Sunday, June 5, 2011

Field trip

Over Memorial Day Weekend I took a little trip by myself (I KNOW); I went down to Salida, CO to take part in an Artposium. Mostly my taking part involved sitting in a chair or sitting on the steps by the river soaking in the sun, which was all right by me. I also did a little catching up with artist/ writer friends from around the state. I read some of my words to an assembled crowd (sounds downright Thomas Paine-ish, don't it?). I went for a hike and took notes and brainstormed ideas and processed.

I was glad to get away, to talk about something besides is-your-homework-done and how-are-we-going-to-get-to-baseball and the ripening drama that is the baseball experience this season--is coach X the right coach and are the practices too negative and why is coach y's son being favored for all the best positions even though his baseball skills are not great and ARGH (we had dinner with fellow BB parent friends last night and that is ALL WE TALKED ABOUT. For FOUR STRAIGHT HOURS. "I'm thinking it would be nice to have some couple friends that aren't through kids," M remarked this morning.)

I was also glad to get back, although as usual the readjustment/ catching up that always follows any kind of excursion away from home meant that life was even more hectic than usual last week. Hence the silence here.

One interesting aspect of the trip: anxious to conserve funds, I stayed at the local hostel. The kind with communal bunkbeds. It was...conducive to getting up & getting out early. While it was nice not to have the faceless DaysInn experience, and I did feel even more connected than I usually do in going to these things (the hostel was full of young marathoners and 18-year-old kids fresh into town for Southwest Conservation Core jobs--a distinctly different crowd than the middle-aged artist-writer-activist types at the Artposium), I pretty much dreaded go back there at the end of each night.

I've concluded that I'm really more of a B&B personality. Same unique local flavor, 100% less plastic mattress and middle-of-the-night internal debates about whether it's worth turning over and waking somebody up and then having to listen through the dark to them listening to me in the dark.

Anyhow. I'm back. Today is the Helen's last day of kindergarten!

Also: so Si's class did what they call a mini society project, where each kid makes a slew of cheapie cheap products (painted rocks with glued on googly eyes was a hit, apparently). Si's choice of product was a "mini Mt. Everest," which, according to the market research he did in class, would be popular and would sell for $20 each (in monopoly dollars, that is). M and I were both a leeetle skeptical of the validity of his focus group, since the Mt Everests were actually plastic egg cups painted white, but he was adamant, and since clearly the point of this thing isn't to have your parents sweep in and take over, we let it go. Sure enough, when he actually brought the products in, no one was interested. Last minute panic and origami-paper-buying ensued, but after the dust settled and the Mini Society buying and selling fest took place, Si ended up selling exactly one (1) Mini Mt Everest, and that was to his teacher. He was mildly indignant--"I don't get why someone would want to buy a painted plastic egg but not a Mini Mt Everest"--but didn't seem too broken up about it.

Helen, however. She was distraught. She has come back to it two or three times, weepily. "WHY didn't anyone buy the Mini Mt Everests?" "Why did they like the painted plastic eggs better? That's NO FAIR" and "If Dad had brought ME to the Mini Society I would have bought one."

It's both touching and baffling. I tend to cynically blame her distress on the fact that a blow to Silas is a blow to her own status (HE couldn't care LESS about her successes/ triumphs--why should he? He's the oldest. She could be star of the school play, an award-winning gymnast and a precocious polymath and he would still get to be the big brother). However, I think that also she's more sensitive to his feelings than I am. This is weird to say. But I think Si puts on a brave face to M and me--oh, it doesn't matter. He's fine. It's no big deal, right? Could I play some Wii now?

But Helen knows better. She knows his feelings are hurt, and her feelings are hurt for him. Which is both sweet and potentially useful.

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