Friday, August 14, 2020

7 Quick Takes about the Trouble with Pets, Humming the Tetris Theme Song, and a House Painting Question

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


We're in the process of getting one of our kids evaluated for ADHD, and the first step is having parents and teachers fill out a survey.

Both parents get separate surveys, and when Phillip finished his he handed it to me and jokingly asked, "Did I pass?"

I looked at his answers. 

Considering that he missed a question on the first page and completely skipped the second page, I handed it back to him and said "No, and I think it's genetic."


Pets. They sure are cute, but man, they are nothing but trouble.

Since we brought home some pet rats a few months ago, rarely has a week gone by that there hasn't been some kind of crisis. 

One after the other, they BOTH unexpectedly had babies (apparently they were having quite a time at the pet store before coming home with us) and both litters ended up not surviving. It was traumatic for everyone involved.

Things have been normal for a while, but then Scout had a seizure on Sunday.

Yes, we appear to have an epileptic rat.

It was crazy. Scout's whole body went stiff and she was literally jumping from wall to wall in her cage like an out-of-control primate, which was very scary because she was on one of the upper levels and almost fell. 

After that she zoned out for a long time and was basically catatonic. We petted her and talked to her softly to no avail, but she finally came to when we offered her a pea.

Like I said, the rats are sweet beyond belief but I don't know if I'm cut out for this being-responsible-for-living-creatures thing anymore. It's just too unpredictable.


Do kids today play Tetris? My 12-year-old has been listening to YouTube remixes of the Tetris theme song lately, and I'm confused.

I asked him if he knew what that was and he was like, "Yeah, everyone knows what Tetris is."

"How?" I asked. "Do they play it?"

"I don't know. Maybe online. Even if you don't play it, you know what it is."


It's just so bizarre to hear my kids walking around whistling a song to a video game I kicked butt at 20 years ago.


I've been watching my younger three kids play and wondering why we even own toys. 

Over the weekend, we dyed rice with food coloring and they played with it for days. They brought a bunch of pots and pans out on the deck and set up a store. They put together different color combinations and were selling "Christmas rice" and "all-occasion rice." 

Then they were walking around pretending to be farmers sowing rice. Then they were in the driveway pretending to cook rice dishes and serve them to each other on frisbees. Then one thing led to another and all of a sudden they'd set up a pretend house in the garage with separate rooms and everything, still playing with their rice.

The next day, I brought home a pack of balloons and only used a few. The younger kids asked if they could have the rest and they played with them for hours. 

First the long ones were light sabers and the traditional-shaped ones were clubs. Then they got the idea to fill them up with water. They changed into their swimsuits and ran around in the yard squirting each other. Then they had contests to see who could squirt the water and draw shapes in the driveway. They didn't want to come inside for dinner or probably ever eat again, they were having so much fun.

Basically, my three kids were entertained for an entire week with 40 cents' worth of dry rice and a 99-cent package of balloons.

And this has probably been the best summer of their lives.


My girls want to repaint their bedroom, and I realized that I've never lived in a place long enough before to paint a room a different color. The only times I've painted a room, it's been on a white wall just after moving in. 

So I don't know what I'm doing.

The walls are going from cotton candy pink to a pastel blue color, so am I going to need to put on a coat of primer first? Will the pink show through if I don't?

My gut says two coats of paint should be enough without a primer, but once upon a time my gut also said bangs and a perm were a good idea so I'm second-guessing myself.


Speaking of hair, my 14-year-old asked me to cut about eight inches off of hers.

After the first snip with my scissors, I casually said, "Here, hold this" and handed her the hunk of hair I just chopped off.

I expected her to scream, or jump, or react somehow to having a lock of her own hair put into her unsuspecting hands but she was like "Okay, thanks" and set it on the counter.

"That's it?" I asked. "You're not going to squeal or be like, 'Oh my gosh, that's so much hair!'"

She shrugged. "You did that to me last time. You do that every time you cut my hair, actually."

The great thing about getting older, I guess, is that you can just do the same things over and over to amuse yourself, and they continue to be hilarious because you don't remember doing them. 


A railroad track cuts through my jogging route, and since it's around a curve in the track the train slows down to about 8 miles an hour and takes forever to go by

My 8-year-old and I were out for a run and we had to stop for the train. While we were waiting (and waiting and waiting,) we decided to kill time by jogging on the service road alongside the tracks in the opposite direction. When we saw the end of the train, we turned around and tried to keep up with it until we got back to the intersection.

It was fun and I learned that my 8-year-old is wicked fast when she wants to be, but I also realized that all those books and movies where the action hero jumps aboard a moving train are ridiculous.

Even though the train was going super-slow, it was only slow for a train. I could barely keep up with it on foot. There's no way I could run at that speed while timing my jump and actually make it (especially since I would've had to jump about as high as my head to get in the door.)

So I guess if I'm looking for things to do in the future, boxcar hobo is sadly out.

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Ann-Marie Ulczynski said...

I'm sorry about the rat drama. . . but it reminds me of a story. My good friend in college had a snake. Her Mom was taking care of it at home. Her Mom bought a mouse to feed the snake. She put it in, but the snake didn't eat it. So she took it out and waited a day and tried it again. No luck; snake didn't eat it. So (for reasons I still do not understand) she put it in a paper bag and stuck it in the freezer. And called her daughter. My friend told her to get it out of the freezer and feed it to the snake the next day. Still, no luck. My friend headed home the next day. When she got there, her Mom had the mouse on her shoulder and had named it Snowball. Snowball was a member of the family. Unfortunately, Snowball had cancer and got a huge tumor. She didn't survive the surgery. (So the mouse they got to feed to the snake . . . )

AnneMarie said...

Your rat saga is wild! I would not expect pet rats to be so intense. Your timing of "responsible pet owner" stories is perfect, though: my four-year-old has begun talking about wanting a dog and cat, and I have NO desire to own a pet, so reading your stories has helped strengthen my resolve.

Also, if your kids ever get sick of the dyed rice, you could also try dying garbanzo beans! In pre-Covid life, one of our children's librarians frequently would put out a tub of dyed garbanzo beans for playtime after toddler events, and the kids always loved it, even more than the dyed rice, perhaps (which she would do sometimes, too).