Friday, March 5, 2010

All In A Day

Three and half years ago I decided that I was going to start writing a blog. I’ don’t really remember why I made that decision since, as is evidenced by the title of my first post, I thought that bloggers were kind of egocentric. Who wants to read all of the drivel of my daily life. Despite those feelings, I started writing and posting anyway. I have fun writing and I know that there are a few of you out there who enjoy reading what I write. (You guys need to get a life!) Another thing I don’t remember from this blog’s beginnings is how I settled on its title. That would have been a great topic for one of those early posts. I missed the mark back there. Today, however, I know why it is aptly named, “All In A Day.”

I had a day off from school yesterday. I did not play hooky; it was District Conference Day and I was not required to participate, so I didn’t. There were plenty of those never ending household chores that could be done; I could get a head start on next week’s lesson plans (It is already midterm and I have tests to write!); or, I could enjoy the day off, view it as a gift and enjoy it as such.

I spent the morning in my pajamas, reading. When I finally decided to get dressed, I took an extra long shower and actually shaved my legs. Spring is coming and I don’t need that extra layer of warmth anymore. And, Weber wasn’t sure whether he was touching me or the dog! By lunchtime I was dressed and had fully committed to the day.

I have a composition student who is working on a piece to enter in a competition whose submission deadline is April 1st. I am doing some heavy editing and entering her score into a music notation program on the computer. She wanted to give a group to which she belongs a preview of her work this morning. I sat down at the computer yesterday afternoon with several hours to give to the project, more than enough time to finish what needed to be done before today.

I was plugging along though admittedly ideas for a composition of my own that I have been half-heartedly working on kept floating into my conscience. I was able to push them aside and continue working on the task at hand. I had a few transitions between verses and an ending to write – two of the most difficult things to compose, in my opinion. By mid-afternoon I was on a roll. Until . . .

I got a call from Offspring No. 2, the one who is about to leave for college and be on her own, saying that her phone had been stolen out of her backpack in the midst of a mob during a passing period at school. This child has a tentative relationship with her phone at best. (See my post from April 12, 2009.)) If I had been this child and my parents had been me, I would have gotten the, “if you can’t be anymore responsible than that then you can just learn to live without the phone!”

Times have changed. Lots of people steal things. Kids steal things. Kids steal things from each other at school. And times have changed for parents too. When I was a teenager and away from home, I was also away from my mother’s constant nagging, I mean motherly love. She could not call me whenever she had the whim to do so. I can. I can call Offspring No. 1 in Chicago to make sure that she is wearing her mittens, and getting enough sleep and staying sober . . .And I can call Offspring No. 2 and make sure she is on her way home, or that she has her lunch. I can talk to her just about any time I have one of those motherly urges – except, of course, when she is at school. The truth is, I miss her phone almost as much as she does! So, what to do?

We all know how the cell phone companies work. You have to have an upgrade available or a new phone costs the equivalent of year’s worth of groceries or a semester of college tuition. They are not big on a barter system either - no trading loving Labrador Retrievers or homemade chocolate chip cookies for a new phone. Our afternoon was spent figuring out a solution to the day’s crisis.

Weber spent the afternoon trying to hack into Erin’s MobilMe account because she could not remember her log-in ID and password. He was successful, only to discover that she had not completed the registration process so there was no hope of finding her phone that way. Erin’s boyfriend sent her phone a text message offering a reward if whoever had it would call and return it. I called it several times hoping that some teacher who had a zero tolerance for cell phones in class would hear it vibrate and confiscate it with the hope of earning $15, the cost to students to buy back a phone that is in use during school hours. None of us were successful. So we did what all creative and intelligent people do in the face of a dilemma. We ate dinner.

Because I had a day off, I made a “real” dinner, the kind that involves no boxes and lots of ingredients. Erin wanted Au Gratin potatoes. This was a good thing because potatoes of any kind are her comfort food of choice. After the brief diversion of a meal together, we were back to solving the problem of the kid with no phone.

Weber and I went to the ATT&T store. A very nice woman, the woman who bailed us out, or is that, “provided us with exceptional customer service”, over the summer when Erin was in a similar situation again came to our rescue. Through another rather humorous series of events unrelated to the situation here, Weber was eligible for an upgrade on his phone. Though Erin is not on our account, he was able to use his upgrade and buy her a new phone. We left the phone store a little poorer than when we went in and headed to school to give Offspring No. 2 her new phone so that I did not have to worry about her driving home late without a phone. Weber got a big “Thank You” and a big hug.

When we got home, I still had the student composition that I had intended to finish before dinner to complete. I had lost my concentration and felt like I was not producing my best work. I played with it until about 11:15. At that point I sent her an email and said that life had gotten in the way of my creative process and I promised that I would get her a complete draft of the score this morning. And I did. I got up at our normal 5:30. After breakfast I made satisfactory progress on the composition and sent the files on. Within minutes, I got a “Thank You” email from my student. That was much appreciated. But more impressive to me was that she signed her email “your student and your friend.”

Sometimes in the midst of what seem like major obstacles, the little things make the biggest difference – sincere thank-yous. a hug, au gratin potatoes, knowing that someone values your friendship. The ups and downs of life, the joys, and sorrows, smiles and tears, hugs and laughter, happen all in a day. That is how this blog’s title was born.