Slow Weekend

02/07/2011 By Shawn Burns

We lived the idyllic suburban life this weekend. The weather in the Silicon Valley was perfect: sunny, without being devastating. Although Emily and I were both in stages of cold-fighting, it was only the morning and late nights that were really affected by our illness. The middle of the day, when the sun was at its best, was also the time when we were at our best.

We sat on our covered front patio and ate popsicles and read books and magazines while the kids drew in chalk on the front walk. I hosed them down during a fix-it fit of trying to get the hose to stop leaking out of the pistol handle when I used it, and they laughed and ran away. Then they came back for more. I told them to go hide behind Emily where she sat on a wicker chair and then practiced my aim, taking potshots at the kids behind her as Emily glared, mock-menacingly, whenever a stream came too close to her ear or foot.

Erin’s friend and her mom (our friend) came over for a visit on Saturday, and we spent time at the neighbourhood park after the girls had their fill of tea parties and toddler torment. Adrian enjoyed the company, but wished fervently that they wouldn’t set up their tea party in his room. Their constant locking him out of his space pissed him off, and he complained loudly and often.

We talked with our friend about pre-kindergarten registration and school visits and teaching philosophies. I have a very “public school is fine” attitude about education, but hearing about the differences in the schools our friend had visited, and the differences among the parents at each school, had me reflecting on why I was successful at seven different public schools before high school while many other students have difficulty even when they are able to stay at a single school throughout their junior education years. Perhaps it isn’t the case that public school is fine; perhaps I performed at a level that I wouldn’t have done had I enjoyed a normal middle class upbringing and home life. Knowing what is in store for our kids I’m not so sure anymore that my own experience is worth as much as I think it is. We all have our stories, but my own never resembled that of a suburban middle class child.

On Saturday night we went next door to the neighbours’ house for dinner. They let Erin build her own pizza and put Ice Age on in the living room after dinner for some background noise to drown out all of the cat tormenting Adrian and Erin were attempting. Their cat was a good sport about having kids in his face, but when Adrian got really annoying he let him know about it.

After a Sunday morning out on the patio again I went up to the City to watch the Superbowl with a friend at a bar in the Mission. Beer, all-u-can eat BBQ, and a bar full of degenerates made for a good time.

I came home to kids still awake, waiting for daddy to put them to bed.

Sometimes life in the suburbs isn’t bad at all.