Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Goodbye, goodbye

We're moving house and Fixit's mother died on Mother's Day. There is so much I want to say about both these events, but no time to say it properly.

Also, just to add to the list of things we're dealing with at present : Fixit had knee surgery, to repair ancient damage caused by the great motorcycle accident of 1993. Surgery was much needed and will improve everything for him, so it's great news, just it wasn't the best month for him to be incapacitated, however briefly, and he really hasn't had a cushy recuperation. He's had to power through, but he is coming along nicely.

Our house is in chaos, and bit-by-bit we dismantle our life here.  We are very, very happy to leave this horrible house, and can't wait to start life again in the new house and closer-to-everything suburb. But moving is a SLOG.

Last night Fixit pulled down the bunk bed he'd built all those years ago, and the cat was adorably confused. Cherub was Fixit's helper for the bunk dismantling job, and was waiting excitedly for Climber to return home from soccer training so he could show him the new sleeping arrangements. He's so very, very cute.

As for Fixit's mum: she had had an awful run of health for the last two years, spending large chunks of it in hospital or in a wheelchair, and the root of it was the heart damage she'd sustained from the heart attack a year or so ago, but with so much else going on with her health (diabetes, broken leg, broken hip, chronic arthritis) no-one had quite picked this up. So it wasn't until she was admitted to hospital last week to try and sort it all out that they realised how bad things were for her, heart wise, and at that point they said there's nothing we can do, let's move her to palliative care so she's comfortable. That was Wednesday, she died Sunday. It was very quick. In between, she slept. We went in as a family to see her on Sunday afternoon, and we told her we loved her and said good-bye and she did respond, but she was beyond talking or eye contact then. We came home for dinner, and as we ate, Fixit's brother rang and said come back now. She was gone 5 minutes before he made it. We're all so sad. The boys, shocked by how terrible she'd looked in the hospice and struck by the grief in the faces of the adults, were distraught and we cried and cried. Fixit stayed at the hospice and mourned with his family.

At home, we lit a candle. Rest in peace Elaine. You were a loving and hard-working mother to Fixit, a kind and generous mother-in-law to me, and a loving and indulgent grandparent to Climber and Cherub.  We will miss you.

Friday, May 01, 2015

Shaking It Off at the Fete

The Tap-Kids were rockstars again at the local fete this year.  We've performed there so often now that we have it down to a fine art - both in terms of the performances and in terms of the technical stuff like setting up and striking the tap boards.  One of the guys running the stage this year remarked on our speed - he'd been all prepared to help, then he'd left the area to check on something and came back to find it all set up.  Another fete-volunteer-guy was helping Fixit lug boards into the grounds, and as they shook each others' hands said Oh so you're Mister Caroline? The kids found that terribly funny.


As usual, for the performance run order, we worked from youngest to oldest.  Here's a picture of the Tiny Tappers, who are aged 3-4, being delightful tapping bumblebees. One of my newer students, who'd been with me less than a term and had never seen us perform, was suddenly stricken by massive stage-fright and sat on her mum's lap looking at me with big tears rolling down her little face.  But I offered to hold her hand for the performance, and also said she could dance holding her special lion soft toy, and she bravely agreed to come on.


Of course once we started she was fine and had a splendid time.  The kids indulged me by dressing up for the show, and I think they look so adorable with their wings and face-paint and antennas. Such cuteness.

Trombone playing bumblebees. Edible.

The next to perform were the Flappers Class, who are beginner-level tappers of school age. They did a terrific job walking 500 miles.


 (It's a song, they didn't really walk that far.  But there was walking of sorts. And jumping.)


I especially like the bit where they fell down at your door.


We had the Gliders1 Class (more than beginners) up next, so many of them that it was hard to get them in one photo. 


They had a pretty tricky routine this year.  With shoulder choreography and everything.


This is them just before they bite the dust. Look at their faces, they can't wait to pretend to die.


Then came the Gliders2 class. They were performing Lollipop and at the final class before the fete  I suddenly decided to make them do the routine with lollipop props.


One of the young tappers was a bit concerned that this was too much to expect of them at the last moment, and to be fair, he had a point. It was a big ask.


But of course, these kids are so good that they absolutely coped and remembered the new lollipop holding (and licking) choreography. Such troopers. (Should that be troupers?)


After that it was time for the Grand Finale, the ambitious routine where I put all my senior classes together in one dance, doing different things to each other.  We had one fun rehearsal on the Friday night before the fete so they could get used to tapping with all the three classes together. It went incredibly smoothly! They all loved doing this song, and were just fantastic about knowing where they had to be and what they had to do.  I was so impressed with them.


I think they were all bursting with excitement to get up there and perform. First to take the spotlight were the youngest of the three senior classes, The Shufflers.


Falling Off The Log step. We worked VERY hard on this. (I was a little bit sick of this step by the end of term, I taught it to some grown-ups as well so I had to fall off the log a LOT.)


 What a team.


Next up were The Tapsters.  This used to be Climber's class but he no longer wants to tap. So sad. Lucky I still have all these gorgeous girls to work with, because this class is the most advanced and are up for all the challenges I can throw at them. So clever.  I still put Climber to work; you can see him in the background being the stop/go person on the ipod, so that I could have Nell on photographic duty (didn't she do an excellent job?) and Fixit on videoing-using-the-ipad duty.  He also did a good job, except there was an ipad malfunction right when this routine (the one I really wanted recorded) started, and he didn't get any of it.  However I was able to get footage from Julie, and Jen (who had a child in each of the three classes), thank you laydeez, and put together a video, see below.


I wasn't planning to dance in this routine at all, but one of the Tapsters was away this weekend, so I took her place.  It was fun!




Then the groovy Groovers came forward and performed their stuff with their usual aplomb.


They love this move.  We call it The Geronimo. All the other classes are jealous and want it in their dances as well.


The crowd was very impressed with it too.


For the final chorus, we had pat-a-cake, balancing and bridges.  When we finished we received an enormous round of applause, and lots of cheering. 


Great work, kidtappers! Once more you did a fantastic job entertaining the crowd.  So proud of you all.  Big thanks also to Fixit, Nell and Climber, and of course, to all the wonderful tap families.