Sunday, September 6, 2009

Mommiest Moments: July, 2009

“Whereas these toys are suffering from neglect and malnutrition, and

“Whereas this upsets the stuffed animals, who fear similar treatment, and

“Whereas it's a really good idea to placate the stuffed animals lest they begin biting fingers off or changing the locks, and

“Whereas the nascent Stuffed Animal State has issued a resolution censuring our violations of the natural rights of their wood and plastic cousins, and...

“Whereas we wish to inculcate the virtue of responsibility that our children may succor us in our agèd infirmities,

We therefore declare that:

  1. All toys herein shall be impounded from July 4th through July 11th, 2009

  2. If children do not obey assignments promptly, their toys, books, or other property may be

      a. impounded

      b. placed in foster care, or

      c. in the greatest extremity, donated to Goodwill ...”

--Extracts from the Declaration of Impoundment, issued July 4th, 2009

“All adult stuffed animals may vote. Parents may vote for their children, but only on issues that affect the children.”

--Article I, Section I of the Stuffed Animal Constitution. Eric scribed. In typical political fashion, it took over an hour to get that far, after a debate which ranged from a history of suffrage to, somehow, the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

“Mommy, that was not an engineered solution.”

--Danny chiding me because my roof of cardboard box lids collapsed. I claim inferior building materials as the culprit. Grandpa Homer, no doubt, would blame the architect.

“He was very sneaky and he sabotaged it!”


Percy's Chocolate Crunch: Four Different Interpretations.
FHE Activity and treat, all in one!

[After watching the new Star Trek movie]

Gail: That was a kinder, gentler Sarek.

Jon: Yeah, and he's more boring when he's not fighting with Spock. Though I always thought he was such a hypocrite. He married a human but then wanted an all-Vulcan son.

Gail: Of course! That's what makes it so realistic.

Jon: But hypocrisy is illogical.

Gail: Yet so universal. When Sarek was a young, rebellious man, he married a human. Then, years later, he turned into a howling hypocrite, because that is what fathers, of any species, do.

--I mean, how many generations have human fathers been saying “I'll never let my daughter date the kind of boy I used to be”?

“I just sang first tenor in a barbershop quartet! Which is really odd, given that I'm a lyric soprano.”

--Gail. It was fun. :)

“So I guess law school also counts like college. [Pause] But if parents only wanted their kid to go to boarding school and went into debt...” [shakes his head sadly with a strongly-implied “tsk, tsk”]

--Danny. We were discussing acceptable debt vs. unnecessary debt. I have no idea where the boarding school thing came from, other than some months ago I expressed an opinion that parents shouldn't outsource the hard work of raising teens.

---He granted the “law school” exemption for his Aunt Ten with a grand air, like a prince announcing “You have Our permission to sit in Our presence.”

Pirates: Give us all your gold!

Mommy: Eek! Mercy! [Hands over several UpWords tiles]

[Several minutes later, Mommy overhears a whispered mast meeting.]

Pirate 1: It's time for us to repent now.

Pirate 2: Okay. That means we should give back the gold we stole.

Pirate 1: And I think we should give her back extra to show we are sorry.

Pirate 2: And also to show that we love her.

--I think they're the sweetest pirates who e'er extorted brownies. (Danny was Pirate 1 and Eric was Pirate 2.)

"Arrrgh!" -- Captain Bread Hook

“Danny was adorable tonight. He didn't earn a bedtime story, so he snuck into the library and grabbed The Cat in the Hat...then he snuck furtively hoping no one would notice. Big tip-toe steps, guilty look, hunched back, overstated shifty eyes...I can't really describe it, but it was hilarious. I was so thrilled that he has finally gotten into the spirit of reading, I didn't stop him.

--I think that makes me a bad parent but a good Mommy.

Nurse: Does he know his alphabet well enough for an eye exam?

Mommy: Heh, heh. Oh, yes. Yesterday he read the entire The Cat in the Hat Comes Back out loud to me.

“This book is about boats, so sail it over to that pile...

this book is about horses, so ride it over to that pile...”

“Gack! I have three copies of Old Yeller? And I'm missing On the Banks of Plum Creek! And the third Great Brain book. This is awful!”

--Cataloging my books. I miss the Raleigh booksale already. Half-priced books is excellent in its way, but paying $2.50 for a book is still five times more expensive than I'd pay in Raleigh.

“Mommy, will you read me this book?”

--Danny. After several years of resisting, he has finally caught the spirit of a good picture book and a snuggle! He still doesn't count it as playing, though.

Another finished library section.

[Eric and Danny were playing “Stargate”. Danny kept trying to get through the iris and Eric kept closing it until he could verify the IDC.]

Danny: Friendly! FRIENDLY!!!

Eric: Okay, you can come in.


Danny: Wicked! WICKED!

Eric: No, go away! I am blocking you!

[Several iterations of this go by]

Mommy: You know, it is possible to be both friendly and wicked.

Eric and Danny: [gape] It is?

--I cited Lucifer in the Garden of Eden as an example. Always back up your doctrinal assertions. Learned that from my own mom.

Eric: Look at my tooth! [Giggles]

--How reassuring that he's still a normal boy who loves to do disgusting things with his loose teeth.

[Danny laid out an obstacle course using Jenga blocks.]

Jon: Is that a logarhythmic pattern?

Danny: No.

Jon: Because, you see, they start really close together, but then each one is a little bit further apart. The distance between them keeps growing.

Danny: Oh! I did not know that name.

Mommy: But even though you didn't know its name, your brain was still thinking very mathematically. But that doesn't surprise me; you have such excellent math and spatial skills.

--Couldn't find the camera, sorry.

Left: The original spiral. Right: The spiral with added connections. I was a good mommy and let the boys help, even when their artistic vision clashed with my own.

“I ambushed you!”

--Danny, committing (and getting away with) highway robbery

“Everyone thinks I'm an unmentionable word. This is a new perspective for me, but oddly gratifying. Personally I think I should be nominated for sainthood. Five weeks of chronic air conditioning problems in 105-degree Texas summer, and I didn't scream or swear even once.”

–At one point, I did refuse to allow a goon on my property, convinced he was either so vindictively clever he'd find a new way to ruin my AC unit, or so grossly incompetent he'd succeed in electrocuting himself.

“I was working at my computer, when I heard a muffled 'Eric! Let me out!!!!' I turned around and saw Eric pulling a large suitcase behind him...and realized that Danny must be inside. I yelled at Eric to let Danny out but was ignored. (Danny, by this time, was starting to cry.) So I intercepted the suitcase and unzipped it, only to find Danny inside, strapped down...and on his head.

“I rescued him and starting giving both boys a Lecture, which was confused partly because I got it out of order, and partly because I broke down laughing partway through..."

--Carolyn was appalled that I laughed. In fairness, I would point out that 1) I intervened immediately, 2) I resisted the impulse to run for a camera before I rescued Danny, 3) I did discipline both boys, take away the suitcase, and forbid them to enter the storage room for the rest of the day, and 4) Danny did initially cooperate with this game. He allowed himself to be strapped in...he was just surprised to find himself upside-down.

(I mean, you stop to imagine Danny in the fetal position, trundling along on his head. Jon laughed, too, when I told him about it. Is this a parent/non-parent thing? Comments?)


Jon said...

So... were the stuffed animals impounded or granted asylum?

Jon said...

Engineers almost never have the biggest and best materials to work with. Their job is to use what is available to meet the requirements of the problem at hand.

You just need to better understand the physics of subspace and how to strategically place support structures in a way that allows it to look rickety while still supporting the weight of a freight train full of elephants.

Jon said...

So, if even the mighty Sarek is bound by these universal rules of hypocrisy, does this mean that our daughters will be forbidden to ever go on a date with a math/science geek during high school???...

Those poor boys.

Jon said...

First tenor, soprano, can't be much difference. You sounded just as beautiful either way.

Jon said...

I never knew it was that easy to get brownies out of you. I'll go get my eye patch.

Jon said...

So how do you get books about frisbees to their proper piles? The library is a no-fly zone.

Jon said...

What if one of them is a Gould and broadcasts a stolen IDC to make himself look friendly? We might need a lesson to teach them about giving life back after they take it. Then they might get an idea about using that method to adjust their ages until they're twins.

Gail said...

I don't like to criticize the children, but I was building on Danny's walls. My options were very limited, both in materiel and existing framed structure.

Plus the boxes and lids had been used repeatedly, suffering structural damage each time there was a collapse.

Plus he was wiggly. (Earthquake!)

The only difference was my roof came down in an un-planned tumble rather than a controlled implosion.

I'm confident an inquest would acquit me.

Jon said...

About those Jenga blocks. Upon further consideration, perhaps they were not in a logarithmic spacing pattern. it was more of a cubic curve mirrored on the xy axis. I'm ashamed to admit this oversight, but it's better than being dishonest.

Gail said...

You may choose the manner of your hypocrisy. Why would we forbid math geeks? Let's just forbid any and all flirting, dances, and dating.

Jon said...

In Gail's defense, the A/C guys had done such a bad job with their repairs up to that point that I really was beginning to wonder if it was intentional. The sparks that started coming out of it when I tried to take over the repairs myself after their latest attempt had me worried that any further attempts by them might result in two phone calls, one to 911 dispatch and one to the insurance company.

Gail said...

The Gould don't suck life; that's the Wraith.

Before you can instruct them in the moral choices of science fiction, you obviously need an SG refresher course.

Perhaps we should watch some episodes together, that you may better educate the kids.

Jon said...

Maybe Carolyn just lacks a sense of humor. Just wait until she has kids of her own. It'll come.

Jon said...

I can't forbid them to flirt or date in high school because I didn't do those things. I guess I could keep them home from dances, though.

Gail said...

Aren't you glad, then, that we couldn't find the camera? I the absence of visual verification, we can't know which description of Danny's pattern is correct.


Jon said...

Sorry about the mixup with the Gould. I was thinking about the Wraith, but then my mind wandered when I started typing. You know what I meant.

Gail said...

If the dances are anything like the ones I went to -- or the ones you've told me about -- that would be a benevolent thing to do.

Except, naturally, the kids would assume the worst. Best let 'em learn through their own sad, bored, frustrated, head-ached experience.

Gail said...

You're so distracted you neglected to pick up on my hint about a potential date?

Very well; if you don't want to snuggle and watch Stargate together, that's fine. I have my pride. I'll just sit and eat ice cream and drown my sorrows in blaring chick flicks. But I'll not reproach you.

Krenn said...

[Eric and Danny were playing “Stargate”. Danny kept trying to get through the iris and Eric kept closing it until he could verify the IDC.]


Oh, I HAVE to teach these kids hackmaster....

Do you have lego people and lego weapons at your house?

and what about that particular a/c goon set you off?

Jon said...

But it's Sunday!!! How about tomorrow, or after midnight? Or we could play the "Sabbath ends at sunset trick".

Gail said...


The A/C goon kept coming out to "fix" the problem and making it worse.

His last "repair" left the motor bolted only loosely on one side, listing at a dreadful angle, and the fan blades scraping against the housing.

He had wired it improperly, too, such that it was arcing horribly and presented a real risk of electrocution.

Krenn said...

Right, but why did you chase away THAT A/C goon, and not the previous one or the Next one? was this the SAME goon who had made all the horrible mistakes last time, and you wanted a new goon from the same company?

Gail said...

Yeah, it was the same goon who kept coming out.

He was late, unprofessional, uncommunicative, and, on at least one occasion, rude.

I kept calling the home warranty company, demanding that they find a different company. And they kept insisting that they had contracted with Preferred A/C and Appliance out of Plugerville, TX -- never, ever, do business with them, it ain't libel if it's true -- and so Preferred had to be the one to fix the problem.

I kept insisting that Preferred kept sending the same idiot who kept making the problem worse, not better.

After two really firm emails, they caved and dispatched a different company, who sent a professional guy who solved the problem. Glory, Hallelujah.

Krenn said...

ah, ok. that makes sense then.

Eric and Danny are CUTE!

Grandma Homer said...

On my upcoming surveillance mission to Austin in October, I will beware of the local toothless pirate.

Of course I will be equally cautious in the presence of Captain Bread Hook.

Good grief, is anyone safe in those parts? Perhaps if I bribe them with long ago tales of their mommy's raspberry stealing days . ..

Grandma Homer