because life doesn’t fit in a file folder

Make a Wish: It’s 12:12 on 12-12-12!

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Dad & me, dancing at my son’s bar mitzvah!

My father is 75 today!

My arithmetic-loving son wants permission to get out of class to call his arithmetic-loving grandfather to wish him a happy birthday at 12:12 PM today. You know, because he is missing out right now on account of having to go to sleep.

“Stuff like this only happens to certain people!” Tech reminded me. “You have to recognize it!”

Turns out TechSupport is right.

December, 12, 2012 or 12-12-12 will be the last date of its kind – when all three numericals in a date are the same – until January, 1, 2101. That’s 88 years from now.

However, there is a bit of a dark cloud looming over my father’s big celebration. You know, the thing about the world ending in 9 days — on December 21, 2012? We have all heard this prediction by now, yes?

It occurred to me that the usual gift I give my dad might not be the best choice this year. See, I usually make my father a calendar each December featuring photographs of family members. But if my dad only has 9 days to enjoy his present, I figured, what’s the point?

I started brainstorming cheap gifts other options that might be good to give my father, assuming the world is going to end in a little over a week.

Here’s what I have come up with:

51. Fruit From Harry & David. Because nothing says “I love you” like Royal Riviera Pears. I’m pretty sure my father could polish off a box of 9 pears in 9 days. On second thought, maybe I’ll just spring for the box of 6. Dad isn’t big on wasting things.

2. Tickets to a Show. Gotta tell ya. There isn’t much going on in Syracuse in the way of entertainment right now. But I think my dad would enjoy getting jiggy to some Gaelic music. He might love Enter the Haggis, scheduled to perform at the Westcott Theater a few days before things get ugly.

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Don’t think about your arteries. Just eat me.

3. A Gift Card to A Local Deli & Ice Cream Shoppe. My father stopped eating red meat and dairy over 20 years ago when he learned he had high cholesterol. Knowing he has just 9 days left, I’d bring my dad to a great deli and make start with a toasted sesame bagel loaded with twice the cream cheese. I’d encourage him to stick around for a hot corned beef sandwich with mustard for lunch. If he is a good boy and polishes off his hot pastrami & brisket and his knish, I’d send him to Carvel for a brownie sundae. Surely, this is not the time to be heart smart. Or kosher.

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Call me crazy, but I think my dad would dig this doll.

4. Sex Toys. With only a few days left to live, why hold back? I’m thinking it’s time for my dad to pull out the silk scarves and try at least five of the Fifty Shades with my mother. You know, if they aren’t already doing that.

mariuana165. Drugs. My father has never inhaled. With only a few days left on the planet, I would get him a baggy filled with green sticky bud, rustle up some magic mushrooms, maybe haul out that betel nut I’ve been saving for a rainy day, and give it to my father to share with my mother. What’s to lose? Those two crazy kids can stare at their hands for hours. They can ride unicorns down the rainbow or chat with imaginary parrots. Hell, they can take naked pictures of themselves rubbing food onto the green velvet wallpaper that’s been hanging in the hall since 1963. If they ration carefully, they can enjoy themselves for 9 days straight and never come down.

Of course, I don’t really believe the world is going to end on December 21st.

That’s why it is now necessary to smother my father in a some genuine daughter-love.

  • Thanks for coming to all my gymnastics meets and dance recitals, Dad. I felt your love radiating from the stands.
  • Thanks him for poking your pointer finger into the middle of my back. You definitely trained me to stand up straight.
  • Thanks for yelling at me that time I threw away the pennies. You were right. It was an ungrateful thing to do, and small change really does add up.
  • Remember the time that you sat me on a raft in the Atlantic Ocean, and I was scared, and you promised you wouldn’t let go… and you didn’t. Thanks for teaching me about trust. I know you do not make idle promises.
  • I need you to know that I could listen to you talk about anything for hours. That you set the standard against which I measure every man. That you taught me about learning from doing. About finishing what I start, whether the outcome is good or bad.
  • About standing by one’s partner, when everything is blue skies and cotton candy – but also when the toilet is over-flowing and there is poop everywhere you turn.

Oh, I also need to tell my dad that when I saw him on Saturday, I removed a particular object from his desk. The desk that he is careful to keep just so. Unfortunately, I cannot tell him which item I took or where I put it.

At first, he will freak out, but eventually he will realize that I am joking.

Like I’m joking about these crappy gifts.

We got my dad something cool, and – G-d willing — he will be able to enjoy it as he watches the next Syracuse basketball game, scheduled for December 27th.

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Happy birthday, Dad.

And congratulations on making it to ¾ of a century.

Whatever you are doing, please keep doing it.

PS: By the way, that thing we got you? That’s your Hanukkah present, too. No calendar this year. You know, just in case. So don’t hold your breath.

What gift would you recommend giving to someone whose special day falls between now and Armageddon?

tweet me @rasjacobson

 

Motorhome Mayhem: A #LessonLearned by David N. Walker

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Hi David!

David N. Walker’s blog Where The Heart Is is a tribute to the things he holds dear: his family and his faith. David is the supreme patriarch; a warm father and grandfather, he gushes about his children and grandchildren.

In Texas, they have that saying: “Go Big Or Go Home.” In the piece below, you will see David was trying to Go Big and Go Home.

I’m happy to have David here today as he shows a bit of his humorous side. You can follow him on Twitter at @davidnwalkertx.

• • •

Motor Home Mayhem

Everyone knows it’s important to read and pay attention to signs giving directions when driving. I mean, that’s too obvious even to comment on, right? Uh, not so fast there, Kimosabe.

My wife Sharon and I had spent the night in a Jellystone Park Camp-Resort that was convenient to Niagara Falls. After a delightful time at the falls and surrounding attractions, we got back to the motor home early to get ready for bed. We wanted to get an early start the next morning to get past Buffalo’s traffic rush before it started.

As soon as we got on the Queen Elizabeth Way headed for the border, we realized we weren’t the only ones who thought about beating the traffic. I don’t know what this artery looks like between 7:00 and 9:00 a.m., but it was plenty crowded even at 5:00.

Borders mean gated stops, right? We expected that, but we were amazed at how much traffic was backed up trying to get across. Glancing at the length of the lines in front of the various gates, I picked the next to farthest one to the right—a fortunate choice as it turned out. The only one farther to the right had several trucks in it, so I figured I’d get through quicker in this one.

Little by little I inched forward, one car-length at a time. When it was my turn to pull up to the attendant, I suddenly realized my motor home wasn’t going through that gate. Apparently I had missed a sign directing all  motor homes, as well as truck, to the right-hand gate, which was wider than the others.

What now? You don’t just throw a motor home in reverse when you’re pulling a car. No way the car will back straight. Besides, there was traffic behind us and in both lanes beside us.

Stuck!

As I pondered what to do, the Border Patrol agent came out of his booth and walked back to my window to tell me I was in the wrong lane. DUH!! Such useful information! I wanted to tell him I already had a wife to point out the obvious, but I decided not to antagonize him any further than I already had.

He told me I’d have to back up and move over into the right lane. I told him I couldn’t back up because of the tow car.

Have I mentioned there was traffic? About 10,000 unhappy drivers around and behind me. The nicest ones were just laughing at my predicament. Others were honking, and I’m sure there were a few single-digit waves.

I finally told the Border Patrol guy—who was being extremely nice, considering the circumstances—that I needed him to direct enough traffic out from behind me to allow me to back up. Meanwhile, Sharon would get in the car and steer it to keep it straight.

After a bit of organizing, we finally got ready to deal with all this. Mercifully, there was a lull in the truck traffic, and I was able to pull into the wide lane without further messing up anyone’s morning. The Border Patrol guy actually waved and smiled as I freed his lane to move once more.

Lesson Learned: READ THE SIGNS! They’re probably there for a reason.

Have you ever found yourself in trouble because you didn’t pay attention to the signs?

Tweet This Twit @rasjacobson

When Your Teacher Goes Off Topic: #LessonLearned by Dawn Sticklen

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• • •

Dawn Sticklen writes a blog called Since You Asked… in which she explores… well… everything. This April she did the A-Z Challenge along with a lot of other bloggers who pushed themselves to post every day with a significant word or concept that corresponded with the assigned letter of the day. I don’t think Dawn has missed a single one. And they are at Y! (Why? Because we like you!)

Dawn started her blog to write about adoption and parenting, but these days she writes about everything under the sun — which is really refreshing because you never know what you might find at Dawn’s place.

Tweet with Dawn, and you’ll see she exudes a positivity which is infectious. But not like herpes!

Folks can Find Dawn on Facebook and follow her on Twitter at @JoMoBlogger.

• • •

Ode to Sweet Jimmy

Mr. Padgett was my high school math teacher. While “Sweet Jimmy” had a disposition that was anything but, he nonetheless managed to endear himself to his students. (Well, some of us.) With arms covered in tattoos commemorating his service in the navy, Mr. Padgett’s imposing presence intimidated the typical mild-mannered high school student. In his booming voice he frequently offered his opinion about matters such as the low rate of pay afforded teachers in our district: “I am the ONLY certified mathematician employed by Nassau County and yet I receive no extra compensation for my credentials. Thus, I am compelled to teach night classes at the community college,”; or the district’s refusal to participate in the one Federal holiday deemed worthy of recognition by the ex-fighter pilot: “Once again it is Veterans Day and Nassau County is the ONLY school district in the entire state of Florida that does not feel it is important to show honor to our war veterans by giving us the day off.” This last declaration was always followed by a vivid depiction of how, while serving in Viet Nam, Sweet Jimmy’s plane was shot down and he was in a total body cast for the remainder of the war (or something like that).

Dawn's "Sweet Jimmy"

Mr. Padgett had quaint little phrases that he wrote on the board each year to help us better understand the material he was covering. Statements such as, “Pi R Squared Cornbread R Round,” helped us to remember basic formulas in geometry while, “O I C, I C Y, and I C 2,” reminded us that eventually the light will indeed come on during a lesson and we WILL understand the concepts presented to us (or else we would fail and end up in Mr. Roberts’ less challenging, albeit more practical, math class).

Mr. Padgett took time to teach us about the finer points in life, since Nassau County also refused to present solutions for the real issues teens in the 1980’s faced (you know, those unique dilemmas only those of us who graduated in 1984 dealt with – namely, sex, drugs, and rock and roll – but mostly sex). We never knew if a morning’s math lesson would also include a reality check about birth control (“You do, of course, realize that the pill must be taken more than just either before or after you have sex in order for it to work?”) or sexually transmitted diseases (“Herpes is forever; true love is not. Always use a condom.”)

One of the most memorable math lessons, though, was the day that Mr. Padgett instructed us to take our seats and prepare to pay close attention to a film he thought would prove enlightening to us. He proceeded to turn off the lights and cue the projector for a film hosted by none other than Ann Landers. For 50 minutes we listened as Ann interviewed couples infected with either herpes or gonorrhea. “What about…herpes?” became our class mantra as we tried to figure out what possessed those couples to agree to be interviewed on camera about such humiliating afflictions. (Remember, this was in the days before reality TV.)

Mr. Padgett taught us much more than just mathematics. He taught us about life, and somehow managed to teach me, personally, to respect myself enough to always put forth my best effort – no matter what the task before me.

Sadly, Sweet Jimmy died a few years after I graduated from high school. However, his legacy lives on not only as a great math teacher, but as one who helped prepare students for life in general. His impact on students’ lives has survived long after his own mortality – and how many teachers can say that?

What is the weirdest thing you ever learned in a class that had absolutely nothing to do with the course subject matter?

Tweet this Twit @rasjacobson

So You Think You’re Smart: A #LessonLearned by Jamie Golden

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Today’s guest blogger is Jamie Golden from Jamie’s Rabbits. She is consistently hilarious. I don’t know how she does it, but she does. Jamie is a 30-something single gal from Birmingham, Alabama who claims to major in sleeping. I don’t buy it. Because I am pretty sure she majors in handbags and shoes. You can follow her on Facebook or stalk her on Twitter @jamiesrabbits.

Oh, and for the love of Pete, never, ever say the word *whispering* “ladybug” in her presence. She freaks out. I don’t know if it is the word or the bug; I’m too afraid to ask.

• • •

So You Think You’re Smart
• • •

Measuring Tape 

I have always had this theory: I am smart.

This theory has been supported by sound evidence:

  • I scored in the 30’s on my ACT.
  • I graduated with honors from an expensive liberal arts college.
  • I can spell “liaison” without spellcheck.

Most importantly, there’s the size of my head.

You didn’t know head circumference is a primary indicator of intelligence? I did.

But I am smart. 

One time, my friend and I decided to measure our heads to see who had the biggest noggin.  Since we only had a yard stick, we wrapped paper towels around our head and then measured the sheets needed to go the distance. 

He was only slightly “smarter” since his upstairs was only 2 inches larger. Unfortunately, he’s 11 inches taller than me and HE’S A MAN.

I read actress Megan Fox has a 22″ waist. This means I would be unable to pull her pants over my head. I don’t know when it would be necessary to complete this task, but it wouldn’t matter. It would be physically impossible. 

But I am smart.

Despite overwhelming evidence pointing to my extreme intellect, there are a few line items supporting the contrary. 

  • Until age 29, I didn’t put food on the top shelf of my fridge because I was concerned it would get too warm due to the light.
  • I was talking on my cell phone last week and the caller asked me to email her a picture I had taken with my phone. I looked for the gadget for 8 minutes and finally told her I couldn’t find my phone.
  • While whitewater rafting, I left aspirin in the mesh pocket of my shorts and then was shocked to find them gone after swimming at lunch.
  • Recently, I was cooking and heard my cell phone ring. I didn’t know where it was, (I never know where it is) so I leaned into the air to listen and try to determine where the ringtone was originating. When I leaned forward, I knew it was in the opposite direction. When I leaned forward again, I knew it was really back in the other direction. I did this three times, before realizing the phone was in my back pocket.

Just because you think you’re smart, doesn’t make it so. 

Have you ever thought something was true about yourself only to discover you’re a liar? 

I’m Sorry The US Postal System Wrecked Your Christmas

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Dear L’il Niece and Nephew:

As you may or may not know, I absolutely hate to shop, but this year I went out and actually found cool stuff for both of you! L’il Niece, I got you that unicorn that you wanted and Nephew I was almost able to get that cool guy that you love from that awesome YouTube video to come to your house, but instead I ended up getting you a unicorn, too.

They were having a buy one/get one thing, and I figured if your sister was going to have one, what’s one more unicorn in the barn? I mean, they eat rainbows, right? So it’s not like they cost very much or anything. Anyway, I was really psyched about having completed my holiday shopping early because not only was I done in time which we all know is rare (like unicorns), but I also knew I was mailing everything with plenty of time for everything to get there in time for all the festivities.

That was waaay back on December 9, 2011.

And then, right before Christmas, your mom called me and told me that neither unicorn had arrived.

I had a bad feeling because I didn’t insure anything this year.

Anyway, as K$sha would say, I’m pretty sure I’m on the family $hit list.

And I just wanted you all to know that I apologize.

I have learned my lesson.

In the future, presents will be sent in November and from here on out, everything will be insured.

And don’t worry, your gifts will get way more interesting.

I’m thinking packs of pencils or bags of rocks.

Or both.

Anyway, I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and a great New Year.

I love you both and hope you can forgive the United States Postal Service even though they really $uck.

Because I think we all know someone who probably deserved a lump of coal is totally loving those unicorns right now.

Any post office horror stories? Misery loves company.

My First Grade Teacher Must Have Had Stock In Crayola: Guest Post by Mark Kaplowitz

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Mark Kaplowitz

My guest blogger today is Mark Kaplowitz. I started cyber-crushing on MarKap the minute he came onto the blogging scene. Many of his earliest pieces were nostalgic pieces that made me long for the days of metal lunchboxes (like he wrote about HERE) and action figures (like he wrote about HERE). His writing is punchy and hilarious. I can’t understand why he hasn’t been discovered and published already. I would totally buy his books. (You hear that publishers? He’s already sold one copy!) You can find Mark’s blog HERE and follow him on Twitter at @MarkKaplowitz. Thanks for sharing your teacher memory, Mark. I now understand  your fear of crayons.

• • •

My First Grade Teacher Must Have Had Stock In Crayola

Ms. Deagle seemed normal on the first day of first grade, as she stood at the front of the room and announced that she rewarded good work with scratch ‘n’ sniff stickers.  I thanked my lucky stars that I had not been assigned to the ancient Mrs. Krabcik, who, it was rumored, bit the erasers off students’ pencils to make errors impossible to hide.

There had been no stickers in Kindergarten, and I was excited that, at last, my brilliance would be properly remunerated. As Ms. Deagle handed out a purple-inked mimeograph, called a “ditto,” I prepared to impress my new teacher with my wizardry at addition or spelling.

The ditto, however, contained neither sums nor words to be completed, but an uncolored picture of children sitting in a classroom. “I thought we would start first grade with a little coloring assignment,” Ms. Deagle said, standing with her hands locked behind her back.  “I make two assumptions about all of your coloring work. One, that all of the pictures will be outlined in black. And two, that none of the colors will smudge.  Please check your work before you hand it to me, to make sure my assumptions hold true.”

Not the pack Mark used.

I outlined the ditto in black and colored it in, making the wisest selections I could from my shiny new 64-pack of Crayola crayons, with perfect points and untorn wrappers. The ditto took close to an hour to complete, and blackened the heel of my coloring hand.  I was tired but ready to proceed to more intellectually challenging material.

But the second assignment was another coloring ditto, as was the one after that. My first day of first grade was devoted entirely to coloring, and the last assignment of the day — a beach scene that made me long for the summer vacation just ended — had so many items that I had to take the ditto home with me. On the morning of the second day, we lined up before Ms. Deagle’s desk to have our work reviewed and, if acceptable, obtain a sticker for it. My stomach churned as my turn approached.

“Not bad, Mark,” Ms. Deagle said, scanning my work like a museum curator. “But I can see where you let the black outlining bleed into the ocean here. Please be more careful in the future.” I said I would, and thanked her for the sticker she pressed onto the top left corner of the ditto. As I scratched the sticker and inhaled the aroma of pepperoni pizza, I rejoiced that I had survived the coloring trial.

But the arithmetic that I’d been counting on did not come that day, either. Instead, we were given more coloring to do: an 11×17 mural of school buses lined up in front of a school, ready to cart happy children away to happy homes. I wished that I could join them. I used more care when coloring adjacent to black outline, but still the crayon bled, making my buses look muddy.

As the weeks and months passed, the coloring assignments did not abate. Coloring appeared to be the only skill that Ms. Deagle deemed worth teaching.  Once in a while we would get a math or reading assignment—a treat to be saved for last and savored—but it was a momentary and inconsequential digression from our art.

Imagine being six years old and coloring until 10 o’clock every night. A century earlier and I could have been standing before a lathe. True, I was not going to lose a hand coloring. But sometimes it sure felt like it. And not all students were as skilled as I.

Emmy, one of my classmates, was quiet and had no friends that I could see.  She was also slow in her work and had trouble following directions. She colored in defiance of the lines, saved her black crayon for tests that required a No. 2 pencil, and was so behind in her assignments that Ms. Deagle would lock her in the classroom during recess.

When that punishment did not work, Ms. Deagle locked Emmy in the closet. As we filed out the door for lunch, each of us peered through the closet window at a scared and timid Emmy looking out.  I don’t know if Emmy’s work improved after that, but mine certainly did.

By the spring, my parents had compared notes with the notes of my classmates’ parents, and decided it was time for a meeting with the principal about dear Ms. Deagle.  I remember hearing about the meeting, and that the principal had promised to do something. I also remember how nothing changed. But I survived Ms. Deagle’s first grade and moved on to second grade where, in only a few short weeks, I relearned the alphabet. Emmy was left back — with another teacher, I hope.

I picture Ms. Deagle today, retired and watching cable news programs in her den. In one segment, parents sit with their child and a lawyer, and say they are suing their child’s school because “chaining students to their desks is an unacceptable practice in the 21st Century.” And Ms. Deagle shakes her head, scratches and sniffs a nearby sticker, and calls her sister to complain about how educational standards have slipped.

What was the most lame assignment you ever had to do in school? Or what was your least favorite color in the 64-box of crayons.

 • • •

If you have writing chops and are interested in submitting a memory about a teacher you had and can explain how that person helped you (or really screwed things up for you), as well as the life lesson you took away from the interaction, I’d love to hear from you! Contact Me. Essays should be around 700-800 words.

If you write for me, I’ll put your name on my page of favorite bloggers!
 

Monkey Has Left The Building

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photo by Traci Bunkers @ www.TraciBunkers.com

“I don’t like it anymore,” my son said, right before he took an enormous bite out of an enormous apple.

“What?”

He held up one finger to indicate that his mouth was full, a gesture he learned from me.

“This Monkey business. I’ve outgrown it.”

I’ve been waiting for this moment since my son started middle school.

Last year.

But now that he is finishing his first semester of 7th grade, he has decided that Monkey is no longer a good fit for him.

Forget about the fact that he actually looks exactly like Curious George.

If Curious George had freckles.

Forget about the fact that after he gets a brush cut, his hairline looks exactly like a little baby monkey’s.

Forget about the fact that he is sproingy like a monkey.

The reality is that Monkey is done being Monkey.

“So can I just start calling you by your real name?”

“Noooooo!” my son shrieked in his high-pitched I’m-in-the-midst-of-puberty-and-my-voice-but-my-voice-hasn’t-changed-yet timbre.

“Well, get to thinking,” I told my boy. “I have to call you something.

After he completed three hours of homework — ten algebra problems, a Spanish worksheet on conjugating verbs, some science worksheet on density, mass and volume, a social studies worksheet on Chapter 2, Section 4, and an English thingy where he had to read something and write a response (note: he keeps me out of the English loop) — he went downstairs to practice piano and then returned upstairs to practice for his bar-mitzvah.

Around 6 pm, he put all his books away and wandered into the kitchen where I was making dinner.

“Tech Support?”

“What about tech support?” I asked absently as I popped a black olive in my mouth while pouring marinade over that night’s chicken.

“That’s what you should call me.”

I looked at him blankly.

“You know, for your blog?” He picked up an olive and popped it into his mouth.

“That’s actually pretty good…”

“It’s good because it’s true,” he said.

Little bastard is right. He will always be my little Monkey, but over the last year, our conversations involve my screaming for his assistance because something has happened to my Excel Spread sheet formula, and I don’t know how to fix it. So he fixes it for me. Or I want to do a Power Point presentation, but I don’t know how to set it up. So he sets it up for me. Or I want to change the banner on blog but that involves Gimp and multiple layers, and I don’t know how to do that. So he does it for me. In 6.3 minutes. For years, he has been my IT guy: my fixer, my assistant.

I am starting to think I should pay him.

While I was thinking these things, my 12-year old son said aloud (to absolutely no one): “I will detach your head from your body!”

Looking around the room, I declared, “Wow, you are the King of the non-sequitor.”

“I know,” he smiled. “And yes, I know what a non-sequitor is.”

We both popped olives in our mouths and, as I finished the dinner prep, my son moved to the pantry in search of something that would be ready to eat sooner than the chicken.

Finding nothing, he moved to the freezer.

Which is empty.

Because it has been broken for one week now.

My son stuck his head deep inside the icemaker. From the depths of the freezer, I heard my son’s voice. It was deeper than usual. Distorted from being inside the freezer, he sounded like someone else: a man.

“I really want a frozen pretzel,” this man said, “When are we going to get our freezer fixed?”

“As soon as I get some.”

“Some what?” he turned to look at me, 12-years old again.

I smiled and popped another olive in my mouth, held up my finger and made him wait.

“Tech Support.”

What nicknames did you call your children? Have they changed over the years? What little changes have signaled your child is growing up?

Sexy Semi-Colon Song

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A while ago, I posted an email I received from a colleague about sexing up grammar so that people will use it more. I called it “Grammar is a Hussy.”

Since then we have even gotten into interrobanging. Can you imagine?!

Well, these cool kids seem to love them some semi-colons; I think that’s fantastic.

What’s your favorite punctuation mark and why? Or, for the love of Pete, show me that you know how to use a semi-colon properly. Go on; impress me!

What Not To Read When Your Child's Fish Tank Has Ich

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Here we go again.

To review for those of you who might be late to the party:

We failed Goldfish-101. (So we squished three googly-eyed goldfish into one tiny bowl without a bubbler or filter? What’s your point?)

We failed at Puppy-101. (After two weeks with the puppy formerly-known-as-Mojo, Rubie now resides with my husband’s brother and my sister-in-law.)

We failed at Kitty-101. (Right at the three-week point, just as we had all fallen sufficiently in love with him, our fabulous polydactyl cat’s dander caused my husband’s allergies to go haywire, so Hemingway had to go back to Habitat for Cats.)

That was a heart-breaker.

The other night, I was informed that every one of Monkey’s brand new tropical fish – in his brand new tank is either dead or contaminated with something called Ichthyophthirius or Ich.

I don’t know; it’s some kind of parasite or something.

Ick.

I’ve said this before, but no one seems to want to listen to me.

The Lord clearly does not want us to have pets.

We are great with houseplants and lawn maintenance.

My husband can grow a mean tomato.

But pets?

Not so much.

So while Husband was feverishly Googling “How to make Ich Disappear,” Monkey was a little mopey.

He had dared to name his fish, so he was more than a little bummed about Hoodie and Mad, Derpy and Silverstein and The Something Brothers.

I went to his bedroom to console him, and offered to read him a book,

He wanted something short.

Something light.

I picked this.

“Really mom?” Monkey said, “A book about animals with spots?”

In hindsight, perhaps not the most sensitive selection.

Returning the book to his shelf, I grabbed another.

I hardly looked at it.

Hubby came upstairs then and adjusted the temperature in the tank to 86 degrees.

He announced that Ich can be killed if you increase the temperature, but that the tank would need treatment too.

You know, because the parasite is all over everything. The rocks, the plants.

I hate parasites. How they get all over everything like that. They are so nervy.

Anyway, Hubby saw the book I was preparing to read.

Excellent choice,” he said, “One Fish, Two fish, Red fish, Dead Fish.”

We all laughed.

Because pathos can be funny.

Especially when it rhymes.

Hubby and I smooched our son and told him we’d work on things in the morning.

Meanwhile, I ran downstairs and hopped onto Facebook to discuss the issue.

My friend Melissa reminded me of those dog collars they used to have at fairs.

You know, the ones that have a little harness and make it look like you are walking a dog?

Only there isn’t a dog.

Because that is what we need.

An invisible pet.

And to the person who joked that we need to get a pet rock?

We had one.

His name was Rocky.

We lost him.

(Which reminds me, we failed at cyber pet ownership, too.)

Yeah, I am pretty sure we are at invisible.

Can you think of other things that would be insensitive (read: really funny) to sing/read/watch/do when your kid has a fish tank contaminated by a funky parasite?

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What to Do If Your Kid Says "I'm Bored"

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Toilet in german theater munich
Image via Wikipedia

It only takes once.

If your child says, “I’m bored,” this summer, here’s what you do.

First get all worked up into a thrilled frenzy. Then, in the most madly excited voice you can muster say:

“You are! Because I have the best thing for you to do, and I was just waiting for you to say you wanted to do something new.”

Take your bored child gently by the hand and guide him to the bathroom.

(Ed. note: *The brush needs to be there already or else he will try to escape.*)

Have your child stand before the toilet and hand him the brush.

(Ed. Note: *You must gush here. Very important to ooze gush.*)

Start swirling.

At first, your child might like this activity, especially after you add all the bubbly cleaning supplies and let him swish them around – but after a short while, as we all know, this task loses its magic.

He will want to stop.

When he moans or complains or asks to stop, look positively bewildered.

(*Seriously, you must appear profoundly confused. Furrow your brow, but only briefly. We don’t want to leave wrinkles.*)

“But you said you were bored…”

Don’t forget to remind your child that you have X more toilets to clean if you hear him say he is bored again.

Ever.

Monkey has not said “I’m bored” since he was 4-years old.

On a down note, for the last 7 years, I have been the Chief Cleaner of all Things Porcelain.

What tactics do you employ when your child complains that he or she is bored in the summer?

• • •

Today marks my 200th post. To show how much I love the folks who comment and to make sure you are not bored, I have a fun little exercise: If you leave a comment on today’s post, I will create a fabulously fun post which will share how we met. Of course, all the content will be a lie. That’s right, I will create a piece of fabulous fiction to include each one of you. If you have a blog, I will even show you some linky-love. So let’s have a little fun! If you’ve never left a comment before, this is the day to do it!