It's Sunday morning. Jeremiah is home for the weekend. Gary is sleeping off a long night at work. It's a brief break in the action. It's cool outside, the coffee on my desk is warm, I'm ahead in my studies, and the household is quiet.
Yesterday Sam and I planted our fall crops. This year I put everything in the greenhouse, in part because the garden itself has become a wild woolly thing, a tangled mass of vines, dead and living, tomato plants with a few remaining blooms. And in part because this should extend the season by at least a month, and possibly two. The drought hit us really hard and I stopped harvesting or weeding in mid-August (yes, I feel guilty about this) because no amount of watering would maintain the moisture content in the lower substrates and nothing was producing. Everything that came out of my soaker hoses was being wicked away by 101 degree temperatures in the unquenchable lower levels. Also, thirsty insects from all walks of life descended on my plants, devouring fruit and leaves a like, killing my second planting of pumpkins and squash before they even really got started. Short of investing in a ton of pesticide (and you know how I feel about that as a beekeeper -to-be), I was left feeling like Meryl Streep from Out of Africa as she waved away her workers who were trying (and failing) to dam up a small river in order to water her failing coffee bean crop. Reluctantly acknowledging the futility of the effort by quoting something they'd told her in the beginning, she said, "Let it go. This water lives at Mombasa anyway." One day, the boys and I stood back, wiping sweat out of our eyes, and looked at the sheer mass of cucumber beetles and squash bugs literally devouring plants. I found myself saying, with a faint Austrian accent, "Let them have it. It all belongs to them anyway." I looked around for Robert Redford to come whisk me away on his airplane and then remembered two key things A)I'm not Austrian. And B) I hate airplanes. So much for the romance of gardening.
This week, though, it rained on us. It rained on us a lot. And plants are perking up, blooming here and there, so I am cautiously hopeful that there might be one more picking of something out there.
Jeremiah came home on Friday, a day later than usual. I suspect this is a trend. He's made a couple of friends and seems to be looking out for his less socially adept roommate. The computer store that let him go last winter because they didn't have enough work now does and is talking about bringing back on as both an employee and as an intern. So we will definitely be seeing less of him after this. He is making As in everything except algebra and he has a B in that.
Joseph is finding his own footing in high school, loves French and seems to be excelling in the rest of his classes.
Sam is zooming through his school work and counting down the days until his twelfth birthday (October). He'll be allowed to go with his brothers on all three teen trips this year and he cannot wait. Remember the day I was worried about him spending alone last week because Gary had been assigned an extra day? Gary got to work only to have a supervisor tell him he wasn't really needed and he could go home if he wanted to. Ordinarily he'd have stayed, but knowing that Sam was at home alone, he chose to return. When he came in the door at nine am, he found Sam hard at it over his school books. Sam didn't seem to understand my dismay over his working alone that day and as much as he was happy to see his dad, he didn't particularly need him. He's liking the afternoon classes at the public school, but feels a little older than a lot of the kids his age. In fact, what he's getting out of it is very different than what I sent him there for. "I can see why we homeschool now," he told me. "I like everybody up there, but I get a lot more done at home in an hour than they do in class." To his surprise, he likes P.E. a lot (I didn't ask him about this one. I simply enrolled him in it because I knew that without his brothers home during the day to allow him to hike with and bike ride with, he'd spend too much time doing too little physically.
Me? I am slowly finding the other adult students on campus. It's a little like sighting wildlife at the edge of a shadowy forest and wondering if you just saw what you think you saw, except that the wildlife is looking back at you thinking the same thing. It's the glimpse of gray hair and the lines around the eyes and lack of "Like, you know . . ." being used as a conversational filler that first gets your attention. I can see the same double-take, and sometimes receive the occasional quick smile, but most of the time, they seem to be just as absorbed as I am in working out the shortest paths to their destinations.
I have turned in short papers and essays with longer ones due in the near future. I've got As on everything so far (including Geography). I am not taking this for granted, but much of the work is easier than I expected it to be. My advisor helped me plan the next couple of semesters. She also pointed out that I have a ton of psychology classes (enough for a minor at least and am just a couple of classes shy of a dual major) and suggested that I consider a Master's in Guidance and Counseling, which was one of the things I considered anyway. She was encouraging and supportive, which helped a lot, and also assured me that I can do a lot of my clinicals in schools that are local to me, which will help a great deal.