A Ferris Bueller Kind of Day

My husband likes to promise prizes to those who get good grades. Three trimesters of straight As, you get to do something really special.

Falling behind on prizes with our now 8th grader, who likes a challenge, the two traveled this weekend to the first regular season Falcons’ game at the new Mercedes Benz Stadium.

What’s a Denver boy doing being a Falcons fan, you ask. Who knows?

But it’s been forever, and he even produces a Falcons Youtube channel. Husband and son both came home thrilled by the experience.

Passes for on-the-field pre-game warm-ups. An invitation from a good friend to the owners’ box. The photos show our son standing, the field below, even though he describes the cushy leather chairs with the amazing view. “I was too nervous to sit.”

Photos of the stadium. Arthur Blank talking to Roger Goodell. My son with Takeo Spikes, two-time Pro Bowler. Close-up video of Matt Ryan and Julio Jones, and the tight ends who they described as 6’10” and HUGE!

“It was a Ferris Bueller kind of day,” said my husband. “We’ll remember it forever.”

“You need to get straight As,” said the 8th grader to his older brother, a Packers fan who tried hard not to be disappointed that the Falcons won. “You have to go to Lambeau. If you have a hundredth of the good time I had, it will be amazing.”

Then he added, “…and if you go, I’ll use my next three trimesters of As to go with you. How cool would that be?!”

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First Catch

During last week’s camping trip, and our youngest son’s second fishing outing, he bemoaned the fact that he has never caught a fish. So, in a stellar Dad move, my husband asked a friend where to go, got a fishing license, and we all (crazy dog included) drove up to Jefferson Lake, Colorado. It’s a beautiful location in the mountains, and it was a gorgeous summer day.

We walked about a half mile along the shore and set up camp. I was in charge of the dog, who was much-enamored with the chipmunks.

About an hour later, a shout went out across the water. “I caught a fish! I caught a fish!” So ridiculously loud, in his usual way, that I am surprised all the fish didn’t immediately vacate the premises.

We raced toward him with net, tackle box, camera, and cheers.

“I feel like I won the lottery!” he beamed.

The best though, was how he carried the dead fish back to the car, out in front of him, smiling from ear to ear, slowing down as he approached other fishermen and their families, so they could stop and look and express how impressed they were with his catch.

If that weren’t awesome enough, in a second stellar Dad move, there was a recipe waiting at home. The proud fishermen prepared and cooked the rainbow trout in butter and brown sugar, and then we all ate.

I think he might be hooked.

Terence, This is Stupid Stuff

Last night, my husband and I were sitting at our fire-pit drinking wine, talking about how people eventually get what’s coming to them. And he said, “That reminds me of a poem I memorized by A.E. Housman.”

Seriously?

He memorized it in high school without being assigned to do so. “I just liked the poem.”

Well, I too memorized poems and Shakespearean monologues when I was young. I got an A on the hardest exam I ever took – 10th grade English, when we had to identify a long list of obscure quotations and say what texts they came from, which author, and why important. I was in multiple plays. I only missed a line once, but in that play, I was actually Head of Costumes, and only because I had memorized most of the lines in Annie Get Your Gun, I was a last-minute understudy.

But I no longer remember any of it. That monologue by Puck in Midsummer Night’s Dream? Nope. My favorite quotes from F. Scott Fitzgerald? I’ll have to check the book that I used to keep by my bed. The really hard-to-memorize …ugh… what was the name of that poem… Canterbury Tales. Nope.

I only remember one line, “It’s like the ladies’ restroom at the Oriental Theater.” From Auntie Mame. I was the nanny.

Meanwhile, my husband, the science guy, sitting at the fire-pit at least thirty years later, recited – almost flawlessly and without pause – the second half of Housman’s Terence, This is Stupid Stuff.

And I felt stupid.

So, inspired by my husband with the memory of an elephant, I pulled out my – yes, I kept it –  10th grade Norton’s Anthology, and today, I’m going to re-memorize an old favorite.

Hopefully, it stays in my head long enough to recite it around the fire-pit.

Their First 10K

My husband and two older boys ran their first 10K race last weekend – the Boulder Boulder. I was home with our eight year old, so my experience of the race came from how they each reacted to it.

My husband immediately looked up other 10Ks in the area, eager to race again, because he wants a better qualifying time. He claims to have been slowed down by our oldest, who….

….had suggested the race and tried to train for it by doing a Couch-to-5K app on his phone. He had not yet made it to the total 5K by race day, but did really well. Proud of his run, he surprised himself by finishing the race right in the middle of his age group. “But I don’t need to run another 10K until the Boulder Boulder next year. And then I’m going to run by myself, just jog along, so you guys can race each other. Oh, and mom, you should come. You can walk.”

I can walk?! Seriously?

Our twelve year old did not train. He was along for the ride. But when the starting gun went off for their wave of racers, he took off leaving Dad and brother and everyone else in his wake. Finishing in the top 25% of his age group, he has already qualified for a much faster wave next year… a fact with which, of course, he taunted Dad.

At an average under 10-minute mile, he said, “I could have gone faster, but I did two slip-and-slides, and the second one had such a long line. Then there was the marshmallow mile. I shouldn’t have eaten it. Marshmallows and running bad! Then the post-marshmallow poop.”

“How long did that take?”

“A minute.”

“So next year, you’re going to skip all that?”

“Oh, I’m doing the slip-and-slides, and I’ll still crush Dad.”

Noodling on Nuclear Physics

When I was in sixth grade, I talked about my friends. I talked about the latest episode of Little House in the Prairie and wondered why Nellie was so mean. I worried that Joe was never going to get over Laurie falling for Amy in Little Women.

I did not talk about changing less valuable elements into really valuable ones, so I could make billions of dollars.

My sixth grader, on the other hand, has spent his Thanksgiving break ruminating on how to achieve just that. Apparently, he proposed an initial idea in Science class on Tuesday, but the teacher explained that it would not work. Like charges repel, so you can’t “merge” them.

Our seventh grader chuckled. “Everybody tries that in sixth grade. Can’t be done.”

Not everybody.

“So I’ve been thinking,” the sixth grader said, ignoring his elder naysayer. “What if you put one kind of element in a rubber container and put it in the middle of a room with the other….”

I guess rubber has some sort of power over positive and negative charges?

“… then remove the rubber? There’s nowhere for them to go! They have to bang into each other!”

Was I still playing dress-up in sixth grade, or had we moved on to Charlie’s Angels and dance contests by then?

The conversation continued the next evening at dinner. “It can’t be done,” explained my husband.

“Just because it hasn’t been done, doesn’t mean it can’t be done. What if I…”

Later, once the kids had gone to bed, my husband sighed. “It’s not fair. The way they explain nuclear physics in middle school is simplified to the extent that…”

Apparently, I do know someone who thought about nuclear physics in sixth grade.

“He doesn’t see that the electrons are like a cloud….”

His father’s son.

 

 

 

 

 

Dark Comedy

When I was deciding whether to go to film school in New York or Los Angeles, I did not choose New York, because at the time, I thought it was important that I didn’t wear black, drink coffee, smoke cigarettes or appreciate dark comedy.

Now, more than 20 years later, I have learned that humor in the darkest moments may be what heals us. I did not write during the three months of my breast cancer diagnosis and treatment, because I write like a twelve year old when I am sad. But looking back, the things I remember most are not the fear or sense of loss, but moments that made me laugh.

Here are two from visits to the cosmetic surgeon (who is otherwise awesome). It is important to note that for both, my husband was in the room for moral support.

In the weeks between diagnosis and surgery, the cosmetic surgeon explained the options, and while pinching my stomach fat, said, ”there is enough fat here to make boobs, but they would be very small A’s. Smaller than you are now.”

Enough fat on the belly. Small boobs. Feeling super sexy. “Hi, honey!”

A few months later, IV in for the final implant surgery, the cosmetic surgeon stops by before we head down the hall.

Recall the husband in the room… again.

“Okay now, remember, we are working with the deformity in your chest wall….”

Chest deformity. Yep, that’s me. And don’t forget the belly fat.

Just the visual you want for your husband minutes before you go under.

And I know it only because the surgery went well that it cracks me up every time I think of it.