25. May 2006 · Comments Off on Checking In · Categories: General

Except for the weather, I hate this time of year. With school ending, we are making the transition to Red Haired Girl’s summer schedule while still completing the school year schedule (dance, baritone, piano, theater, softball, odd cluster of birthdays – hence sleepovers, community pool time, College for Kids, Christian youth camp, etc.). She is now of an age where she demands a later non-school night bedtime, so that precious block of time is now parsed into a smaller block. Concurrently, the speculation begins with Real Wife’s teaching world as to who will get RIFed and other pending changes at the school. The voters recently approved a partial school convergence, so the intrigue is on a par with The De Vinci Code. Did I mention that all of the classroom animals move home for the summer? That would be about a dozen rats, several dozen waterborne South American frogs, some sort of millipedes (population unknown), and a gecko named Geico.

All of the above is a predictable and periodical disturbance. More baffling to me is why my job seems to suddenly place greater demands that seem to make the summer pass all too quickly due to deadlines, travel, anticipation of travel, and post travel follow up. There is no connection in the activities from one year to the next. My work duties are not in any way agrarian in nature. And while I worked within the automotive industry for many years (not agrarian but very predictable), my present responsibilities span several different industries, all but automotive lacking in any discernable circadian rhythm. Already booked at Travelocity is Washington DC next week, Irvine CA later in the month, and Munich in July. Shanghai is coming up later this summer, which is already giving me heartburn (not for the mission, but the logistics). I was asked today “being that I will already be in Irvine, could also visit a company in San Jose?” I said “sure”, not being all that familiar with California. Now I find that stopping by San Jose from Irvine is like stopping by Maine from Pennsylvania.

I am excited about the Washington trip, having never been there other than passing by on the interstate. The official purpose is to interview (read threaten, beg, plead; whatever) with the Patent Office on a couple of cases, but I do have a total of one day down time to see the sights. No time to visit the museums, but enough time to circumscribe the American Mall and visit some of the memorials (Lincoln and Vietnam being high on the list).

In the midst of all of this will be an Amtrak trip to NY (no flying for Real Wife since 9/11) for a family reunion. I won’t even go into my personal thoughts on the tradeoff between flying in a relatively secure environment and riding over 1000 miles on trains run by unbelievably poor management and no apparent security, with a six hour layover in downtown Chicago in the shadow of the (now) tallest building in America. To top it off, the Berghoff, a fantastic traditional German restaurant and Chicago landmark, recently closed. Oh well.

I long for the summers of my youth; for the ability to imagine, on that last day of school, that the summer would be endless. I don’t recall ever being involved in organized summer activities; each day was ad hoc – each experience an unexpected detour, each twilight filled with the sounds of both birds and children excitedly recounting the day. While I object to the degree of structure that Red Haired Girl and her ilk experience in this day and age, I will concede that it coincides with the fact that we, as parents, are not as willing to allow the degree of serendipity in our children’s lives that we enjoyed. For the kids though, what a loss.


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