Friday, May 29, 2020

7 Quick Takes about Questionable UPS Packages, Family Hikes that Give You an Anxiety Disorder, and Things to Make on a Sunny Day

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


When I went to mail an Amazon return at my local UPS drop box, I noticed this sign plastered to the front:


What. The heck.

I'm seriously concerned that anyone with the mental wherewithal to open a UPS drop box could (or would) say to themselves, "Well, these gloves are obviously contaminated so I'll just put them in here for the PPE fairy to take away!"

Helpful rule of thumb: if you don't want your garbage, chances are that no one else does, either. That goes double for moms and overworked delivery drivers.


Later the very same day, I went to the grocery store and saw this sign above the corn on the cob:

"Until further notice, we respectfully ask that you do not shuck corn in the store. Thank you for understanding." I find it amusing that this sign is titled 'Corn Shucking' so we know what it's about.

Every time I see a sign prohibiting a bizarre behavior, it's a sobering reminder that:

  1. Someone has done that behavior before, and
  2. Enough people have done it to make the sign necessary.

I have so many questions but mostly: why would anyone shuck their corn in the store? Corn isn't even sold by weight, so you literally gain nothing by taking off the husks before paying for them.

Also, "until further notice?" Does this mean at one point, this was okay/expected? Will it be again? Have I been doing life all wrong?

I'm just glad I don't work in retail. If the boss had asked me to make a sign for people throwing their corn husks on the floor it would've started with "Dear Pigs" and probably would not have ended by thanking them for understanding.


We attempted a family walk on Memorial Day weekend, but it felt less like a restorative nature hike and more like a tour of ways to die.

The trail led over a tall stone bridge that was supposedly breathtaking. And it was, but not in a good way.

There was no barrier to the sheer 20-foot dropoff on either side of the bridge, except for a waist-high wall made of big, flat rocks that my smallest children all tried to climb immediately and repeatedly.


Also, the trail was a lot more crowded than we anticipated. We didn't even bring masks because we expected it to be quieter.

Between constantly making sure no kid fell to his death, got too close to anyone, or tromped through the poison ivy on the side of the trail, it was definitely not a relaxing trip.


Memorial Day dawned gray and miserable, and we passed the day in a melancholy stupor. Seriously, I have no idea what we even did.

It was then that I decided we needed more of a schedule. We had one that was working at the beginning of lockdown, but we jettisoned it when the kids started online school.

Our new schedule is posted on the wall and it's very simple: every day of the week, there's a fun family activity planned at 3 PM for anyone who has finished their schoolwork and chores.

Tuesday was "field day." It was a million degrees out and there was a ridiculous amount of complaining on the way to the field, but once we got there everyone had fun.

We had the place to ourselves, probably because this particular place was home to one of the worst tennis courts in New England.

Grass grew in giant cracks in the playing surface, the sagging net was propped up in the middle with a stick, and the fence around the court was in such bad repair that my 4-year-old amused himself by crawling underneath it like a naughty dog for most of the time.

However, the tennis court's condition matched our skill level so it worked out fine.


On Wednesday, we made bookmarks. My kids read a ton and all of our bookmarks have gone missing, and when I saw someone using a sock to hold their place in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone I knew something had to be done.

The kids made new bookmarks with this Sun Art kit from Amazon, which was such a cheap and easy way to spend an afternoon.

Using flowers and leaves gathered from the yard, the kids arranged their materials on the special paper that came with the kit and left them in the sun for a few minutes.

After rinsing and drying, they turn into this:

I plan to put these on cardboard backing from a cereal box and cover them with clear packing tape so they last longer.

How cool is that?


We made fake "snow" on Thursday but it was such a mess to clean up I don't want to talk about it. What I do want to talk about is how much I enjoy listening to my kindergartner's class video calls.

You know how hard it is sometimes to keep your 5-year-old's attention? Well, imagine there are 20 of him and you're just a disembodied head unable to touch them or do anything commanding or interesting to get them to focus.

Today my son's kindergarten teacher was leading a very serious discussion about the Pledge of Allegiance that went like this: "Does anybody know what 'liberty and justice for all' means? 'Liberty' means that we are free and right now we're listening instead of using the chat, Lily, and that is your first reminder. 'Justice' means fairness, and if you have a pencil or pen let's make sure it's in our hands and not in our mouth or nose..."

The woman has the patience of a saint.


Oh, I can think of one thing I did on Memorial Day. My friend Bridget came over for a social distancing walk on opposite sides of the street. Afterward, we sat on camping chairs in my garage like college boys and talked for a little while.

It had been my birthday a few days before , so when Bridget showed up and I opened the door she yelled "Catch!" and threw a present at me from 6 feet away.

Such is gift-giving in the time of Coronavirus.

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Jenny in WV said...

The grocery stores around here usually have a big garbage can next to the corn so you can shuck it right then if you want to. Maybe people think it's less messy than bring home the husks and corn silk? Growing up we always threw the corn husks into the adjacent cow field, but I guess that wouldn't be an option for folks in suburbia. My guess is the sign is some kind of coronavirus related thing?

The bookmarks are really cool!

Kharking said...

I was taught to pull back the husk on one side to check the quality of the ear inside but too many people schuck the whole ear and make a mess. Besides which no one wants the manhandled and rejected ears so they go to waste. My local store has signs like that every year.

AnneMarie said...

I can't comprehend why you'd shuck the corn in store, that was always the activity my parents would delegate to us kids at home! (and we enjoyed it). Huh. I guess everyone grows up with different expectations on when and where to shuck corn!

Ann-Marie Ulczynski said...

Yup - lots of people like to shuck the top part to make sure the ear of corn is good. And then they put it back if it is not so good. Which is gross usually, but during a pandemic . . . well, now's there a sign.

That walk sounds terrible. It's so frustrating when you try to do something fun and get stymied on every side! But way to go for trying.

Marcia said...

Oh my, I guess we all learned the golden rule as children, but not all of us retained it to adulthood. Your "Dear Pigs" sign would have been hilarious! Those bookmarks are beautiful; even a grownup can have fun doing those :). Belated happy birthday! I hope you have a good year.