10

Tuesday.

I shouldn’t have stayed up so late: 6:15 comes awfully early. Tina’s already been up nearly an hour baking Monkey Muffins. My job is easier: on “special” days I cook the bacon. We are a family of traditions, and it is an unvarying rule that on special days we get Monkey Muffins and bacon for breakfast. Today Gabe takes the TAKS (“Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills”) reading exam, which will partly determine whether he gets promoted to the sixth grade. It’s a bit hard to understand why this qualifies it as a “special” day – neither kid has ever come close to failing one of these tests – but nobody complains about the Monkey Muffins and they are quickly gone.

No one’s in a rush. The smell of the muffins wafting up the stairs seems to have accelerated everybody’s school preparations, and we now find ourselves with a few minutes to spare. Rachel and Gabe hop on the computers and add some points to their World Math Day competition scores. (Thanks for linking us to that, Cindy).

Gabe, do you have your shoes on? Rachel, where’s your backpack? Suddenly everyone is in a rush. Five minutes until bus! Rachel frantically reminds me that I promised to sponsor her library reading fundraiser – pledge forms due today! She read 1080 pages this week. I’m glad I know this piece of data before fixing my pledge. I scribble “1c” on her form and she scoots out to the bus stop.

Rachel’s away. Gabe’s away. Even Tina’s heading out today. She’s graciously filling in these next months for an audiologist on maternity leave, working about three quarter time. On her way, she notices that Rachel has left behind her World Cultures homework. The school discourages parents from rescuing absent-minded kids, but remembering with great relief the numerous times Mom and Dad rescued me I grab the homework and head to school. Tina and I slog northward in parallel through the rush hour traffic. This 40-minute detour has derailed my plans to snuggle up with Teddy for an early-morning naplet, but it’s hard to be too frustrated.

I’ve got to get cracking learning about VMDQ (“Virtual Machine Device Queues”). Next week Intel is hosting a series of Virtualization seminars for Dell engineers, and they figure it’s cheaper to get someone who already lives in Austin to teach (me) than fly someone down who actually knows the material.

Off to lunch with my friend Dave. We try to meet every Tuesday at Hunan North, a little hole in the wall that a few of us have been eating at for nearly 25 years – probably nearing 1000 visits. Someday I’ll tell you about the time Shannon nearly set fire to the restaurant.

Tina calls. The two days she has been back working have been the busiest anyone at Austin ENT can remember in years. No time for email or web surfing!

I scoot off to get an MRI on my throwing shoulder, which I tore up during baseball season last year. Baseball season in upon us again, and it still hurts. The technician tells me that I must remain still for 25 minutes. I tell her that I am very sedentary person and that it won’t be any trouble.

Hooray! The kids are home from school. Rachel is suitably grateful for the homework delivery, then proudly exhibits an alarmingly hefty sack of swag – calculator, reading light, book, etc. – she earned by virtue of being the top library fundraiser. Huh? Whoops. This is a little awkward. At a penny a page, they mistakenly have me down for $110.80.

Gabe finishes his homework and trots off to work on his Chopin Waltz. Rachel jumps up and shouts that she was just about to play the piano, but realizes that her position is pretty weak and returns grouchily to her homework. Her Khachaturian will have to wait.

Tina’s home! Hooray!

Supper and time for the bedtime math discussion. Tonight’s is on the subject of perfect, abundant, and deficient numbers. It’s interesting to notice the kids’ differing approach to math. Both are very good at it, but you’d never confuse the two. Gabe answers my questions with extreme confidence, and almost always gets the answer wrong – at least at first. He’s a lot like Owl, who, as Pooh observes, is the only animal in the forest who can spell. He can’t spell correctly, but he can spell. On the other hand, as I’ve read frequently happens with preteen girls, Rachel’s confidence is fairly low, although she usually get the answers right. She seems naturally analytic and certainly thinks more philosophically. When I told them that no one knows whether there are any odd perfect numbers, she wondered whether God hopes we will find the answer to this question. Or does he prefer to keep certain things as perennial mysteries?

I really need to read more about VMDQ… but first Tina and I play a few rounds of the distressingly addictive Jewel Quest 2. I had been computer game “sober” for over two years until she introduced me to this. Tina updates her Facebook page, makes some kids lunches, and heads to bed. I load the dishwasher and sit back down at the computer, resolved to get some more work done, but realizing that I probably won’t. I answer a few questions on the Arduino microcontroller forum and post an update to a library I wrote.

Suddenly it’s really late. Baseball practice and makeup piano lesson tomorrow. I shouldn’t have stayed up so late. 6:15 will come awfully early.

Have a nice week.

Mikal

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