. It’s not like that…,” and she was going to say more, but then he changed the topic and asked her what happened to her ankle.

 “Dog bite,” she replied and then her mom waved from across the room that they had to go. She said, ‘Well, it’s nice to meet you… Leo… bye.” She rushed, limping, out after her family, with her arms wrapped tightly around the books she had in her hands and her head down. Why had he made her so flustered? She wasn’t usually like that. He was kinda cute, though in a rangy teen kinda way.

Sarah wondered how she could find out more about him. It was the first time any of the kids in the town, besides Beth-Ann, had made any attempt to get to know her. The family had stopped going to 4H when it became too difficult for Sarah’s mom to corral the younger kids for the whole time. Also, her mom had felt a little guilty about not being able to pitch in and teach as all the moms were supposed to do. She just couldn’t do it with so many kids to take care of, and she didn’t really want to, since she did enough of that at home. Sarah had gotten a lot less time with kids her age after that, however, and she privately wished they were back in Raleigh. She missed her friends there.

She called Beth-Ann that night. “Beth-Ann, there was a boy who came up to me today in the library and he said he knew you. I was wondering if you could tell me who he is?”

Beth-Ann was intrigued, ”What boy?”

Sarah said, “Well, he was kinda tall with blond hair and really blue eyes… He said his name was Leo.”

“Oh, Leo!” Beth-Ann said, “Well, what do you want to know? Our parents are good friends, but I don’t see him much these days. He’s all ‘Mr. Popular’ and I’m just the weird brainy girl.”

“Um, well, I don’t know,” Sarah said, “I just was surprised he cared who I was.”

“Ooooo,” said Beth-Ann. “I wonder if he likes you?”

“That’s silly,” Sarah replied. “He doesn’t even know me. How could he like me?”

Beth Ann was thoughtful, “Maybe your just too mysterious? I bet he is curious and wants to know about that beautiful mysterious girl I keep talking about.”

“Now I know you're loopy,” said Sarah. “How’s the practicing going?”

“Oh, you know, the usual. It’s so tedious, but I need to be ready for the next concert. They have an invitational concert to play with the North Carolina Symphony this week. I want to be ready. That means I’ll be gone again this week. I should probably homeschool like you. I miss so much school, I’m doing make-up work all of the time. Mom won’t even consider it though...Anyway, I should go now. They are calling me down to dinner. See ya girlie!”

“Bye,” said Sarah and hung up.

Her mom noticed that she was very preoccupied that night. Sarah barely said two words at dinner, and when Karen asked her what books she had gotten at the library she didn’t even answer at first. Even worse, when she did answer she said with a startled air, “I don’t know if I even checked them out mom!”

Karen said, “Really Sarah, how could you forget to check them out?”

Sarah was thinking, “Well I guess that’s what happens when a good-looking guy startles you in the library,” but she said, “I don’t know Mom. I was distracted I guess.” She didn’t know why she didn’t want to tell her mom. Somehow, it just seemed like something she wanted to keep to herself for the moment.

That night she found she just could not get the encounter out of her mind. It was very disturbing because she couldn’t sleep and couldn’t concentrate to read. She kept seeing Leo’s face smiling at her and it gave her a peculiar butterfly feeling inside. She wondered if she’d see him again. She really had no reason to. Maybe he would be at the library next week.

Friday, January 3, 2014


I just found these videos! Awesome fun science for the kids... except it may give them some dangerous ideas!

Hard Science has some fun videos on You Tube. We just watched one on making a hovercraft, and one about walking on eggs. This one was about Non-Newtonian fluids. Oobleck is fun to make and something every kid should do at least once. All you need is some corn starch and some water. It behaves like a solid and a liquid depending on how hard or fast you move it.

Have fun!