Long, long, long, long day. Much ranting follows. You can skip to the end for knitting content.
My 7-year-old is in an anti-camp mood. Yesterday he had a nuclear meltdown at the drop-off site. It's been a long time since he melted down, and I've really been enjoying life-after-meltdowns, so today I made a deal with him: he would go to camp for the morning session, and I would pick him up after lunch. Seems simple, no? No. Our local YMCA does not have room to hold day camps on site. But there are many, many kids in this area, and the Y does offer many, many camps to accommodate them. They pull this off by having parents drop kids off at a bus stop, where a bus takes them to "home base" (which is a large parking lot with a big, empty field attached). Counselors sort the kids into camps, and then they're bussed off to various sites all over the city. Most camps go to one site in the morning, then get on another bus and go to a different site in the afternoon, then get on another bus and go back to home base, then get on a different bus to go back to the original bus stop. All of which explains why my son is in an anti-camp mood. Several hours a day on noisy, unairconditioned buses in the middle of a heat wave makes for one very unhappy camper.
In order to pick him up mid-way through the day, I have to figure out where the camp is going that day and what time they will be there. Both of these things are subject to change during the course of the day, especially since there are many camps but few buses, and so they must all coordinate their many different trips and stops, and this seldom runs smoothly. The end result is, I did finally get my camper--but only after spending an hour sitting in a blazing hot parking lot and making many phone calls to determine whether the camp was in fact going to show up at that spot. For the first time in, oh, forever, I had no knitting in my purse and no book in my car. It was just me and the heat. And then, he told me he wanted to stay and play. I won't repeat what I said.
My 10-year-old son is in an extended-year program, so he started school three weeks ago. But since our school is undergoing massive renovations, his program has been meeting at a different school. There are three days left of the summer session. For some reason that is unclear to me but must make sense to someone, somewhere, the powers that be decided that his class should move back into the completely torn up school now--with three days left before the summer break. The regular school year starts in two weeks. So, with bulldozers chomping away, trailers for classrooms, and a torn-up parking lot, we tramped back to our school. The entire thing is surrounded by security fences, and the only way in is through a gate that must be opened by the foreman before and after school. There is no parking, no walking, and only a very slow and difficult single lane of traffic through the parking lot to the spot where the teachers must line up kids to wait and then direct traffic back out into the street. Traffic goes only one way--opposite the way I need to go to get home.
My 7-year-old started playing Pop Warner Football this year. I have no idea where he came up with the idea. Football here is not the center of the universe the way it is in a lot of smaller towns, especially in the Midwest and the South. We don't watch professional sports (or any sports, for that matter), and our kids have never been excited by the prospect of Little League of AYSO. So maybe it's just me, but I was stunned to learn that the 5-7 year old teams practice 3 evenings a week from 5:30-7:00! The 8-year-olds and up practice 5 evenings a week! Does this seem excessive to you? Completely apart from the fact that practice is smack in the middle of dinner time, and my kids' bedtime is 7:30, that just seems like an awful lot of time to me. And then there were all sorts of disturbing little comments in the registration package, like "Football is a serious commitment..." Serious? Commitment? They're babies, for Pete's sake! And I think the coach is an alien. He has blocking patterns and playbooks and doesn't seem to realize that half the kids have never seen a football before, and the rest are too busy contemplating their belly buttons and pulling their shirts over their heads to follow what he's saying. He doesn't have kids--which kind of confirms my theory that he's an alien, because why else would anyone agree to take on a job like that? But he has six assistant coaches--all dads. Ask me how many times in the five years I've been volunteering at my kids' school I've ever seen a dad helping out in a classroom. Go ahead. Ask me. Never once. And I spend a lot of time at the school. But get out a stupid ball and--hey!--they all show up three times a frickin' week! I'm glad they want to spend time with their kids. I am. But the question of priorities keeps getting in my way, here.
Point is, my son has practice three evenings a week during dinner time, and my husband is one of the assistant coaches. This means that, three times a week, I have to come up with a dinner that can either wait until after practice to be eaten or be prepared within ten minutes when they finally get home. Tonight, I thought I would make it easy on myself and make hot dogs and tater tots with a nice salad. But it turns out the grocery store has stopped carrying the (soy) hot dogs we eat, and I forgot the croutons. Oh. And my purse. Not my car keys and sunglasses, which I evidently removed from my purse prior to replacing my purse in the cart and returning the cart to the store before driving off. By some miracle, a store employee not only found my purse before it was stolen, but also had the presence of mind to call "Home" on my cell phone (also in my purse) to tell me that I had left it behind. The return trip to the store allowed me to pick up the croutons, too, so it wasn't all bad. Still no hot dogs, though. I wonder if I can talk the kids into eating crouton dogs?
And now, for a change of pace, I thought I'd rant about knitting.
This is our old friend Icarus, the wedding shawl-to-be. To be precise, this is Icarus two months ago.
This is Icarus today:
And therein lies the problem. The wedding is next April, but I just learned that the bridal shower is in October, and I'd like to have the shawl done in time for the shower. I'd also like for replicators and transporters to become standard household appliances, which seems a bit more likely. I swear to you that I have been working on Icarus all this time. I have probably knitted 10 million stitches. I think they are dropping into some sort of knitting black hole. I keep looking for some missed line in the pattern, like "at the end of row 2, wave your magic wand," but I can't find it. I know it is possible to finish this shawl, because I have seen lots of Icarus shawls online, but I think I must have missed something. Mine is not growing at a rate that will allow it to be finished in my natural lifetime. Do you think the bride would be satisfied with a cashmere lace wedding hanky?
Whew. I feel much better. If you'll come back tomorrow, I promise I'll be sane again. Or what passes for sane around here.