Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Procrastination Payback.

Well, my mom did it to me again. As a child she cursed me. And that curse has been lying in wait. Just hanging out waiting to rear it's evil little head. Last week, it got in it's first punch.
When I was a kid, I was the supreme master of procrastination (I still hold the title). I think I was under the delusion that I worked better under pressure. Actually, my panic in meeting an unmeetable deadline probably just resulted in many people having to chip in to make things work out for me. I can recall many last minute school projects being worked on the night before they were due and my mother telling me that someday I would have a child who would put things off until the last minute and I would be left feeling as frustrated as she did.
Well, last week was payback time.
I had come home after picking up the kids from school and was completely exhausted. I immediately changed into comfy clothes (none of which matched, but all of which was super comfy and perfect for laying on the couch in). After enjoying about 30 minutes of couch time, Myles informed me that he had a social studies project due tomorrow and he needed to bring in homemade pretzels.
He is learning about immigration to the US in the early 1900s and is playing the part of a German immigrant. "Can't we take in some gummy bears?" I asked him. "No! It has to be homemade or I'll get a bad grade," he informed me. This is perfect because not only do pretzels take about 5 hours to make, I don't have any yeast in the house. So, I have to run to Walmart to pick some up. And, I'm currently wearing an outfit that would guarantee me a place on the Damn! So, I have to change my clothes and Myles and I run to Walmart.

So once we get home I have to make dinner and clean up the kitchen so that there is a usable surface free of dirty dishes that we can roll pretzels out on. This is much more work than I'm up for. None of this added stress is bothering Myles in the least. "You are going to do most of the work making these pretzels," I told Myles. Only, that didn't work out since his teachers also assigned about 3 hours of other homework to do on top of this procrastinated project.

I was elbow deep in pretzel dough, when Myles strode into the room telling me that he can put his "3 German things" in a pillow case or bag. "What 3 German things?" I ask. "We have to bring 3 German things that our immigrant would have brought with him from their country," he explained. "What are you taking?" I ask. He shrugs. So I order him to go seek out his 3 things and report back. I continued kneading pretzel dough quite angrily.

"Are their snakes in Germany?" he asks me a few minutes later. "Why?" I ask. Well, my boy spent 30 whole seconds coming up with a rock, a leaf, and a snake as his 3 things to take in his sack. "I'm pretty sure they have all these things in Germany," he tells me proudly. "Really? Do you really think that an immigrant would choose to bring a rock, a leaf, and a SNAKE along on the long long journey across the ocean to the United States. Those are the 3 things he'd want in his bag?" His face fell as he realized that I wasn't impressed at his tiny little effort on this project. He stalked out of the room to hunt down some better "German things".

I was now ready to hide sauerkraut inside of these pretzels as punishment for dumping all of this on me so last minute.

So, while the pretzel dough was rising, we found 3 better "German things". He took an old book of mine that is written in German (the book was published in 1925 and his immigrant came over in 1905, but close enough), he drew a German flag, and out of desperation, we threw in a recipe for German potato salad (that's still better than a snake). If I were coming to the US from Germany, I know I wouldn't want to leave behind my German potato salad recipe. Then we had about 5 minutes to spare in which we crafted some lederhosen out of colored paper and staples. (He had asked me if I had any lederhosen that he could just borrow for his costume, but unfortunately I had already worn my to work that week and they were in the laundry.)

I have yet to see the grade on our last minute project, but I'm hoping we did alright. Really, the pretzels alone should have earned him an A+. But, in fairness, I have passed along the curse. He, too, will have procrastinating offspring.

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