Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Science Unfair!

Hubby owes me. Owes me big.

"Hey Nona, how'd you like to be one of the judges for the 6th grade Science Fair? It's easy. I'll give you a rubric and instructions and Starbucks!"

What hubby failed to mention is that it would take me most of the school day to get through only half of what I was supposed to, and that they would be well...rather atrocious, honestly. Perhaps my expectations exceeded that which an average 12-year old can produce, or perhaps projects with names like "Sticky Crystals" really are as bad as they sound.

I did learn a few things, however. Important things I'd like to now share with you. (Knowledge not shared is knowledge wasted, after all.)

1. When bullets are shot into a phone book they look less like bullets and more like smashed pieces of metal.
2. It is no longer necessary to crack an egg to remove the yolk and white-- simply soak it in acid and the shell will dissolve right off! (A cook's tip for ya!)
3. Replacing candle wicks with shoelaces does not make for a romantic ambiance when lit. And, on a worse note, there goes your running shoes.
4. Don't buy Revlon liquid foundation. Just...don't.
5. Baby chicks can be dyed all sorts of colors. It still remains to be seen whether they can be flavored. I'd like a coconut-curry chick, please!
6. If you boil maple syrup and then freeze it, you may discover some crystals-- but how does that help your pancake situation? Two words: it doesn't.
7. Alka-seltzer will re-energize flat pop (and make it taste deliciously like medicine!).
8. Next time your child complains they are afraid of the dark, simply place a lightbulb in their mouth and hand them a balloon to rub on their head-- instant night light!
9. If you attempt to grow a plant in a jar upside-down and without soil, it will die.
10. A burning question is answered: Oreos and pureed kiwi are not a good flavor combination. And to think I might have tried it!

But the biggest disappointment? I did not see one, no not one, erupting volcano. Is that even legal? All I know is that if hubby thinks he's paid the debt with a measly tall Chai tea, he's has grossly underestimated how much he owes me. I'm thinkin' we need to head back to Starbucks....

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Cuttin' A Rug

LM can be quite smooth with the ladies. Quite smooth indeed.

Tonight we went to a 50s themed dinner at my father-in-law's retirement home. They served hot dogs and hamburgers and had a live band come and play oldies. The girls who serve the residents at dinnertime are mostly high school age, and LM was quite taken with them. After dinner he found a group of the girls hanging around the root beer float station, and went over for a little chat. We couldn't hear what he was saying, but when a few of them doubled-over in laughter and a third started fanning her crimson face I decided it might be time to intercede.

Me: "Hey, LM, whatcha doin' over here?"
Girl 1: "He's entertaining us!"
Me: "I'll bet he is! Is he using his manners?"
Girl 2: "Oh yes! He's sooooo funny!"
Me: (looking at LM for any signs of guilt) "Mmm-hmm."
LM: "I was just sayin' I'd help them finish off all this pop!"
Me: (I glanced at the numerous 2-liter bottles) "I don't think so, bud. One glass is enough."
LM: "But who will help us then? Maybe we need to get some old people over here."
Girls: (laughing again).
Me: "Well, I don't think it's anything we need to worry about."

Soon after this exchange the music began, and LM really, really likes to dance. He sidled up to a cute little gal and started to fidget, eyes darting everywhere but at her. I'm not used to seeing him so nervous-- usually he has no inhibitions, and certainly no shyness to speak of. Hmmmmm. But I soon found out what the cause of all the anxiousness was. "Mom, can I ask her to dance?" he asked me, loud enough for the girl to hear. I looked at her questioningly-- I wasn't sure if she'd be up for it. But she just smiled and nodded her head. So I leaned down to LM and told him what to say.

LM: "Hi, my name's LM, would you like to dance with me?"
Girl: "Sure!"

He took her hand and led her to the dance floor. Elderly eyes sparkled in amusement. They began to dance, and LM was stiff and jerky, trying to study the other dancers to see how it was done. He coaxed the girl into a spin, and she never stopped grinning. (Neither did I.) I heard her ask, "do you like dancing?" To which LM replied frankly, "No, not really." And that set her to giggling once again.

When it was over LM marched off the dance floor, leaving his "date" behind (I reminded him to go back and thank his sweet partner). "Were you nervous the first time you danced with Dad?" he asked me. "Yep, I think I was," I answered, "but you won't have to be nervous next time, right? 'Cause you've already done it now." He thought about that a minute. "Right!" he finally answered.

Ruby was aghast at this entire episode, but I just smiled at her knowingly. "Babe, don't feel left out-- next time I'll see if one of the boys wants to dance with you." Her eyes shot daggers at me. "You wouldn't really, would you?" she asked as menacingly as she could fake. I didn't answer, just looked at her with mischief written all over my face. I'm sure going to enjoy these next few years....

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Not-So-Magic School Bus

I get some of LM's best quotes when we're in the car going to school every morning-- he's an incessant chatterbox first thing in the day. Unfortunately, that means I forget most of his best quotes. (Hey, it's dangerous to drive and write at the same time!) But this morning was a little different, because he repeated the same story (well, a version of it anyway) over and over and over and over....

See, last night he got locked in a school bus. His own fault, really. It was at hubby's school, and hubby was supposed to be "watching" the kiddos while I ran to an appointment. And in order to amuse themselves while I was gone, the kids decided to play a fun game of hide-and-seek-- and instead of hiding behind bushes and in classroom closets like normal children would do, mine took it up a notch.

LM saw the empty bus sitting in the parking lot and decided he'd like to check it out. So, he hopped on (don't ask me how he was able to get on the bus but not off). We're not sure how long he was trapped inside before one of the kids in the campus daycare spotted the little boy pounding on the bus windows for help, but long enough to make my fearless little boy begin to have some concerns about where he would be spending the night. Hubby ran outside and, sure enough, there was our son trapped inside a big, yellow prison. Hubby had to instruct LM on how to open one of the windows so he could crawl out. All in all, a very successful day of parenting for hubby.

So, back to this morning. LM was actually excited to go to school today (woohoo!) because he couldn't wait to tell his teacher about his fun adventure the night before. In fact, he wanted to practice by role-playing with me. And then practice again. And again. And again.... For the 1/2 hour round trip it takes for me to drop Ruby off at school and make the loop back for LM (the long way around) I got to hear him tell his version of the story. And it morphed.

LM: "Hey teacher, can I tell you something?"
Me: "Yep."
LM: "Last night I got locked in a school bus!"
Me: "Oh no! How did that happen?"
LM: "Oh, I'm just picky about hiding spots."
Me: "Ummmm...."
Ruby: (prompting in a whisper) "LM, tell her it was because we were playing hide-and-seek."
LM: "I was playing hide-and-seek!"
Me: "Where at?"
LM: "At my dad's school!"
Me: "Were you scared?"
LM: "I thought I was going to cry! But my dad got me out."
Me: "Bummer! I'm sure glad to see you're okay!"

And then it became something like this:

LM: "Hey teacher, can I tell you something?"
Me: "Yep."
LM: "Last night I was playing hide-and-seek, and I was picky about my hiding spot and I wanted to see the inside of a bus, so I got on and then couldn't get out!"
Me: "Oh my! Where was this?"
LM: "At my dad's school. And he had to show me how to crawl outta the window! I was really scared."
Me: "Oh, I'm glad you're okay!"

And eventually....

LM: "Hey teacher, I got locked in a bus because I'm picky and my dad had to open a window."
Me: "Huh?"

I'm estimating that I got to hear that story about 15 times in the car this morning. I wonder how many more times LM will tell it today, and at what point it will become completely incomprehensible...or worse.... "What? Your daddy locked you in a school bus last night??" Hmmmmm, perhaps I should send an email to his teacher later today to clarify.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

If I Had A Hammer....

We have begun some home projects around here. We have about a million of 'em. Mostly just little details that were never finished, or items that have been broken or worn out, nothing too major...yet. But as is usual with projects, one thing leads to another until you've shelled out half your life savings for what you thought was a simple lightbulb change. Our upstairs bathroom sink was cracked, so hubby thought, hey, what a great weekend project! Well, one thing led to another.... We now have a new sink, pedestal, plumbing and a splash guard for the shower. (And two new mini-projects that were spawned by the sink replacement, which are, of course, still unfinished.) Aye, aye, aye. Two steps forward, one step back....

But let's step forward into some quotes, shall we? (Ugh, still struggling with those segues....)

1. LM: (riding in the car, halfway to our destination) "I have to go PEEEEEEEEEEE!!!"
Hubby: "Don't think about it! Just think about bunnies running in a field instead."
Me: "Can you do it, bud?"
LM: "No! I'm thinking about bunnies peeing!"

2. Hubby: (as I crawled into bed and who, let it be known, remained asleep for this entire interaction) "Take it easy! No need to get wild! You almost kicked me in the balls-- and that's the last thing I need!"
(In my defense, his balls were never in any danger.)

3. Occupational Therapist: (speaking of the annoying music accompanying a software program) "Let's turn the sound on the computer down."
LM: "Thanks! You just gave me my desire!"
Occupational Therapist: (turning to me) "Does he just crack you up at home?"
Me: "Yep."

4. LM: "Mom, who will I look like when I'm older?"
Me: "Like Popi."
LM: "Awesome!"

5. Mister: (when asked by his mother about the huge booger in his hair) "I tried to put it on my knee, but it got my knee dirty, so I put it on my tummy, but it wouldn't stick, so I put it in my hair!"
(And we weren't worried about our hair being dirty? Hmmmm, I'm having trouble tracking with the 2-year old logic here.)

6. The Bopper: (upon seeing a black lady in the drive-thru window) "Look, Mom! She's a African girl! She lives in Africa!"
(A bit sheltered, are we?)

7. LM: (after the girlish screams in the basement-- coming from Ruby and her friend-- had finally ceased) "Let me go see if they're dead yet."
Me: "If they're dead??"
LM: "Yeah, the screaming stopped."
(Oh, of course, I see....)

8. LM: "I had the worst day ever! All because of girls!"
(Get used to it, bud.)

9. The Bopper: (after her brother had said something she clearly found distasteful) "That a stupid thought, Mister. That stupid!"
(I'm posting this one trusting that The Bopper will be safe from any disciplinary repercussions.)

10. LM: (responding to his sister's food aversions) "Ruby, just man-up about mushrooms-- they're tasty!"
(Yeah, Ruby! Man-up!)

Have a great week, everyone!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


I got stuck doing outside lunch recess duty yesterday at LM's school. I hate outside lunch recess duty. Especially when it's dumping huge, heavy, wet flakes of snow. The kind that melt immediately upon impact, soaking freezing water into your clothes, hair and skin. Brrrrrr! But the worst part of recess duty? Kids. Yikes, I know-- that sounds horrible.

Actually, I like kids. Really! I like kids when they come in groups of ones, twos or threes. Maybe four...maybe-- if I've had a lot of sleep the night before and there's the promise of chocolate sometime later in the day. But dozens or hundreds of kids at once? They make me feel like Lenny from Of Mice and Men. I'm like a big, dumb, slow oaf surrounded by dozens of overactive puppies. Not a good combination (you know how it ended for poor Lenny, after all). I get all flustered and confused by their incessant chatter and hyperactivity. They come and ask me questions like, "why do you have a nose ring?" and "are you Mrs. So-and-So's sister?" and "can I go inside and call my mom? I want to go home!" Being asked these questions one at a time would be fine, but that's never the case. They come rapid-fire, another being asked before I can answer the previous. And, to top it off I have to, you an authority figure and stuff. I'm no good at that-- and they know it. Kids have an internal radar for auntie-types like me. The other recess supervisors possess an innate ability to come across as drill sergeants. They pretty much have "don't mess with me, there are a thousand different ways I can use this whistle to cause you extreme pain" tattooed across their forehead. While I have, "Hi, I'm Lenny" tattooed on mine. My walkie-talkie is constantly chirping at me with directions.

Walkie-talkie: "Nona, don't let the kids throw snowballs."
Me: "What? Don't let the kids roll snow walls?"
Walkie-talkie: "No. Throw snowballs."
Me: "Okay!" "Hey, kiddos, could you do me an eensy-weensy favor? Please stop throwing snowballs, or I'll have to...uh...write your name down. And I don't wanna have to go to such extremes."
Kids: (sizing me up before running off to a more private area in which to throw snowballs).

Walkie-talkie: "Nona, make that kid put on his coat or he has to stay inside for recess."
Me: "Okay!" "Hey, buddy, aren't you cold out here without a coat?"
Kid: (shakes head).
Me: "Well, even so, you gotta put on that coat. You don't wanna miss recess, do ya?"
Kid: (shakes head).
Me: "Great!"
Kid: (runs off to a more private area in which to not wear his coat).

And while all this is going on, I usually have a Kindergartner attached to my leg, a sixth grader who is asking me if I like to eat pizza, and a fourth grader who is trying to inconspicuously white wash a first grader's face in the snow. Kids are crying, shouting, chattering.... And I am standing there looking like a deer caught in headlights. Immobile. This is the point where I usually just go to my happy place until recess is over.

By the end of the hour, I'm exhausted, and have vowed to spend the rest of my life alone in a mountain cabin, becoming a crazy bear-lady or something like that. (Because bears seem less daunting than children somehow.)

Some of you are asking yourselves, "if she hates it so much, why doesn't Nona just say NO?" And that is an excellent question. It is certainly not because of the stellar pay I receive. Nor is it because secretly I love children and am just writing a snarky post for the heck of it. Nor is it for my son, who refuses to have anything to do with me when I'm out in the field (he's much too busy to bother with Mom). In fact, I've spent a few minutes here racking my brain for any possible explanation, and none has presented itself. So, apparently, I also have "sucker" written on my forehead.

Ah, but look at the time! I have to go get ready, folks. They asked if I could do recess duty again today....


Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Just so you know, it takes over a week to get the coffee smell outta your hair after you've tried to dye it with said coffee. Hmmmm, I'm adding that to the list of homemade hair-dye cons.