And a hot one, at that.
Here in the Phoenix area, schools go on summer break at the end of May, and resume in late July. We typically do not start homeschooling until after Labor Day, so our summer break usually begins later, in mid to late June. Same this year.
However, all of June and July, the local libraries are hosting various summer reading programs, and as part of that bring in special performers and shows. Because we live close to many libraries, we are usually able to see everything in July (there are so many repeats between the various branches), after spending June finishing up our school work.
This year, with the baby due August 1st, I am determined to see as many of them as we can in June. For one, it's still slightly cooler (hahaha - who am I kidding??). Plus, it gets harder to drag six kids out with me every day, and July is set aside for getting some final pre-baby projects wrapped up. These include: buying and laundering baby clothes and diapers, reorganizing our bedroom after my husband (hopefully) installs floor-to-ceiling cabinets along one wall, precooking and freezing breakfasts and dinners for at least 2 weeks post-baby, doing a trial set-up of the birth pool to make sure it works fine, etc. Oh yeah, also in late July, is the annual homeschool convention. I don't care if I am in labor, that's not something I want to miss.
So yesterday, I spent a solid two hours (no joke) researching the summer programs at libraries in Tempe, Chandler, and Phoenix. Once I had a list of what was happening when and where, the kids and I worked them all into our calendar.
In June alone, in addition to homeschooling until the 22nd, we are going to see fifteen different special summer events - everything from reptile shows, to zoo animals, to yo-yo performances, to various puppet shows, to balloon performers, to singing cowboys, to monarch butterflies, to bald eagles, and on and on. Fifteen! There were only three other ones we had to push back to early July because they are not on in June.
Crazy? Yes. But the kids love these programs, and considering how much of our state and property taxes go to the public schools and libraries, I at least want to feel like I get my money's worth in one area.
That reminds me of a funny story. Some time back, the library claimed that one of the books we had taken out had not been returned. Mind you, we get out about 100 - 120 books per month on average, so we do have a very systematic way of making sure they all stay in one place in our home, and then get back on time (mostly, anyway). It had happened before that the library could not find a book we had returned, only to later realize they did, in fact, have it. This time, I went back and forth with a librarian who insisted we had the book, and that it was not lost on their end. Without warning, he added a fine in the value of the book, plus a $5 fee, plus $50 for "collections", to my library account - even after I had ordered a replacement copy on Amazon and brought it in (his suggestion, not my idea).
Ever so slightly annoyed, I called and left a message with the head of the library, explaining the situation, and asking for her to call me back. She did, and unlike the guy I had been dealing with, she was super nice. She had looked up our accounts (all kids have their own accounts under my name), and noticed how many books we had borrowed and returned for years now - I think she said it was over 1400 collectively in the last 12 months alone. With that, she said that we were by far one of the most active users of the library. Since our record was otherwise spotless, she was certain this was an oversight on their part. She had cleared my account of all fees, including some totally unrelated late fees. Oh, the book did eventually turn up, so there!
Most librarians love us, but a couple of them act like we are crazy for getting so many books. As in - no way could we really be reading all those books. Hello??? Don't you get awarded funding based on how many books you loan out? Isn't that why you put on these reading programs to begin with - to get people into the library, who will then hopefully borrow books? Do they really think I get that many books, week after week, because I love lugging them home, and back to the library again, unread?
Total rabbit trail - just wanted to share my story. My worst nightmare (literally) is getting to the magnetic security gates at the exit, with 6 kids and a double stroller full of books, and having it go off. Then having to dig through 50 or more books, comparing receipts, and figuring out which one didn't scan right. Can you believe that has never happened even once??? Of course now that I said that, it certainly will. It's the stuff that nightmares of moms of many are made of.
Anyway - yesterday, we went to see the "Singing Cowboy" at the Glendale Library. Totally not anywhere near us, but that's the only library he performs at any more, and it's become a yearly tradition for our kids to go see him.
We had the misfortune of being seated right in front of "Sweetie" (AP lingo for a screaming brat throwing a tantrum), who looked to be somewhere between 3 and 4 years old. After he ruined the show for the first 30 minutes with his whining, climbing onto John's seat, clobbering him on the head, and then eventually just screaming at his mom, she finally decided to remove him from the auditorium after dirty glances from other moms in all directions. Mind you, she was there with him, and him only. Audible sigh of relief all around - until she brought him back in a couple of minutes later!!! We knew they were back when we heard him, still whining and screaming, walking back to his seat. At this point, it would almost have been a blessing for her to whip out a breast and start breastfeeding her preschooler just to get him to shut up. SERIOUSLY???? What is with some parents??? Just because you think it's cute or acceptable, let me let you in on a little secret: nobody else thinks that. If you want others to dread begin around your child, just keep right on. Word of advice: give him what he wants, or give him what he needs - but for crying out loud, don't ruin the event for everyone else.
Today, we went to a library much closer to us, in South Phoenix - i.e., in the ghetto - although you would never suspect just how low-income this area is looking at the modernistic palace called the library. The demographic was SO different - our kids and I, plus the performer and one librarian, were the only white people in the building, the rest were "minorities". And you know what - the kids were all great! No middle-class delusional white attachment parents anywhere. We just might keep sticking to this branch.
Our kids are the blond heads in the front row.
Summer break.... hahahahahahaha!!!