Friday, 4 March 2016

7 Quick Takes 27:Leaky Souls and Dead Fish

1. Seven quick Quick Takes to keep my hand in during a week of essay grading, student conferences and two of our floors being replaced. To make this take #1, I offer the following conference conversation:

Student: Are you going to post any mid-term grades yet?
Me:  Not yet, but you can can see your real-time grade 24/7 on our course page.
Student: I know, but I like to see my GPA.
Me: Well, you can calculate that yourself. You know, an A is 4 points, B is 3, and so on.
Student: It is? But I'm not good at math.
Me (thinking): If you can't add four little numbers and divide by four, maybe you don't want to know your grade point average.
And her subject? Elementary education.

2. It's hard to say what the low point of all the stress and chaos was, but a good contender is this:

Half the floor is plywood, half is ripped-up lino, getting more ripped up by the day thanks to one of our cats. And the bucket and pan on the stove? Catching the water from two leaks in the ceiling. I'm making myself feel better by pretending it's some Lenten metaphor for our souls. Or something.

3. On the Lenten theme, confirmation from on high that I need to keep my sacrifices simple. I resolved to cut out my two cups of coffee per week and my second afternoon cup of tea. Sounds easy? Well, the other afternoon, I was holding the baby up to watch his sister's fish, and he was dabbling the tips of his fingers in the water. The bookshelf caught my eye and I started to zone out. I came to just in time to see him stuffing a squashed fish into his mouth. Cue shrieks from me and a rush to the sink to scrub out his mouth before he died of rotting fish poison. Honestly, I don't know whether to hope it was some dead fish that floated by, or that he caught and crushed a live one. But I do know it's time to up the caffeine again.

4. Alcuin has got to the point where he clearly understands much of what we say to him and can even follow instructions like, Don't eat that fish. However, although he'll say mamama if he really wants me, he isn't interested in talking. Human, that is. He's getting pretty good at cat, in order to communicate with Odie, his partner in crime (he who is guilty of tearing up the lino).

5. I actually generated comment from strangers over my geriatric mother piece on how all this new baby paraphernalia is bemusing to those of us raising a second generation of children. Yes, it's true, I'm too old to want to fill my house with brightly coloured plastic all over again. But, in case you think I'm some traditionalist fascist, I offer another photo:

I was going to be all Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and throw out the vacuum cleaner box as soon as I unpacked it, but then Alcuin pulled himself up on it and cruised along for the first time. So, here it stays for the time being. Note also the cloth nappies, drying in front of the wood stove, which actually has a fireguard so he can't get to any fish the fire.

6. Yes, we got a Dyson (on sale). My husband finally got fed up with my complaining how I have to spend longer unclogging our old vacuum cleaner than actually vacuuming. See that rug above, that's been sitting in front of the fire for years? Well, even though I vacuumed it several times a week (during fire season) with the old machine, we nearly filled the Dyson canister twice over with all the ash, hair and general debris it sucked up. (But no fish.) It even changed colour. At last we can stop putting a sheet over it before we set the baby down. I know, pretty exciting.

7. This has no connection to anything above, but I wanted to share. In the baby and everything else chaos, we lost my daughter's National Latin Exam that she's supposed to take next week. After a little hand wringing, I called the NLE office. A real person - American, too! - answered. Right away. And helped me. Just like that. If your child studies Latin, check them out. You don't have to be in the US to take the exam. They're lovely people, and they love Latin.

For more Seven Quick Takes and fewer dead fish, hope on over to This Ain't the Lyceum.


  1. Oh my goodness! We have not one, but two fish tanks and I am just thanking my lucky stars that that has not happened to me yet with one of my three kids. So glad I had eggs instead of fish tonight!

    1. It's incredible what little children eat, and still survive!