Procrastination Morning

I just made a list of about 20 dumb “mom chores” that have to happen this morning (sign up Ian for computer class, pay the YMCA, picture day forms) and “general home chores” (buy butter, find out what happened to the security deposit from the summer house rental).

At 11:00, I have to go to see the dentist, aka Dr. Hands. He likes to run his hands through my hair before checking out my teeth, as he talks about his fetish for Debra Messing. I really need to add “find a new dentist” to my to-do list.

Behind me, Jonah is printing out pictures for a poster for his English class. Why is a junior in high school making posters, instead of a Powerpoint presentation? I’m not entirely sure. Add “switch English classes” to the list.

And in the midst of all this, I’m slowly learning how to write a weekly article, instead of writing whenever the spirit moves me. The editor and I are working out a rhythm. I’m attempting to keep the work out of the weekends. Right now, I’m waiting for her to edit a piece that I finished on Monday afternoon. If she doesn’t wrestle control of this essay away from me soon, I’m going to keep inserting zombie metaphors.

I keep meaning to read this article from Anne-Marie Slaughter’s husband about he had to be the primary parent, while Anne-Marie concentrated on her job. Yes, there is such a thing as a lead parent (see the first three paragraphs of this blog post.) But it’s entirely bizarre that the Slaughter-Moravcsik family is being used to describe the tensions and dilemnas of typical American families. “Sorry, dear, I can’t make dinner for your parents on Sunday, because I have to fly to Washington to appear on ‘Face the Nation’.” And it’s really weird that this guy who works at Princeton (Princeton! Tenure!) is whining about career sacrifices. It’s like when Gwenyth Paltrow talks about the fun of shopping for bargains at Barney’s.

Well, my procrastination moment has ended. Jonah needs a ride to school with his poster, and I have to go meet Dr. Hands. Shudder.


21 thoughts on “Procrastination Morning

  1. Ick. Unless you’re having a problem with your teeth, call and cancel and explain why. Or if there are multiple dentists in the practice, ask for another one.

    That Slaughter article was fun to read, but it was more entertaining than enlightening. Just like anything else, it’s fun to see people do work that isn’t really work for most people, like struggling with the decision of which vacation home to buy.

  2. I agree about the dentist, but keep the English teacher. There are some good skills in poster making. Any academic style conference (including biomedical) will still have poster sessions – so it’s a skill to arrange and ‘walk-through’ your topic of interest. Old school media can still play a role!

  3. I despise PowerPoint. The hierarchical bullet style stifles good communication. The worst development I’ve seen is college professors using PowerPoint for their lectures. Students print them out and then take horrible notes.

  4. In my book, the worst part about printing out pictures for school projects is that they always seem to run out of ink mid project. If I were a more organized parent, they would work on their projects in advance of the night before it’s due. But I am not, so these things often necessitate a late-night, last minute run to the office supply store. So even though PowerPoint has its downsides, I am all for it for class presentations.

  5. Per one of yesterday’s internet memes, repeated in today’s WSJ, too much computer learning leads to weaker intellectual performance. Making posters is probably better in the long run for the child’s intellectual development than PowerPoint would be.

  6. I always have extra ink — it’s not that hard to order since I detest running out of ink (and, have ink-based projects of my own).

    Yes, run away from that dentist. No one should fondle your hair against your will (even if it is gorgeous and curly and red). My kiddo recently had a dinner with a group of biracial kids (not planned — they were all just biracial, of different mixes) and they all had in common that people would fondle their hair without their permission. They will help you take a stand. Alternatively, wear it in a really tight severe ballet bun.

    1. I was once having a Very Personal Medical Procedure done and afterward the male tech gave me a hug. Ewww.

      Now that I’m a middle aged person, I think I would have handled that better, but it was 10+ years ago, so I didn’t do anything.

    2. Well, no one over the age of six, at least. I remember once we went to church with my secretary, and our daughter sat next to these two black girls, and the three of them spent the whole service playing with each others’ hair. It was clear that the two black girls had really never seen fine, straight, blonde hair before (except maybe on TV), and although Miss Y81 had encountered black adults, she obviously wasn’t allowed to play with their hair, and she had had very little exposure to black children her own age.

  7. Yes, the Slaughter husband article is entertaining. I want to know what it means to say “we were wealthy enough to have a housekeeper.” Does that mean that they are independently wealthy in addition to the Princeton salaries? Or that Princeton salaries (I guess in administration) pay for a housekeeper? If the second, one can imagine that money was one of the reasons Slaughter couldn’t have it all (because the state department does not pay 500K++).

    But, one important part of the story is this:

    “As puberty hit, our older son fell in with a bad crowd and began skipping homework, disrupting classes, and failing math. He alternately fought with me and tuned me out. Within a year, he was suspended from school and picked up by the police. The support and counsel he required were substantial, but he is now on a much more positive track.”

    They could have managed the demands of the jobs — even the state department job — if they hadn’t also had a child who needed more than the usual attention.

    1. I haven’t read the article, but being so much trouble that your parents have to drop their important grown up stuff in order to deal with you is Teen 101.

    2. My impression is that tenured Princeton make in the mid 100s, and foundation executives (a job I would consider much less prestigious, BTW) make around 3. More than enough to have a housekeeper.

  8. Regarding the poster — depends on what kind of poster. As Sara says, posters are a common mode of communication in science conferences. People stand around the poster and talk about it. It’s a different form of communication than a presentation and well suited to lots of folks presenting.

    But, a poster that’s art and not communication, for a class that’s not art, not my favorite thing either, unless it’s just one of many choices.

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