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Manypeeplia Upsidownia

June 2, 2010

We are in full panic end-of-the-year mode here. My to-do lists get longer and longer and my time gets shorter and shorter. Tomorrow I have to finish start getting organized for AJ’s party on Friday. But I also have to take Mr. Spy to the train and write thank you notes to all of AJ’s teachers, buy birthday presents for two of his friends, and pick up the remaining items for his party on Friday before 12:30, when I’m supposed to stop by his class’s end-of-year party. And that’s only the morning. I’m just hoping I survive the next couple of days with my sanity and bank account intact.

Things at AJ’s school are similarly frantic, but with a side of melancholy. I was in the office today signing AJ out for a doctor’s appointment when his first grade teacher walked in and asked the secretary where she could put the big stack of workbooks she was carrying. The secretary waved her into the gifted teacher’s room, which is right off the office. “I guess you can put them in there.” “Well, that’s one good thing about next year,” the teacher said jokingly. “More storage.” But the secretary didn’t hear the tone in the teacher’s voice. “I can’t even think about next year,” she said miserably. The teacher looked at me and said, “I just can’t even say the right thing anymore. We are all so on edge.” Then she turned to the secretary, “Can we just all say that this really sucks and move on?”

AJ had his last art class today. He came home with a one page handout with suggestions from the art teacher for where to learn about art, what to do at home, museums to visit, and places to take classes. I almost cried when I saw it. She is an amazing teacher and she probably won’t be teaching anymore.

AJ and I got to visit his fabulous pediatrician today. I love the way she talks to AJ. She explains what she’s doing and she never talks down to him. She always asks about what he’s doing. This time he actually started talking to her about exactly what he’d been doing — this is very rare. There are very few adults who will get this kind of conversation out of AJ. He got a clean bill of health and then we went to get his hair cut. He’s been growing it out for a couple of months, but with the heat we’ve had the last couple of weeks — I’ve already used the air conditioning about twice as much as I used it all of last summer — he was ready to lose some of it. He wasn’t sure exactly how he wanted it cut, but while we were waiting for a stylist, a high school boy with a football player’s build walked out with his new haircut, close cut on the sides but longer and spiked on top. After he’d paid and left AJ said, “do you think I could cut my hair like that?” As luck would have it, we got the stylist who’d done the cut and she did a great job. I can tell AJ feels grown up. I’d post a picture, but my camera is out for repairs.

And now a cold front has moved in. It is a full 25 degrees cooler than it was a couple of hours ago. It’s marvelous to have all the windows open again. We are all feeling better.

At bedtime, AJ and I reread some of our favorite Edward Lear poems — The Pobble Who Had No Toes, Mr. and Mrs. Discombobulos. Alas, he doesn’t care much for The Owl and the Pussycat anymore. He loved it when he was little, but he doesn’t remember that. His favorite now is the Nonsense Botany. After we turned out the lights, I suggested that we work on our own nonsense botany. He wasn’t sure he could do the names, so I suggested that he come up with an idea, I’ll Latinize it for him and then he can draw the pictures. We came up with a few to start with: noisydaddia hockeygoalius (inspired by the sound of Mr. Spy yelling at the Blackhawks on TV), pussycattius stinkiosa (poor Mrs. Stein is becoming flatulent in her dotage), and guitariana clangtwangia. I’ll let you know if he gets around to drawing the pictures.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. June 3, 2010 11:40 am

    Does AJ like the new science cd from They Might Be Giants? Our UU congregation is using it for a summer curriculum. We started with a “hypothosis” and figured out that pennies cleaned with acid hold fewer drops of water from a “pipet” than dirty pennies. They got to keep the pennies and the pipet too– heaven to science kids!

    We’re well into summer here– but have not turned on our A/C yet! Our house is so shady that we’ve been coping with fans, and it cools into the 60’s at night so we’re still sleeping ok too. The humidity is creeping up and making everything feel sticky (and keeping my hanging laundry from drying) but our power bill is very happy. I’m sure we’re the only family in Georgia without the A/C on, but we’re stubborn that way.

  2. June 3, 2010 11:59 am

    He does love that CD (although we don’t actually have it — we’ve listened to it on youtube). What a great idea for a curriculum! If our house were built differently, we’d probably have coped without the AC as well. But our bedroom ceiling is vaulted. No attic=too hot. And we have skylights. The bedrooms are usually a good 10 degrees hotter than it is outside on any given sunny day by evening even with all window and ceiling fans running. But generally speaking, when I say the AC is on, it’s usually only running for a few hours beginning in the late afternoon to cool things down for sleeping. Last week, however, it was staying in the upper 70s and 80s at night. With the high humidity, that was very unpleasant, so we had it on for more of the time than usual. I hope that when we reroof the house (a project that is a little too close on the timeline for my liking) that we can reinsulate, maybe put on a more reflective roof surface, and install more energy efficient skylights with tinting or built in blinds or something.

    When we lived in the city, our loft was cooled by a fan blowing over cold water run through pipes in the wall (hot water in the winter). It was a great system and we keep wondering if there is some way to harness the ice cold water of the spring under our house. The basement is always freezing. I have to use a space heater down there (it’s where my office is) even in the summer. We’re not up for a full green retrofit, but it seems like something that could be doable down the line.

  3. June 3, 2010 6:45 pm

    Isn’t it a shame that doing the right thing (green energy, organic foods, recycled or safe products) is too expensive for most of us to do?

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