The Daily Discoveries of Gustavo Valentine

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Location: United States

Thursday, September 27, 2007

and counting...

Today is my mom and dad's 5th wedding anniversary. It is the wooden anniversary so it is right on that they celebrate it here, where wood is the one thing we have plenty of. Dad and I, in fact, spent the day chopping wood. I count one, two, three, go! and daddy swings his mighty ax and splits the log right in two. Then I load the pieces onto Cartman the cart and then we pull the cart up to the deck and stack the wood. Then we bring it inside and pile some next to the fireplace for nighttime fires which have already begun up here in the crisp Autumnal season. Mama watches Daddy and I do our woodwork with a loving look on her face for both of us.
For the anniversary celebration they are going to Seattle where my other grandparents, who are here to visit me, got them a hotel room. They are excited about a night away. They already had their perfect evening here on the island: going to see a one night screening of Days Of Heaven at the little old Bainbridge art cinema, one of life's perfect movies they tell me.
Five years ago, in the woods of Big Sur, my parents kissed and hugged in front of family and friends and said I Do! I Do! They still do. They still kiss and hug. They say these first five years have been a very good time and they expect the next five to be even better good times.

Happy Anniversary to Mama and Daddy. Keep it up!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

last days of sand and sea...

Summer seems to be fading fast over here so we're trying to get our last licks in at our beach and stuff. The summers here are so mild, you hardly realize its summer at all. My dad is so happy to not have to suffer the Los Angeles heat anymore. He's a wilter, and I guess I am too. And Mama is a sunscreen fanatic where her "white men" are concerned, so this weather works out a lot better for all of us.

This is the sea otter that was swimming and playing and sunning himself at the beach with us. Dad believes it was a mutant hybrid seal creature with dog legs but we all know it was really just a sea otter.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Here's to us!

We finally got around to celebrating the sale of our house and the paying of all the debts. What we thought would take six months ended up taking a YEAR and six months so the haul was a long one and there are many reasons to pat our backs because we stuck it out and didn't jump off the Agate Pass bridge and we didn't ever go crazy on each other. This is a testament to all the love and friendship and general joking around around here. And personally, I never want it to end. Living here with my grandparents has been the best, the best, the best and I think it has made me the well-rounded boy that I am today. And moving here has allowed my mom to be with me every day for the last one thousand days and if an unsuccessful house flip is to blame then I'll sign up for a few more of those. Family bonds and memories are more important than profit. This is what my mom mutters to herself over and over all day.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

I owe you nothing !


Even though I don't actually comprehend what this means, and even though my life feels exactly like it did when we were not debt free, my parents are very, very happy about this. A huge weight is off their shoulder which doesn't make much sense to me either since I spend a lot of time on their shoulder and I've never once seen a huge weight there other than me. Anyway, Mama sat at the kitchen table and wrote one ginormous check after another until all the money from the house selling was gone but so is every single credit card bill that we used to have. My dad works real hard and now finally that hard work means money piling up, where before his hard work meant money disappearing as soon as he made it which was really frustrating and depressing. I really hope no one out there reading this has a house for sale that isn't selling because we don't want to gloat, but boy, can we say again, how relieved we are that we escaped with our shirts!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

doing the things that I do

Ho hum. La dee da. Just living the ole life out here. The grind, the sweet sweet grind.

Sometimes I wake up and there's something new in my day. Like I'll look out the window and there'll be a new truck for me to get inside. To me, this is extra ordinary.

Grandpoop and Nicky drove into Canada and brought back the furniture of Mamop's Mamop. They moved to a new place and can't fit in all their stuff. We had a big day of moving, rearranging and redecorating. You should see my room, there's a couch in it now, fun for jumping, and a bookcase for all my books. That's something different than before.

I play with Himal like every other day now. The mamas are really pushing the play dates which is good because we are doing great on the sharing and helping each other out part of playing. This is new improvement, this is, to quote my Uncle Mike, evolution.

And I still continue to inch along in the potty department. I take down my own pants now and put my bare bum on the ole pot. No plops or peeings yet, but I can sit there with a good book for hours.

And so it goes. The days sail by, summer turns to fall, the first leaves appear on the ground, and we live the life we live.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Yo Shorty

Well, my buddy Emmett turned 4 years old. Hard to believe. To his credit, he doesn't look a day over 3 and a half. We went to his birthday party at the Children's Museum in Seattle. What a totally neat place. I think it must have been designed by kids because it had just the very kind of stuff that you always dreamed about playing in. If I had to choose my favorite, that would be the Mexican restaurant. This is Emmett's favorite too.

You can pretend that you work behind the counter and serve you parents tacos and rice and quesadillas.

And cokes or horchada or whatever the people order.

Order up!

Every once in a while you can take your break and have a taco yourself. But then its back behind the counter. Mama kept trying to get me to the other rooms, like the Construction Zone where you wear a hard hat and mini tool belt and you screw and nail stuff together (which is like every day with Grandpa at home) or Cog City or the Mindwarp room, but I wouldn't leave my shift at the restaurant and just kept explaining to her that "I'm working!"

Firetruck fantasy fulfilled. I'll probably be a firefighter for Halloween because that is still the number one obsession for me at this juncture.

I took another shift at the Phillipino restaurant down the street.

And then we went into Emmett's private birthday room and he opened presents. When he opened one of the cars that I gave him he said "oh, I never wanted this" which made us all laugh very very hard. Emmett's a totally funny guy.

When they brought out the cake, he didn't wait for the cutting he just shoved his face into it and took a bite. That's just the way he rolls!

And then after pizza and juice and cake, we went back out to 'splore all the other rooms at the museum. You couldn't drag us away from the crane and hook scene. Emmett and I took turns on the wheels because we are friends who like and respect each other.

Happy Birthday Pal! Thanks for inviting me to your party, I had a great time!

Thursday, September 13, 2007


We are now firmly, and yes finally, in Phase Two. The house is sold, the fat check is in the bank. When the fat check clears it will thin out and disappear immediately into credit card and home depot bills. And this begins the next phase, the saving phase. We've got cars and couches to buy and maybe some long awaited frivolous spending, who knows? In the meantime, we make the most of every minute we have here on this island and hang out with our only friends Leo, Lischu and Himal. They have a stream behind there house with real fish. And they have a giant meadowy hill that Himal can ride his bike all the way down without ever falling. I tried but chickened out. I prefer to run down it and full speed singing la-da la-da la-da. My parents do miss city life, its true, but we all know positively that we will miss this nature-loving country living the second we are gone...

Monday, September 10, 2007

Canoe feel it?

As you know, this island here is a beautiful place but it is even more beautiful once you get out on the water. My parents and Big Derek decided to finally take Grandpoop's canoe out for a spin. It turned out to be the best day yet, for them that is. I am not allowed in the canoe yet on account of the tipping factor. Darn that darn tipping factor!

The men carried the canoe on their heads all the way down the trail to the water and Mama carried the paddles.

Dad was in the front leading the way.

Mama got to sit all casual in the middle and relax while the men rowed.

It's tranquil and picturesque and real sweet out there. You get to see all the neat houses that are hidden in the woods. Each has their own dock and their own fancy boat.

And then there's this guy. He's a Great Blue Heron. He flew over the boat, this big white wingspan about five feet wide and they all felt that it was a taradactyl. It was totally Lord of the Rings. It landed a few feet away on the dock, his dock apparently, and they rowed right over to him to check him out and he didn't mind. He stood as tall as me with beautiful white, grey and black feathers, more like he was wearing an expensive fur coat.

And he just cruises around strutting his stuff.

We are just visitors in his cove, Hidden Cove.

The quiet, glassy waters of Hidden Cove. My parents and Derek were quiet and glassy too.

Duck your head, Dad.

Derek had a lot more ducking to do.

This is for real ducking. The mama and all her little kids in a perfect row. I could learn a thing or two from the perfect row.

Merrily, merrily, merrily, IS but a dream.

And a good breather after a good, good row. Life is but a good, good dream.

And the trek back. Harder uphill.

But real worth it.

Friday, September 07, 2007


It's over. It's finally over.

All this work, all this time, all this's all behind us now. We closed. Our house is sold. The money is in our bank. We are at long last off this roller coaster ride of a crazy terrible housing market freakout and back on stable ground. And we are in no hurry to get back on that ride anytime soon. We will not buy another piece of property until this country figures out how to run itself again.

Mom and Dad signed the papers and did not experience the overwhelming joy they pictured over a year ago when they started this venture. Daddy said it is like the Iraq war, it'll be nice when it's over but there are still a lot of dead soldiers to mourn.

But then, the relief set in. No more fixing, no more cleaning, no more mowing and raking and watering. No more watching CNN and MadMoney. No more calls from Sharla of Windermere. No more hopes raised only to be dashed. And the beginning of the next phase. The exciting next phase of our little family's life. That IS a reason to celebrate. That IS a reason to jump for joy.

I started jumping for joy, on every bed in the house, and now we are all feeling it. Congratulations team! We made it!