Remember a few weeks ago when the White House issued the "This isn't the petition response you're looking for" response to the request that the US build the Death Star? I was reading it, and laughing, when my older son asked what was so funny. He is a Star Wars fan, so I read part of it to him. He was pretty interested in the International Space Station, so we followed the links in the response to NASA's page, where we learned how to see the Space Station in your own back yard. It turns out NASA will e-mail or text you when the Space Station should be visible in your zip code.
My son was thrilled. He received a much-wanted telescope for Christmas, and was just certain he could use it to get an even better look at the space station. We are learning how to use the telescope, but I doubt our ability to capture a moving object, so I suggested the first time we received notice the Space Station would be flying overhead, we just try to find it with our naked eyes. We live near an airport, and he insists that every plane he sees flying above us must be the Space Station.
Tuesday night we received our first e-mail that the Space Station would be near us. The e-mail detailed that the Space Station would be visible for four minutes, appearing in the northwest, and heading towards the southeast. All starting at 6:25 a.m. Wednesday morning. Unfortunately, it was raining Tuesday night, and the cloud cover was forecast to last through Wednesday. I told my son I'd wake him up, and we would just have to see what we could see.
I had dreams of going to watch the Space Station all night. I dreamed I was back in the house I grew up in, gathering my neighbors to watch. I dreamed we watched from our back deck in Boston. It was sort of nuts. I woke up at 6:15 and checked the cloud cover. There were a lot of clouds, but you could see some of the sky, and some stars, so I thought it was worth a shot. I went to my son's room, and told him he had to wake up to try and see the Space Station. He shot straight up. This never happens. He is a terror to wake up in the morning. His pleasant reaction did not last long though. He tried to get out of bed, and immediately started crying because his foot was asleep, and he couldn't walk. He started crying that he was going to miss his only chance to see the Space Station. I told him I'd carry him down the stairs.
We turned off the house alarm, and headed outside. He saw that it was cloudy, and started crying again. He was never going to see the Space Station. It wasn't worth it! (Still not sure what he means by that.) He went back inside, where he said he wasn't going to eat breakfast or do anything else. I tried to convince him to go back outside with me, explaining that by staying inside, he had a zero percent chance of seeing the Space Station, but if he went outside, his chances could only improve! He was having nothing to do with logic. I said fine, we'd try again next time, but he was convinced it would be cloudy again then. He will never see the Space Station. I told him if that was going to be his attitude, I'd turn off the notifications, and we wouldn't worry about it. He proceeded to pout through breakfast. As he was getting ready to go out the door for school, I asked why he looked so sad, and he almost broke into tears again, and said that I said I was going to take away his telescope. Goodness gracious child, I said nothing of the sort. Nothing would convince him that I wasn't going to take away his telescope.
And then I got into a fight with my husband over the shirt my son was wearing because we were all short tempered from dealing with the Space Station spotting debacle, I was pissed off my whole commute in, and ended up packing absolute crap for my breakfast and lunch because I was just throwing food into the bag.
So NASA, my son has a request. The next time you make the Space Station fly over our house, can you make sure it isn't cloudy, please?