I spent most of the week in Virginia at a 3-day event for a client. The client site is in a fairly rural area, so we typically stay at a Marriott Courtyard that's about 30 minutes away. That means that on a good morning, we have to be up pretty darned early to get ready, drive there (well, take a cab), make sure we're all set up and greet people as they arrive. In this case, on the first morning I needed to be up by 5:30 for a 7:00 departure from the hotel. So I set the alarm on my iPhone and went to sleep.
The next thing I was aware of was my iPhone - it was making a sound, and as I dragged myself into consciousness, my first coherent thought was "that's not my alarm tone." No, it wasn't. It was a phone call from a colleague saying it was 7:00. The bad news is that I had overslept by 90 minutes. It turns out I'd neglected to switch the AM/PM setting on the alarm. Textbook. The "good" news was that our cab was going to be 30 minutes late due to icy weather in the area. You know those scenes in cartoons where the Tazmanian Devil whirls around in a blur to get from one place to another? Add wet hair and lip gloss, and that was me.
So that was a good scare and really jolted me out of bed. You'd think that would be the end of its impact, but you'd be wrong. That evening I set my alarm and went to bed, only to wake up approximately 87 times, each time with that special brand of "omigodwhattimeisitdidioversleep?" Although my alarm was set for 5:45, when I woke up again at 5:15, I finally gave in. Rinse and repeat for the next night.
I arrived home late on Friday night, so Alex was already asleep. The next morning while we were talking he asked me if I'd had any dreams the night before. I didn't remember. Alex said he wasn't sure what he dreamed. Then he paused thoughtfully and added, "I was probably just dreaming about you coming home."
Alex is quite the amateur astronomer. He can draw most of the constellations by heart. He knows dozens (perhaps over 100) galaxies and other space objects by sight and, in most cases, can give their name, their catalog number (either the Messier number or the New General Catalog- NGC- number). On the trip home I read about a new planet discovery and was sure to share the news with him on Saturday. In the story I showed him, there was also an image of a galaxy. He said "That's NGC-253." I looked at the caption and it said "Sculptor Galaxy" so I asked him, "Are you sure, sweetie? This says it's Sculptor." He looked at me with pity and said, "Yes Mommy, that's the same thing. NGC-253 is Sculptor." Okay then.
On Sunday he pulled up a page of galaxy images and asked me to draw some of them. I decided to test him, so I began pulling up images in ways that he couldn't see the captions. Of about 40 we looked at, he knew about 90%. And when I say he knew them, I mean he not only knew the name, he knew the catalog number and in the majority of cases, in which constellation the object can be found. In many cases, he could also tell me approximately how many light years from Earth the object is. Color me amazed.
Alex ended up staying up late last night and saw the beginning of "The Office" after the Super Bowl. As Dwight created a fire drill with an actual fire, Alex began singing "Dwight started the fire!" Real Office fans will totally understand what this means. The kid apparently knows his Office history.