Tuesday, December 29, 2009

By today, all five lights had been fixed.

Yesterday, Maggie and I went out to "scout" another street on which we'll be checking the lights. Since we went before dinner and before sunset, we couldn't really check for unlit lamps at the time, but I noticed that there were one or two lights that were on in daylight. I recalled seeing on the CentrePoint web site that this is a condition we can report to them. I am making a mental note of this for the future; once we knock out the night-dark lamps, we can go back and log the day-lit lamps. I might save that for the summer when the sun is up past Maggie's bedtime.

As to the street lights we'd already reported to CentrePoint, it'd been a few days, but tonight we finally got a chance to go back out and have another look at them. All five lights we reported dim/out have been fixed! Maggie was very gratified to see the results of our action. That pleased me because by today her enthusiasm for our little project had already started to flag a little bit; not much keeps her attention for long, so I wasn't sure she was going to be able to keep her head in the game.

I starting to get a feel for her attention span in the shorter term, though - it looks like we can go about 6 blocks before she loses interest and wants to go home. I'll have to start planning around that; Once we get the lights near our house repaired, we'll have to drive out and park to get streets further away (hopefully her endurance will improve, though, and driving will come later than soon).

Now that we have covered a couple of streets, I figure one of my next steps will need to be the creation of a map of our neighborhood marked up with lamppost locations so we can cross them off as we go. I'm not sure how to proceed on that: I really like "real" maps, and there's no shortage of maps out there that we could download and print out, but I also think it might be worthwhile to work with Maggie and build the map ourselves on a big piece of paper (probably using google maps, the county appraisal district maps, or even CentrePoint's maps for reference). I don't think Maggie has a sense of how maps work yet, but I think she would be eager to learn.

There are a couple of other valuable reasons to build the map. It could help to pull the project together for her (that is, let her get her head around it) and give her a tangible connection to the lights in our neighborhood. it should give me a (desperately needed) tool to organize the project. Hopefully it'll give Maggie some exposure to the kinds of tools and methods one can use to do this kind of work: she's always been disinclined to even start any project that seems "too big" (she gets this from me, I suppose; for me, it's a function of ADD, which has a hereditary component...). With the map, I hope to help Maggie learn to approach big projects by breaking them down into smaller units. The best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time, right? In this case, the street light project is the elephant, and I hope that making our own map will be the knife and fork.

In any case, It looks like we are on track to get the job done. I'm excited!