Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

The end of a long, hard summer.

August 24, 2018

Summer is winding down and I find myself reflecting on change. In late March my family moved to a new house in a different part of Austin. We moved 13 miles for a bigger house and better schools, but it feels like we moved across country. It’s amazing how much you can identify with a certain part of a city. The things and people I miss most are our 86 year old neighbor Cleo (Otis’ best friend), breakfast together at Dan’s Hamburgers, and my backyard office shed. I work in the guestroom of the new house (for now), it’s proving a bit more difficult with lots of tiny visitors throughout the day.

My son Otis has officially started Kindergarten. We now wake up 1.5 hours earlier than usual to get out the door by 7:15am for our 0.5 mile walk to school each morning. This rigid new schedule is a big adjustment for our family, mostly for me because I picked up a late night gaming habit. But I’m excited about introducing this new daily routine. I’m selfishly interested in how adding a mile a day of walking effects my metabolism.

Otis turns 5 next week, his birthday is two days before the enrollment cutoff and he’s the youngest kid in his grade. We spent a lot of emotional energy worrying about “redshirting” him. Popularized by Malcom Gladwell in Outliers (2008), academic redshirting is the suggestion that older children are more successful in school. The theory goes older kids are more physically capable, more emotionally mature, more verbal, and naturally attract more positive attention from teachers so they are more successful in life. It’s very popular in Texas because of high school football. There are counterpoints to evaluate, but if you view schooling as a competitive exercise (because a lot of the American education is a competitive exercise) redshirting could be beneficial. Otis is 4 but sits next to a 6 year old. That’s a big difference in kid terms.

But Otis is smart, very verbal, and a natural-born micro-manager so he seems ready to go to school. However, while I feel comfortable with our decision, I will be second-guessing myself for the rest of his life.

This summer we bought a membership to a private pool just a block from our new house. It’s a weird situation where there are a fixed number of memberships and you buy your membership off of a previous (or deceased) member. So now we have a 1/500th stake in a neighborhood rec center. Going to the pool after work has been a major life upgrade for us. Otis learned to swim this summer and Emi loves to motor around the pool in her floaty. We did have a scare this summer where Emi fell into a pool without her floaty. Thankfully, my wife was able to jump in to save her. Fearless Emi Jeanne is okay but that’s a lot of emotional energy.

There was a lot of other emotional energy expended this summer; selling a house, $20,0000 home repairs, doctor visits, bad news, outpatient surgeries, vasectomies, elderly relatives hospitalized… We’re not out of the woods yet, but hopefully this season of life will change soon.

The pool is now closed on weekdays. Summer is winding down. Hopefully the Texas heat will soon break. But like a true masochistic Texan, I’m already looking forward to next summer.