November 28, 2007
You know how it is. Some mornings things don't unfold like you think they should. That happened to me today. I had put off something until the last minute that I need to do before my first class at 9:30, but of course, Erin was doing her impression of slow and slower. I drummed my fingers on the dining room table and re-read the paper, while she took ten minutes to eat two L'il Sizzlers. I went up and brushed my teeth a second time while she moseyed her way through her fruit bowl. I pulled the car next door to transfer the dozen boxes Erin's school needed for their food drive from my mom's car into my van, while she nibbled at her toast. Finally, I gave her the green light on taking her meds, so she could find her shoes and do her bathroom duties in preparation for departure.
I carried her backpack to the car and remembered that the sensor for one of my tires had been lighting up every morning since the cold front came through. I had the idea of topping it off with the air compressor while I waited for Erin. I took a reading with my handy digital air gauge: 30.0 lbs. which explained the electronic warning. Thirty pounds is right on the cusp of where the sensor is activated. I hauled out the air compressor, plugged it in, and gave the right, front tire a big drink of air (aiming at 35 lbs.) I took another reading: 26.5 lbs. Oops. I must not have gotten the device seated. Another try, another reading: 23.0. Once more: oh no, 18.0 lbs.
By now Erin was in the van making noises like, if you don't hurry, mom, I'm going to be late for school. I told her to move her stuff into Walter's car and left everything else just laying around, knowing that I would have to make the round trip, figure out something to do about my tire and how to get the boxes delivered, and race to campus.
By the time I made it home, Walter had found a way to suck seven more pounds of air out of the tire, and now he was running as late as I was. Eventually, we put all of our common sense together with all of our advanced degrees and figured out that someone (named Vickie) had set the regulator of the compressor down to 10 PSI (when she aired up a dozen soccer balls last month) and had not returned it to its regular setting. The physics majors among us knew what was going on as soon as I started the story, and the rest of you had quickly figured out that the air pressure inside the tire had to have been greater than in the compressor tube, or we wouldn't have lost so much air so quickly. We would have probably figured it out when the tire pressure fell below ten pounds and started taking air again.
I made it to school with the boxes and to work in time to finish my unfinished business, barely. I felt a little off all day until I came up to my desk to do this entry. I found the rough draft of the letter Erin recently wrote at school as a project to support the U.S. soldiers in Iraq. Here is the actual letter, but I will also translate it for you below so that you don't have to squint:
"Hello!" My name is Erin. I'm a 10 year old girl living in Bryan TX. I was told by my teacher that you needed cheering up. So I told myself I would write about my life which is pretty interesting. Let me begin. When I was 5 years old I was diagnost with a type of cancer cald neuroblastoma which is a solid tomer cancer that happens when one cell starts to not obeay your body. My tomer was about the size of a subway sandwitch [she draws an oval here and says "like this but life size"]. For many months I spent my time in the hospital. Sometimes I had to stay through Christmas. Then, when it seemed like everything was getting better, I relapsed (meaning another tomer had grown), so I went through the process again and a third time too, for yet another tomer had grown. Then on my 9th birthday I went to D.C. to lobby for pediatric cancer funding (meaning money for children's cancer) because the medicine I have to take right know is 30 years old and at first only adults could use it. When I got to D.C. I met our Congress man Chet Edwards and we were best friends immediately. The next time he came to Bryan he invited me to an Aggie football game. I met his family, and we went to the Presidential buffet. There we met former President Bush. Later Chet sent me a flag that flew over the capital on my birthday when I was there. I lobbied again this summer and this time my friend Nico came with me (He will be writing too). Now I am a happy girl, almost normal except for my memories. By the way I'm very interested in politics and when I grow up, I'm going to be the President of the U.S. I hope this cheered you up.
I have to say that reading over that letter made small potatoes of my not-very-good start to my day. I, too, hope this cheered you up.