Art, Ivory’s and the pool

The Des Moines Art Festival was this weekend. We went once before a few years ago. Here’s a pic of from that trip.

Several things about the festival. First, all they had was Coke and Budweiser products. If you know anything about me, well, that’s like choosing between Arlen Specter and Charlie Crist.

Second, the organizers of this festival also located the food in the absolute farthest point possible from where the bus drops us off. If we were dropped off in Key West, the food isn’t even in Seattle. It’s in Fairbanks. Oh, and it’s 94 degrees and the girls are hungry.

Excellent. The only thing that could be more awesome is if Kinsey has to go the bathroom but finds the Port-a-Potty so gross that she just decides to hold it and whine about it. Oh, wait, that’s right…this actually did happen…

Anyway, you know what interests me less than an art festival where I can’t get a Diet Pepsi or Miller Lite? An art festival with crappy drinks and 6 year-old who starts whining about being hot and thirsty exactly 1.5 steps off the bus. I mean the bus is air conditioned. She couldn’t have been in the heat for than two seconds. Three tops and she acting like she’s been chasing Rommel across the Libyan desert fighting big black flies and fuel problems for the last year and a-half.

Third, it’s art. Mom loves going so I do my best to blend in but seamlessly is not how I fit into this crowd. I mean just walking around and listening to people is weird. It’s like being at the Democratic National Convention. How many times do you hear the word “magical” used on a daily basis? Maybe once if you talking about Disney princess movies. If you are at an arts festival, you hear it used as in “oh we are just in awe of the love in your family, it is just magical.”

What? That’s not magical, that’s just how some kooky hippie wanna-be says, “We like hanging out with your family, we’d love to be invited back.” Magical is the feeling you get on NFL opening Sunday.

Plus Mom and I don’t really have the same tastes when it comes to art. I’d rather frame my classic Sports Illustrated covers of the Steelers first four Super Bowl wins. If I have to hang something that would qualify as art, then I tend to gravitate towards photography. Maybe etchings if I really try hard. Actual pictures of actual things. A lime green square with some scribbles and big dot is not something I can appreciate.

“What do you think about this one?”

“It looks like a kindergarten craft day project.”

But we did agree on a painting of some white spire birches lining a path during the fall. Its a painting of trees in the fall. And the fall has football. Good enough for me.

Saturday was also about 95 degrees. So I decided to mow the yard. And Mom decided to trim all the bushes. We’re smart that way. Plus we wanted to go look at new SUV’s. Mine is 11 years old and has 131,000 miles on it. So after taking a good look at it and realizing that trying to trade it in would net me about $3.50, I gave it a bath. I washed it, cleaned it out then took it to the car wash and gave it another wash and vacuumed it out. As I pull up to the house I see Kinsey sitting there. Arrayed around her are two tables and several chairs. One table is labeled lemonade. The other table is labeled Ivory’s. Ivory’s is the “store” the girls and their friends at school have been planning for months. They’ve built up a nice inventory of scarfs, bracelets and bookmarks. Almost all of it made of yarn and beads. But, unfortunately for them, they left nearly all of it at daycare. So the ever entrepreneurial Riley says to me, “Dad I’m going to write some poems real quick to sell at our store.”

Don’t know what kind of market there is for poems, but whatever.

I park in front of the house on the street and start wiping down the surfaces in the car. I also can’t help but listen to the girls. Immediately they are beset with labor problems. All six of them want to walk down to the end of the street to put up a sign. Nobody wants to stay back and monitor the store. Chain of command issues, lack of clearly defined responsibilities.

“Hey Dad can you watch our stuff and help any customers?”


I think this makes me a temp. They also quickly noticed that nobody is really stopping to shop. Watching your kids figure things out on their own is cool.

Riley comes up with this, “Well, let’s go to everybody’s house on the street with the lemonade and offer them a glass. When they answer the door we’ll let them know that we’re also selling stuff at our house.”

I smile. They’re going mobile. It’s like a primitive form of the internet.

50 cents a glass. They made $6.50. Rye divided it up six ways but kept the remaining 50 cents.

“We can buy more yarn with it.”

Unfortunately Ivory’s is open most of the day on Saturday and I lost my shot a new vehicle.

Sunday we decide to go to the pool. This was fun. Girls played in the water. I laid on a lounge chair and did absolutely nothing. As we arrived and started claiming our chairs, I take off my shirt, grab the sunscreen and Kinsey says, “Dad, you’re hairy.”

“Thanks kiddo.”

“You have gray hairs on your chest too.”

“Yes, I’ve noticed that.”

“Well you are 40 now.”

Awesome. So evidently I’m a 40 year-old graying werewolf.


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