Friday, September 11, 2020

7 Quick Takes about Bad Concepts for Picture Books, Starting Up the Crazy Train, and the Secret to Looking Youthful

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


The keypad on my phone is the worst. If I can't use speech-to-text, it takes me longer to fix all the spelling errors than it does to type the text. At first I thought it was just me, but other family members have commented on how impossible it is to text from my phone.

And now that I've spelled things wrong so many times, on the off-chance I spell it right then autocorrect changes it... to the misspelling.

The other day I was running errands and realized there was no way I was going to be able to get home and feed everyone in a timely manner, so I shot Phillip a quick text:


On Saturday, we went to the beach and since we'd be in the car for a little while, I grabbed some picture books to dole out to the younger kids while Phillip drove.

"Can I have that one? What's it called?" a small person requested from the backseat, pointing at the one on top of the stack on my lap.

"Diary of a Worm," I replied, handing it back to the second row of seats.

Phillip eye's widened in horror. "DIARRHEA OR WORMS?!?"

I almost died laughing at what he thought he'd heard me say, especially since the novel I've been reading just had the main character suffering from a horrible stomach ailment in Cuba and wondering this exact thing. 

Diarrhea or Worms? really does sound like the title of the worst Choose Your Own Adventure book ever.

I will never read this the same way again.


After 6 months of quiet, this week started the wheels of the crazy train have started to roll again.

School starts next week, my daughter started riding lessons, and someone in our house has had soccer practice every night this week. I was trying to find a free evening when the missionaries from my church could come over for a visit and while I was scanning the calendar, unable to find a free night I suddenly realized: I remember this.

Not having time to cook dinner, letalone eat together. 

Feeling like I'm herding cats because everyone's got their own agenda. 

Just being home long enough to throw our crap in the door before we leave again, and the house looks like a bomb went off because I'm too busy to follow everyone around reminding them to clean up after themselves.

I miss quarantine already.


School starts next week, and our school is following a hybrid model. The student body is split into two halves and using the school on a rotating basis, so my kids will be doing "remote learning" on the days when other students are in the classroom, and vice versa.

I'm still fuzzy on the details (so I'm hoping I'm  just understanding them wrong,) but it sounds to me like there's going to be a webcam in the back of each classroom, and on remote days you sit on your computer for hours watching the teacher teach the group that's there that day. It sounds mind-numbingly boring.

After her high school orientation, I asked my 14-year-old what she thinks about how this school year is going to go. She said she's "optimistically sure this will never work."

Actually, I know exactly what she means, because that's how I feel. I mean, it sounds so impossibly awful, it's got to be better than that, right??

So anyway, we're both optimistically sure this will never work. Also known as "in denial."


I missed the entirety of this, but apparently we had a visitor while I was out (see Take #1.)

Photos courtesy of my 16-year-old.

When the missionaries came over later that evening and my kids told them "There was a bear in our yard!" the one from Utah was like, "WHAT!?!" and the one from Alaska was like, "Oh," just as serenely as if we'd been discussing the weather. (They have a lot of bears in Alaska.)

For those of you who don't know the bear poem ("if it's brown, lie down; if it's black, fight back,") black bears are pretty timid and not usually very dangerous. The mean kind are grizzlies, which don't live in New England. Black bears are generally scared of people and will go away if you make some noise.

(Obviously, everyone was indoors when this happened. When my kids are outside, they're so loud I'm sure every bear within 100 miles is cowering in fear.)

As much as we love our suet birdfeeder, though, we're going to have to take it down for a little while. Because that's why this bear decided to come pay us a visit.

The kids report that the bear then fell off the retaining wall he was perching on to do this, which I really wished I could have seen.


One summer project we're trying to finish is repainting the girls' bedroom. When we moved here ten years ago, I did it bubble-gum pink and apparently that's not cool when you're 16. Or whatever.

The girls chose a color scheme and we went to the paint store for a sample. I was standing at the counter with my two teenage daughters and the cashier asked, "Are you three sisters?"

I just laughed politely, figuring the guy was either joking or thinking "That's one exhausted-looking old lady, let's give her a thrill." 

But then he persisted. He gestured to me and said, "Are you mom, then?"

I was confused. He actually thought we were all sisters? Listen dude, I feel like I'm 150 years old most of the time. Surely that shows.

After we left, I asked my daughters what just happened, and one pointed out "Well, we are wearing masks so 70% of our faces are covered." 

Okay, I guess that makes more sense.


The other project we've been doing is clearing out the basement. Random stuff collects and possibly multiplies down there, and we need to get rid of it if this "finishing the basement" thing is really going to happen.

One item down there is an old ping-pong ball table, in such sad shape we can't really even give it away. I wanted to pay to dispose of it at the transfer station, but Phillip said he could take it apart and hack it up so we could just put it in trash bags for free.

A little while later, I went to check on his progress and he'd made a desk out of it.


He said he was going to cut it up and throw it away, but then got to thinking about how we probably needed another study desk for the kids, so he made this:

Waste not, want not.

I love that man.

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1 comment:

Ann-Marie Ulczynski said...

Bears. Beets. Battlestar Galactia.

That table is beautiful!