Saturday, March 15, 2008


The day before my 29th birthday was a typical blustery March day ("In like a lion" and all that). It also happened to be the day of the Austin Kite Festival. I've always wanted to go to the AKF. Ignoring the fact that Alex and I aren't really "festival" kind of people, especially festivals in Zilker Park (the parking alone is a nightmare! Yowza!), this was what I wanted to do to celebrate my birthday. But, to complicate (or enhance) matters, I wanted to fly a homemade kite and thus check one more item off my list.

1. I've never made a homemade kite. (solution: find kid-friendly directions on Internet)
2. I didn't have time to get the materials ready before hand. (solution: send Alex out the morning of while I'm at practice)
3. There aren't enough hours in the day to go to practice, come home, get clean, take a nap (a must if I'm to have energy for anything else that day), make a kite, test said kite, go down to the kite festival, find parking (see above gripe), and actually get the thing in the air before the end of the festival at 5:30. (solution: .....nothing comes to mind.....)

I must say that the plan started off well enough. Alex got the supplies. Well, they didn't have paper big enough, so he brought home a greensheet, which launched a debate into whether we should use newspaper or a trash bag, a debate the kid-friendly instructions were absolutely no help in solving.

I got up from my nap ready to be creative! The cats were even in on the action:

As you can see, they were super helpful.

Our process shots:

Check out the killer tail...
With our newly made kite ready for testing, we headed out to the park in front of our house. By the time we got there (100 feet), the tail of the kite had wound so viciously around the kite string it took us a good 10 minutes to get things sorted out.

Then, it was time to fly! To my utter surprise, Alex claimed he had never flown a kite before. How is it that kites have never come up in 12 years together?? I tried to patiently explain the kite flying etiquette that so many of us internalized at 7 years old: one person is the "flyer," the other is the "thrower." The Thrower holds the kite in the air, ready to throw it up into the wind. The Flyer stands with his or her back to the wind, ready to nurse the kite higher and higher by either running or working the string up, down, back, and forth.

I'm fairly sure all Alex heard was the "running" part.

As you can see, the kite didn't really ever make it too far off the ground. It was a trooper, though. It only sustained minor damage from being dragged along the rocky turf at high speeds.

My attempts at the "string coaxing" technique were not much more successful.

So does this count as a successful completion of #44? I think the spirit of the task was to be creative and have fun. We had a lot of fun building the kite, which was quite creative if you ask me. It wasn't as much fun flying the kite, but that's 'cause I'm too much of a perfectionist and if it doesn't work right it might as well not work at all.

We kept the kite--Alex swears using a plastic garbage back will make a difference. We might return to this task again in the future, but for now, I'd say that all in all, it was a fun afternoon and definitely worth crossing off the list.

PS - for those of you wondering, we never did make it down to the kite festival. Oh well--there's always next year!


Anonymous said...

We are impressed! What an adventure, and your handiwork was quite impressive!
love you guys!
Su and Jay

ashley said...

nice work! love the pics of alex running with the kite :-)

Jonathan said...

Do you remember the 'dragon' kite we had growing up, with the really long tail?

This made my day, sis! I needed a laugh today, and your storytelling did just the trick! Looks like y'all had fun.