Middle Schoolers Seeking Dating Advice From Crazy Parents: A True Story

My oldest son is now in middle school.

We have entered the big leagues, my friends.

The thought of String Bean walking through the doors of middle school sent me into a panic. All I could think about were my uncomfortable days of junior high.  I never wanted to relive those moments of hell again.

Fortunately, all my worrying was for nothing. String Bean has had a good run thus far.

Lately, he has been asking me some unique questions.  Questions that he has decided I am the best resource to ask.  Questions about dating.

Yes, dating.  Apparently something resembling this happens in sixth grade.

Sadly, I don’t want to share my middle school dating experiences which only consisted of one slow dance, a note that had the words, “Will you go out with me? Circle one: yes, no or maybe,” and being dumped by the said note-writer because I wasn’t allowed to go with he and his older brother to an amusement park.

Obviously, I was not the best person to ask.  I didn’t become a good person to ask until later in high school and in college.  Oh yes.  Good times.

So sorry – I digress. Back to String Bean.

“Mom.  Can I talk to you?” he said as he is working on his math homework.

“Sure thing, dude,” I said as I stared blankly at his math homework.  It looks more advanced than my college Algebra class.

“How do you know if a girl likes you?” he said, not making eye contact with me.

“Do you talk to the girl at school?”

“Yes. We sit near each other in Social Studies.”

“Have you talked to her about anything in particular like movies or Legos or anything?”

“Mom. Seriously? You think I am that dorky that I would talk to a giiiiiiiirrrrrrrlllll about Legos?”

“No, not at all. Probably not a good idea to talk about Legos.  I was just thinking about Legos for a second. My bad,” I said while looking at the Lego Shakepeare figure he gave me last week.

“How do I know if she likes me?” he said, starting to lose patience with me.

“Has she given you any hints that she likes you, such as giggles or whispers to her friends or smiles really big when you are around?” Yes, I am grasping here.  Failing like I failed many a math test.

“Yeah, kind of.  So, how do I ask her on a date?”

Wait a second.  A date? Wwwwwwwhhhhhhhhaaaaaaaaatttttt???

“Umm. You could ask her if she likes Thor, and if she has seen any of the movies,” I said.  I am not sure where my response came from except for the fact I really like Thor.  Really like him.  And I want to see Thor, so I would take anyone to see it with me!

“OK.  Maybe I will talk to her about movies then,” he says and goes back to his homework.

Successful dodging of topic!  Hooray!

Later in the evening, as we are doing the bedtime ritual, I go to tuck String Bean in.

“Mom.  So how do I ask a girl on a date again?”

“Starting talking to her and then see where it goes,” I said, and, knowing full well The Captain was nearby, I added, “Maybe you should ask your dad because he is a guy also.”  Ha.

“Dad, how do I ask a girl out on a date?” he said.

The Captain appeared in the doorway looking completely baffled at the question, but without missing a beat, he replied, “You are too young to go on dates.  Now go to bed.”

String Bean looks at me and whispers, “See, Mom, this is why I asked you. Dad must not have had any dates in middle school.  He probably talked to girls about Legos.  Poor guy.”

They grow up too fast...

They grow up too fast…

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“You Old Hag” and other not-so-nice sayings

I knew that I had a wild child when he told my dear grandmother, Charlotte, that she was “nice stupid.”

My youngest, Squishy, has a way with words.

Here is Squishy at age 3. He is on the right with the not-a-smile expression. An expression of wild.

Here is Squishy at age 3. He is on the right with the not-a-smile expression. An expression of wild.

When he was just a little dude at the tender age of three, he vocalized his feelings.  He didn’t hold back; he just said whatever was on his mind.

My dear grandmother, who was in her early 80s at the time, was talking to him asking him what he wanted to eat (she always wanted to feed all of us – all of the time).  He kept telling her that he wanted ice cream, but she had trouble decifering the toddler-speak.

Finally, when she asked him for the third time, he stood up, put his hand on his hips, and blurted out, “Mam-ma, you’re stupid.”

Enter epic parenting fail.

She, however, didn’t miss a beat, and, this time, she perfectly understood what he just said to her. No decoding needed.

“Luke, Mam-ma is not stupid.  Mam-ma is nice,” she calmly retorted.

He turned as if he was about to leave the room, and then turned back, dropping his arms to his side and tilting his head ever so slightly.  The wheels were turning in that three-year-old brain of his.

And I was petrified by what he would say next.

“You’re right, Mam-ma.  You are not stupid… You are nice stupid,” and he did an about face and left the room.

This is when I knew I was in trouble.

At school, Squishy was (and is) the perfect angel.  It is just at home where his filter is lacking.

A few summers ago, when Squishy was six, he called my mother-in-law an old hag…in front of her bridge club.  (Yes, I am a proud parent – cough, cough).  Apparently he was “just kidding” and “only wanted some snacks.”  When she asked where he learned that phrase, he said “my mom.” I don’t recall ever in my life uttering the words “you old hag,” but in his mind, it was a free pass out of trouble.

How can anyone be mad at this face? Or not laugh at this crazy expression?

How can anyone be mad at this face? Or not laugh at this crazy expression?

More recently, he has been caught saying “shut your pie hole.”  Now I do know where this reference came from.  It is from the movie “The Sandlot” and The Captain was very excited the dudes liked the film.  Very excited, indeed, especially when Squishy not-so-subtly said this to my mother-in-law.

I found out about this gem of a phrase when I walked in on my mother-in-law discussing my “poor parenting choices” with a friend of hers.  She went on to tell the friend, “and she just laughs at what he says instead of disciplines him.”  Later I found that, once again, he blamed me for teaching him the phrase.  Hmmm.  Is there a trend going on?

When I addressed the behavior, he justified it by saying, “She wouldn’t stop talking, Mom.”

Touche, Squishy, touche.

Autumn and the Zombie Archives

In Ohio, the autumn weather can be tricky.  Usually there are some pretty days of glorious color followed by overcast and drizzly days.  This past weekend, we were lucky enough to have one of those gorgeous fall days when I want to spin on a hilltop singing “The hills are alive with the sound of music!”  Wait, that is another fantasy.  I digress.  Of course, there are only a few pretty days left on the calendar, and this was one of them.

With a beautiful weekend day comes the classic question: “Mom, can we go outside and play?”

Of course, my answer is, “Yes, please, do, go, bye!”

On Saturday, the sun was shining, and I received the question I knew was first thing on their minds when they woke up that morning.

“Mom,” said Squishy, “It is nice outside! Can we go outside and play?”

“Of course you can,” I said, looking up from the waffles I was making. (Actually, Eggo made them. I put them in the toaster. For me, this is domestic bliss.)

“Well, when can we go? We have some business in the woods to take care of,” he said sounding like he was about to audition for The Sopranos.

“What ‘business’ do you have in the woods?” I asked.

“Oh, Mom, all you need to know is that it is for your protection. OK?”

“What, in fact, are you protecting me from?” I questioned him as I sprinkled cinnamon on the waffles (see, I am a domestic diva!)

Zombies are the thing.

Zombies are the thing.

“We are saving the neighborhood from the upcoming zombie attack,” he said with sheer seriousness.

I turned to him in horror thinking maybe he had seen an episode of The Walking Dead or something?!

“What would make you believe there is an upcoming zombie attack,” I asked, praying he didn’t access my Netflix account on the iPad (darn you, zombie shows that pull me in, darn you!)

“Mom, it is just a matter of time when someone makes a vaccine that will take out the human race and turn everyone into a zombie.  Seriously, you should know this. You are a teacher.  Gosh,” he stated as he rolled his eyes, disgusted with me.

Now I am wondering if he was scoping out my Kindle and came across my latest read, The Passage.  Or maybe I Am Legend.  Was there some zombie thing on TBS or something?  Darn you, TBS, darn you!

“I highly doubt that will happen, Squishy, but if it does…”

“If it does, Mom, you will probably make us have the shot at the doctors, and you really won’t be prepared when we turn into zombies. So, we must prepare now,” he said interrupting me.

What the heck is he watching on Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel?

“OK,” I said, knowing full well he was getting antsy to get outside and save the world.

Taking zombie precautions one street at a time.

Taking zombie precautions one street at a time.

After a while, I went outside to check on the progress of thwarting the impending zombie apocalypse.  I found Nerf guns, sticks and a mountain of leaves ready to protect the innocent.  I also found the neighborhood posse in the middle of the street strategic planning their next move.

“What are you all working on?” I said to the group of defenders.

“Mom, I already told you. We are making sure the neighborhood is safe,” Squishy answered.  The rest of the posse nodded enthusiastically.

“Well, in that case,” I said, “carry on.”

And they did.

So, a message to all zombies: Beware, zombies, beware of our street.  We have protection in the form of elementary students.  Scary, right?

For Halloween we had a zombie and a werewolf.

For Halloween we had a zombie and a werewolf.

The Birds, the Bees and Puppies

You never know when you may have to explain the birds and the bees to your children.

I did not think this would come into play at their tender ages of 11 and eight, but thanks to my mother-in-law, I had the horror opportunity to tell them a little bit about how babies are made.

One Tuesday night as I was in the middle of teaching a tap class, I received a frantic voice mail from my mother-in-law, Salt.

It went a little like this:  “Allison, hey. We have a problem here. The dogs are stuck together and I don’t know what to do! They have been stuck for over 20 minutes and I can’t get a hold of anyone.  You must call me back as soon as you get this because I just don’t know what to do!”

Reluctantly I returned the call.

“Hi there.  I only have a minute because I am in between classes,” I said.

“Chewie and Maisy got stuck together!  It has been over 30 minutes!  I didn’t know what to do!” she wailed.

“Are they still stuck together?” I asked in a calm voice so I could try and assess the situation.

“No. Finally they got themselves unstuck.  I called the vet because I couldn’t get anyone on the phone,” she exclaimed, her voice revealing how stressful it had been for her. “And the boys wanted to watch it the entire time!  I had to close the curtains!”

After hanging up with her and finishing teaching my dance classes, I ran my dudes to the store.

It would be an understatement to say there were a few questions that were asked.

“Mom, why were the dogs stuck together?”

“Mom, grandma said that Chewie’s penis had to shrink before they could be unstuck.  Why?”

“Mom, what does amorous mean?”

“Mom, why did grandma tell the vet the dogs were ‘getting it on’?  What does ‘getting it on’ mean and where were they getting it on to?”

“Mom, did you know that Chewie looked like he was doing the Harlem Shake on Maisy’s back?”

“Mom, Grandma kept trying to close the curtains so we couldn’t see the dogs. Why was she doing that?”

and the biggest question of all:

“Mom, is that how people make babies?”

OMG.

By this time, I am standing in front of the cashier at Kohl’s.  She is staring at me like I have lost my marbles (which, at that second, I wished was true).  Both boys were staring at me, too, waiting for answers.

Surely this should have been the exact moment I could’ve said, “Ask your father.”  But, alas, I am not that lucky.

I started lightly.  “Amorous means really, really lovey.”  Yes, I took the easiest question first.  Can you blame me?

Next answer: “Chewie probably doesn’t know the Harlem Shake,” but then I asked the stupidest question, “How exactly did this start?

Both dudes jumped at the chance to answer, speaking over each other.  The cashier looked at me like I had horns.

“Well, you see Mom, Chewie came inside and started following Maisy around. I mean, literally, (he uses this word a lot – he is 8) Chewie would not leave her alone,” Squishy chimed in.

“Yeah, and then he started to jump on her and stuff,” said 11-year-old String Bean with a wide-eyed grin, “And he wouldn’t stop, don’t be mad if I say this next part, Mom, OK?  Grandma said it wasn’t a bad word.”

“Ummm, OK, I guess?!” Fear bubbled up inside of me.

“Chewie started humping her.  That is what Grandma called it,” he said, looking at me to gauge my reaction.

Squishy interjects, “Yeah, Mom, it was crazy! It looked like this,” as he begins a vivid demonstration even Elvis would not have attempted on national TV.

“OK. You can stop showing me now,” I said as I pushed them out of Kohl’s.

“And Grandma said Maisy was a hussy.  What exactly is a hussy, Mom?  I’ve never heard of that word before.”

And so it goes.

As I tucked the dudes into bed that night, they were still buzzing about the events of the evening. They were hoping puppies would arrive soon (I did have to break down and explain how puppies are made), and they were bouncing off of the walls about the entire situation.

Squishy did have an ace up his sleeve.  “Mom, look at this!” he said, shoving his iPod in my face, “Here they are stuck together!”

Photographic proof of the event taken by an eight-year-old.  Amorous, indeed.

Stuck together.

Stuck together.

Do the Presidential Debate Dougie

Disco inferno with the healthcare strut, the economy twirl and, the ever popular, family values jazz square.

This past Wednesday was the ever famous (or infamous) presidential debate.

For the first time in my adult life, I didn’t watch them.  Instead, I mused as to what might make the debates more intriguing to watch.

I decided a dance off would be a better debate.

Here is my Facebook status from Wednesday night:

Oh, what a wonderful world.

In a dance off, each candidate could pick a popular dance move to perfect.  I am sure President Obama could rock it out with some of the latest moves, like the Dougie or the new Gangham Style.  And Mitt Romney might nail down a few moves such as The Electric Slide or even a country line dance to try and win over his Southern voters.  This would allow them both to loosen their ties and get groovin’.

Afterward, pros from Dancing With the Stars could come in and work with each candidate.  The prerequisite would be a patriotic tribute to the USA, and ties and stick suits would be tossed out in exchange for any silver lame, sequined costume with an American feel encompassing the good ol’ red, white and blue.  Each would have to perform an extensive tango, salsa and swing dance (for those voters who are still swinging on the fence).  The candidates would be judged on their technique, skill and comfort level.  There could even be a text vote for the best dance candidate.  Go star-spangled sequins and spandex!

After the Dancing with the Stars portion, the candidates would be added into a Broadway-style dance competition.  Talented Broadway choreographers would work with Mitt Romney to bring his own version of Patrick Swayze to Broadway’s might-be-produced Dirty Dancing.  After all, nobody puts Mitt in the corner.

Barack Obama would be introduced to the Broadway revival of Xanadu.  He would have crucial tap dancing sessions a la Gene Kelley as well as roller-skating stylings from Olivia Newton John.  Especially since roller-skating builds family values AND is part of a healthy lifestyle.

The final portion of the dance off would be the freestyle.  Each candidate would have to design a dance to represent America’s diversity.  The dance must be at least two minutes in length and should include, but not limited to, the Macarena, the twist (for the baby-boomers), the sprinkler (because who doesn’t like the sprinkler) and the running man.  Hey, even Mitt’s moonwalk and Barack’s Dougie might make for a standing ovation.  BTW, the Glee dancer is Harry Shum Jr.The celebrity judges would be:       MC Hammer (because we can’t touch this), J-Lo, Madonna, Conan O’Brien,  Jimmy Fallon (because he is my fav), the awesome Asian dancer from Glee and the mighty George Lucas because if George Lucas is there, it is a must-see, epic event.

It would be epic indeed.

The Dancing Nancys

A few weeks ago, I had the agony pleasure of attending a teacher conference.

Both of the speakers were named Nancy.

The name Nancy is not too common these days.  It is one of those names that was huge (according to my mom, Crazy Pat) in the 60s and fizzled shortly thereafter.

I have a friend whose mother AND mother-in-law are both named Nancy.  This is almost as rare as finding a 100 bill in an old purse.  Yeah, it barely ever happens (although I feel like searching in vain through all of my old purses!)

The two Nancys, or as I referred to them, Nancy Squared or the Dancing Nancys, both took turns going through the PowerPoint presentation.  They also both color coordinated their outfits. I have not seen too many royal blue printed dresses, but amazingly enough, they each had one on.  Matching Nancys!

Nancy #1 was the rule keeper.  She informed us of special “norms” she expected from us throughout the two-day conference.  She specifically stated that we were to put away our computers, smart phones and iPads, and were not to use them under any circumstances unless it was break time.  As she was sternly giving stating this ridiculous important rule, everyone was packing their laptops, iPads and phones guiltily away.  Funny thing about Rules Nancy, she constantly broke this rule.  Each and every time the other Nancy took over presenting, Rules Nancy would get on her iPad and iPhone.  Hmmm.  Gotta love some irony!

Another interesting thing I learned from Super Rule Breaker Nancy was a phrase called “Equity of Voice.”  Unbeknownst to me, this is a very important norm to help motivate those who don’t participate to participate and motivate those, like me, who participate too often, to shut the heck up.  Who knew this even had a name!  Sadly, the very prestigious sounding “Equity of Voice” did not prompt the quiet ones to speak up, nor did it stop the ones who continually add to the discussion.  So much so that when the Nancys were having trouble getting anyone to raise their hands and share (hey, I felt scolded into refraining from using my Equity of Very Chatty Voice), they would shoot over a death stare to my table for a response.

Sharpies. One of the workshop highlights .

Nancy #2 was a fast speaker who didn’t read directly from the slides, thank goodness.  She was intent on getting the information to us so we could break into groups and write on sticky-note-like poster boards with primary colored markers.  Fast Talking Nancy also had a stray piece of hair that kept migrating to her lips.  Why did I notice this? Because, she had to keep pulling it off of her lipstick.  I began to take a tally.  The totals: Hair in lipstick – 38, Fast Talking Nancy Lipstickhair – zero.  Poor Nancy #2.  Oh wait, scratch that.         Do not feel sorry for Nancy #2 and her lipstick saturated hair.  She started reading directly from the power point slides.  Epic power point fail. Ugh.

Coffee. The gets-me-through-everything elixir.

After awhile, I became frisky.  I decided that I would not, under any circumstances, look for a clock in the room.  I made it an hour and seven minutes before my eyes deceived me and scoped it out.  9:37.  How would I survive not one, but two days of bone-crushing boredom, silly rules and the crazy, dancing, matchy-matching, Power-point reading Nancys?  Maybe by sneaking quick, longing looks at my iPad?

I survived by writing about the Nancys, drinking waaaay too much coffee and daydreaming about finding a twenty in an old purse.

TGIF!

On the eve of 40

Tomorrow marks the day of my 40th birthday, or as my mom calls it, “the big one.”  My husband, The Captain, has another name for it.  He calls it a “decade” birthday and says kind things like “it’s not a big deal” and “it is just a stupid number” and the sweet, special insight such as, “you know, your life is halfway over.”

As with everything, these “big” or “decade” birthdays are a “rite of passage,” right? And “age doesn’t matter” and “it’s how you embrace life that gives it meaning” and “it’s just a number after all” and a million more clichés folks use to make “the big one” feel a little smaller.  Phooey.

So, on the eve of my 40th birthday, I decided to think of some cool things about turning 40 to soften the blow without sounding too much like a Hallmark card or a group therapy session.  “Hi, my name is Allison and I am going to be 40.”

The first cool thing about turning 40 is that I am now confident enough to say NO to things.  This was a hard lesson to learn, and many times I would find myself involved in activities I hated just because I felt that I had to say YES all of the time.  Now, I say what I think.  Do you want to do this? No.  Can you…” Nope.

Second, my children are potty trained.  This may seem like a small issue, but really it is not.  I don’t have any children in diapers therefore I don’t have to buy diapers anymore!  Woohoo!  That is relief within itself.  My purse can now be my purse, not a diaper bag, not a living, breathing, well-stocked necessity for every venture out of the house.  Also, I don’t have to carry any training pants in it for “emergencies” or throw away those training pants in the mall bathroom because “someone had a little, itsy, bitsy accident in them.”  Also, it is a relief to not have to stock up on Cheerios just to teach my boys where to aim in the toilet.  Cheerios have returned their “kitchen only” usage in my home!

The third thing cool about turning 40 is that I rock at the Pop Culture Edition of Trivial Pursuit.  Give me any question from the 80s to present day and I have got it.  Except for sports.  Those can just stay in the rectangle box.

The fourth cool thing about turning 40 is that I don’t get carded anymore.  This means I don’t have to wiggle my driver’s license out of my wallet which can be very inconvenient.  Really it is!  And if I do get carded, it is a compliment to how well my Clinique make-up looks.  Thank you, Clinique!

The fifth cool thing about turning 40 is that everything that I grew up with, like The Smurfs, Superman, vampires (think The Lost Boys), The Muppets, Super Mario Bros and Star Wars are all back. Back and, as George Costanza said, “Loving every minute of it.”  And guess what?  My dudes seriously believe I’m “cool” because I know about all of this crap.  Being 40, I think I may be a hero to my kids.  The force is with me.

The sixth cool thing about turning 40 is that I can brag about awesome concerts I have seen.  Now, I didn’t get the bragging rights by seeing the Beatles, but I have seen The Rolling Stones in concert (yeah, 8th row in Chicago) and Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet tour (among other Bon Jovi shows).  I have seen The Boss in Asbury Park, NJ, and Sting and U2’s amazing Joshua Tree concert.  Plus, Clapton, BB King, INXS (the original), REM, the Eagles, Fleetwood Mac and the king of boat drinks, Jimmy Buffett.  Oh, and the Boss?  Bruce Springsteen?  Yeah, I dated his cousin when I was a ninth grader.  We went to the mall together.  Twice. And a dance. Once.  It didn’t last.

And the last cool thing about turning 40 is that I get it now.  I get that my parents were right – they were right all along.  I get that my dudes are kids and they need to be kids as long as possible.  I get that my students have a lot of growing up to do and that’s OK because they are teenagers.  I get that I can always reflect back on my 30s, 20s, and younger and know that each experience was important, priceless, and each lesson learned made me who I am today.  I finally get it.

So bring on 40.  September 11th, 2012.  Anyone up for some Trivial Pursuit?

My facial expression is one of fear. Forty candles looked like someone set the entire cake on fire.

Why Act My Age?

Later this year I turn (gulp) 40.  And with this big birthday around the corner, I began thinking that maybe I should start acting my age.

Because here is the thing:  I don’t act my age.  I just don’t.  Mostly because I don’t know how an almost 40-year-old is supposed to act.  Is there a textbook on this or something I can download on my Kindle to explain how to act my age?  No?  Really, no?  Hmmm.  I didn’t think so.

Which brings me to my question, do I really need to act my age?

These are some things I am pondering.  So should an almost 40-year-old:

  • Skip or dance down the hallway if no one is around?
  • Enjoy a trip to Toys-R-Us as much as my dudes do?
  • Sing loudly and poorly and not be embarrassed even in the grocery store?
  • Say words like “cool,” “sweet” and “cute” frequently?
  • Sport a pony tail frequently?
  • Be mesmerized by glittery things (oooh, pretty!)?
  • Chew gum and blow bubbles?
  • Making up crazy car dances when certain songs come on like Train’s Drive By or Madonna’s Borderline?
  • Use hand gestures that resemble those of a 13-year-old drama queen?
  • Cry when people are mean to animals in movies?
  • Laugh really loud and not care who hears me (Valleygirl96 aka Brainvomit40 knows my laugh travels miles)?
  • Go to the midnight showings of all of the Twilight movies and the final two Harry Potter films (and consider dressing up for the latter)?
  • Giggle when the word fart or poop is mentioned?
  • Jump up and down when I am happy or excited about something?
  • Sneak Halloween candy from my dudes?
  • Take super silly pictures of random things on my iPhone (wanna see my picture of the rock that cracked my windshield)?
  • Screen calls from assorted people (sorry, Mom!)?
  • Take almost daily naps after school (thanks to The Captain this can happen!)?
  • Continue my text conversation with my brother that contains newly created words like poopalicious, poopapalooza and poopsicle?
  • Randomly speak in different accents (my Southern and New Jersey ones are best!)?
  • Give silly nicknames to everyone (Sorry again, Crazy Pat, I mean Mom!)?

I guess my final question is what is age appropriate? And who would be the role models of success to tell me and demonstrate the proper age I need to adjust to?  Because if I don’t have any idea, then I am just going to keep doing what I’m doing.  Like speaking in a Yoda voice and saying, “May the Fourth Be With You.”  Because, after all, Star Wars rocks, it is May 4th and I am a kid at heart.

A Clark Griswold Kind of Day

Don’t let me near any Christmas lights.  I may send Santa over the moon.

It has been a Clark Griswold kind of day. 

Everything I have tried to accomplish has backfired.  Where is the switch in the garage to light up my world?

I feel as if I am heading toward Walley World without a map.  Where is my family truckster?

I have no patience with people today.  “Kiss his ass, kiss your ass, kiss my ass, Happy Chanukah.”

Now, I have always been a fan of Clark (or Sparky as he is lovingly called), and I know that sometimes The Captain has some of Clark’s tendencies.  So, maybe if I recap some of those, my day will get a little bit brighter.  Here goes:

When The Captain starts a project, he must finish it.  He cannot stand to let it go halfway.  “Russ, we checked every bulb, didn’t we?   Hmm… Maybe we ought to just go up there and check some more…”

When unexpected company arrives, The Captain has a way with words.  “Can I refill your eggnog for you? Get you something to eat? Drive you out to the middle of nowhere and leave you for dead?”

When The Captain gets a little down, he can see the big picture.  “WORSE? How could things get any worse? Take a look around here, Ellen. We’re at the threshold of hell.”

When The Captain drives the mini-van, he can get a little road rage.  “Burn dust, eat my rubber!”

When The Captain has an annoying visitor, relative or otherwise, he can get sarcastic.  “Surprised Eddy? If I woke up tomorrow with my head stapled to the carpet I wouldn’t be more surprised than I am right now.”

When The Captain decorates for the holidays, he takes the task very seriously as, I’m sure, he will teach to our dudes. “Dad, you taught me everything I know about exterior illumination.”

When The Captain is packing for a trip, he sometimes feels like a pack mule. “Well I’m gonna park the cars and get the luggage, and well, I’ll be outside for the season.”

When The Captain remembers his childhood, he always has fond memories.  “When I was a boy, just about every summer we’d take a vacation. And you know, in 18 years, we never had fun.”

And when The Captain has had his fill of family vacations, he looks on the bright side. “Well I’ll tell you something. This is no longer a vacation. It’s a quest. It’s a quest for fun. I’m gonna have fun and you’re gonna have fun.  We’re all gonna have so much  fun we’ll need plastic surgery to remove our damn smiles. ”

That helped some, but I think I am still Sparky today.

Here is the fearful thing:  I said this in the hallway and a student asked me, “Who is Clark Griswold?”  I began humming, shrugged my shoulders and shook my head.

Walley World, anyone?

The (Extremely Short) Case of the Chocolate Easter Bunny

There was a chocolate bunny filled with wonderful peanut butter.  He sat on my kitchen counter for over a week.

He stared at me.  His chocolate, lifeless eyes would bore into my soul every time I passed by.  He would not relent.

My diet said that I was not to go near him.  I was not to make eye contact with him, and I was not allowed to check on his whereabouts.  I had to stay away.

Believe me. There is nothing fluffy or cuddly about this bunny.

But I couldn’t.  He kept taunting me with his knowing smile and his perky ears.  He would not leave me alone.  He was a demon bunny encased in a glowing, glittering pink box.  He was relentless.

I had to ignore him.  I needed a strong dose of willpower stat.

He kept staring and I began pacing the room.  Homework took over.  I didn’t have to look over and see the glaring, evil bunny, only help with homework.  But I could still feel his magnetic pull like a moth to a flame.

The next thing I knew, he was gone.  He had disappeared and I was happy, oh so happy.

I went about my day relieved until The Captain asked me to look in the trash can.

Glancing into the round bin I noticed the glowing, glittering pink box sans bunny.

“Do you know who may have eaten this bunny?”  The Captain asked with a raised eyebrow.

“I don’t know for sure,” I answered coyly, “But I am positive he is in a better place.”  And with that, I licked my lips and left the room.

Goodbye, bunny from Hell.  I win.