Before I get started, I wanted to tell you all that I've decided to change the names of my family so don't be surprised when you hear of my husband Daniel, and my two kids; Tommy and Jason. I'll sometimes call Tommy Tom and Jason Jay - I'll point out their new names for a while and I'll be going back and changing their names in past posts too. Maybe I'll put up a little decoder thingy on the right a la Drazil - we'll see. There isn't any real big reason why I'm doing this, it's just more that I use my middle name on here because my real name which rhymes with Pamela but begins with a C is pretty unique and it would be very, very easy for someone to find my blog just by googling my name and I'd just as soon this remains only for the people it's for. And so I was thinking about it and people could also google my husband and kids names together, with or without my real name, and this would probably come up - so.... why not take that option away.
So... on Thursday a friend of mine came over and the four of us (husband is in Florida) first played Frisbee after dark which can be a little dangerous as it’s much harder to see the branches on the trees (and mailboxes if you'll recall Jason's (this is the new name of my 10.5 year old son) stitches incident early this year) – but everyone, thankfully, remain unscathed. But then we played Pictionary. Whenever Jamie comes over the kids rope her into some sort of game – which I believe she loves – but anyway... neither of the kids have ever played the game before so we teach them how and as part of that instruction I tell them about their very literal great grandma.
Come with me, will you (ooh, that’s dirty – but I digress) So this was the one and only time we played Pictionary with my grandma. They had obviously played before because she had set up two easels complete with colored white board markers (this was when white boards were still cool and new – I’m guessing I was in college at best. And in her version of the game (and if grandma was around her rules were THE rules) you could use different colors if you wanted to – like water could be blue and a sun could be yellow, which is totally helpful. Anyway (that seems to be my pet word for the day) it’s grandma’s turn and she’s drawing for her team which included me and my dad - her son, and probably a few others and she’s all excited cuz she just knows we’re going to get it. It’s just so easy – and she said something just like – “oh, this is going to be a piece of cake” (speaking of cake, she was a very stereotypical grandma and she made the most amazing hummingbird cake – have you ever had that – if not, you should find a recipe and make one – though I never have – they are soooo good!!)
The timer starts and she pulls out a yellow marker and draws a small yellow rectangle. And when I say small, I mean… it was probably 1.5” x .5” on the bottom of this big huge easel and then she sat back and waited. We’re all madly guessing… rectangle, house, other things that are rectangles – I have no idea – but we were all stumped.
“Grandma, you’ve got to give us more, we’re not getting it from this.”
“There’s nothing more to draw.” Pointing emphatically at the picture “that’s what it is.” Ummmm okay… We randomly start guessing again and are getting no where.
We basically go back and forth (actually come to think of it I don’t think there was a timer because I believe this went on for several hours, though that could just be how I’m remembering it) with us being totally stumped and my grandmother getting more and more annoyed with us and pointing more and more emphatically with the tip of her pen at the obvious masterpiece she’s just drawn. It’s clear from her facial expressions that she is horrified to be related to any of us – There must have been some mix up at birth because these just can not be her offspring and the offspring of her offspring – or maybe the genes have gotten diluted – no wait, it’s Frank (her husband)’s fault – they are his stupid genes showing their stupid heads – how do they not know what the hell that is when it’s as clear as the nose on my face.
Finally a day or two later we’re at an impasse. We are never going to come up with the answer and she flat out refuses to tell us what it is because we’re all just too stupid to be helped. And then… her son, my dad – who’s known her the longest in our group and in many ways thinks just like her leans forward and utters his first and only guess…
Man, I’m really debating here as to whether or not I should tell you what the guess was and whether it was right. I’ll have to get back to you on that one.
But the point here is that I told the boys this story about how sometimes what you draw, even if it is in fact a masterpiece, the idiots on your team may just not get it and pointing more and more emphatically at the picture will in no way help your team member come up with the right answer, so you should try something different. But Jason who is (depending on your point of view) either blessed or cursed with my sense of humor spent the entire night pointing emphatically at his drawings – he, of course only did this when the impact would get the greatest laugh – he was very much on a roll last night and we were all laughing very hard.
Speaking ill of Tommy (this is the new name of my 13 year old son)
So on Wednesday I was on pick up duty for my older son and another boy from the neighborhood from soccer practice. I had to then take the other boy to boy scouts. Okay fine. I get there a bit early and am watching practice and I come up behind two dads who are watching and talking. I get there as one of them is saying to the other “It seems to be the older kids, well at least the taller ones (of which my son is one) on the team who are the laziest. So they must be getting lazier as they get older.” So of course I felt compelled to jump right in because I’m apparently not so shy “I can’t speak for any of the rest of the boys, but I can assure you my son has been lazy since birth – height has nothing to do with it.” I suppose I should feel guilty for speaking ill of my son, but I just don’t.
Oh and speaking of feeling bad – or at least thinking I should feel badly. This same child, an 8th grader is in GT science and they do a two year science project spanning 7th and 8th grades. He has a new teacher this year, who he absolutely loves but he’s turning in the first part of the 8th grade part of the project this week. It was due on Thursday. Okay no big deal right. Even better is that in the division of labor in my house – all science projects fall under my husband’s domain. Yay me. But Daniel’s (this is my husband's new name - also his middle name, like Read is mine) gone all week this week – so while they did the project together last weekend – building a trebuchet – he wasn’t here for the paperwork that now has to be turned in related to it. (uh... I think we need to more clearly define the division of labor here...)
This new teacher has laid out the very specific steps on his website and the kid seems totally into it – even wanting to do parts of it a bit early so he can run it by the teacher. Well he does that and brings it home and determines he was all wrong and now he has a shit load of work to do on Wednesday night – which of course is the same night he has soccer practice – but anyway – I agree to do the typing for him as I can type much faster than he can and this way I have a shot of getting him to bed before midnight.
So, I’m typing away the steps as he’s telling them to me to building the trebuchet and I swear to god they are shit. I mean – they make sense to the 13 year old’s brain – kind of like ur a q t makes sense to a 13 year old – but for a real live science project – omg – shit I tell you. But I’m discovering this at 9:30 on Wednesday night as I’m typing and it’s due at 8am Thursday morning. This is not about to be when I have this conversation with him so I make a few suggestions here and there, but mostly I let him hang himself. But… that’s not the worst part of it. The part that’s much worse is that one of the teacher’s steps is that “I’ve had my parents read my instructions and they agree with how I’ve laid it out.” or something like that - oh good god! And then – even worse than that – I have to type a section that says something like.. I Read, parent of Tommy am comfortable with all he’s done… yadda, yadda, yadda.
Those two parent related steps were the last two steps and by then it was after 10pm. And again there was no way I was stopping what I was doing to go back and fix all the problems cuz well it’s not my homework and it’s not even my thing in the division of labor agreements we have. But… I felt much worse about the fact that I said I thought it was good work than the fact that he was turning in shit work. Like, man!! That teacher is going to think I’m a complete idiot. What does that say about me as a person??
A typical conversation with Tommy
This exact conversation just happened with Tommy 3 minutes ago
Me: you need to pause the game and come upstairs and finish your homework
Him: Mommy! (completely exasperated)
Me: your other choice is to turn it off and not turn it on again today. I don't care which one you choose.
The TV goes off and there is much stomping and muttering as he makes his way upstairs to finish his homework.