Sorry I haven't posted for a little bit. They didn't shut our power off or anything, it's just the holidays, end of semester, everyone is busy, busy, busy.
Back To School
Friday morning I volunteered to help in Ethan's kindergarten class. The assignment for the entire day was to make a green and red paper chain with 24 links to count down the days until Christmas. They also had groups of three kids constantly heading to computers to put on headphones and learn some ABCs. Funny how they don't make any attempt to tell the kids who have been on the computers what they missed.
When Ethan went to the computer he started singing with gusto. I had to lift his headphone and tell him, "Don't sing so loud." His teacher laughed.
Only a few kids finished their paper chains. Many ended with about ten links. I was worried Ethan would finish with five because he was on the computer. I purposely stayed away from his table so he could do his own thing and I was pleasantly surprised that he had nineteen links done at the end of the day. Most the kids did alright. Some kids had problems. One kid in particular was a handful. I think I served the teacher well just by keeping him on track all day.
There was one girl who was making a pink and white chain. After about five links she went and sat in the corner. I tried to get her to go back to the table but she wouldn't even talk to me. I mentioned it to the teacher and she just said, "Well, she's Jehova's Witness, so... " she just trailed off and showed little concern for the girl in the corner, staring out at the rain.
Apparently the school makes accomdations not to ostracize the kids but they have no qualms about letting kids ostracize themselves. I mentioned this to my wife and she said the same little girl had refused to color a picture of cornucopia (around Thanksgiving) when she had volunteered. I don't view a cornucopia as a religious symbol, nor Thanksgiving as a religious holiday. It mostly makes me wonder what words of advice the girl's parents are filling her head with. Stay away from the art projects or the devil will surely getcha? It starts with Crayolas and ends with pagan sacrifice *gobble gobble*? If birthday parties and having the corner of a pillowcase filled with candy by your neighbors is viewed as some kind of social gluttony than daily life must be impossible for these people. I would like to point out that two of the coolest people I've met in my life are Jehova's Witness.
Painting for the Nobles
After kindergarten, I headed out into a heavy flurry of snow to paint with my in-laws. I drove to a gated community with street names plucked right from the brains of six year old girls and meant for ponies: Windsong, Snowstar, etc.. When I entered the front door I found that both floors of my house could easily fit inside the "grand room" that appeared before me. We were also painting four bedrooms and a couple baths upstairs. We were painting the stairwell descending from the grand room to a bar and the "projection room" and another office. We shot some hoops in the half-court gym and checked out the "all original" '65 Mach 1 Mustang in the garage where we would be setting up a "spray booth" for painting doors. Yes, it didn't take long for envy to turn to disgust.
From the grand room, you could see a scrubby valley surrounded by McMansions. One of the biggest houses in the state of Utah was just across from us. Eleanor's brother has been painting houses in this area for over ten years. He says the enormous house across the way is empty. The "castle" just below it was one of the first constructed on the bench and has yet to be completed. The house were were painting is not owned by a person. It is owned by a Trust company and used as office space. Eleanor's brother said the head of the trust talked about buying the two giant houses across the way (so he could resell at a profit). The house we were painting had sat empty for three years before the trust bought it up. Wealthy people seem to realize the luxury is also impractical. Maybe that is the appeal. It's just lame that nice real estate is reserved for excessive houses with 50,000 sq ft floorplans and nobody lives there.
When I got home from painting, Eleanor wanted to go out to eat. I have my opinions about eating out:
1. Any restaurant that charges $10 or more for an entre should just include a salad. C'mon... $2.50 for some lettuce scraps on a little plate? Additionally, any hamburger costing over $.90 should include the cost of cheese.
2. To my wife's chagrine, I only put CLOTH napkins on my lap. You use paper? You are not fine dining. Have you ever had someone suggest a "nice" restaurant that only turns out to have high prices and paper placemats?
3. What is with the $2 fountain drinks? Isn't it the same stuff they sell for a dollar per gallon at the 7-Eleven? Are you putting some kind of futuristic elecrolyte in there, Marie Calender? How do you justify this?
4. Even if the server sucks, you should tip them. They make like $2/hr here in Utah.