Do you like these groovy Zome sculptures? Chaim’s math students made them while exploring excess dimensions or something. I always enjoy talking to my mathematician friends, because their view of the world is quite different from mine. (And yes, actually, I have quite a few mathematician friends and acquaintances. I don’t know why). Chaim and I were talking about a Zome structure one day and he was referring to parts of it that did not appear to be there. When I asked about them, he looked at me oddly and said that of course they were in other dimensions.

My mother writes science fiction, so I can take these things in stride. But I had always understood that the only other dimension — besides the three with which we are all familiar — was time.

#1 daughter and I are both grappling with a time issue. She, as a young Navy wife, is thinking about taking a job outside her home. Navy wives have lots of duties, I should explain for the benefit of those not in the Navy. And I had been toying with the idea of taking on an extra little part-time job in addition to my full-time one. I have had an expensive summer, what with car repairs, new glasses for the family, Trebuchet Physics camp, back to school and whatnot. Not even mentioning dreams of The Celtic Collection and a Siv in Brilla. And the coming semester’s college tuition.

But both of us are wondering what effect this might have on our home lives. Since I am currently working about 60 hours a week, I think I have had the opportunity to find out, and I have to say that extra working hours makes the domestic arrangements go to H -E -double hockeysticks in a handbasket.

A simple comparison will show what I mean.

Dinner before BTS (back to school): whole-grain pasta with Sauce Therese made with tomatoes and basil from our own garden, fresh garden salad, baguette from local artisan bakery, and homemade lemon-oatmeal cookies.

Dinner during BTS: takeout pizza

Breakfast before BTS: fresh blueberry buckwheat pancakes, melon from the garden, and skim milk

Breakfast during BTS: leftover pizza

Laundry before BTS: clean clothes daily, clean sheets weekly

Laundry during BTS: laundry?

Housework before BTS: daily cleaning of bathroom and kitchen, weekly dusting and vacuuming, supervision of kids’ chores.

Housework during BTS: occasional flinging of things into the trash, accompanied by loud complaining.

I could go on, but the difference is clear.  Perhaps we should remind ourselves that, as The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday, money does not buy happiness. You could tell that it pained them to admit this. But it is true. Given the basics of food, shelter and clothing, people who earn more are no happier than people who earn less. So it may be that making sure our families have good food, clean clothing, and pleasant shelter will be of more benefit to them than arranging that they have more material goods.

The material good I am working on right now is the second pair of Wool-ease socks. I am using one of the many variants of leaf lace. The whole trick to working lace in the round when the pattern is written for the flat is to choose a lace which has alternate rows knitted as presented, or all knit or all purl (of course, you will have to reverse that, doing the all-knit as all-purl and vice versa). This covers probably half the laces in your knitting stitch pattern book. Then, after a couple of rows of serious concentration (i.e., put down your book), you will find it just as easy as knitting it flat.