Saturday, April 9, 2016

School holidays

Here is a way to wear out a child over the school holidays. First, make sure that before the school holidays he leads a pretty sedentary life. Sure, he walks to school for about 10 minutes each morning, and 10 minutes home in the afternoons. And Mondays and Thursdays he has gym class. Saturdays he goes to skating lesson. Otherwise pretty sedentary. And then, sign him up for skating camp over the school holidays! Three hours of physical activity on the ice every day, three hours of physical activity off the ice. Drills, jumps, spins, even a little ballet thrown in for good measure.

Anyway, try it out. On Monday, the child will come home tired. On Tuesday, the child will come home sore. On Wednesday, the child will come home sore and grumpy, and head straight to bed at 6:00pm, then wake up briefly for a snack at 9:00pm, and then sleep until morning. Twelve hours of sleep! You will wonder if maybe you should keep him home the next day. But Thursday he might just wake up rested, ready to go again. And then by Friday, he will be getting all the extra physical activity into his system, ready to be a full time athlete! But then the camp ends and he can go back to video games.

I know this because Jonathan tried it out. He really liked the camp, and after three months, he finally found a skating coach at camp, so he's back into the sport again. But it was pretty tiring.


Here is a way to wear out a child's mother over the school holidays. Just before the holidays, have her sit down with the guy over her group at work, and in the course of the conversation, have him list all the reasons she should actually be applying for that major grant this year, not next year, even though she had been planning all along to apply next year. And then she can check the deadline for the major grant, and realize she has about two weeks to put the whole thing together. Happy school holidays! Ready, set, go!

Then, while she's writing the grant, put her on a search committee for five different positions, so she has to read about 200 applications and sit through hours of meetings. Sign her up to give a couple of talks, one at the university up the street, one local. Ensure that her coauthors start putting pressure on her to post papers, and revise papers. Maybe schedule a few early morning Skype meetings in a row with another team on another project. Oh, and how about give her a class to teach at 8:00am on Friday. Mix it all together, along with regular classes to run, homework to set, grading, four hours of student meetings....

And I predict she'll stop sleeping full nights. She'll spend lots of early mornings in front of that computer in those two weeks. Some of her friends and family may start wondering why there haven't been blog posts, phone calls, or other updates.  But sometimes that happens under these circumstances. Maybe you'll hear from her again when the grant has been submitted.

Maybe. Then again, the calendar shows two weeks of interviews, followed by a talk in Canberra, followed by visitors, a birthday, and then international travel. Three talks to write. Coauthors to try to placate: sorry you haven't heard from me in a month... can you give me one month more?



Sorry you haven't heard from me. We've had school holidays here. They've been exhausting!

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