Fragments from today

It seems that picking up my daughter from high school transforms our van into a shuttle service. Thus far we’ve given rides to 6 different teens on at least 8 different occasions. Since there have only been 14 days of school we’re giving rides more often than we aren’t. It impacts my afternoon a little, extending the drive home by as much as 15 minutes, but I figure I’m using fuel to haul my van around anyway it might as well be full. Kiki likes it. Particularly when she gets to do the driving. The other kids are amenable as well, though they do get grouchy if the trip is too extended.

Howard and I had a business meeting in the kitchen after the kids were all at school. It was the first normal-state business meeting we’ve had since before GenCon. We’ve spent so much of the last few months in scramble mode. It was really nice to just stand in the kitchen and talk over calmly the things which need to get done this week and this month.

Gleek is an avid collector of erasers. She has them in the shape of tools, ipods, cell phones, keyboards, and computer mice in addition to more traditional shapes. She buys these exciting erasers from the book machine at school, and it is where most of her money goes. I’m glad that such small things can bring her joy. I love the lively interest I see on her face when she jumps out of the car with a hard-earned dollar in her hand and dashes to buy a new eraser before school starts. These treasures never get used for actual erasing. They are used as parts of myriad pretend games.

Gleek has begun taking a bath every morning before school. I think she does it because she would rather wash her hair than brush it. Since the result is a clean child with smooth hair, I’m happy. It also pleases me to see her developing her own morning routine which does not depend upon me as a motivational force. In fact all the kids have been settling in to the before-school schedule. I have to work hard to get them out of bed, but after that one thing rolls into another until they’re out the door for school. It is nice and I’m hoping it can last, but not betting on it.

Link is discovering the fatigue of daily practice. His homework load is exceedingly light this year and so I declared homework for him. He must practice clarinet, typing, and German. After dinner he has to read. He has discovered that keyboarding makes his back tired and that clarinet takes a lot of lung work. I keep telling him that these troubles will get better with more practice. I think he believes me, but he still complains. I also need to log on to the school grade system and determine if his homework free state is as care free as he is depicting or if some unpleasant assignments are sliding by. Since the school has decreed that homework in seventh grade be easy, I will make sure we use the time to learn study skills, class management, and good practice habits.

Patch loves school. He loves routine. He is happy with his class, wishes he had more homework, and tells me about his recess times. All seems smooth sailing for him, which means that he slides down below crisis-level on the importance scale. Since I’ve been bouncing between crisis and urgent, he has not been getting much focused attention from me. I need to not neglect him just because he is having a good year.

Today was pretty much a wash on getting stuff done. I need to find some high energy tomorrow and crash through a bunch of business tasks. There are still threads to tie off from Howard’s Australia trip. I need to start tasks for Howard’s November trip to New England Webcomics Weekend. Then there are business maintenance tasks which have been laying idle. Also I need to get started on book lay out for EPD and FAM. On my list of personal projects I need to make the family photo books for 2009 and 2010. I also miss gardening, but I doubt I’ll get back to it before the weather freezes. And then there is writing. I need to find enough space so that I’m not afraid to expend emotional energy on it. I need to remember why it matters. Or I need to deliberately set it down and focus on other things. Limbo is not great. So, Many things to do. This is normal. I hope this week is calm and full of settling with no new crises to avert.

My house has a achieved a sort of steady-state cleanliness. This is due to the small empty spaces in the mornings while the kids are preparing for school. The spaces are too short for me to allow myself to get distracted by the internet or business things, but perfect for unloading the dishwasher, or sweeping the front room. The result is more cleanliness and I like it. Another reason to hope that the calm morning schedule continues.