Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Steps to the Summer

1. Notice that school gets out (Good Grief! That can't be right?) next week.

2. Run around the house like a flustered pigeon for a few minutes as that sinks in.

3. Practice deep breathing exercises.

4. Acknowledge that Neo is going to Washington DC for a Leadership conference lasting one week in July. With one week on either side of her conference dedicated to visiting grandparents in Boston and NYC, she's got July pretty well mapped out. Phew.

5. Remember that you were going to sign her up for community college courses. Check the website.

6. Discover that ALL the community college courses run during June and July for three weeks, therefore completely conflicting with the Leadership conference.

7. Consider doing the pigeon thing again but decide against it in the interest of banging your head against the desk and mentally excoriating yourself for displaying such grand stupidity in procrastinating this long.

8. Remember that someone talked about classes at the art college? Do a websearch.

9. HURRAH! Look at that! California College of Art offers a two week course for middle schoolers taught by CCA instructors. And look at that! Computer art! Drawing from life! (Using clothed models. Hee.) Wow.

10. Turn to scheduling middle son. Apparently there's a summer camp program he qualifies for which runs for three consecutive weeks. OK, but I can't tell which weeks have openings.

11. Bang head on desk some more.

12. Turn to scheduling youngest child. There's another summer camp program I'd like to get her into, but I can't tell which weeks are open.

13. Bang head on desk some more.

14. Stare blankly at various webpages for various camps where it talks about visiting the facilities in February. February? Applications open in March? MARCH? Who the hell thinks about summer programs in March?

15. Shit. And now they're probably all booked up, and this is my fault for not having been on top of this. I went through this last summer too, the last minute scramble.

16. And the plane fares are going to be through the fucking roof. All three kids visit their grandparents in NYC by themselves for at least one week. Neo, no problem-- she's already headed in that direction. But for the others? I have to fly back and forth across the country. And if son is enrolled in summer camp, then I have to be here to pick him up at the end of the day, and the camp is across a bridge.

17. Remember this one? There's a bridge, and you are carrying a large watermelon, leading a wolf, and herding a pig. Only one item can go across the bridge at one time, otherwise the bridge will crack under the weight. If you leave the wolf on the same shore as the pig, the wolf will eat the pig. If you leave the watermelon on the same shore as the pig, the pig will eat the watermelon. How do you get all three across the bridge?

18. Number 17 above is how my summer travel plans look right now.

19. I cannot have son in his camp while Neo is at art class, as I will be unable to get to CCA to pick her up in time. Phebe, the youngest, can be at City camp during that time.

20. If I enroll Phebe in the more exciting summer camp (which is obviously more expensive), I cannot have her there while son is at his camp, nor while Neo is at art classes, as the programs all start and end at the same time. In different towns. All requiring travel over Different Bridges.

21. This, of course, assumes that Phebe will GO to exciting summer camp.

22. Which looks to be impossible at this point.

23. More headbanging. Why oh why oh why do I wait until the last POSSIBLE minute to set these things up? This is not fair to Phebe -- I want her to experience a traditional summer camp with horseback riding, popsicle stick art, campfires, and swimming lessons. And only because she is the youngest, I can't make it work. So unfair.

24. Recognize that this exercise takes way too many scraps of paper with illegible scrawlings all over them. Remember that similar exercises have eventually worked themselves out with little fanfare.

25. Get a call from son's summer camp program letting me know that all weeks are available, and that he is a candidate for the program, and that we can immediately set up an intake interview so that he can attend.

26. Cue the Heavenly Chorus: Sing along, won't you?

Lift every voice and sing, till earth and Heaven ring,
Ring with the harmonies of liberty;
Let our rejoicing rise, high as the listening skies,
Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.
(This is one of two hymns that although I enjoy humming along, I sincerely cannot sing it out loud in a group of people without crying. It is just that beautiful when everyones' voices vibrate together in my chest. So far, no one at church has ever seemed to mind. FYI, the other is Eternal Father, Strong to Save.)

27. Anyway, if they have room in all sessions, then most of my scheduling conflicts are over. Whew!

28. I need a margarita. Really.


Marianne McA said...

Chicken, fox, bag of grain and a rowing boat, surely?

How long do you get for the summer holidays? Mine still have another month to go, and that still gives them a fortnight more than the schools in England.

Suisan said...

We have a ten week summer from June 8 through August 20.

But we end early and start early, and have shorter vacations in the middle of the school year. Schedules in areas where there is snow (and the possibility of snow days) definitely run much longer in June.

In America schools don't normally start until after Labor Day (First Monday in September). However, we realized a few years ago that we needed to start about five days before that.

But then we found out that the parents just weren't bothering to bring their kids for the first week of school -- they just waited until after Labor Day.

SO to get the parents to bring the kids to school, we have to start TWO weeks before Labor Day, which pulls the ending date up earlier in the month of June.

(Can you tell that I've sat on the negotiations team for organizing the school calendar? Ask me any question you like about why we schedule our vacations in February the way we do. I can bore you endlessly with discussions of the P-2 versus P-1 versus ADA loss. Every year one parent or another calls to ask me a about the school calendar and I have to write nasty notes to myself while I'm on the phone so as to get those feelings out before I start yelling at the poor person on the other end of the phone.) "Take my word for it. Please. That's the way the schedule works. And no. We are not going to add more vacation days in February.... Because then we would have to take them out of November, and that's a different semester.... And then we'd have to move the start date again. Just trust me. That's the schedule. Really."

Suisan said...

And yes, I've heard both. The row boat with the chicken and the fox, and the bridge with the wolf and the pig.

Then there's the one with the guy and the three bags of grain corssing a bridge which will collapse under the weight of more than two bags and he can only make one trip.

The answer is that he juggles the bags. That REALLY bothered me as a fifth grader, and I remember tormenting my teacher about the solution. How does he juggle such heavy bags? Doesn't he have to push against the bridge with his own weight to get them airborne? Would the bridge collapse then? How does he account for that? What if one drops? Why only one trip?

et cetera, et cetera.

CindyS said...

Dude. I'm so not bright so what is the answer? I would guess tossing them across the bridge would be a negative? Knock the animals out with some tranqs? Cough medicine? ;)

Our schools don't get out until last week in June and then go back after labour day. The most requested weeks off in business is the last week in July and the first week in August because they are normally our hottest time of the year.

Okay, I'm just rambling. I'm glad that there is a camp for your son and hopefully it will be something he can look forward too. Does this mean the youngest can go to camp?

CindyS (who prefers Pina Coladas - yum)

Doug said...

He eats the pig. Then no prob getting the wolf & watermelon across since neither has any interest in the other. Pig goes over the bridge inside the man. Voila!

I think we'll ease into summer and not let Jake know that all the kids in school have ten weeks off. No, it has never worked in the past, but we have hopes.

Marianne McA said...

Had to google that:

Complex Reasoning Puzzle
A man comes up to a bridge which can just support his weight and 1 of the 4 balls he is carrying. He decides to juggle as he crosses so that only 1 ball will be in his hands at any one time. What do you think of his solution?
ANSWER: Terrible. Although three are in the air, he has imparted a force to the 4th ball greater than its weight (to make it accelerate upwards). This is greater than the bridge can stand.

CindyS - the more normal solution is that you take something back with you - take the pig over, go back, take the Watermelon over, go back with pig, leave pig, take the wolf over, wonder why Watermelon got capitalised when the Wolf and the Pig weren't, thus distracted, fail to notice that the wolf is slinking round you with a hungry look in his eye...

Kate R said...

That's a lot of steps to summer.

Lots, way too many, especially all the ones that cancel each other out.

Make the kiddies get jobs and tell them it builds character. (I just signed two of mine up for a local school-run camp they've done for the last four years and they don't much like. No parenting awards here.)

Listen, I'll join you when you hit 28.

Suisan said...

Yeah, it is a lot of steps, isn't it?

And I still haven't actually signed the kids up for most of these.

I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.

CindyS said...

Mmmmm, bacon.