One school project down, one to go.
Our high school son’s entry in this year’s science fair went out the door this week. There’s nothing else to do. In fact, he’s already presented it.
Our middle-school daughter is participating in this year’s social studies fair. Her project is not due until after Christmas.
The social studies and science fairs may be two different competitions based on two different academic disciplines, but as far I’m concerned, their differences are non-existent. Both fairs have the same effect on our house. They each have the potential to spin our lives out-of-control faster than our dog Rodney spins when it’s time for a walk.
I’m just thankful my wife is able to take on her customary role as “Chief Fair Pesterer” and “Display Board Brain-Stormer.” Otherwise, I would be in charge and our kids would be in far more trouble than usual.
Take last year, for instance. We had a science fair meltdown. I had to take over supervision at the last-minute after my wife broke her right wrist the weekend before our son’s project was due.
On second thought, “broke” isn’t really the right word to describe what she did to her wrist. “Shattered” would be more accurate. She fell on it awkwardly – twice – while attempting to walk Rodney in the middle of an ice storm.
It was a long weekend that featured an ambulance ride to the emergency room, pain medication that didn’t work, a two night hospital stay and surgery. She ended up with a contraption bolted to her forearm that would make Dr. Frankenstein proud. In fact, we took to calling it her Franken-wrist.
That’s why I got nervous when weather forecasters started predicting ice earlier this week. I feared a repeat of last year when (a) my wife, from her hospital bed and in excruciating pain, encouraged me to check the ink in our printer; (b) I cavalierly dismissed her concerns; (c) our printer predictably ran out of ink the night before our son’s project was due; (d) I had to go to considerable trouble to find a store open late that had the right cartridges, and finally; (e) I had to endure the “I told you so” conversation.
This year (and I’m incredibly thankful for this) my wife was tanned, rested and ready. And so was our printer. I just wish our son had been.
Just when I thought I could skip out the door on my way to the midnight shift at work without having to lift a science fair finger, our son stuck out his leg and tripped me. The night before his project was due, he decided he needed more data to support his conclusion.
While my wife rounded up the neighbors, I ended up spending far too much time trying to persuade my co-workers to participate in his project and texting my son the results.
Still, when I arrived back home in the morning, my wife clearly had everything under control. In other words, it was a usual frantic morning spent at first encouraging our kids and finally threatening them to get in the car to make it to school on time.
The only other part I played in this year’s sprint to the science fair finish line was simple. I carefully placed our son’s display board in the back of the car and waved goodbye.
I’m still not clear of the wringer, though. There’s the upcoming social studies fair to contend with and I’ve got to keep my wife healthy and intact for it. So if there’s any ice in the forecast between now and then, it will be worth taking over the potentially wrist-breaking dog walking duties to keep her that way.