22 February 2015

Pioneers Finally Underway. . . Sort of. . .

The Minden pioneers currently in progress with one coat of white acrylic gesso applied.  One more coat, and the painting can commence.

Some weeks.  Sigh.  Started off with a nasty cold and fever, which came on Saturday night last week and required cancelling two days of classes last Monday and Tuesday.  As much as I wanted simply to pull the covers over my head, tell the world to go to hell, and sleep though, there were about 50 undergrad papers to read, consider, and assign grades.  Then, the Grand Duchess left town midweek for another conference, or consulting gig (I can't keep 'em straight anymore), which meant that yours truly became solely responsible for coaxing the Young Master through his daily activities, taking him to and from school, meals, etc., etc.  I already do quite a bit of this everyday anyway, but when one becomes the only parent overseeing all of this stuff for several days, well. . .   Let's just say that single parents have my deepest respect.

Which brings us to Sunday morning.  Still seven student papers to read and grade (agh!), which normally would be easy as pie on a Sunday afternoon.  But -- and there is always a 'but' lately -- the Grand Duchess, who was supposed to come home yesterday (Saturday) midday, has had flights cancelled not once but twice with very few other options available to get her from Phildelphia to Chicago, where she could at least catch the shuttle bus home (maybe), or rent a car and drive the three hours between there and here.  Everything is either overbooked already, or cancelled for one reason or another.  

In short, this means that her rescheduled 10:35am arrival this morning has come and gone.  She might -- might -- be able to get onto a flight that gets her closer to home by 5:30pm, or 8pm, or later this evening.  We'll see how that goes, since the airline is not being particularly helpful, the automated airline hotline keeps hanging up on the Grand Duchess each time she calls to attempt rebooking, and it is a Sunday skeleton crew at the airport in Philadelphia. Glad I'm not a businessman on the road each week since commercial air travel has deteriorated so much in the 30+ years since my maternal grandfather did this kind of thing when he worked for a large building materials corporation out of New York City.

Anyway, the worst of it is that the Young Master and I must attend, by ourselves, a (potential) kindergarten open house this afternoon at 2pm.  Fine.  There are much, much worse fates that many around the world are forced to confront on a daily basis.  I understand how cushy many of us in the West/ First World/ Developed World/ Global North have it, and how terribly spoiled we are.  I get it. . .  and see myself for the spoiled, overly educated jerk that I am, thank you very much.  

But these kinds of open houses are almost always excruciating to sit through and observe, and I don't relish time in the company of large groups of small children and their parents.  Nothing personal, you understand.  That's just not me.  Some people love that sort of thing, and while I enjoy my time with the Young Master one-on-one, large groups of small children and their parents are like hell on earth to me.  That's just how it is.  I am well aware of this huge flaw in my character and accept it.  Sorry for not being sorry about it, but there you are.  No nasty comments or e-mails, please. 

If public schools (not the same thing as in the United Kingdom mind you) in the United States were not so questionable, or just downright bad in many instances, we wouldn't worry about it and would send the Young Master to the neighborhood elementary school next August.  However, the Young Master requires some occasional extra attention and handling at school -- he is quite bright, but "spirited" -- which the much smaller class sizes and better pupil-to-teacher ratios of private schools permit. . .  if the price is within the realm of possibility, and an application is approved.  So, this little necessary trip for Dad and YMP will take a nice chunk out of Sunday afternoon that might be more pleasantly spent (reading and grading hastily written, less than coherent undergraduate papers).  Thus spake the Grand Duchess.  Sigh.

All of which is a long-winded way of saying that it seems very doubtful I will get the second coat of white gesso onto the pioneers above today given that I absolutely must finish the last seven undergrad papers, read and prepare for tomorrow's classes, and pick up the Grand Duchess somewhere in there.  For the time being, at least, the pioneers will have to wait given this most cruel interference by real life.  Calgon, take me away!

-- Stokes


Si Bath said...


Re large groups of children and their parents - I'm with you. I was/am fine with the boy's (they're in their 20's now!!) friends and their folks, but I didn't t do 'hordes' of the screaming darlings!!

I hope you can get back to painting soon.



Heinz-Ulrich von Boffke said...

Thank you, Si. It's comforting to know that is at least one other like me in the universe. It seems at times like so many parents are just so overly involved in every aspect of their children's lives and activities in 2015 that there must be something wrong with those of us who prefer a lower key, less hands on approach to child rearing and, indeed, day to day life.

Best Regards,


Der Alte Fritz said...

I would just roll dice to determine the grades on the student papers.


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