Friday, June 21, 2019

7 Quick Takes about Questionable Ways to Name Something, Night Hikes, and Children That May or May Not Be Related to You

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?


Our traditional Father's Day gift was a hit yet again this year: we told Phillip to go take a Father's Day nap while we cleaned out his car.

To understand this, you need to know that (1) Phillip doesn't get enough sleep and (2) his car is like a black hole. Nothing escapes it.

So he really appreciates that once a year, we remove all the flatware, loose change, odds and ends from the hardware store, random trash, and items Phillip means to return to the store that have accumulated over the last 12 months while he was busy dealing with other things.

We detail the whole car inside and out, leaving a new container of gum in the cupholder and a new air freshener on the dashboard. This year's scent was called "new car smell," which sadly Phillip's car will likely never be mistaken for no matter how it smells. But it's the thought that counts.


A few years ago, the Natural Environment Research Council in Britain held a contest to name a new $300 million research ship.

Notwithstanding that the NERC is a serious environmental science organization, the Internet banded together and overwhelmingly voted to name the vessel Boaty McBoatface.

I'll give you a minute to compose yourself.

I tell you this because right now at Phillip's workplace, they're building two new conference rooms and running a similar contest for the employees to give them names.

I told Phillip to suggest the "Phillip G. Evans Center for Really Good Ideas" and lobby his co-workers to vote for it. We'll see what happens, but I for one cannot wait for him to have his own named conference room.

If you're still laughing about Boaty McBoatface, here's a funny article about it that will make you laugh harder (slight language warning.)


Here at home, I've been hard at work passing my neuroses on to my children as mothers have done since the beginning of time (anyone else afraid of bird feathers because your mom freaked out when you touched one?)

After a particularly nasty bout with a poison ivy rash last month, I've been teaching the kids to identify and steer clear of the devil plant like it's a part-time job.

My 5-year-old is constantly pointing out poison ivy now, and I've subsequently realized how much of it is around the edges of the yard. A lot of it is near where they play or wait for the school bus, so I decided to suit up and remove as much of it as I could in those areas.

I was as careful as one can possibly be. I wore all long sleeves. I wore disposable gloves which I duct taped to my wrists. I tied plastic bag around my shoes to avoid getting the oil on anything I can't throw in the washing machine.

I made sure none of the oil on the plant could possibly touch me, and just to be sure I scrubbed my hands three times after I was done and then got in the shower to scrub down the rest of me three more times.

I still got a reaction.

This time it's not a rash or even localized. It's just a vague itchiness with random itchy bumps that appear and disappear within a few hours or days, which seems to be my histamines' way of running around in circles screaming "AAAAAAAHHHH!" while alarms go off.

Of course, while I was shuffling around my yard in long sleeves in 70-degree weather with English muffin bags tied to my feet, someone had to pull in our driveway and ask for directions. To the driver's credit, he acted like there was absolutely nothing out of the ordinary about my appearance.


In the kitchen the other day, Phillip and I were talking and I can't remember the particular reason why, but he finished his story by saying "I'm an old man."

"You're a sexy old man, though," I pointed out.

"Shh! Our daughter is right there," he whispered, pointing to our 15-year-old perched on the other side of the room reading a book.

Because one of the prerogatives of being a teenager's mom is being annoying on purpose, I said loudly to my daughter, "Hey, did you know that your dad is a sexy old man?"

Unrattled by my attempt to gross her out, she quickly answered "Good for him." Then, looking up from her book, she added, "And good for you, I suppose."

Then she went back to reading.


Living in New England for the last ten years, we've actually been lucky not to deal with any tick-borne illnesses.

Look at any Lyme disease map of the U.S. and all of New England is basically outlined in red while the rest of the country looks on in horror.

Laugh and cry at this week's installment of 7 Quick Takes, the diary of the misadventures of the Unremarkable Files family of 8. This is the funniest blog about big families you'll read all week. #7quicktakes #7qt #unremarkablefiles #funny
Figure 1: Places you shouldn't live.
courtesy Wikimedia Commons

So it was unfortunate but not a total surprise when on Tuesday, we realized we were dealing with our first case of Lyme disease.

Our 5-year-old had been feverish and lethargic since Sunday, and when he started complaining that his neck hurt I checked him for a rash and found a golf ball-sized one on his arm. It didn't look like a typical bullseye rash yet, but I think that's because we caught it so early.

The pediatrician put us on antibiotics right away and he's feeling better already, and since we treated it so quickly he should fully recover without any of the long-term effects you hear about when people aren't diagnosed for weeks, months, or years.

There should also be an antibiotic for the guilt of not finding the tick on your child in the first place, which can be as small as a grain of pepper so it's really easy to miss even if you try your hardest to be vigilant about it.


At this very moment, my 15-year-old is eating breakfast after having gone with a church group on a "night hike."

When she first mentioned a night hike I said something like "sounds like fun!" but I didn't realize what it meant until she actually started packing.

"Wait. So you're getting up at 1 AM and hiking up to the top of a mountain?"


"In the dark?"

"I told you it was a night hike, right?"

"Well... I thought you meant, like, a figurative night hike. Like at sunrise or something. Or that you were camping at night and hiking in the morning."

The fact that she still wanted to go, even though the point of the entire activity was climbing a 3,000 foot mountain at 1 in the morning and even though it was raining, conclusively proves she was switched at birth and cannot possibly be mine.


On the other hand, I know for sure my 1st grader and I are related.

School is finally over and among the truckload of papers and smooshed crafts she brought home was her writing journal for this year.

It was fun to page through it and look at the stories she wrote about "what I did this weekend" or "my favorite __________."

I particularly liked this one:

Laugh and cry at this week's installment of 7 Quick Takes, the diary of the misadventures of the Unremarkable Files family of 8. This is the funniest blog about big families you'll read all week. #7quicktakes #7qt #unremarkablefiles #funny

But I digress: the reason her writing journal proves to me we're related is that regardless of the prompt, she managed to make half of it about how much she loved ice cream. She's definitely mine.

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AnneMarie said...

Oh my, I'm sorry to hear that you had to deal with poison ivy AND Lyme disease over at your house! That sounds awful. I hope that the rest of your summer is a bit less eventful.

And that's a really cool Father's Day gift-I love that idea a lot!

Rachel said...

I have a fear of both bird feathers AND poison ivy, thank you very much. And yes, my mom preached anti-bird feathers so much as a kid I have been literally horrified when seeing other humans pick them up and wonder at their amazingness. Don't you know a bird feather can kill you? Not sure how, but they're bad.

Kimberly said...

"Phillip G. Evans Center for Really Good Ideas" is a great name for a conference room, but PGECRGI leaves something to be desired as an acronym. I'd go with "Phillip Idea Evolution Room #1" (PIER 1), and name the second room PIER 3, just to confuse people.

If they ask how to get to PIER 2, tell them to run full speed toward the wall between rooms 1 and 3, and a door will magically appear. If it doesn't, say they didn't run fast enough.