Two nights ago, I dropped off my quiet eight year old daughter, her books, her knitting, an overnight bag, and her penchant for long bubble baths at my mom's house. I drove home with the loud nine year old boy who lives with my mom, his Nintendo DS, his overnight bag, and my own two equally high energy sons. About an hour later, as my house seemed to be filled with a pack of howler monkeys in fleece pajamas, I imagined my sweet natured mother and daughter who, unlike me, never use crude language, nonetheless laughing at me behind their knitting needles, saying, "What a sucker!" and "What a rube!" After my charges exhausted themselves inflating, deflating, inflating, and then endlessly jumping on the AeroBed, they finally went to sleep. In the morning I drove them to a basketball facility about half an hour from my home for three hours of well, basketball. Then I was free to browse the many strip malls littering the nearby highway. Once I had crossed enough items off my to-do list, I treated myself to an hour in a bookstore. It's my yoga. I used a gift card to purchase Gordon Korman's Swindle for my kids. I had never heard of it, but Korman is the author of the second 39 Clues book which was a big hit here. That evening, when all children were in their respective homes, I gave them the book. The third and fourth grader were very excited, telling me how it is always checked out of the school library, there is a waiting list as long as your arm for it, and classmates named Sierra, Chris, Justin, and Martin highly recommend it. Later that night, I found my son asleep in bed with it, drooling onto page 15.
I see the last two days as a sort of What Color is My Parachute exercise in career guidance. My perfect job: Book picker outer. A good second choice: monkey handler. Contract lawyer, sports agent, hostage negotiator or used car salesman? Not so much.