The 14-year-old, she of recent heart-surgery fame, got to talking about wanting to be the one to design the rooms for a much-wanted minor renovation of our living space. (Tip: When your children double in size, they need slightly more bedroom space than back in the glory days when you could squeeze them all into bunks like pint-sized sailors.)
The girl likes to design and decorate. She keeps begging to design my classroom for this fall (yes, me with a regular teaching job — whoa!). She has built whole neighborhoods in Minecraft, year after year of new communities. She went through a phase where she played World of Tanks with the prime object of driving around looking at the houses. And of course there have been countless 3-D models built — wood block, plastic block, cardboard doll houses, you name it.
So I told her if she wanted to design her brother’s new bedroom, she needed to get on Google SketchUp and do it there.
She grabbed the good computer (smart kid — knows when she can get away with claiming the parents’ computer) and started searching around. Periodically she’d call out with a question from the other room, but after enough times of me calling back, “Look up a tutorial on YouTube and watch that,” she quit asking for help and just figured it all out. Which was necessary, since I have never actually used SketchUp. I just knew it existed.
Five or six hours in, she declared,”This is addictive. It’s like Minecraft for adults.”
Which is when I quick started googling architecture schools. I kinda like the look of Benedictine’s program — nice balance of real art and real engineering courses (you have to dig up the student handbook-catalog to see the whole program laid out — wish they’d stick the course of study up on the website directly). By nightfall her father was already giving her the talk about how if she wanted to be an architect she’d need to spend a summer framing houses. It is possible the parents can be a little intense at times. But he’s right, of course. I pointed out she’d end up wickedly fit, and SuperHusband added she’d end up with a killer tan. The latter seemed to pique her interest.
We’re on day two of the SketchUp marathon, and if nothing else, she’s found a way to pass a long and uneventful post-op recovery. Whether it turns into a profession or not, it’s good for a teen to discover she can teach herself genuine adult professional skills.
Sample of some SketchUp art by BennedettaG, courtesy of Wikimedia, CC 3.0. L.’s drawings contain more water features. We are not building water features, FYI. Nor arches.
In other news: The boy made it to his apartment in France despite getting delayed and re-routed. I was pretty proud when I learned he’d managed to get himself and two other beleaguered travelers across Paris to catch the last TGV of the night to their destination city — complete with standing his ground with the evasive SNCF employee who was reluctant to let foreigners know national secrets about catching trains. (Eventually a supervisor showed up and insisted the minion answer questions because it was obvious the boy wasn’t going to leave until he was assisted, and the supervisor wanted to go home for the night. Mr. Boy reports all the other Parisians were quite helpful, there was just that one throwback from the days before the French discovered that “customer service” is a thing that can help draw customers to your tourist-centered economy.)
Is it nerve-wracking wondering if your sweet little baby whom you swear was only born five minutes ago is going to have to find a place to sleep in a strange city late at night? Sure. But sooner or later, a kid has to learn these arts. And he had the sense to know that if you arrive at your destination at midnight, you scrap the plan to walk to your apartment and hail a cab instead. When you let your kids practice the adult skills, they start developing the adult instincts. It is good.