I suppose technically we were vising my brother & sister in law as well, but I was most excited to meet my nephew Xi Hou (pronounced she hoe, and it means Lucky Monkey) for the first time. He was born a month before Flynn and while we’d seen plenty of photos and video I had yet to get a chance to actually meet him.
So, before we flew down to Australia we spent a few days in Beijing with Danni’s brother and his lovely family. I brought my camera along for a walk around their apartment complex one day and I think you’ll agree that cute kids run in Danni’s family.
I finally caught up with Danni and Flynn back in Danni’s hometown of Anshun. They had been here for a few weeks already and were very settled in with PoPo and GongGong by the time I arrived. One of their routines was to spend time in the square dancing or just driving the cool car that GongGong bought for him. I had been sent quite a few photos of the car, but it was great to be able to see it in action. Think power wheels, but it played Chinese music on the “radio” and Flynn LOVED it.
The only downside is that Flynn had to leave the car in China when he came back home. I’m sure he would’ve forgone all the clothes in his bag if he could just fit this car in there…
Flynn and Danni are off in China visiting her friends and family at the moment so I’ve been keeping busy with small projects around the house (and packing for our impending move!).
One of those projects was to refurbish an old children’s bark bench that we saved from our neighbours dumpster. You can see in the first photo that it was getting a bit tired and one of the boards in the seat had broken so they were about to throw it away when I asked if I could have it instead.
It was in pretty rough shape with all of the wood rotting away so none of it was salvageable. I disassembled the entire thing and tossed all the wood and hardware aside (after making note of everything that needed to be replaced of course). Next up was to strip all of the paint off of the cast iron end pieces and respray them. It took a few coats to fully cover everything to the point where I was happy with them so I ended up having to buy a second can of spray which drove the final cost up a bit.
After that, it was just cutting the boards to length, pre-drilling and countersinking all of the holes and finally staining everything. I spent a couple of days doing the staining and ended up not being all that happy with the result, but I’m sure Flynn won’t even notice the imperfections.
In the end, the total cost to refurbish was close to £100 which was far more than I had anticipated spending. Almost half of that cost was wrapped up in the paint removal/application process though, and there wasn’t really any way around that expense. The worst part about the cost is that you can actually buy these benches brand new for about £30. Something I found out a bit too late. But honestly, I feel a lot of personal pride in having refurbished this bench for Flynn that simply wouldn’t have existed had I just ordered a new one for him.
So if anyone ever asks, pride costs about £70.
It’s something of a tradition in China that when the sky grows a bit dark the elderly folks come out to their local square and dance. It’s not uncommon to see multiple groups of 30 plus seniors (and some younger) dancing different dances to different music only meters away from each other. I’ve always been intrigued by this cultural phenomenon but have always been to uncoordinated and shy to join in the fun.
Flynn however, suffers none of the hang-ups we adults have.
Thanks to Baba for taking and sending this incredible video of our dancing boy.