- Ted & Debbie (Photographers)
It was a struggle to get Henry to practice his cello last year. He looked for every excuse not to practice, “I’m too tired, my arm hurts, it’s too noisey in the house, my cello is out of tune…” He’s the only Catanzaro boy who doesn’t take piano lessons or even sit down and dabble on the keys. It’s just not in him I guess. That’s okay. This summer after over 3 years of cello lessons with his teacher Karen Patch and group lessons in school we decided that he could stop of he wanted to. He did.
We leased Henry’s cello from violin/ cello guru Robert Cauer. If you need a cello or violin check out his shop near the Hollywood Bowl. Driving down the 101 south, I start to feel a little sad about what returning Henry’s cello means to Debbie and I. Yes, it means not having to “convince” Henry to practice 15-20 minutes every other day. It means not having to get Henry to his lesson with Miss Patch every Friday afternoon. It means not having to struggle with Henry to wear dress pants for his yearly recital. But, I guess what it really means is that having five kids takes its toll on our ability to make everything fair and equal. It also makes us realize that our boys are all different. I take Henry’s cello out of its case for the last time and sadly hand it to Robert Cauer who looks it over and says, “It’s in perfect condition.” It’s sad. I leave the shop and do a couple of errands in Hollywood. Driving south on La Brea near Melrose I notice nobody on-line at Pink’s and a parking space right in front just like in the movies.
It’s only 11:30, early for lunch and especially early for a chili dog. I haven’t had a Pink’s chilidog in a couple of years but it seems the planets are aligned right . I order the basic chilidog and a cream soda. It comes with mustard and onions and it’s really good. Â I think about the 1st time I came to Pink’s in 1976 with my mom and dad. I remember my dad asking the guy behind the counter for extra chili. I think about music. I think about Pink Floyd. I think about Henry’s cello.
It all started last Thursday night. We had just finished dinner, Debbie was delivering cup cakesÂ to Catriona ( it was one of our classes turn to supply baked goods to Ocean Charter Schools’ Reef Cafe on Friday morning) I was doing the dishes, Henry was at basketball practice, and for some reason Ollie had stripped down naked, put rubber gloves on his hands and feet and started doing cartwheels and hand stands singing Japanese songs. Not to be outdone, Theo had dropped his draws and was walking around with a modified Hot Wheels track “rifle”,Â a felted mailbox worn like a pontifical hat. He had also inserted toilet paper in various folds in his body and was dancing around like Martin Sheen from the edited out motel room scene from Apocalypse Now. KUSC was fundraising, Pavarotti was blaring on the radio. Cupcakes delivered, the Kubani house was the antithesis of the scene back at our Bizarro house. Their dinner dishes has been cleaned up, their house was tidy and quiet. The girls were in bed being read to.Â All was peaceful. Debbie walks into our house, disheveled(our house not her) and noisy and you can see that look in her face…One that asks the questions, what is going on here and what have I done to deserve this? I say to myself, “you gotta love it.”
Cut to Saturday. Debbie is with Sam and Henry at a cello workshop in Claremont. I’ve got Theo, Ollie, and Simon. Ollie has got out the box with Halloween costumes from the basement and Theo is painting everyone’s face to look like vampires. There must be some connection between Valentines Day and the undead. I’m falling asleep while reading Woody Hazel and Little Pip to Simon at nap time. The house has become a real mess with unfolded laundry dirty dishes and costumes through the ages. The kids are glued to the Winter Olympics and dinner time is fast approaching.
By coincidence it is also Chinese New Years. The Year of the Tiger. We rendezvous at Chung King in San Gabriel. I love this restaurant. The atmosphere isÂ somewhat reminiscent of a tire store waiting area but the Kung Pao chicken is sublime and the spicy fried shrimp is like anesthesia on the tongue. Tonight it is super spicy. I didn’t pace myself well on my beer and my tongue is numb and my eyes are practically in tears. I look over at our friend Bruce and sweat is pouring off the top of his head, Sam thinks the meat in the twice cooked pork has hair on it.
On the car ride home we listen to Michael Jackson really loud and Sam has to pull over and pee on the side of the road, apparently he hasn’t gone since last night. What’s with that?
“Put a fork in me, I’m done.”Â A long week is coming to an end. Getting the kids to school, tennis, cello lessons, signing field trip permission slips, making breakfasts, lunches and dinners, working and trying to get a Valentines Day promo piece out last minute. I get into bed and stare at the same page in “On the Road” I’ve been staring at for 3 days and fall asleep with my glasses on. But wait, not before I wish everyone a Happy Valentines Day and Happy New Year!
Fridays are one of the more challenging days of the week. There are 5 lunches to create. As I’ve said before, this is Debbie’s turf. She is the Goddess of Lunches. I just fill up their water bottles and make Debbie a cappuccino. I think they had BLT sandwiches. Actually, Theo had a BL, Sam had a BLT, Henry had a BL, Simon had just a B and Ollie had a hard boiled egg. At pick up Theo said , “Guess who has the best lunches in my class?” I said, “Jack O’Rourke, Chunky’s Kid?” He said, “No, Me!”
There’s pick up at 2 campuses, cello, swimming and tennis. Don’t ask me who has what, just tell me who needs to be picked up or dropped off at what time and chances are the right kids will get there or get home. 2 days ago Grandma Carol or GC as the boys call her picked up Sam and Henry from tennis the other night. They came traipsing in stinking of sweat. I was getting dinner ready, Debbie was on the phone. I kept asking everybody, “where’s Theo?” No one answered my question. I kept on getting dinner ready, Debbie was still on the phone. I asked again, “Where’s Theo?” Oops, I guess he was left behind at the tennis courts. No worries, GC to the rescue.
I heard a whimpering sound while making Ragu sauce this evening. Simon had got into puppy no name’s crate and could not get out. Actually, he didn’t want to get out. The whimpering sound was just him making dog sounds.
So Friday is over. Our friend Bruce is over testing some Thanksgiving wines. Ollie is sleeping over our friend Jakki’s house. The kids (we are too) are watching an episode of Johnny Quest. We got a fire going. There were great waves today and the ragu was pretty good!
With Sam and Henry at a NCI cello workshop in Claremont I stayed at home with Theo, Ollie and Simon. It was a rainy morning and there was a request to paint. So paint they did.
I sugessted painting sunshine as form of sun worship. I also suggested to Oille and Simon to take off their Bu and The Duck shirts otherwise Mommy would get really angry. That Stockmar German water color paint does stain. Their shamanistic strokes were answered with a crisp clear sunny day. So first clean up a bit, get dressed, pack some snacks and off we go.
First stop Chart House. This is a restaurant but also a surf spot which breaks rarely. Once every few years. Today it was actually breaking. It was low tide super hollow and working quite nicely. The water was quite dirty because of the storms we have been hit with,
Then we went to the Will Geer Botanicum Theatre to do thespian things (act like wild men) on the abandoned stage. Unbeknown-st to us the stage wasn’t abandoned.Â After the boys banged on a door and I madeÂ grizzly bear sounds the door was unexpectedly thrown open and out came a woman who asked us to keep it down. The boys ran for their lives.
With rain realigning itself over the ocean we thought it wise to retreat back home to and early supper, shower and perhaps a bit of tv.