Just Another Day

Second day of homeschooling Dagne and I already fell off the wagon. Last night, the real estate agent called to announce a couple coming to see the house today. Cleaning was long overdue. So, what’d’ya do? I just included her. A little child labor wouldn’t harm her.

Dagne loves to mop so I set her up. She put on a skirt and thick wool socks. Why? I don’t know. I told her that her jeans and shoes would be fine for the job but she assured me that she didn’t want to get her jeans dirty. She put on a book on CD, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, and mopped 900 square feet of basement — filthy from dogs, cats, and children bringing in mud from our unfinished backyard.

We did get a little math done. And she colored a few more birds. Today, we discussed pelicans and wondered at their 9 ft. plus wingspans. We compared that to Paul’s best friend Jason (Trog) who is 6 ft. 6. Her little naughty brown eyes widened with surprise when she pictured wings much longer than him. I remembered the brown pelicans in Chile, reminiscent of pteradactyls in their large size, diving in staggered splashes to fish. I often noticed American pelicans in U-shaped groups in the lakes and reservoirs. I didn’t realize that this is a coordinated effort to chase a school of fish into the shallows.

Dagne read to me while I cleaned the kitchen. She read about a kid who gets a microscope and begins to look at tiny things. Pretty soon we were examining the shapes of salt and sugar crystals with the naked eye and wishing for a microscope of our own. That’s really the rub, isn’t it? The schools get all the microscopes, but the regulated assignments kills most of the discovery. The homeschoolers have all the desire and freedom to discover and … no microscope.

This desire to examine tiny things leads me to remember a favorite children’s story, Snowflake Bentley. It’s the story of a Vermont boy who falls in love with snow and begins an obsessive journey to photograph snowflakes. It takes place in a time when cameras were huge, hulking, awkward things and the shutter was excruciatingly slow. Through years of effort and creative problem-solving, he manages to capture one snowflake, then another, and then another. Each photograph of a snowflake took hours. Painstakingly, he photographs snowflake after snowflake. Eventually, he shares his photos — giving his gift to the world.

I’ll have to pull that out tomorrow and we can read it together. Meanwhile, I sure would like to get my hands on a microscope while the interest is fresh.

After I got the call from the real estate agent last night, I had that intuitive sense that this was going to be it — this couple coming to see the house would make an offer. We’ll see. I’ve been wrong before. But the point is … all the emotions of the reality of selling the house came flying up at me. I cried once. Paul took me for a walk to clear my head.

He walked me through what are goals are — they don’t include being married to a house in the middle of nowhere with both of us working full time to feed it (it’s not like we have any work anyway, let alone full-time work). I must keep in mind that our goal is a timeful life — the homeschooling moments with Dagne helped to cement the fact that home is where I want to be. Home is where we are and where we can be together. After the walk, I felt peaceful and I had the energy to clean. I’m throwing things out with a  vengeance now, making daily stops at drop-off sites.

When we went to my sister’s house over Spring Break, we decided to leave the Volvo there for my dad to sell it. My dad is a whiz at these kinds of things. Somehow, he can get full price for anything — heck, I bet he could talk someone into paying full price and trading something extra for that Volvo.

So, we’re driving Elida’s Suburban ’til she returns. I filled up her gas tank. $153! Ouch. It made me want my Volvo back.

The question is … what’ll we do when we sell it? Will we buy an RV and take off? Or just replace it with something slightly newer and sit tight?

Perhaps the answer lies in whether this couple wants the house. I wonder if my intuition is right.



  1. Microscopes: I have one, but I don’t know if it has a high enough resolution to see what you want to see. I’ll have to dig it out, we are going to be looking at pond micro life here soon…


  2. I have a microscope!!! Actually it is Nikolai’s and I cannot believe you didn’t spy it during music lessons because it was sitting on his desk. I am sure he would be happy to lend it to you and Dagne. We examined plenty underneath it during the Christmas break when we had the time and the love of learning returned to my boys. You are right when you say school robs it because it does. Maybe not school as it could be but school as it is now. I am mindful of the time that is spent at school now more than ever. I think of how the time could be better spent. I have also been reading “Last Child In the Woods” because Robin keeps pushing me to finish it. I thought of it when we were on Spring Break and there was a sign posted that said, “walking zone” on the best bike hill ever that crossed a coastal inlet. I let my boys and their cousins go down the hill only to get yelled at by a cranky lady who wants to put rules on outdoor fun. Then in school I was told by some boys that the police had kicked them out of the bike jumps near our house because of another cranky lady who said they had destroyed her walking path by adding a jump to it. I was so discouraged that these boys who have made all of these amazing jumps in the middle of juniper and sage brush were having their creativity reigned in by adults who have no clue the damage they are doing. And then I had to sit through a 30 minute period where we had 5 minutes of work to do and all I could think of is how those kids should be outside on the grass sitting and visiting instead trapped liked caged animals while the adults of their lives wasted even more of their time.
    Your goal of living a timeful life is such an important one in this age of time sucking technology and calendars that are way too full of activities. I only hope my boys and I can live one as well.


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