Wednesday, December 14, 2011

End Of Year School Shenanigans

Yesterday the Mau-Mau had her 'Early Childhood End Of Year Assembly'. There was much dancing at the prep-to-year 2 level. Happily, I managed to avoid that.

There was a price, of course. In order to dodge the Early Childhood school assembly (and please, folks... I've had two kids already go through all that three times each. And this is the Mau-Mau's second such assembly. So I do believe I've earned the right to duck one.) I had to take Genghis into Launceston for his double bass lesson.

Not so bad, right? Oh... but it's Christmas season. So... can you just take this PDF calendar to a printery and get them to run up four or five copies? Oh! And don't forget, we need something for little cousin S. And big cousin Z. Ooh - and here's a prescription that needs to be filled. Oh, wait: we need anti-fungal stuff for the fishtank. Can't get that in Scottsdale, no. And the Mau-Mau still hasn't got the Barbie doll she was promised when she won "Best Decorated Bicycle" in the Scottsdale Xmas parade last week. Can you just swing past K-mart and get the one with rainbow wings? Oh, and we need some gold and silver pens for the kids to make Xmas cards.

Meanwhile... I also got some T-shirts that I'm screen-printing for various folks. And I got Genghis another present. This whole birthday-on-Xmas-eve thing sucks.

I also found a remarkably clever present for Natalie. And one for the Mau-Mau. And one for Jake. We're staying low-key this year, though... have requested various relatives keep it minimal, and we're trying to focus more on family, and doing stuff together, and baking and decorating and stuff. Because, you know: I Have Had Enough Of This Christmas Crap, and so has Natalie.

So, that was most of my day yesterday. Five hours, including driving time of roughly an hour and a half. Mmm. Christmassy. I was so tired by the end of it all that I even skipped the weekly movie session with Bruce and the others... couldn't bear the thought of driving back into Launceston yet again. Besides, I needed the work time. Still do.

Today was Assembly Day for the rest of the school. Jake was set to play a cello piece. He was pretty comfortable with that. But far more nervous-making was the fact that my young flute student the Dill (of the Double-Banger family) was up to perform too. He'd not done that before, and he was pretty keyed up.

It went well, though. Or mostly. I'm afraid I made an ass of myself during the National Anthem. I've never seen the second verse before, you understand. I thought it was part of the Constitution that we only ever sing the first verse, and then we sit down and crack tubes. But no: the school, in a fit of misplaced patriotism, used its mighty digital projector powers to display the second verse on the wall so we could all sing.

Well. Almost all. I don't much like national anthems. But I was trying. And then I got to these lines:

For those who’ve come across the seas
We’ve boundless plains to share;

By now, you know my opinion on our pitiful government (past and present) and the way it treats refugees... most especially, those refugees who dare to arrive by (gasp!) boat. I'm afraid that when I got to those lines, I couldn't actually keep singing. Instead, I burst into laughter, defeated by the lovely irony of it all. Natalie frowned and shushed me... but it was too late. The damage had been done. I think I wanna print those lines on a couple of T-shirts, and send one each to Tony Abbott and Julia Gillard...

Still, what with all the enthusiastic singing going on, only a few people noticed my breach of protocol. And the boys played well. Jake is starting to make the 'cello sound like a real instrument, and The Dill did a very fair rendition of 'The Skye Boat Song', so everything ended neatly.

I ducked out before the awards. Natalie was staying, so I didn't figure I'd miss out. And lo - Jake got another 'academic achievement' award, and Genghis got an 'aim high' award. This latter is interesting: it's offered to the student who gets enthusiastically involved in activity and particularly, in discourse and discussion. Knowing Genghis as I do, I think I can imagine his version of 'enthusiasm', and 'discourse and discussion', and I strongly suspect that in his case, the 'aim high' award was actually a declaration of surrender by his poor, long-suffering teacher. She's done well this year, I must say. I hope she gets an easier lot next year!

We're getting down to the skinny end of things now. Just a few more school days. Genghis is having his birthday party on Saturday... no real choice about that, since we're running out of time. I've found a really brilliant way to handle the party this year, though, so I'm actually looking forward to that one.

Meanwhile, I've been gardening, printing shirts, doing up Xmas cards, wrapping presents, cooking, baking, reading for the MA, writing for the MA, writing on the MS... and even attempting to bring some order to my study.

I think my big project for the summer will be a clean-out and refurbishing of the top shed. I need a place to store the martial arts gear that doesn't involve crowding out my study - but until I manage to put bird-wire all around the eaves of the dojo-shed, anything stored up there is likely to get swallow-shit all over it, which pisses me off immensely. I also need to replace some of the old fibre-glass light panels in the roof with modern "laser-lite" plastic corrugated panels, but that's a bastard of a job: I have to cling onto a steeply pitched corrugated iron roof, over a drop of something like six metres down to a very unforgiving, flat, rocky clay surface. I don't like that at all.

But it's going to have to happen. I can't keep jamming things in this little study. I need more room. If I could shift all the martial gear up there without fear of birdshit, that would be a great start. And I could also move the shirt-printing stuff, and the glass-art stuff. And the sword training stuff too, which would make sense, because it could be with the rest of the martial gear.

That would leave me with only the computer, printer, router, video/camera/recording gear, the reference books, the martial arts library, the shelves of SF and fantasy, the language texts and exercise books, the musical instruments and musical theory/texts, the laminating and binding equipment, the games, the software, plus my personal collection of movies and music, and the sewing machine with all the cloth and the bits and pieces that go with it. Boy! I'd have so much room in my 3m x 4m study that I'd hardly know what to do with myself!