Monday, June 12, 2006

Lighter than air

G, triumphantly: “I can control everyone’s BUTT!”

Jeez, what a lame superpower. *facepalm*


Tonight I showed G how to make something that saved my childhood summers in the melting-hot South: the “air tent.” I practically lived inside one of these the summer I was eight. Here’s what you need to make one of your own:

• A flat sheet, at least queen-size, preferably king
• A box fan (no other kind will work)
• 8–10 heavy books

To make the tent, lay the sheet out on the floor in front of the fan. Use the books to weigh down the outside edges of the sheet, all the way around, leaving the end in front of the fan open. (Don’t stretch the sheet out taut; you want lots of loose, billowy material in the middle.) Drape the open end of the sheet over top of the fan with two or three inches hanging down the back. Then turn on the fan, and the sheet will inflate like a balloon, leaving a dim, cool, tent-like space that’s big enough for kids to crawl into. (The open end of the sheet should get sucked against the back of the fan, which will keep it in place as long as they don’t pull on it.) If the sheet is big enough, you can divide the tent into two “rooms” by putting another book in the middle.

Naturally, G was thrilled with her air tent and wanted both of us to get inside it for bedtime reading. I didn’t fit as well as I did when I was her age – I couldn’t sit up underneath it, for one thing – but it brought back lots of memories of hiding out under my parents’ fugly brown plaid bed sheets with a book and a Popsicle. Good times, good times.

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