California Dreamin’ On This Dreary Day

So, today I stood on a corner and held a sign. They said this one wasn’t so big that it would blow me away. (The last one I held was way bigger than me and almost knocked me off my feet a few times.) This was an arrow sign, so it was much smaller and easier to handle, but still big enough to have a little fun with when the wind blew, like leaning into the wind to see how much of my weight it could support.

The weather was dreary again. There was a little misty rain to go with the gray skies. It was all just enough to make me glad I was outside rather than cooped up in the house, which can sometimes make me feel like I’m surrounded by the dreariness. It was dreary enough that the song California Dreamin’ was playing in my mind.

It’s interesting the things you see when you are standing on the street corner. Someone in a plumbing truck waved enthusiastically. I think I know who what was; I’ll have to ask him if that was him. Two other people in a car waved at me and I’m not sure who they were. They sure seemed to know me, or else they just didn’t want the sign holder to be bored.

Sign holder. That’s what I consider myself. They called me a “sign spinner” at the place where I picked up the sign. Spinner? Seriously? Where would I even practice that, I wondered? I don’t have a practice sign, and what about that pesky wind that blows almost every single day here? We couldn’t stand summer without it, so it has its good points. But, have you seen those guys on YouTube who really spin the signs? I just watched the 2013 competition. There wasn’t a single lady of a certain age. Like grandma age. Like me. So, I rock it like the grandma that I am – just gently in my hands, keep it moving to attract attention. They’d have to pay me more to get me to turn cartwheels and stuff. People would be having wrecks because they’d be laughing so hard at grandma all tangled up in the sign. Better not do that.

Speaking of wrecks, I saw two almost wrecks. The only folks who have a “left turn yield on green” sign are the ones that are turning in front of traffic that passes right by where I stand. The first wreck would have been two heavy pickup trucks, and the one coming through was going fast enough that vehicles and their parts would have been headed in my direction if they collided. That’s when I thought about what I’d do if there was a crash. I’d drop the sign and run, that’s what I’d do! The sign will be OK laying on the ground and I can go back and pick it up when all the flying parts have landed. Then call 911 and check on my fellow travelers and see if they are OK.

I saw a vacuum cleaner salesman drive by who has been selling those things for years! He must be about 80. At least. He sells Electrolux, and he sold vacuum cleaners to my grandma and to my mom. Guess where they got the bags for those vacuum cleaners? From this salesman! He came to their houses regularly to sell them more bags. And he’s still at it! Can you imagine? Wow.

If you like to watch people and make a few bucks while you’re at it, this isn’t too bad. Hey, maybe I’ll know the Corvettes by the sound of their engines before too long. Ah, love that sound.

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Joshua’s First Experience With Subtraction

When our three sons were growing up we homeschooled them. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the day that our middle son, who was six years old at the time, opened his math workbook and saw subtraction problems. He said, “What is this?” I said something like, “Oh, Joshua, I need to explain. That’s subtraction. It’s a bit different from what you’ve been doing. Instead of making more, you take some away.”

And before I could say anything else or show him how it works, he spoke up and said something like, “What? I don’t understand. What do these people want? Who wrote this? I don’t know what these people were thinking. What do they expect? I’m going to bed!” And he did.

I followed and talked with him for a bit and saw that he really needed to calm down about it before we tried again.

A couple of days later I got out the felt board and the felt fish and felt seashells that we used to illustrate math lessons. I called Joshua and his little brother to come see something. Without using the word “subtraction” or saying anything at all about the day Joshua went to bed, I ¬†proceeded to illustrate subtraction. I showed them a group of five fish. While showing three fish swimming away from the others, I asked them, “If five fish are swimming along together and three swim away, how many are left?”

Joshua jumped up and said, “Where’s my math book! I want to do my math!” I was having fun with the felt, but he was already up and running to get his book.

I guess some of us just don’t always react with calmness to big changes that seem to be suddenly thrust upon us. Especially when we are young.