Monday, January 15, 2007

No Vacation at All

Help me, please! While the rest of you -- or perhaps only those of you whom, like Sandra Bullock, work for organizations unwilling to recognize the heroic deeds of Martin Luther King, Jr. -- toil away at your jobs, quietly staring into computer screens or casually lifting a coffee cup to your lips as you consider the importance of various spreadsheets, I am here, at home, trying to manipulate a disinterested Jawa into completing a rough draft of his book report.

I have been charged to do so by my leader, S. Bullock, who at least expects me to provide absolute coverage of any and all items intercepting our lives having to do with the written word. Because I'm a writer, you know? You do know, because you are loyal, and you come here several times a week to see what I've written most recently. Even if you are my mother and are surprised and uncomfortable to learn that your only son will offer up only a mumbled reply upon being asked "how are things going," and yet will admit to the world that he has spent seconds, nay, minutes, standing at a public restroom urinal, drenched with sweat, unable to complete the simple task he came into the room to do.

The Jawa and I are several Ritalin short of having good, solid attention spans. Give him a bin of Legos, give me a stack of books I have chosen myself, and we are fine. Give us both a PC and the assignment to write a rough draft of a book report about Kate Di Camillo's "Adventures of Desperaux," and we will find anything, shiny or not, far more interesting and important than our assigned project. So far, two hours in, we are about half way done. This represents at least a solid 20 minutes of actual work, sandwiched in among some Lego time, some web-surfing, a sincere examination of a plastic Easter egg that somehow found its way onto the Jawa's new-and-improved bedroom work space, some playing with Shack, etc.

Have I mentioned that my less-than-vast reservoir of patience, while perhaps no less vast than anyone's, and probably superior to that of the always-on-the-move S. Bullock, is unfortunately doled out in very erratic and unpredictable ways? Rather than building in a predictable and therefore manageable way, my style is to calmly wade through an extended period of patience-testing activities, and then WHAM! No more patience.

Ask the Jawa. He is the frequent recipient of my inconsistent ways.

Somewhere on our agenda today is a trip to see the movie "A Night at the Museum." I just checked online (after, naturally, checking out ESPN.com, several blogs, two newspapers and some inflammatory opinions about the Middle East) and saw that it's playing downtown at 3:45 and in Daly City at 2:00. Will we, diehard city residents, brave BART and go downtown? Doubtful. We will get in our car and drive to DC, where we will be joined by every other parent stuck at home with their kid in paying $5.25 for 16 oz. of popcorn.

If and only if we can manage to get it together enough to complete our rough draft. Check that; there will be no movie. I left out the part where we not only had to complete our rought draft but we also had to get through it without:

a) the Jawa trying to sneak something really obvious by my, like continuing to build something with Legos long after I've told him to stop.

b) me delivering a quite impressive lecture on the negative aspects of lying, ignoring your parents and being disrespectful and then...

c) me, at a loss for disciplinary measures to combat what I see as an increased tendancy on the child's part to be disrespectful and inconsiderate, then throwing out my trump card: "WE WILL NOT GO SEE A MOVIE TODAY."

Who wins? Not me, that's for certain. Now, instead of looking forward to a nice entertainment experience with my Jawa, I have bought two more hours of home-based combat. Excellent strategy on my part.

How bad does that missed vacation day look now, workers of the world? Martin Luther who?

3 Comments:

Anonymous Zin Gal said...

We suffer together, through the same book even! Dog Whisperer is very interested in doing the art project part of the assignment. The writing, not so much. The art project, she has decided, includes sculpting hands out of clay to hold the little white rodent toy we purchased. This sounds alot like something Michelangelo did and he had a whole lot more time and talent. My suggestions however fall on deaf ears.

If you ever make it to Night at the Museum I am sure Jawa will enjoy it. I liked Octavius the best.

11:00 AM  
Anonymous the hammer said...

I was the brutal taskmaster over winter break so we finally made it to the typing phase (which was finally completed yesterday, after 2 weeks). That one is always so painful to me, watching Shaman poke his was around the keyboard. What ever happened to A-S-D-F, J-K-L-;? They must not be teaching that at our expensive school. Next phase is the notes for presentation, another long and painful task. Zin Gal, weren't you the one who said this was no big deal?

I'm remembering MLK holidays past, when we attempted to take our boys to a movie, although I got caught in Freedom Train traffic and then the show that you had already entered was sold out. Finally had to settle for expensive popcorn and NO movie. Perhaps we're not meant to see movies on MLK day.

11:34 AM  
Anonymous Zin Gal said...

Well it is all relative. It is no big deal, just not fun. Four paragraphs on "The Tail of Despereaux" is not an unsurmountable task when compared with a year from now when just their outlines of say "Michelangelo" will be 5 pages long.

It also has to do with your child. When push comes to shove, getting Dog Whisperer to sit down and crank out a page and a half is not a big deal. She just doesn't take suggestions/help/constructive criticism well.

I agree they need to work on their typing skills.

12:28 PM  

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