A Little Ray of Sunshine

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Getting ready

I have three very dear female friends. Two of the three decided that this was the summer to get married. Of course they don't live anywhere remotely near us.
We have a trip to Los Angeles in early June. Sunday, my friend called. Would I please play for her wedding? (This is less than two weeks before the wedding.) Of course I would. That's what I do, anyway, and for her, I'll do it with less than two weeks notice. (This does not apply to paying customers, of course. Well, it might, but the rates would go up.)
So, since there's a piano available at the chapel she's getting married in, I ask Mom if she'd like to accompany me. "I couldn't possibly. I'll cry. Where's the music?" Mom says. Yesterday we practiced. But I don't have a 'cello/piano copy of the Mendelssohn wedding march. The C, B, F sharp, A, G, F, D, one. So I'm arranging it off the organ copy that I do have. There's one other little detail: Mom is leaving town Friday to visit her parents in the assisted living center. She'll be back Monday. So we're just a little shorter on practice time.
My friend, less than two weeks before the wedding, hasn't planned her ceremony yet. To be fair, she teaches elementary school and with her commute is gone twelve hours a day. And she just finished her Masters Degree this spring. This is what friends are for. She's going to get calls from me daily, until she's got the thing (at least the parts that involved music) settled. On the bright side, they did find an apartment (in LA) that they can afford. I watch reports that the housing bubble in LA is bursting with pleasure: I'd love for them to be able to buy a place. Since they both love the city (which I can't understand) then I might as well hope for them to find a good place for not-too-much.
The garden is in, but we had to cover it last night because it was supposed to freeze. Whether or not it actually did at our place, the plants seem fine today. My husband and Dad went fishing yesterday, the season on the creek in my parents' back yard opened Saturday but it poured rain Saturday and Sunday. Yesterday was only mixed showers and sun. They each caught one trout. The creek is very muddy, in flood, so the fishing was not very good. The fish are probably all busy getting fat on earthworms from collapsing banks upstreem.

Monday, May 15, 2006

IQ does not count common sense

I grew up in a family of geniuses. Literally. So I am quite sure that I can say that IQ has nothing to do with common sense. Or communication ability. Or observational powers.
Last night, I found myself explaining to my mother, who has been married to my father for 34 years, that the reason why he didn't feed the new type of dog food to the dog who was supposed to get it was because he was talking to my husband and I at the same time, and was therefore feeding the dogs on autopilot. "Dad only thinks about one thing at a time, Mom. We were picking apart the problems with socialism. He was feeding the dogs by habit. He wasn't thinking about what he was doing."
My mother cannot believe that her husband does not multitask. Dad does not multitask. He has NEVER multitasked. If he is doing anything, ANYTHING, and you ask him if he could please do some task when he gets a chance, he will blow up because you have just distracted him. He is not capable of keeping two different subjects in his brain at once. If you sucessfully get him to think of the other subject, he will be unable to return to the first without someone else referencing his last comments. As in, Dad is talking about the exoskeleton of crabs. I spot a rare and unusual bird at the feeder and point it out. When the bird has flown away, Dad does not even recall that crabs were the subject of conversation.
Dad, on the other hand, is just as incapable, in his own way, of understanding Mom. Thus he says he will never cook dinner again for them. "Why?" "Because if I leave one dirty dish on the counter she throws a fit." Well, first off, Mom does not throw fits, she throws snide, manipulative, nasty little comments. Dad is the one who throws fits.
I glanced at my husband, who looked confused. Dad's definition of leaving one dirty dish on the counter would match anyone else's definition of leaving not a single clean plate, bowl, or utinsel anywhere in the entire house, and scattering dirty items over every flat surface available. My husband, having never lived with them, does not understand this. I clarified later, in private. We had a good laugh. My husband: "I'm glad I didn't ask him why he didn't wash that one dish when he did all the others. I almost did."
Back to Dad:
"Mom cleans up everything when she cooks. So she thinks that if you cook, that's her night off, and she shouldn't have to clean up. You don't clean up when she cooks." I explained.
"Well, if she won't clean up, she won't get any nights off." Dad says. Dad completely misses that it is less actual labor for Mom to cook dinner and clean up afterwards than it is for Mom to clean up after Dad cooks. Dad is a very good cook, but everything is left a disaster. Mom is a big fan of the one pot cooking method.
My husband said, last night, after we got home: "You know, when your parents are talking, I can't understand what they're talking about. And you know, I don't think they know either. I think they're having two completely different conversations and thinking they're talking about the same subject." Me: "You didn't know that? I'm sorry, I guess I didn't think to tell you. They've always done that. That's why they always have the same fights, over and over again."
Somehow or other, they've managed to make this work for 34 years. It's a habit, now. Mom will keep sniping at Dad for leaving messes. Dad will keep throwing temper tantrums when Mom snipes at him. Then they both complain to us about how unreasonable the other one is. It used to be just me, but now they include my husband in the complaints.
We're very careful about how much time, when, and where the boys spend time with them. It's going to break Mom's heart, because she's just dying to have the boys do sleepovers at her house, and go out camping with them, but unless my folks learn to bite their tongues, that's not going to happen. Not until the boys are much, much older.
But trust me, these people are really, truly, far above average intellegence. So are/were their parents, and so are my mom's siblings. I'm left with the conclusion that while intellegence is wonderful, it isn't enough by itself. I'm sure my children will be in that same intellegence range. Whatever the genetic component of intellegence is, those genes run in the family. I just hope we can impart some common sense and some abilities to observe and communicate with others to go along with it. (Incedentally, my husband's IQ has never been tested, unless you count those little online tests, which I don't, but since he does just fine keeping up with me . . . He likes to claim he's just a dumb African, and I tell him I'm not dumb enough to marry a man who isn't smarter than me. One of those little married-people rituals we have.)
I suspect that someone possessed of an average IQ and a healthy dose of common sense is more likely to suceed than someone with a high IQ and no common sense, less likely to be misled, and more likely to be content.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Four marriage offers

And the boys are still toddlers!
Two friends have said that they want our sons to marry their daughters someday, one has put in a request for her neice, and a fourth has said that when he marries (someday) and if he then has girls he wants them to marry our boys.
I suppose the boys will be able to be pretty picky. Friend number 1's daughters won't qualify anyway, as his wife is in the process of divorcing him, and sorry, but marriage is hard enough when people've had a good example of how to do it. No children of divorces need apply.
But considering that Beau's only three-and-a-half, at this rate, they'll have plenty of eligible options.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

A birthday and such

The weather has been lovely the last few days, sunny and warm.
Saturday, we picked up the manure for the garden. Our friend with the vendetta against dandelions sprayed the yard again: it still hasn't done any good. The friend with the manure gave me some rhubarb starts.
We mowed yesterday. Actually, I started mowing, and yet another friend, one who thinks that pregnant women should do nothing more than sit around and read came over and took the mower away and finished the job. He needed the sunshine anyway, he is as pale as I.
I got sunburned lightly on Saturday, but cocoa butter and aloe quickly took care of that.
My husband is completely swamped: this is dead week at school, so named because you wish you were dead before it is over. Actually, only lab classes are allowed to test during dead week, but every other class has major projects due. If I am the Queen of Procrastination then my husband is the King. He also has to finish up his internship this week, but it is very nearly done, just the last round of meetings to go to, no more projects. (Well, the girl who was supposed to make a video for it seems to have not done so, at least, she is not returning emails.)
Hemi's birthday was Saturday. Nana and Poppa came over for dinner. We had hamburgers and birthday cake. I made my own sourdough buns for the burgers and they came out pretty well. A little overcooked: buns don't need to bake as long as a loaf of bread. Nana and Poppa got Hemi a basketball hoop. He's even managed to make a few baskets in it, which is pretty good for two. Beau's much better.
We are waiting to hear back from the places my husband applied to for summer jobs.
The weather has been so nice that it is tempting to put the garden in. The manure has to be dug in first, though, and that's a job I can't do. I really wish my back didn't act up so when I'm pregnant, it's such a nuisance and a waste of time.