One of the benefits of unemployment is that it gives you a fair amount of extra time that you might otherwise have spent making money to support your eating habit and those of your family members. On the flip side, though, you can spend that time with said family members in ways that were previously not possible. So it's something of a toss-up, from that perspective.
Last Friday I spent most of the morning at Tabitha and Lauren's elementary school, helping out with school pictures. And lawsy what an experience that was. Not a bad experience, mind you - both girls were excited to have Dad there, and waved to and even hugged old Dad in front of their peers. It is nice to know that I am still acceptable that way, and that it will be a few years before I am Hopelessly Uncool And An Embarrassment. I have never been cool - not even when I was young and cared - and knowing that in about five years I will be even less cool than normal is rather daunting, but I intend to enjoy the time between now and then immensely.
No, picture day was fascinating because of the names. Kismet. Diamond. Treasure. Sabre. And don't forget Cameron, Camrin, Camryn, Cammeron, Cammrynne, Camnrinne, and Ethel (pronounced "Camryn"). What are these parents thinking? Someday these people are going to be adults, and I just cannot find it in my shriveled brain to picture an important business executive named Kismet. That poor child will end up selling organic tea to goat-herders, which, come to think of it, may not be all that bad a life, so I will shut up now.
I suppose I have no reason to complain - they're not my kids, and my own name is so blandly common as to be unmemorable even to close friends - but it does make your head spin a bit. Is Diamond a boy or a girl? What about any of the Camerons? That used to be a boy's name, but is now mostly a girl's name, though not entirely - it's like Jackie and Dana that way. Ah well.
But it went well, and at some point there will be Pictures! Pictures to send to Grandparents! Pictures to line the walls with! There are two things you can't have too many of in life - pictures and books. Which makes picture books just the neatest things on earth, I suppose. Everyone should have some!
I left school around lunchtime, and a couple hours later, there I was back again. School lets out at 3pm, and since I have the time (vide supra) I go pick them up and take them home. I have learned that if you want to get a parking spot anywhere near the school you have to be there by 2:40, otherwise it's easier to park in the garage and just walk down. The girls meet me "by the tree." This is somewhat problematic, as there are at least three trees in the general vicinity of where they want to meet me, each about 15 feet from the other two. There is one specific tree that I am supposed to be by, though for the life of me I cannot figure out which one it is and I don't want to be hopping about from tree to tree since two of them are on somebody's lawn and bouncing around between three trees right next to an elementary school will probably get me locked up as a child predator these days when really the most danger I represent is to the grass underfoot. But there I was, waiting by the one tree that isn't on someone's lawn, when Tabitha and Lauren came bouncing down the sidewalk, as happy to see me as they had been that morning. Life is good.