Saturday, September 20, 2008

Monet to Picasso

So I don’t know what it was in my previous entry… but the internet was up and running the next day. Still haven’t figured out how to connect to the new scanner, but I do have the internet.

The “home office” in the breakfast nook is my new favorite place to be. And the dining room is nearly completely back to normal. I cleaned up the TV room last night so we could have pizza and a movie, and for that hour at least, it was all done and clean. All that’s left is the office, the big project in the first place. I have to finish painting, clean off Jeff’s big ol’ desk, and get it out of there… then assemble the new one. My hope is to get that done this next week, though Jeff will be in town and possibly needing to take some calls in there. The shelves are looking great, and I put the lights on the top of them and rigged them up to come on with a new switch I mounted on the wall near the door on the stairs side… which is where we usually come in anyway. Considering that the light switch on the opposite side of the room doesn’t work for some reason, it’s nice to have at least one switch that does work. I’m tickled about it.

School is going very well, both girls love it. Thing 2 is so excited to get to kindergarten she hustles around in the morning. Thing 1 is less of a hustler, but I think she’s enjoying first grade. Mrs. McDonald, the kindergarten teacher, commented to me one day after I’d volunteered that even though she has a very small class this year, she has a really young one. A lot of birthdays in July and August. She noted that while Thing 1 was slower than some of the rest of the class at completing her work each day because she was so meticulous and detailed in doing things exactly the way she wanted, Thing 2 seems to be slow because she’s distracted… just looking around and chatting and stuff. The couple times I’ve watched her, the rest of the kids on her table can be half or completely done with something, and Thing 2’s paper is completely unmarked.

I had an eye appointment this week. My eyes have gotten worse – time for bifocals. I opted to just take my glasses off to read, but I also wanted contacts. They way they deal with this is to give me one contact for distance vision on one eye, and no contact – just my naked eye – to see close up on the other eye. The eye with the Salzman’s nodule on it goes without a contact now. I was intending to not wear my contacts too much, but my mother was suggesting I’d probably wear them a lot, just to avoid the hassle of glasses. She has the one-eye-far-focus one-eye-near-focus thing with her contacts, though she said it took them a while to figure out that her close focus and far focus dominant eyes are different from most other people, so they had to switch her prescription to reflect that. I’m hoping my eyes are more toward the norm, so I can go without a contact on that nodule eye.

On Tuesday my folks drove down from Logan to go with us to the Monet to Picasso exhibit at the Utah Fine Arts museum. When someone commented that if this exhibit were in Los Angeles she would have gone to great effort to see it, it would be a shame if we didn’t go now that it’s so close and easy to get to.. Here it was up the street from us and time was slipping away and we hadn’t been. I was surprised at the fact that there was a line on Monday around lunchtime when I went to buy tickets. I kind of psyched Thing 1 up for it, talking about art and artists, but I thought Thing 2 would be bored. Luckily someone suggested I bring a stroller, and I thought to bring a paper and pens for Thing 1 to draw, though later I found that others had been told their kids could write NOTES but not draw…. Luckily the docents around us never said anything to us.

We started off pretty good, listening to our little remote recorders, talking about the paintings… moving along. Then at one point we were in a room with a dozen other people milling around and I looked up to see Thing 1 standing quite close to a painting, reaching out to point at something on the canvas with a pen. Her pen was probably a foot away from the canvas, but I wasn’t close enough to move her hand and I panicked and said her name “(Thing 1)!” to get her attention and to get her to stop pointing a pen at the canvas. She was crushed. She went catatonic. She slumped over, dropped her head, and frowned and sulked.

I was stricken. I had BROUGHT Thing 1 to this exhibit. I wanted her to see these paintings, to be inspired by them. I had not brought her to SUILK in the middle of the room. I tried talking to her. That pissed her off. I tried ignoring her. She ignored me right back. Ironically, the painting she was standing in front of was a Moriset, I think, of a woman sitting in a field. The audio recorder that went with the painting quoted the artist as saying “I wish God made me a child” which I remember because I thought it was slightly confusing – she wishes God got her pregnant? No, she wished God would give her the perspective of a child. Here I was with this fabulous child who has an amazing perspective, and she is standing catatonic in the middle of the room. I pleaded, I begged, I reasoned, I implored. She ignored. I ached, I pained, I fumed. Mom, Dad, Thing 2 and I moved to the next room. Mom went back and tried to get Thing 1 to move on. She refused, and Mom gave up and went back to Thing 2. I stood in the next room, looking at some Monets, and nearly cried. Finally, after Thing 1 was in the first room full of strangers for a while, I went in and bodily picked her up and carried her to the next room where I held her up so I could whisper in her ear and I started talking fast about the color in the Monet we were standing in front of, and how he decided he wasn’t going to use black anymore, just blues and greens for the darker tones, and how the whole painting looked over exposed and bright but how beautiful it was, with the white limbs of the trees and the house and the sea… and how in this one you could see there were people way off there under the cliffs at the shore, but how far away they were, they were just dots but you knew they were people. And asking her – “Do you see any black in this picture?” and trying to engage her. Finally she thawed. Gladly, because I was getting a little tired of holding her. After that, she really warmed up and we talked and looked at each painting… she pulled out her paper, as I expected, and claimed space on a bench and started drawing. Though not with the crayons, with a pen. She was first inspired by a beautiful huge Pissaro with trees all over, a little goat in the middle, and a guy sleeping off to one side. This inspired her to draw an elaborate treehouse with a trampoline below one door, pulleys and ramps and who knows what all. Mom moved on with Thing 2, and Dad moved on wandering around. It turned out Mom took Thing 2 through the afternoon and Dad and I took turns either sitting by Thing 1 to keep her company, or wandering through the nearby rooms to see everything that you might miss if you were just tethered to one spot with Thing 1.
Thing 2 did fabulous. She enjoyed pushing the buttons to start the recordings on her remote for each painting or sculpture, and she looked and walked and listened and rode in the stroller. Thing 1 drew several paintings, and was completely absorbed until we got to the Picasso room, where she was sitting and drawing until she heard me say the two magic words when I was telling Dad that Mom had taken Thing 2 to the “Gift Shop.” She abruptly announced she was through with the exhibit and ready to go to the gift shop.

All in all it was every bit as successful for Thing 1 as I had hoped, despite our initial kerfuffle, and much more successful for Thing 2 than I had hoped.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Thing 2 turns 7

We had a great family party here for her birthday, and she had a lot of fun. We had breakfast, since it is her favorite meal of the day, and the family all came. It's surprising to be able to celebrate her birthday so close to her actual birthday, but we did it the following weekend.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

School's on

There is no way I haven’t written in over a month. Things have been so busy, but I thought that surely I stopped and wrote down some things.

The girls are in school. The house is a DISASTER as I am (and should now be) working on putting Jeff’s office back together after I’ve pulled it all apart, painted (almost all of it) and put up new shelves (two to go) and redecorated (still looking for a good table). Mostly the overflow has ended up in the dining room, but I had to build a little home office for myself off the kitchen in the nook, and the shelves from his office have ended up in the TV room, which I also spent a day on.

The clincher in all of this is we are hosting Thing 1’s birthday party on Saturday. I can put most of everything out on the patio, but it would be nice if there was some order to things by then. I have three days to work a miracle. Judging by the past two days, it’s going to take me a couple of months to get everything done.

Thing 1 is in first grade and enjoying it. I have been sweating which teacher she’d get, and who’d be in her class, but they wouldn’t announce it until the day before school started, a Monday before the first Tuesday of school. Then on Friday they released the information. We had all taken a special family day to Lagoon, so we couldn’t go check, but at a baby shower the next day, someone told me that Thing 1 was in Miss Hames class. Everyone else we knew was in one of the other two classes. I was distraught, I hadn’t heard much about Miss Hames…

Then on Monday, my folks came down to help me organize the house and my life (that’s how we got through as much in the TV room as it is) and so I couldn’t go check out the school. But when I went to pick up Thing 2 for dinner from the neighbor’s, she told me that Thing 1, and a passle of other kids including her son, (Thing 1's best friend) were all together in Miss ***'s first grade. My friend had told me the day before that her neighbor had had her and just loved her. Suddenly it seemed like things were looking up. I practically danced back to our house, where I bubbled the news to Thing 1 that not only was her teacher supposed to be fabulous, she was sitting next to Wytie!!!

I worked Thing 1 up into a frenzy. By bedtime she was so excited to go to school she couldn’t stand it. “Can I not wear pajamas?” she asked me. “I just want to sleep in my clothes. Please?” And so far so good, it looks like she’s enjoying it. She is just growing up so fast. I remember thinking how far off it sounded to have a five and seven year old… and as of tomorrow it’s official.

Thing 2 has been over the top excited to go to Kindergarten. She had to wait an extra week after 1st grade started while they did testing, and she seemed to think it was my fault that she couldn’t go to school. Then on the first day she bounced out of class SO excited that she’d made a new friend. The next day her heart was broken as she said her new friend didn’t want to be friends anymore. She was inconsolable. “I’m sure it was just a misunderstanding,” I say. “NOOO!” she sobs. “What is her name?” “I don’t know!” she wails.
The third day, she had found a new friend, and oh, yes, her friend of the first day was her friend again. They are having a playdate after school today and both are so excited.

----- later

I am so mad I could spit. I have spent two hours WHICH I DON’T HAVE trying to get a stupid stupid stupid stupid piece of scanner software to work. It tells me it hast to have a service pack 2 or higher installed. I install it, which takes a while and requires me to carry my laptop to the office to plug into the modem because the wireless connection is so slow. Then I get a message that Service Pack 2 cannot run until I am connected to an AC power source. So I walk it back and plug in the laptop again. However, apparently I’ve done something to the modem because now I get no internet at all. I try to install the scanner again and it still insists I must have service pack 2 (WHICH I ALREADY INSTALLED) (AND REBOOTED FIVE TIMES). So I’m stuck. In the mean time, it occurs to me that until I can convince Jeff’s fancy scanner that I already freaking installed Service Pack 2 and since I can’t scan from the FREAKING FANCY new laser printer, my only hope to scan in receipts and paychecks and all those things that I must scan in for accounting purposes is our stupid old printer, which is currently sitting on the front steps to be picked up in the charity pick up tomorrow. I just went and rescued it. I am so terribly angry I’m just moments away from crying. So much for going to bed early. So much for spending the evening getting more work done organizing the office. So much for having the least bit of internet connectivity until Jeff gets back. STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID computer.