Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat.--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
REDIRECT ALERT! (Scroll down past this mess if you're trying to read an archived post. Thanks. No, really, thanks.)
Due to my inability to control my temper and complacently accept continued silliness with not-quite-as-reliable-as-it-ought-to-be Blogger/Blogspot, your beloved Possumblog will now waddle across the Information Dirt Road and park its prehensile tail at http://possumblog.mu.nu.
This site will remain in place as a backup in case Munuvia gets hit by a bus or something, but I don't think they have as much trouble with this as some places do. ::cough::blogspot::cough:: So click here and adjust your links. I apologize for the inconvenience, but it's one of those things.
Friday, September 26, 2003
Gravity is a stern taskmistress
You know, when I was in school, I usually never brought books home. I did all my homework in class or during study hall. The only time I ever remember having anything to carry books in was in the third grade, when for some unknown reason, we were required to carry a little cardboard satchel. It was blue and red and had a thin brass clasp.
I usually left it at school.
Even when I got to college, I never carried that many books with me, and never carried a backpack or briefcase or anything like that.
My kids, however, have been carrying backpacks since Oldest was in four-year-old kindergarten. Over the years, we have kept adding backpacks—they all have them now—and adding books. They have desks, they have cubbyholes in their classrooms, the Oldest has had a real locker for two years now, yet they all STILL manage to bring home what feels like an entire shelf full of books every day.
Over the years, the backpacks managed to migrate to the spot right by the kitchen table, piled up by the utility room door. Which makes passage nearly impossible, and you can’t just scoot them out of the way because they’re like kicking a sack of wet cement. Sure, it was convenient for them to get to, but a darned annoying circumstance for the two adults in the house.
Fortunately, there was one of those adults who in a nice bit of foresight had installed wire shelving in the laundry room a couple of years ago to hold the tremendous pile of fall and winter coats and jackets, which, like the backpacks, tended to congregate themselves right beside the kitchen table…or on the chairs, or on the table. “Hmm”, thought one of these adults, “if all the sleeping bags and clothes hangers and yardsticks and light bulbs and towels and fabric softener sheets and lengths of speaker wire were cleaned off the TOP of the coat shelf, students might have room to gently place their backpacks up there.”
So, the adult dutifully cleaned off the shelf, surprising himself about the sheer size of the space available, not realizing with all the other junk up there how commodious it was.
“Look children. Look. Look,” said the adult. “There is room. There is room. Room for backpacks.”
The children looked and were suitably nonplussed. “This is where you can all put your backpacks to keep them up out of the floor, okay?” ‘kay.
This has worked very well. They still sling them on the floor while doing homework, but they do put them up on the shelf afterwards. It’s hard for them when the packs are loaded down, but you figure it builds character.
I was getting them all ready this morning—Catherine in particular seemed to have OD’d on crabby pills, Rebecca was poking along, Ashley was avoiding doing anything resembling getting dressed, and Jonathan was busily dressing and playing in his closet when I heard the distinct sound of a Little Boy in Trouble. I wrestled a ponytail holder into Catherine’s hair and went out into the hallway. Rebecca was standing in the door of her bedroom, “What was that noise?”
“Well, it sounds like your brother has NOT BEEN GETTING DRESSED, and has been PLAYING INSIDE OF HIS CLOSET, and has GOTTEN BURIED BY PILES OF JUNK!!” Jonathan peeked around the corner of his door. He was sitting in the floor. “That wasn’t me, Daddy—I’m putting my shoes on just like you told me to do.”
“Well, it must have bee…” ::sigh::
I got Cat to brush her teeth and as she did that I went downstairs to survey the damage. Flipped on the laundry room light—nice pile of coats in the floor, a couple of giant black backpacks and one with pretty yellow straps. On the wall, an angle brace bent downward exactly 135° opposite its original up-pointing angle, and two big ragged holes the size of quarters where the wall clips had pulled out. One consolation was that the end pocket was still quite firmly attached. Then again, it never really held any weight.
Add something else to the honey-do list.
BUT, in the eternal quest to defy gravity, I must crow a bit about Rebecca’s Alka Seltzer rocket. She told me about it this morning on the way to school (after the shelf crash). Not all of the kids built one—it turns out this was for extra credit, so only about half of them built one.
Anyway, she said that hers went higher than ANYONE ELSE’S! TWICE!!
I tell you, that intensive testing process really paid off big. She said all the other kids had the wimpy black plastic film canisters, which we already knew by rigorous testing did not provide sufficient thrust. And she said they had some shoddy launch procedures which left the lids not fully fastened, allowing damaging leaks to occur.
Hers however, shot well over the six foot high mark on both launches, and the special reinforcing and waterproofing really paid off in durability.
She was very happy.
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