This is spring break in our neck of the woods. As usual, we didn’t go anywhere. I thought just this one year we’d have company, but it seems the need to escape a Michigan winter trumps recessionary income downturns. Also, everyone in Michigan has a relative in a warmer state, so even if you can’t afford a cruise, you can visit the siblings or parents in Clearwater for a few days. So Kate is stuck moping around the house. Yesterday’s weather made it worse — a chill all-day rain with temperatures in the 40s. At midafternoon I cracked, and we went to the mall.
I needed a new printer, anyway, a scan/fax model for those times when I need to do one or the other. Kinko’s charges $3 a page, anything out of the area code is considered long distance, and yes, you must have a cover sheet, although they cut you a break on that — it’s only a buck. Freelancers have to fax a lot of tax forms. And of course, on the next rainy day when everyone’s out of town, I can send the kid to the printing station to scan her butt and face.
Went to the Apple store — let’s pay top dollar! The geniuses had but three models in stock, none on the floor, and gave me that Genius Bar smile that suggests printing is so last century, it’s kind of cute that I asked for it. We left without one, and as a consolation prize, I bought Kate a pair of red Chuck Taylor high-tops, on sale. Chucks are very big with her crowd. I tried on a pair and marveled that men once played basketball at a professional level in these things. No wonder the dunk is a fairly recent innovation in the game.
And today? More shopping! Today we’re going for the full Monty, an hour’s drive to the world’s biggest outlet mall, or something. All I know is, they have an Aeropostale store, which will take care of the bulk of Kate’s list (brand loyalty, thou art a 12-year-old girl) and Under Armour, which will take care of mine. The rest of the time we will wander and drink Starbucks. Female bonding.
I wonder if we’ll see any teabaggers along the way. If so, I’ll take pictures and notes.
We have some amusing bloggage today:
Couldn’t the Obamas have found a dog that was somewhat less adorable? I’m starting to think they’re not playing fair; can’t they conjure some asymmetry or imperfection to make the rest of us feel less bewitched? Meanwhile, my “awwww” at Bo’s appearance on my TV last night prompted Alan and Kate, one floor up, to say, “It must be video of the new puppy.” Those mismatched white socks! That fluffy coat! I am entranced. (Oh, and sorry, but I’m not buying the allergy-free line, either. I’d tell the pediatrician: “It’s a big house” and leave it at that.)
Jeff TMMO just posted this in the previous thread, so let me post it here, another elegant Dan Barry dispatch from, whaddaya know, Jeff TMMO’s hometown. It’s about the difficulty of nurturing art and an artistic temperament in a place like Newark, Ohio. I was struck by this passage:
Here in Newark, half the students are poor enough to receive lunch free or at a discount. The system also has one of the highest dropout rates in Ohio; nearly a third of the high school students do not graduate. That elevated percentage seems out of place given the Middle America setting, but officials have a theory:
Back in the day, you could drop out and still get a good job at one of the many manufacturing plants in town. You could pay the mortgage, buy a car new, take holiday trips — all without a high school diploma.
“Now those jobs have gone away,” says Keith Richards, the city’s schools superintendent. “But the mindset has not.”
It echoes something I heard on the radio yesterday: In the latest survey of Michigan parents, half — HALF — thought their kids would be able to earn a middle-class living with only a high-school education. Half. Earlier in the show, the host referred to the auto industry as “economic crack.” A lot of people have yet to detox, apparently.
Me, I’m off to spend a portion of my tax refund.