Friday, May 13, 2022

7 Quick Takes about the Neverending Driving Lesson, Water Bottle Purchases, and Helping My Daughter Make Friends

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


Quick covid update and then on to other things: Within the last week, everyone in the family tested positive, suffered from varying degrees of crumminess, recovered, finished their isolation as per CDC guidelines, and went back to school.

Since they all started having symptoms on different days, though, I have a literal chart on the wall that I refer to so I know when each child goes back to school and how long they're supposed to mask in public.

I feel a lingering sense of general low energy. It's nothing I can really pinpoint, but if you ask me to do anything it's a good bet I'm not going to feel like it.


I enjoyed the Mother's Day cards from my kids on Sunday (in my case, they were also get well cards) and think my 18-year-old should pitch this idea to Hallmark:

You can't copyright the likeness of Freddie Mercury, can you?


When my oldest son was a toddler, I remember being shocked at the difference between boys and girls. When girls are excited, girls will scream and run around but boys will straight-up yell "HULK SMASH!!!" and put a hole in the wall. 

It's nuts.

And I guess they don't stop being destructive when they're older. Specifically, my 13-year-old son is destroying his braces. His older sister had braces from the same orthodontist for two years with nary a problem, but he's had his braces for less than a month and has already lost a wire and broken a bracket.


My 16-year-old passed her learner's permit test on Wednesday! After dropping off her little brothers at gymnastics that evening, I found an empty parking lot nearby and gave her her first driving lesson.

Since the car she'll be using is a manual transmission, the first few lessons don't exceed 5 MPH and mostly involve killing the engine repeatedly while remaining in one spot. But she's a fast learner and got the hang of it quickly. 

It feels like I was just doing this with her older sister, so I guess this means I've officially moved to a new phase of life. Instead of permanently potty-training somebody, I'm going to be eternally teaching someone to drive.


Why are good water bottles so hard to find? By "good," I mean:
  • Reusable
  • Not breakable if dropped
  • Mostly spill-proof, within reason
  • No straw so I can clean it
  • Fits in the side pocket of a backpack
  • Inexpensive to replace when lost
  • Not too huge, not too tiny (20 oz. is perfect)
Okay, I guess that's a lot of specifications. But still. We had some Rubbermaid bottles that fit this description exactly, but when I recently went to order some replacements Amazon had stopped carrying them. WHY WOULD THEY EVER STOP MAKING THESE???

Phillip and I have an ongoing debate about whether it's better to pay for quality items that will last forever (his position) or inexpensive items that won't be upsetting to replace when the kids inevitably break and/or lose them (my position.)

After looking at water bottles online for a long time, I started wondering if maybe I should start investing in the reusable stainless steel kind, where each bottle costs $20-$30. But in the end I went with my gut and bought a cheap 3-pack, which I knew was the right choice two days later when two of them were already missing.


My 16-year-old likes to sew (my theory is that it's hereditary and skipped a generation) and wants a dress form. 

But teen-sized dress forms are hard to find, and the ones that exist aren't great. If you don't have a business where you need an adjustable dress form to make clothes in a variety of sizes, you're better off making your own custom one by wrapping yourself in duct tape, cutting it off, and stuffing it.

Guess who got to help my daughter make one?

It was fun, but after we made it and she was just carrying around a bust of herself it was a little creepy. It looked like something you'd do after you'd gone crazy in solitary confinement and decided to (literally) make a friend.


New this week, I joined a language exchange site on the Internet. The basic idea is that it takes a native speaker of whatever language you're trying to learn (Spanish in my case,) and hooks you up so you can practicar.

I didn't tell Phillip I was signing up for this, so he had no idea about it when he breezed through the room between Zoom meetings, saw me on my phone, and asked "What are you doing?"

"Texting Javier from Colombia," I responded, and Phillip just nodded and kept walking as if he's used to one sort of crazy shenanigans or another in this house.

In general, it seems like most people who claimed to be "learning English" were pretty close to fluent already, so being an actual beginner on one of those sites was terrifying and humiliating. But also strangely fun, and the people I spoke with were so encouraging it actually made me want to keep trying.

I also figured out how to filter by age so I'm not talking to a bunch of 24-year-olds. Nothing against 24-year-olds, but I have more in common with their mothers and I have the language skills of their toddler children, so it's maybe not the best fit. Now I'm off to look for some nice grandmas to talk to, wish me luck!

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mbmom11 said...

Your kids learn how to drive manual? Impressive. My mom used to call the manual transmission cars my siblings had as the selfish cars - as most of us can't drive stick.
My husband has tried several times to teach me to drive stick, but it never takes. My oldest son tried this winter, but he couldn't get it either. (Even after my husband rebuilt the transmission). So it could be the truck, it could be the teacher ;) . I'm the one who does a lot of the driving instruction for our kids (we're on #7 with a license!). I don't mind taking them out on the local roads and hitting Target on the way home.
I'm with you - buy cheap because you know it's going to break or get lost. Only if it's something for the adults in the house will I consider forking over more cash for quality. I used to Rubbermaid juice boxes (about 9 oz? maybe) that did last forever, but then I couldn't get straws anymore. (And that's so frustrating, to buy something that can last but you can't get the accessories anymore!)

Jenny Evans said...

mbmm11: I've heard manual transmissions called "millenial anti-theft devices."

Unknown said...

Considering the fact that I have lost 2 thermaflasks and a couple of the good insulated plastic ones ( with my name on it no less) at the gym you might be right.
Megan talked about making one of those duct tape forms. Hope it works for her. Mom

PurpleSlob said...

Yes, millennial anti-theft devices!! lol
Also, cursive the millennial unbreakable code!! bwhahahaha
Exactly why I didn't a boy!! God was gracious to grant that.
Whew, glad everyone is better now!!
Good thinking on her part! I've never had a bust. I'm afraid I would have nightmares about the stranger in my room!! lol
Yeah, even at 61, I don't buy expensive stuff for myself!! I had a Tervis water bottle, as a gift. Busted it in 3 months. Got real glasses, sat on them in 1 month!! $300!!! Got a pair from Dollar Tree, been 2 years!! Just now had to replace them cuz the frame peels so bad, I constantly have black eyes!!