This post is brought to you by The New Santa Fe from Hyundai.
Do you guys remember this hubbity bubba?
That tiny man turned six in February, and he’s shaving now. He wears my socks. He is big enough that I can no longer carry him in from the car when he’s sleeping. Oh, my heart.
For his birthday I wanted to do a movie night, where everyone cozies up under blankets and you pass warm beverages around in thermoses. My sister has a red barn that was built for maximum quaint-itude, so I bribed Hank’s cousins to clean it out for us (thanks, Trevor and Emma!), and we had the party there.
All the little city kids chased goats and chickens around screaming, swung on the tire swing, roasted weenies, and posed briefly for a Norman Rockwell painting.
We had cupcakes with spray-painted farm animal toppers, fired up the popcorn machine (surprisingly cheap to rent, by the way), and ladled hot cider. As you’ll see in the video below, it was kind of an epic day.
We have video because Hyundai loaned us a car for a couple days and asked if they could film the party. Hank is way into making movies — I’ve been stalling on his oft-repeated request for his own YouTube channel — so I said yes. Of course, I was picturing some guy with a camcorder, hanging out and having cake with us.
Uh… as you will see, they went all out. It was a whole crew with a trailer and thingies to attach cameras to the car. They even complied with Hank’s request to yell “ACTION!” while we bumped up the country backroads. It was all very satisfying and movie-makey for Hank’s taste.
Of course, Hank has been asking about the movie for weeks while they edited everything together. The end result is both gorgeous and a little surreal for me, but he is very excited that you get to see it. So without further ado, Hank’s small screen debut:
Happy birthday, little buddy. I’m so lucky I get to mom you.
Me: What’s your favorite part of snack dinner?
Hank: … The snacks.
“They almost never blink. I’m serious.”
Hank: She’s my girlfriend, but just my friend.
Me: What’s the difference between a girlfriend and a friend?
Hank: There are girlfriends who are just when they say they’re your girlfriend.
Me: And that’s just a friend who just says, “I’m your girlfriend now?”
Me: What other kinds of friends are there?
Hank: There are friends, and then girlfriends, and then good friends, and then best friends.
Me: What about a girl you like as more than a friend?
Hank: That’s your love.
Me: Do you have a love?
Me: And what does that mean?
Hank: Nothing really. You just are nice to each other. We don’t really do any of that stuff yet.
On occasion, San Francisco cab drivers will ask where you’re going to see if your plans match theirs before they give you a ride — maybe they’re returning the cab, or picking up a fare someone has called in. A cabbie pulls over, determines that I am headed his way, and unlocks the doors.
I climb in back to find two large, white boxes taking up the seat. “Sorry, do you mind?” the cabbie asks. No, I say, not at all, and shove one of the boxes over to make room. The box has a strangely even weight to it, and I read the label.
“Is this blood?” I ask the driver.
“Yep,” he says.
“Oh,” I say. “Oh.”
I imagine us getting in an accident, and the ambulance arriving to nonsensical amounts blood. Biblical blood. Carrie blood.
“I would think they’d have a… specialized vehicle to transport this.”
“Nope. They have a contract with us. Saves them money.”
I swallow hard. I wonder if the blood is still warm. If it’s packed in dry ice? Or just in the medical equivalent of some ziplock baggies? “The Blood Cab’s here! Just throw it in a box and stick the label on it. They’ll figure it out.”
This seems awfully casual, don’t you think? Is there a black market for blood in the city? I mean, do they keep careful track of who has the blood, or does it mostly show up where it’s supposed to, because? I guess, what are you going to do with a bunch of ziplock baggies filled with blood? Unless you’re a vampire.
Crap. This cab is a vampire food truck. When I opened the door to climb in, it was like that sandwich chain that pumps out the artificial smell of freshly baked bread. The Creatures of the Night Who Lust for Human Blood were all like, “Dang! Where is that coming from? I could go for some warm O+ in a zippy bag, you know?”
At about lunchtime, we arrive at the DNA Lounge, a windowless, after-hours nightclub that’s hosting BSides SF today. BSides is a convention of information-security enthusiasts who are probably as uneasy about sunlight as I am about using the wifi in their presence. Why is everyone looking at me? Onstage they are holding a handcuff-picking competition. I do not mention that the food truck is out front.
A few hours later, the door flaps closed behind me, and I squint against the late-afternoon sun. I’m starving, so I decide to get ramen downtown. I go to hail a cab.
On second thought, I’ll walk.
We celebrated Hank’s birthday at my sister’s place, Wise Acre Farm, this weekend. She raises chickens, and this is her hand washing the eggs from her hens. Her farm is in the paper today!
Raina has always been a bird person, but for some reason I never connected a love for animals with farming until I saw her feeding all her chickens — she chats with them like they’re puppies, and chases down the hurt ones so she can take them home for rest and extra attention in the backyard.
If you’ve never had a pasture-raised egg, they’re delicious. It’s sort of like the difference between a home-grown tomato and a store-bought one. The yolks are super bright, and once you get used to them the eggs from caged hens start to taste egg-flavored, like an imitation of a real egg. Try one if you get a chance.
I’m proud of you, sis.