That's how I was feeling at 5:35 on Friday afternoon, as I walked out of the county courthouse. I'd appeared as per my jury duty call at 1:30 on a Friday afternoon, rather than writing in for a postponement. The call said (as these calls usually do) that most jurors serve 1-3 days, and I looked at my schedule and realized that I wasn't teaching Friday, or Monday, and I'm furloughed on Tuesday, and that I could, if absolutely necessary, cancel meetings on Wednesday. In that way, I could do my service without postponing or rescheduling. I should say right now that I actually (in that terribly idealistic way I have sometimes) really believe in doing things like jury duty, the same way I believe in defending freedom of speech, even when I think that people are saying really really stupid things, and in paying my taxes, even when I think the money is being spent on ridiculousnesses. It's the principle. And sometimes, principles are important, and worthy of defense, and worthy of some time and effort.
So, off I went, a pile of grading and a sock to knit in hand, prepared to either wait or be a juror in a short trial. (I should mention, by way of proof of my generally good attitude towards these things, that the last time I was called, I went and served as the forewoman of a jury for a three-day trial.) It turns out that they are looking for jurors for an eleven-week trial. And it turns out that, when looking for jurors for an eleven-week trial, there is something about seeing a juror form with the box for "government employee" checked that just charms them to pieces, because the government will pay its employees for the duration of their jury service, rather than just for the required five days, so that they can't claim financial hardship for serving on a long trial (code: LT). Note to self: do NOT check the "government employee" box on future jury forms.
They also say that there are five possible excuses for not serving on an LT (they use that code, not I). Those excuses include necessary care of others. So, I checked that box (quite truthfully) and said that I have an 11 and an 8 year old, who are out of school at 3 each day, except on Mondays when the 11-year-old is out at 1:45. And that I'm the picker-upper. This is true. And quite frankly, I think it's a lot to ask of any parent of young children that they serve on an 11-week trial. What if one of them got the flu? Or...? Another acceptable excuse is pre-paid, non-refundable travel. As in our trip to Cincinnati in October. But I didn't put that, because I kind of thought the first one trumped all, since it starts mattering this week, when I'm supposed to be picking them up from school. And I didn't put (because this is not considered a valid excuse) the fact that I'm teaching 117 students in classes for which there are no available substitute faculty (ask me how I know), in a semester when they were limited to registration for 13 units, in classes that are required for their graduation.
I have to appear again on Tuesday afternoon. Apparently once I appeared, I was bound to the court, and if I don't come back when they tell me to, they can and will put out a bench warrant for my arrest. Now, if I'd decided to be a laggard, and just sent in the dratted form requesting a postponement, I would not be in this predicament, and my need to be available to pick kids up after school would have been acceptable. But since I went to the court, they can now call me back in to question whether that excuse is a valid one. Rick is worrying (there's no way he can pick up kids every single day for eleven weeks), and my department chair is worrying (there are no adjunct faculty available to teach the classes I teach; we've tried to find some to teach extra sections, and they're just not out there), and I'm sick to my stomach. No good deed, indeed!
On the other hand, sometimes good deeds are worth their weight in gold. Today, Yarning For You hosted a Knit for the Cure, a good deed which deserves three cheers, and the girls and I all went, to be greeted by the statues out in front of the store, dressed up for the occasion.
They were all dressed up in the donations that have been received thus far (these will be auctioned off to raise funds for the Susan Komen foundation).
There were goodies laid out for snacking.
And good company for knitting with.
It got a lot more crowded by the end of the day. The girls had come so that Older Daughter could earn some of her required volunteer hours for school by helping out. They cleaned up the back/sale room by straightening out the bins of yarn, and rewinding yarn that had come out of shape.
Older Daughter also started a baby hat to donate to the auction; it's quite darling, and I'll be sure to share pictures when it's done. I started a pair of fingerless mitts with the rest of the Lime and Violet Intentions yarn that I used to knit socks last year for my friend who was doing the three-day walk. At the end of their volunteer time, the girls each got two balls of yarn from the sale room; apparently some good deeds do get the rewards they deserve. It was a wonderful day, with lots of good conversation and laughter, and it was exactly what I needed before starting a new week.
I also spent some time doing recovery knitting this weekend (as in: recovering from the last week). I'm making serious progress on the Urban Aran. Here's the completed back:
And one front half plus some of the second (the back is also in that picture, there on the right).
At this rate, I think I might have a shot at finishing this in time for our trip to Cincinnati after all. Assuming that I'm not a juror in an eleven-week trial. Can everyone please think non-jurist thoughts in my direction, please? Meanwhile, I'm going to go read Lord of the Rings to the girls; we've just caught back up with Sam and Frodo, and they're dying to hear what happens next.