Last day of school is tomorrow. Which makes us one of the last districts in the area to get out. One of the nearby suburbs was done almost two weeks ago. I’m not sure how strongly I really feel about school start and end dates. But I do know that regardless of what the research says, I’m not in favor of year-round school years. Every May my anticipation for the last day of school grows stronger. After the opening Sunday of the NFL season, the last day school is locked in a titanic battle to the death with Christmas and the first day of our annual Ozarks vacation for sole possession of second place on my Days I Look Forward To The Most Ranking. Why? Because it’s a freaking break for Mom and I.
Now many of you without school age children, with just one school ager or even those of you with school agers with large age gaps between them might not know or remember why its such a big deal. So I’ll give you a couple examples.
For next 2.5 months we do not have to remember any field trip permission slips or any field trip money. We do not have to remember which kid needs to bring a sack lunch and which kid is or is not allowed to bring peanut products in the aforementioned sack lunch. We do not have to remember which days which kid has orchestra. Or band. Or choir. We do not have to remember to fill up their school lunch accounts. We do not have to remember to rearrange our morning schedules at work because somebody needs to be at school early for a project. We do not have to remember which days are the days they have to wear certain school shirts for certain school activities. We do not receive emails from three different teachers with reminders and asks about field trips, projects, fundraisers or discipline issues. We do not have to take anyone to dance classes, dance recitals, gymnastics classes, softball practices or softball games. Well that’s not totally true, Mom signed Kinsey and Bailey up for gymnastics through mid-July and Rye is going to take some extra dance classes too. But my point remains the same. In addition to all of that, we do not have to remind the girls to get their backpacks ready before school. We do not have to ask them to get out their planners and reading logs and other various crap, I mean umm…well I do mean crap…that we have to sign or initial. We don’t have to nag anyone to remember to bring their snow gear with appropriate hats and gloves, we don’t have to argue that flip-flops are not appropriate footwear in 45 degree weather.
Not that I keep a list or think about this stuff or anything…
However, you know what I have to remember now? Nothing! Well, that’s not true. I do need to remember to take Kinz and Bails to daycare a couple days a week. But hell it doesn’t matter if they are late to daycare…heck I don’t even care if they eat breakfast. Its freaking summer.
So today the last projects of the year were due for Riley and Kinsey. The 6th graders do a World’s Fair where they’ll pick/get assigned a country and research said country and set up a small display with the above-mentioned research along with food samples from their country. The 4th graders do the same thing except with the states.
Riley’s country was England. Which is fine. I like those guys. They’ve been our friends for a long time. And she might even have some English lineage in her ancestry. On Mom’s side. Rye doesn’t really know because Mom’s side of the family really doesn’t know. Which I find infuriating. My side? Half Polish on my Mom’s side, quarter Hungarian, quarter Slovak on my Dad’s side. Boom! That’s what’s up. Anyway, Mom says she’s pretty darn sure she’s got a lot of German and probably some English. Which, I always remind her, good thing we didn’t tell my Grandma you were (probably) German when we got married. Grandma was Polish and wasn’t real fond of the Germans…but they still rated higher than the Russians. My Mom still thinks that’s funny because one of Grandma’s good friends was the German lady who lived across the street. Anyway…
Rye got England. She made a nice display, was able to rattle off lots of things about the Brits and was even able to work Katherine Jenkins (she’s from Wales) from Dancing with the Stars into her presentation. She also made English biscuits. And by “she” I really mean mostly Mom. I’d give you a percentage instead of “mostly” but like Mom’s disinteterest in her nationalities, I really have no interest in giving you an accurate English biscuit workload division. Oh, and by “English biscuit,” I really mean cookie. And by “cookie,” I really mean half a circle (or a “round” in England) of a cinnamonesque piece of pie crust. They were actually pretty good. And we have a truckload left because Rye insisted her and Mom turn our kitchen into a small English bakery.
I also visited Ireland, Scotland, France, Mexico and Croatia since those displays were manned by Rye’s friends. In the 6th grade room across the hall the kid who picked Scotland had a relative come in wearing a kilt and he played the bagpipes. Yeah, that’s some ancestral freaking pride right there! I made a point during this whole World’s Fair project that I was kinda hoping Rye picked Poland and suggested that part of the presentation should point out how the Poles, invaded from opposite directions in 1939 by the Nazi’s and the Soviets still managed to last longer than the Freaking French did a year later. Ancestral Pride!
I had some nice Irish lemonade which supposed to be like beer…although sadly, it wasn’t. Sampled some cookies from Scotland, some French bread with melted cheese from France, some enchiladas from Mexico and some njoki from Croatia. Which is evidently dough and potatoes. To me they tasted a helluva lot like, but not quite as good as, pierogi’s. Which are super popular in Poland, Hungary and Slovakia by the way. Ancestral Knowledge! The Croats evidently make njoki with potatoes as the primary filling. My people fill pierogis with potatoes, meat, cheese, cabbage, mushrooms, onions or I guess pretty much anything they can find and fry in grease and butter.
I skipped Greece, Italy and Canada. I mean c’mon, I think we all need to be skipping Greece right about now since those guys are killing all our retirement accounts. Italy gets all full of itself when it comes to food already and then there’s Canada. And well, unless its Labatt’s and walleye fillets, I’m not all that interested in Canadian cuisine. Although I’m not really sure what it entails other than beer. Which I like. But isn’t necessarily one of the top choices for the 6th grade World’s Fair displays.
So I moseyed on over to the State Fair. Kinsey, in direct contrast to Riley, was smiling so wide when I walked up to her that I thought that corners of her mouth might actually meet in the back of her head. Rye kinda gave me that aloof 6th grader “oh, hi Dad” like the last thing she’s interested in doing is having her Dad around for a project that she specifically asked me to attend…not to mention drove her to school early the last two freaking days so she could prepare for it….
Anyway, the 4th grade State Fair was filled with less pre-teen angst and more genuine enthusiasm than the World’s Fair. I visited California first, not because it sported a picture of my second favorite president Ronald Reagan but because Kinsey had California. And she gave me one of those one-armed hugs when I walked up to her. Still nice to have her immune to embarrassment in relation to Dad-hugs.
Kinsey, employing a far more practical approach to her local food samples, brought some California sourdough bread. It was already made and came in its own packaging. I much preferred it to the English biscuits. After California, I visited Kentucky. Where I had watermelon and learned Johnny Depp is a native. From there I went to Louisiana and had some cornbread and learned the state beverage is milk. Which I found surprising since I could have sworn it would be some kind of daiquiri. Next I moved onto Connecticut and learned suckers were invented there. The candy kind not the Obama voter kind. So I walked on over to Texas and after the college football realignment dramas over the last two summers I’ve just about had with it Texas…not to mention the food was grapefruit. And grapefruit ain’t for everybody. Next door was Hawaii. I had pineapple. Next door to Hawaii was Delaware, our second smallest state which has no sales tax but was handing out vanilla ice cream peach floats…mmm…