Monday, September 15, 2008

some people have a hard time understanding why I come home so infrequently. home, they believe, is a place of rest and relaxation, a place to recuperate away from the burdens of the academic world while safely in the bosom of the family. those people have never spent a holiday with the bishop family. you do not rest when on holiday with the bishop family. you do not relax. you certainly do not recuperate.

what you do is wake up at the crack of dawn when wild animals leap onto your bed and jump on your stomach. then it's laps in the open water, which, if you're lucky, is warmer than the air. this is good because it is mid-september and in no way an appropriate time of year to be swimming in eastern canada, with the early morning air temperature somewhere in the range of 10 to 14 C.

and what then? perhaps a nice mug of cocoa and a pile of blankets on the couch? don't you just wish. no, then it's time for chores. cook breakfast. clean your room. scrape paint off the porch in 30 mph winds.

walk the dog. meet the neighbours. weed the driveway - a pebble-covered spread roughly the size of the church parking lot that is approximately 40% stone and 60% grass and other vegetation, which includes, among other wonders, dandelions that could easily be mistaken for small shrubs. send looks of horror-touched desparation to Chief Slavedriver. "oh, come on," she says. "doesn't a part of you find this is enjoyable?" "no, a part of me finds this hopeless," you explain to her. "and the other part of me finds it futile."

when that's done, it's time for dinner. or rather, time to nibble on food while attempting to answer the tirade of questions from Chief Slavedriver and Her Accomplice. "do you know what a 401(k)? do you know the difference between 401(k)s and IRAs? do you know the difference between defined benefit and defined contribution?" "no," you respond, "but I can tell you where your motor cortex is." they shake their heads sadly. "why don't you know this? what if we were eaten by a moose tomorrow? how would you go about building your savings?"

and then, if you're really lucky, Chief Slavedriver and Her Accomplice will leave you penned up alone in the house, located two ferry rides and a long country road away from civilisation, during - conveniently - a full moon. they will leave you at the mercy of werewolves and wendigos and vengeful spirits and bigfoot while they hightail it off to the big city to party the night away.

and if you're really, really lucky, you'll survive the night and get to do it all over again the next day!

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