February 21, 2008

Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM)

The almost-ten-year-old is off on a ski trip today with her class at St. Marie of the Blessed Educational Method. It's her first trip to the slopes and, as such, involved a tremendous amount of fussing about over the past few days to ensure that she had all her outdoor gear packed, together with a side trip by Self in the snow last evening to pick up a pair of ski goggles she's borrowing from a friend. It also involved the gel being wide-awake by three-thirty this morning and Self staggering out of bed an hour early in order to get her over to school to meet the bus in time.

The Powers That Be had stated in no uncertain terms that all the kids had to be at school no later than 6:30 AM or else! This meant, of course, that most of them rolled in between 6:35 and 6:45. It also meant, as I am neurotically compulsive about punctuality to the point of near obsessiveness and the gel - at least when she wants something - is getting that way, that we were at school by 6:15, utterly alone in the parking lot. This actually proved to be quite nice. There wasn't much advice I could give her about skiing (I've only been once myself), except to say that of course she was going to fall down but that is to be expected, and also that there is no shame in the bunny slope. Apart from that, we simply chatted in a desultory manner about historical trivia (the gel seems captivated by my Cliff Clavin-like font of knowledge) and politics. (The gel is taking a real interest in the electoral process this time around and wants to know all about the mechanics of the primary and general elections. FWIW, she thinks Obama is enjoying so much support right now because he's cute and people have a crush on him, but that this will fade. You might consider taking that to the bank.) The gel was also eager to try out a string of jokes on me. (Sample - Q: What do you get when you cross a skunk with a sixty-story building? A: I don't know, but it stinks to high heaven. Yes, folks, she'll be here all week. Don't forget to tip your server.) We also watched the dawn slowly break, mused about which planet it was we could see in the eastern sky and just generally had a nice few moments together.

Then the other kids started showing up and things changed rayther rapidly. There are two boys in the gel's class about whom she talks almost constantly, mostly to relay a long string of allegations concerning stupid or insulting things they had said or done to her. Nonetheless, I couldn't help noticing that she immediately glommed on to them when they appeared, leaving the other girl who had arrived by then standing awkwardly alone on one foot.

I loitered about for a few minutes, but when the gel noticed that the trip chaperone had arrived, she immediately swung round on me and said, "You can go now, Dad." "What, are you trying to get rid of me?" I replied. She simply grinned and laughed. And as she scurried off, she also wouldn't let me kiss her. ("Not in front of them, Dad!") So far as I can recollect, this is the very first time that's happened. I must say that it caused my heart to thump just a bit off-rhythm for a second as I contemplated the Undiscovered Country. I'm not yet like stout Cortez's soldiers standing in wild surmise on that peak in Darien, but I'm increasingly of the opinion that I'm not all that far below the crest anymore.

Posted by Robert at February 21, 2008 08:32 AM | TrackBack

What Cliff didn't know he made up. I'm guessing you do that too?

Posted by: Chai-rista at February 21, 2008 09:30 AM

The baby sitting co-op I alluded to in the peanut thread had a "keeper of the snow gear." One woman had a huge trunk of ski/snow gear for children that you could loan out for the infrequent trip to the snow. Recall we lived in SoCal. Anyone that actually bought snow gear that their children had outgrown was compelled to donate it.
That really worked out well.

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Posted by: online backgammon at February 27, 2008 01:49 AM