Thursday, January 7, 2010

Not a Banner Day

I love the trailer and exiled myself there willingly. It lacks the history and charm of old Cabell hall but has a lot going for it; big space, air conditioning, no rock bands on the Lawn serenading and students have to really work to find you. But yesterday the thing really pushed me over the edge—walking into it involved one of those sinking tell me this is not how it is feelings. While for the most part the trailer can represent a kind of Jeffersonian democratization of space, yesterday it morphed into condemned Fema structure a la George W. Bush. Our trailer buddies from Politics got promoted to the new South Lawn building and moved out. Somehow this resulted in a no heat, empty wine bottles strewn about and constituted a fire death trap. Imagine every piece of paper my adorable colleague, bless his heart, has ever touched in the hallway plus another bin filled up by other Politics dudes. This might be quaint if the outside door opened--and one did not have to scale said piles of trash to arrive at the fire exit. And I got a new computer but no new password so it was pretty useless…. Adding insult to injury when my fingers turned blue I hiked over to mother ship which was apparently being cleaned with some chemicals designed to kill humans. Then and it took me fifteen minutes to log onto a computer.

The whole Fema experience whittled the two hours I’d left to prepare for a meeting down to a whopping 15 minutes. The meeting involved many hard working and intelligent people and Thomas Jefferson, a subject about which I was probably the most ignorant in the room. But I was in charge. The only approach seemed to me to be a heavy dose of lipstick feminism which involved applying Mac lipstick wearing striped tights, dragging a colleague for coffee on the way and hoping for the best. As it turns out fun was had by all thanks mostly to the chocolate provided by our wonderful special collections library. Cville folks tune in for a very exciting event involving Jefferson’s Soundscapes April 30 and May 1. Think Corelli, drinking songs, field hollers and ballade operas mixed with archival gems and a little critical theory. Don’t forget that Maria Cosway, one of TJ’s love interests ran back to Italy with a Castrato.

The home-front turned out not to go much better. When the kids got off the bus the bus driver said "I need to see the mothers of Jonathan and Briton" Yup the little 40 lb 6 year old got himself in a punching brawl. The driver said Jonathan had punched Briton in the nose and she wanted to know if she should send the tape to central office and press charges. The tape—they tape the bus? Luckily Gillian the together mom of Britton was able to say no as my hoodlum had run behind the church. I'd left Rebecca and Eli on the sidewalk with other mothers while I chased him around very ungracefully—he clearly can run faster than a 6 minute 30 second mile. All Jonathan would say was that Briton had told him to punch him. Gillian later figured out that her kid did not in his assigned seat which irritated my kid for unknown reasons--why did mine care? Mine told hers to move. Hers told mine “If you want to get in trouble punch me in the nose.” My genius punched hers in the nose and hers was surprised it hurt. Hers was behaving prenatally offering choices and consequences. Then I decided Jonathan had to apologize and found myself saying ok don’t apologize for hitting just for hurting. Meanwhile Manuel came home and by the time we were done with dinner we’d gotten to if you don’t apologize you will never get any Lego toys. Lest my man be the only one picked on here other Patriarchs in the neighborhood who shall remain nameless came out with “if you don’t__ you will never have another play date” “If you ____ you will never watch TV again” This seems to be a man thing. (My Man did bathe said hoodlum and his siblings while I wrote this)

Meanwhile down on the farm Rebecca who had been performing good twin went ballistic when I said I'd read a chapter of The Phantom toll booth AFTER she did homework and practiced. She actually called my mom from my cell phone to "tell on me" During this conversation Jonathan had taken her princess party book and was reading it while I was quizzing him on math and Eli had taken out his violin and was using the bow as a weapon. He also spent a lot of time getting his glow in the dark boots to glow. Whose bright idea was it to give 3 year old boots that encouraged stomping? The evening culminated in little birthday for Eli’s friend which I abandoned in order to go to the most necessary yoga class of the winter. And according to Manuel the primary job of the Lerdau children involved making all the other parents feel smug about their kids. Dinner tonight went better although Rebecca continued her sort of teenagerish attitude and when Manuel said he was preparing a talk about Ecology and Judaism at Hillel her response was “But Daddy you don’t know any Ecology” And I failed to know if the Coliseum was built in ten or twenty years. Clearly the kids are ready for boarding school.

This blog started as emails to my friends—they still get unedited versions with more obscenities and admittedly more cattiness. Liz came through with a list of reasons to be happy.

You won't actually have to pay our kids to be nice to jonathan.
He.and lily will be feared by all.

If you've forgotten to videotape your children's childhood, you can rest assured that the bus driver has done that for you.

Make those phone calls work for you. Let Rebecca tell on you more often. You'll get more done.

Jonathan found that a good princess book can substitute for reading about intellectuals from ancient Rome and it's another twist on those bathhouses. Was he wearing his awesome boots while reading?

If I remember correctly from the early violin days, mollie used her violin bow as a weapon (only she was actually playing the instrument and it wasn't intentional). Eli's method was probably more pleasing to the ears of a musicologist.

Your sisters kids behave better for you and by the time you return to see your own, they will have transitioned back to school days and will be nice and settled and calm.

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