That Was Actually Funny, He Said

My teenager and I were sitting on the steps with the dog. It has been a dry winter, and with more than a week of warm February weather, everyone is watering. At our house, the sprinkler needed a quick fix in the yard after it fell off the hose when my son moved it from one spot to another. “I can’t get it back on.”

I was putting my shoes on to help out and hoping the dog poop had been picked up before he had watered the grass. ”If you don’t pick the poop up first, then it’s gross to pick up when the grass is wet.”

“It wasn’t me,” he said. “Dad started it. Blame Dad.”

So, I belted out a little South Park “Blame Canada!”

He chuckled. “Mom, that was actually funny… and surprising.”

“Didn’t think I had any South Park in me, did ya?”

My Funny Valentine

The day before Valentine’s Day, my sister told me to tell the boys that she loves them, Happy Valentine’s Day, and “tell one girl she looks pretty tomorrow.”

So this morning, my seventh grader came downstairs at 6:40am still rubbing his eyes, and grinned, “Mom, you look pretty. There. I’m done.”

At about the same time, my eight year old niece suddenly realized she had no gift for my other sister, exclaiming, “Mommy, I didn’t get you anything! Go get your nails done today!”

To which the first sister said, “Like she’s some sort of sugar daddy.”

Of course, our eighth grade son was so excited about his Valentine gift to us that he opened it himself at the dinner table last night. It was a lavender heart he made in “polymer lab” for chemistry. He barely let us touch “our” gift because he is afraid we’ll break it.

“And then” said the seventh grader, “you’ll have a broken heart.”

Serious, Seriously?

On Monday, my son’s Spanish teacher emailed me to let me know that he was upset. He had forgotten about a quiz scheduled for that day, even though it was posted on her website and announced in class.

On Tuesday, he went to Freshman Registration Night at the high school he plans to attend next year. His schedule is going to be really tough. So while his teacher had recommended Spanish III, I suggested taking Spanish II, so he isn’t slammed from all sides.

Nope. “I should take Spanish III.”

“I don’t know,” I shook my head, imagining another four years of nagging and checking up on him.

“Mom, it’s time I took school seriously.”

Well, you can’t argue with that… until an hour later when I received a late-night, bail-out email from his Social Studies teacher, saying that he “probably knows this, and has yet to start… but please remind him to…”

“Aw man, I forgot!”

He didn’t even remember that it was his turn to bring snack today. How can you be a serious student when you can’t even remember snack?!

Our Not-So-Normal Ski Day

On the first weekend of January in Colorado, thousands of city-dwelling kids head up the two-lane highway into the mountains for the first day of their ski programs. The desire to get up to the slopes is so great that many parents pull their kids out of class early to beat the traffic. Priorities, right?

While we do not advocate the “early Ski Friday pull”, we were definitely excited for the season to officially begin. But Friday night, temperatures dropped below negative 10 in the mountains, sending our planned ski day into a tailspin.

As we approached the car Saturday morning, we heard an explosion like fireworks. Turns out, it was the rear window of our car shattering into a million pieces. My husband had turned the car on to warm it up, and as it heated up, the contrast between the inside and outside was too much for the glass. Ker-pow!

No problem. We hopped in the car anyway and brought the boys to the mountain. I started calling potential repair shops, and my husband and I left for Walmart to buy plastic and duct tape. The Walmart is at least 20 minutes away from where we had dropped the kids, and the very nice gentleman who assisted us was quite concerned that the color of the duct tape match the color of our car. We were in no rush…

…until the cell phone rang.

Our oldest was calling from ski patrol, where they were tending to his younger brother, who had passed out at the base of the gondola. Dehydration. Altitude. not enough bacon for breakfast? It has happened before, which is the only reason, ski patrol said, they hadn’t called an ambulance. Please come quickly.

So, we threw the plastic and our matching duct tape into the car, and raced back to the mountain, where all was well, but….

….on the way, my sister, who was dog-sitting for us, called. Did we know tree trimmers were at the house trimming our favorite walnut?

Nope. So with the now balmy negative 2 degree air coming in the rear window and our child woozy at ski patrol, I had to tell the tree trimmer to please desist until we could supervise.

Now, the one family member who we had not heard from all day, was our nine year old, who was in ski school. We assumed that his day, at least, had been normal.

Not so. His ski instructor arrived back at the base early and angry, due to the bad behavior of the kids. And while our son was happily (and somewhat surprisingly) not the perpetrator, he is not ready for black diamonds and is being moved to a less adventurous group. He looked absolutely defeated, as I am sure, did we.

So, when I bought the big red Gatorade to rehydrate the woozy one, I also bought a lottery ticket. We’re due, right?

A Rooftop Christmas Crash

On Christmas Eve, just before the kids went down for their long winter nap and, according to NORAD, Rudolph’s red nose was leading Santa north from South America, our 12 year old lost a tooth.

Already excited, the lost tooth and resulting bloody grin infused the boys with even more energy. It took some time to settle down as Mom and Dad worried that Santa – and now the Tooth Fairy – would fall asleep before the kids did.

Then I heard someone gasp, “What if Santa and the Tooth Fairy crash into each other at our house?”

And all I could think was….

Another 15 minutes of adrenaline as young brains ponder the possibility. Another 15 minutes before Santa and the Tooth Fairy can sleep.

Middle School Sleepover Talk

“If Trump builds a wall, there won’t be anybody to mow the lawn.”

“Yeah, I think the guys who cut our grass are Mexican.”

“I’m pretty sure ours are Thai.”

My son grinned, “We have two Irish guys. Me and my brother.”

You mow your lawn?!”

“But you’re not really Irish.”

Later, when we went from the car to the house through the garage, one of his friends paused at the lawn mower. He waved his hands above it as if performing magic and spoke in a low and ominous voice. “This is Jackson’s mower.”

Our Generous Friends

My fourteen year old son babysits. We have instructed him that since he is just starting out and needs a ride home, he can charge $5 an hour.

His first few clients have been our friends. They, apparently, think we are mean. They do not believe in $5 an hour. They feel like they are taking advantage.

He is thrilled and amazed at their generosity. Eager to babysit when needed like Superman answering their call.

You often read that college graduates can’t find jobs and are working for minimum wage hoping something comes along in their field. In fact, a job listing recently caught my interest until I saw that, while “preferring” someone with a Masters degree – which I have on top of thirty years of experience – it paid less per hour than what my fourteen year old came home with after his last three babysitting gigs.

As parents, we would like him to aspire to be a mechanical engineer, inventor, technology guru, doctor, business owner.

But he might be smarter to stick with babysitting.

It has definitely inspired his work ethic. For that, I thank our generous friends.