Recently I was presented with an offer I couldn't refuse. Someone needed some items from somewhere and they would pay me to get them.
The "somewhere" was Woodson Research Center (WRC), which is the special archives section of the library at Rice University. I've always wanted to go there, but never had a reason. It's an archive, so you can't just browse the shelves. Now I had a list and a purpose.
The problem? My usual child care connection (aka school) was closed for the summer. My kid isn't old enough to stay home alone, but he is old enough to behave in fancy places. Should I take the chance? Did I have a choice?
The morning of the trip, I filled my bag with entertainment suitable for a tween. On impulse, I also included my netbook just in case there was free wifi.
Staff at the WRC were very nice. They got me situated (locker, pencil, lessons on how to use the scanner & copier). Then I got my son situated. He had his Nintendo ("Mute it," I said), his comic books and--praise the Lord--Internet on my netbook thanks to free wifi in the library.
After three hours of document retrieval and scanning (and scanning, and scanning), the boy and I took a lunch break. We found our way to the university food court and took in the atmosphere. I really think my son liked the "grown-up" experience of hanging out at a college, especially this casual area that was louder and more relaxing than the WRC.
After lunch we headed back to the windowless archive area where I asked that he sit there and entertain himself for another three hours. And you know what? He did. Awesome kid.
So when you ask what I'll be doing on July 5th, the government recognized Independence holiday, I will tell you that I am going to be sitting in a car, waiting for trains. Because that's what my son loves, and I owe him one.
And when you ask what I'm doing next week I'll tell you that I have to go back to the WRC one more time and my son is coming with me. I'm not trying to tempt fate. I'm just determined to finish this project in a timely manner.
Wish us luck.