July 20, 2011

This sweet old song


It’s in the 90s here and humid. Despite the river birches that shade my house, it’s pretty hot in the living room.

Boy in Black has claimed the couch. He’s got two laptop computers set up in front of him and a stack of textbooks. He’s been simultaneously doing physics research and studying for his qualifying exams. But he’s also got mono, and so he’s stretched out among the pillows, asleep. Several of the books have slid to the floor and as I pick them up, I glance at the titles: Jackson’s Classical Electrodynamics, Griffiths’ Quantum Mechanics, and Prathria’s Statistical Mechanics. Summer reading like that would put me to sleep even without mono.

My daughter works on her laptop, the keys clicking away as she writes. Smiley Girl works at the kitchen table, doing her chemistry homework with her laptop open, and With-a-Why sits next to her, helping. They keep pointing to the periodic table on her computer screen and muttering stuff about electrons and protons. Whenever they aren’t sure about something, Boy in Black lifts his head from the couch and mutters the answer.

Shaggy Hair Boy sits at the piano, playing some classical pieces, some jazz. Or sometimes he just fools around, improvising. He’s been playing with my father a lot this summer, and so he plays a lot of the old classics. The song he’s playing right now is “Georgia on my Mind” which in this hot, humid house seems wholly appropriate.


Anjali said...

And it sure is hot here in Georgia, too!

Stay cool!

Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

It was 47 degrees here this morning. There's still snow in the mountains, so much that many roads are unpassable. Yesterday, when it was 57 and raining at 4pm, I told my husband we needed to move to Miami. New York would work, too, eh?

Does thinking about that cool you down? : )


jo(e) said...

Jen: That makes me want to come visit you!

Anjali: I could never live in Georgia. Just a few days of this heat each summer is plenty. I could never handle a couple months of it.

east village idiot said...

What productive children you have! My 13 year old son would consider it martial law to be studying anything in the summer!

sheepish said...

Jackson's deadly, but Griffiths is pretty good. Don't know Prathria. Also, I'm concerned that he needs to bone up more on his quantum; I don't see any on that sheet!

jo(e) said...

Sheepish: Ha! You're right. He doesn't have any quantum on that sheet. But it's one of many sheets. Boy in Black says he uses Shankar for quantum mechanics.

Rae said...

I love this. What a wonderful family picture. And I so admire them for studying on in the heat!

YourFireAnt said...

Very atmospheric, Jo(e). One of your best pieces yet.

The minimal commentary and rhythm just right.


Kyla said...

Sounds *almost* as hot as Texas!

My 9 year old and his friend were watching a video on string theory today, for fun. Boy in Black would have approved.

Lilian said...

J, is he still sick? or was it Shaggy Hair Boy that was sick when we were there in June? Those books he's studying sound very familiar to me! ;)

This whole navy shower thing is HILARIOUS!! It'd never work for me. I try to save the environment by showering every other day or less often and open the faucet at the lowest pressure I can, but my guilty pleasure is loooong hooooot showers. ;)

jo(e) said...

Lilian: Yeah, it was Boy in Black who was sick, and it turned out to be mono, which takes a long time to get over. He's still sleeping a lot, but getting better.

Marie said...

I love this description of your family. It makes me want to be one of you! And this weather, this right here, is what made me leave Georgia. As my friend Lew said, we call it "April to October." Ugh.