Saturday, June 16, 2007

Last day of school

Yesterday was a Summer Friday for me so I was able to pick up Lily at the end of her last day of school at Fort River. When I got there I couldn't find Lily's teacher, and a parent of a friend of Lily's (the friendliest parent in the school to us and the one who hosts d&d) showed me where she was: To my surprise and delight, every teacher had lined up just ahead of the buses, which were loading up students. Lily's teacher had on a clown wig and Groucho glasses. Another one played her accordion, someone brought her dog, the principal wore a mortar board and carried a golf club. I saw two big signs, one from the P.E. teacher, wearing Rollerblades, that said, Don't forget to exercise! and another simply said, Read.

We gave Rachel her flowers and card, and then, as each bus pulled away, all the teachers waved like crazy and shouted good-bye! have a great summer! It was a gorgeous sight. I was struck by the fact that I had to ask Rachel if these indeed were the school's teachers; unlike PS 261 where we had been a family since pre-K and I interviewed and photographed them every year for the who's who, I had no idea who they were. It was a great thing, though, and at the end, the principal turned to them all and said, good-bye! have a great summer! and all the teachers cheered.

The move on Thursday went very well--Dave said even with all our stuff from the storage unit the house is still enormous (nothing like cathedral ceilings to make a house feel spacious). We are filling 2,000 square feet with 1200 square feet of stuff. And 1200 includes the Brooklyn bathrooms and closets, too, unlike most real estate. The 2,000 number doesn't include those areas or the basement rooms, two of which are finished.

After I got Lily we drove to the house (stopping at Ben & Jerry's to celebrate; I was astonished to be charged $7.50 for two small cones with sprinkles!!!! words cannot express...) and after oohing and ahhing over the paint, which they have finished except for small touch-ups, we all painted one of the rooms in the basement. Earlier Lily and I had pulled up the carpet and icky wet padding in that room, and the carpet guys had removed the floor tiles underneath so that Dave could bleach it. We're trying to dry it out and have dehumidifiers all around. The paint looks nice, just an off-white mistake the paint store was selling for cheap, and we put on the first coat. Dave and Lily had already primed it. One more coat and the carpet, which goes in Wednesday, and it will be a very nice room.

This is not a large trophy house by any stretch, but we have so much space we aren't sure what to do with it. Two rooms aren't fully usable, of course, Lily's and the family room, because of their stupid slanted ceilings. But we will make do. The paint looks intense and rich and vibrant, but we like it, and already, having some furniture in there, like the sofa and coffee table in the living room, tones it down a lot.

I went around later wiping down shelves and furniture. We put the boards back into one of the built-in bookshelves we haven't removed and I filled a couple of rows with cookbooks. Lots of room left. I mopped the floor in the three-season porch and opened the windows to try to get the dead body smell out of the closet there. Yuck. Next I'm going to mop the walls with some sort of cleaner to try to cut the odor even more. But with the windows opened, carpets removed, fresh paint on the walls--and stain on the decks--it is starting to look and feel fresh and alive and like it's ours.

Boy there's a lot to do when you move, isn't there.

Lily was sad at the last day of school, which her teacher pointed out was a good thing, as it means she's settled in. She had a good time at Fort River and I feel a bit sad at pulling her out, but I still think Bement and Northampton will be better for us as a family. Even if she ends up at Northampton schools it'll be better.

Oh, last Lily thing: We went to that strings recital for the younger grades on Monday that I mentioned, see photo above, and she sat in the first violin chair. I said to her teacher, I doubt she's the best player (they had upper class ringers in there to help the newer players), and the teacher said, she's a born leader. She wore a shirt that said "Believe" in big letters, and in the rehearsal they made her stand up and show everyone, so they too could believe in themselves during the concert. They played four pieces, each one twice because two kids were sharing a cello and this way each got a chance to play, and everyone sounded great.

Now Lily is on to the flute! She had her first lesson on Thursday in Northampton. I have showed her just a few things and she's fooled around on it at most a half hour, and she sounded amazing at her lesson. Her new teacher was really impressed and called her a natural. I am seriously considering getting a second student flute (they're cheaper) and taking lessons again, myself, with the same teacher. That way Lily and I could play duets.

A friend told me yesterday she thought I should get music back into my life, and I think she's really right. I miss it. Practising for an instrument is easier to going to a choral rehearsal a couple of times a week, and more intimate, more personal, if I have a teacher. I can really concentrate on arpeggios and scales and techniques. When I sing in a chorus it's all about learning the notes for me, much more than perfecting my technique. I love singing choral music but I think flute has a lot going for it. Also, since I played it when I was a teenager, I still remember a few things and it wouldn't be like starting from scratch on, say, the piano.

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