‘Twas The Night Before Christmas

Short one tonight.  Getting the kids tucked in before Santa passes us by.  Plus we’ve had a busy, wonderful night with relatives – ate too much and had a couple too many Bourbon Balls (I’ll let you fill in your own jokes – by now you know my sense of humor, and I’m just too tired to think of anything good right now).  But I promised you 24 advent entries and this is number 24 – so booyah.  I just wanted to take a minute to thank you all for your support and laughter – two of the greatest gifts I could ever ask for.

I’m taking tomorrow off so I can bask in the holiday goodies and play with all of my the kids’ new toys.

Merry Christmas to all of you and your families and loved ones.

“Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.” ~ A Visit from St. Nicholas

OUR HUNDREDTH POST!!

WE DID IT!  Thanks to all of you for reading and enjoying and supporting!  I hope you enjoy the video – the subject matter gets a bit dicey, so you might want to keep this one away from the li’l ones (or don’t – I’m not your real mom, make your own decisions for crying out loud).

“If we do not succeed, then we run the risk of failure.” ~ Dan Quayle

If I’m Tired Again, Am I Re-tired?

I already messed up my summertime blogging goal but I had an amazingly awesome reason – I was at my parents’ retirement party.  Yup, they both broke away from the workforce on the same day.  You’d think on their last day, they’d follow their usual schedule just to make it official and to have a countdown of the minutes like New Year’s Eve; but, of course, my parents couldn’t follow “the plan.”  Dad left work 3 hours early and Mom stayed 45 minutes late.  Of course, as far as my parents are concerned, they were both right on time.

My parents are some of the hardest working people I know – there were YEARS that I remember neither one of them taking a sick day.  I remember staying with my grandparents on nights and weekends when my parents had to work odd shifts.  My dad worked all sorts of jobs: metal factory, plumbing supplies, modular office manufacturing.  He had some really interesting jobs like making the big light up signs that businesses use on their storefronts and working in a factory that made those super cool self checkout stations (I LOVE those things).  My mom had the same career for forty years…she sold drugs.

They both were had to deal with– long hours, going to work and coming home in the worst weather, missing important…

She worked in a pharmacy!  She filled prescriptions!  Pharmacy tech. She wasn’t like a drug dealer…no, like the legal kind…oh God…

Anyway, they both paid their dues and I’m very proud of what they went through to make sure my sister and I wanted for nothing and never knew how hard they struggled until we were older.  So, after all the years they did everything for us, when they asked us for one simple request, of course we had to do it for them.  They simply asked to let this event go by without fanfare.  No party, no big acknowledgement, just let them punch out and go home…

…yeah, we totally ignored that and started planning a barbecue.

Yeah, yeah, yeah – respect their wishes, they ask nothing of us, yadda yadda yadda, we gots to get our party on.

My sister and wife took care of the food prep, my brother-in-law was going to run the grill, and I was in charge of the decorations…bwahahahaaaaa.  Game on!

We had to make sure both of them were equally represented – pharmaceuticals and plumbing supplies.  Piece of cake.  First thing I had to do was decorate my sister and brother-in-law’s deck.  Patio lights! Easy peasy, right?  Wrong!  Can you believe they don’t make pill bottle lights?! So, like they say, when life won’t give you pill bottles, buy them on Amazon!  Okay, so that might not be what they say but it’s what I did anyway.  Who loves his parents enough to order pill bottles in bulk off the internet and most likely land himself on an ATF watch list?  This guy!

lights

But how do we ensure equal decorative representation for the padré? Luckily my sister has the same twisted mentality as I do (no doubt we’re related) and suggested a toilet for the chips.  Of course the dip would be kept up in the toilet tank.  Who loves his parents enough to make a toilet they can eat out of?  This guy!

IMG_5317

My brother-in-law and I ran to the liquor store for some crappy wine (we’ll save that debacle for another night) and we were good to go.  The family showed up, the food was cooked (only one minor out-of-control grease fire), the cake was decorated, and we waited for the guests of honor.

The looks on their faces as they drove up made all the planning and work worth it.  Because after all the years of raising us, all the sacrifices they made, all the hours they worked, all the bills and paychecks they had to shuffle, all of those feelings of exhaustion they overlooked to play with us, all of the literal blood, sweat, and tears that were shed so we didn’t have to – my sister and I finally learned the greatest lesson from our parents: that same angry look they gave you when you didn’t listen that scared the hell out of you as a child is ABSOLUTELY hilarious and fulfilling to see when you’re an adult and ignore their one wish to not have a retirement party.  TOTALLY worth getting grounded in my 30s.

“The trouble with retirement is that you never get a day off.” ~ Abe Lemons

EXTRA BONUS

My super-awesome friend, Kate, has a super-awesome blog of her own and she asked me to be a guest writer and write a super-awesome post for her.  SO I DID.  If you can’t wait to read the next installment for Bobbing for Popcorn CLICK HERE and check out my super-awesome Star Wars post.  While you’re there, show Kate some love and check out her other super-awesome stuff!

Thanks for being super-awesome and have a super-awesome day!

He’s Here to Rule the World and Eat Teddy Grahams…

…and he’s all out of Teddy Grahams.

My toddler is broken.  I’m not talking about just when he broke his arm either.  I’m talking about upstairs something is a wee bit cracked.  Like a ‘wearing a tuxedo, petting a small cat, planning world domination’ kind of situation.

Sure, every toddler has those little quirks.  Entirely disrobing and running around all “Garden of Eden” style.  Eating Play-Doh, complaining about how terrible it tastes, and then taking another bite.  Crawling through folding chairs while belting out “Welcome to the Jungle.”  Okay, that last one might be exclusively his.  He has also reverted to speaking gibberish from time to time.  As he was babbling on and on in “baby talk” during our morning commute one day, I was reassured by my wife that it was perfectly normal.  However, right after she said this, when he switched to a low gravelly whisper which made his “baby talk” sound more like voodoo curses, I wasn’t so sure we were still in the realm of normalcy.  Toddlers reverting to “baby talk,” normal.  Toddlers speaking in tongues, not so much.

He has some normal two-year-old temper tantrums like not getting what he wants or not wanting to go to bed.  But then he has other flip-outs over things that just make you stare at him in awe.  My wife had a blanket.  End of story.  He didn’t want the blanket, it wasn’t his blanket, at no time did he even seem to acknowledge that blanket’s existence before that moment.  But as soon as she put it on her lap: World.  War.  Three.  And honesty seems to bother him as well.  “It’s morning?”

“No, buddy, it’s afternoon.”

“NOOO AFTERNOOOOON!!!!”

“It’s dinner?”

“Yup, dinner time.”

“Pizza?”

“Yup, we’re having pizza.”

“NOOO PIZZAAAAAA!!!!”

Most of his responses can be replaced easily with “HULK SMASH!”  Because the way he says them, they pretty much mean the same thing.

Strangely enough, for as much as he dislikes people who answer him honestly, he is incredibly honest himself.  During the five minutes per day we allow him to play without someone watching every sneaky little move he makes, if he gets quiet, you know there is a problem.  And we will ask from the other room, “Are you being good?”  There’s usually a pregnant pause and then a tiny angelic voice will respond, “No.”  Then after the investigation we will usually discover that he’s colored his face with markers, or barricaded himself in the living room, or lodged himself inside the couch (no, I didn’t say inside the couch cushions or behind the couch, I said INSIDE THE FRIGGIN’ COUCH), or he decided that he should be naked, or he decided that the cat should no longer be naked…or happy.  But, impressively enough, he doesn’t usually lie unless he’s made a tremendous mess.  Those, when asked, were caused by Uncle Bob.  Uncle Bob lives four hours away but always has time in his busy schedule to make an 8-hour round tripper just to devastate our living room and leave.

He is certainly a mischievous little gremlin and when you pair that with the honesty, I often get worried when he’s being cryptic.  For instance when he walks by me going from one room to the next and he stops, looks up at me, and sweetly asks, “Daddy, you mad?”  Then walks on with a smile when I assure him that I’m not…I start to wonder.  Why should I be mad?  What did he do?  Why did his exiting smile look so triumphant?

He is a smart little whippersnapper too (well, with the exception of when he plays “let’s put this bucket on my head and run at the wall” – a very long name for a very short game; we’re still waiting to hear back from Milton Bradley about marketing it) which doesn’t help; when dealing with a criminal mastermind, it’s safer when they don’t have the “mastermind” part.  His memory is extremely impressive, especially in regards to music.  He can remember lyrics and the basic tune after only a couple listens.  On a side note, we’ve convinced him that they lyrics to “Uptown Funk” include “Hot Ham” so we dodged a bullet there.  His vocabulary is also astounding however, we started to realize this when he started using phrases like “We have a situation.”  When he starts his conversations with you like he’s quoting “The Hunt for Red October,” you know that something somewhere in the house needs immediate attention and Step 1 is always to locate the cat.

I thought parenting was tough when we only had one and the most trouble I ever had with him was he took a bite of soap in the bathtub once.  Everyone warned us about the second child always being different.  They weren’t kidding!  But, in all seriousness, he’s a very sweet, compassionate, snuggly little guy who loves to curl up in your lap and read stories and watch cartoons.  I am definitely lucky to be his dad and I can’t picture my life with out him.

Or at least, I feel the need to put this in here because sooner or later he will be old enough to read this and I want to stay on his good side…

“The fundamental job of a toddler is to rule the universe.” ~ Lawrence Kutner

Living A Lie

I know I’m a couple days late, but April is once again upon us.  And that means some of you may have fallen victim to April Fools Day pranks.  I personally do not indulge in the debauchery of April 1st’s festivities.  Believe me, I love a good prank and pride myself on being a bit of a jokester (shocking, I know, but suspend your disbelief).  But to fall into the conformity of the day that we’re supposed to fool one another – what fun is that?  It’s the one day you’re expecting something to happen!  That’s just “the man” telling us how to fit into his nice little bubble o’ fun.  Well, I will not follow what “the man” expects me to do! No, sir!  FIGHT THE MAN!!!  And, do you know why “the man” created April Fool’s Day? Because “the man” wants every other day of the year for himself!  That’s right “sheeple,” he wants to pull the wool over our collective eyes the rest of the time.  Now, before you think I’m going on a long-winded rant about the American electoral system, GMO farming, fracking, the corporate war machine, the JFK assassination, or the moonlanding – no, I’m here to talk about the important lies we’re being shoveled.

It all started at a very young age when your parents were “the man.”  We weren’t supposed to sit too close to the television, or read too late, or cross our eyes and a plethora of other things that would inevitably lead to our premature blindness.  Well, the joke is on us because that stuff doesn’t happen!  All those times you moved back from the television and your “poor man’s” version of 3D was ruined were for naught because it didn’t do anything to your eyes!  Ask your optometrist if you don’t believe me!  You know what screws up your eyes the most?  Genetics!  That’s right, good ol’ mommsy and poppsy were just covering their tracks by blaming your recreational activities for your Coke bottle specks with the, oh so sexy, turtle shell frames!  You pair the eyeball thing with the “spinach = muscles,” “don’t go swimming for a half hour after you eat,” “the cat ran away to the farm to get married,” and “Uncle George and Uncle Ted are just living together to split the rent” tales and you realize your parents should have had a career in politics!  And you bought all of it didn’t you?!!  I know I did!  The worst one they told us was “You can grow up to be anything you want.”  Really?  I can?  No matter how hard I work or dream or pray, I will never be a duck.

Then they sent you to school – the big box of lies!  I’m a teacher, so it’s not like I’m anti-public education (I’m very pro-paycheck).  But I remember all of the crazy notions that were sent my way when my mind was an eager little sponge in corduroy pants and tucked in polo shirt (yeah, I was that kid).  All those math formulas and procedures that we were taught to memorize and use and got tested on ad nauseam because we “won’t have a calculator with you [us] all the time.”  Now here I sit with a lump of plastic in my pocket that can turn my lights on in my house while I vacation in Asia let alone help me figure out the tip for my breakfast tab.  Shove that up your theorem, Pythagorus!  And I can type about 50 words a minute and I NEVER make sure my hands are on the “home row,” I don’t use all of my fingers and I almost ALWAYS look at my hands!  So, no, I didn’t need to learn how to properly navigate my keyboard.  AND WHO USES PROPER CURSIVE?!!  My mother has some of the neatest handwriting I’ve ever seen, not because she uses the proper techniques, but because her signature mimics Walt Disney’s!  Still don’t believe me about schools?  Two words: Columbus Day.  Boom.

It was all just preparing us for adulthood when we would be forced to swallow all sorts of BS.  In some cases, LITERALLY swallow it!  I’m talking to you Starbucks!  Who was the brains behind your cups?  Your “tall” is the shortest one you’ve got.  Coming from a half Italian heritage, I’m surrounded by people who cannot go on the rides at Disney World, but feel that they are “tall on the inside” as my friend once told my sister.  So, maybe, JUST maybe, these cups were made to make the hobbits of society feel better.  But there is no excuse for naming the medium “grande” – grande means large, you can’t name your medium “large.”  You’re the kind of person who names their cat “Dog” aren’t you?  And you didn’t invent the words venti and trenta, they already mean something.  They, like the garden gnomes of my family, are Italian.  They mean “twenty” and “thirty” respectively. So does that mean you serve me 20 or 30 ounces?  Oh no, no you do not.  Your cups come in 24 and 31 ounce varieties.  Yes, I appreciate the few extra drops of your overpriced swill, but your sizes are lies!  But how can you be expected to find words that mean large and extra large…oh wait…how about LARGE AND EXTRA LARGE?!!  What a novel idea – that will free up your other cups to be called small and medium.  Problem solved.

So, my friends and faithful readers.  Fight the man!  Prank whenever you feel like it and keep your eyes open to all of the pranks being pulled on us every day!  It is time that the fools take back the power!

***Oh, and not to kick you while you’re down, but Barry Manilow didn’t write “I Write the Songs” either.  Sorry.***

“April 1. This is the day upon which we are reminded of what we are on the other three hundred and sixty-four.” ~ Mark Twain 

Old is Awesome

I can’t wait to be old.  Old people are so cool!  No, not like the ones who rifle through the milks looking for the latest expiration date and then pay by check in the checkout line or the ones who complain when a restaurant gives them too much food (seriously, doggy bags have been around for a long time, surely you can handle this situation).  But I’m talking about the awe inspiring examples of what people used to be like before our marshmallowy squishy excuse for generations came around.

I had some great examples growing up with my grandparents and even a great-grandfather to study.  I can only hope to attain a level of badassery that they possessed.

I suppose it started before my great-grandpa, but I don’t know much about my family tree that far back.  My Grandpa John’s name was Carl…let that set in for a moment…this man was so cool, I didn’t know his real name until I was almost a teenager.  He was straight off the boat from Sweden and he is technically a survivor of the Titanic.  Technically he was supposed to be on that ship.  Technically he needed to take a later trip.  So technically he survived the Titanic.

He was a man of very few words.  I only remember him saying things like, “Hi,” “Bye,” and “Beer, please.”  He lived to be 99 (I know, way to drop the ball, Gramps) and he was active for most of those years…overly active…like he probably shouldn’t have been on roofs in his 80’s.  Yeah, I said roofs…plural.  One time his roof needed fixing and he didn’t need any help fixing it, so up on the house he went.  My grandmother was worried sick, not because he was on the roof, but because she couldn’t find him.  She looked all over the house, all around outside, and he was nowhere to be found.  The man was in his 80’s – he could have wandered off who knows where!  But good ol’ Grandpa didn’t want to get in trouble so as soon as he heard his daughter was looking for him, he pressed himself up against the part of the roof where he couldn’t be seen.  Eventually, he was caught and scolded.  Not as badly as when he did it a couple years later and was forced to come back in through a window instead of down the ladder thus tracking tar through the house.  He learned his lesson though – when it came time to take down the television antenna from the house, he got tired of his family yelling at him not to…so he tied a rope around one of his grandchildren, anchored them in the attic, and had them do it.

The man was fearless and never was it more evident then when we decided to celebrate one of his last birthdays with a cake containing all of the necessary candles (I think it was somewhere around 95 – I can’t remember exactly – more than 90, less than 99 and definitely more candles than should have been lit at one given time).  He was the only one who didn’t scream when all of those pretty little flames banded together to create one giant birthday fireball.  He just sat there with a little grin patiently waiting for a charred piece of wax-encrusted cake.

He is certainly not the only tough knot in the wood of my family tree.  For the past few posts, I have mentioned Pop – my grandpa.  Awesome guy and tough as nails.  He is the guy I think of when it comes to badassery.  I’m sure the following sentence isn’t used often, but one day I came home and my parents told me, “Your grandfather was hit by a semi; don’t worry, he’s fine.”

A.  Semi.

He was driving cars from an auction back to a dealership (as he did nearly every day) and he hit an icy patch at the end of an on-ramp and slid into the path of an on-coming 18-wheeler.  He was driving a little, sporty car (his favorite) and the car was torn in half.  The semi driver stopped as soon as he could and ran back to the scene of the accident knowing there was nothing he could do for whomever was in that car.  Well, I guess technically he was right.  My grandfather met him on the road while he was looking for his hat that got thrown off his head and tossed into the part of the car that was turned into confetti. The semi driver asked if Pop had seen what happened to the people in the car…Pop just wanted to know if the guy could help him find his hat (in his defense, it was a pretty cool hat).  The next day my grandmother and I got him to agree to go to the hospital to get checked out.  When the doctor asked why he was there, Pop told him that he had gotten in a car accident with a tractor trailer.  The doctor laughed and waited for the real answer.  He stopped when he looked at my grandfather and saw that he was serious.  He was taken for x-rays and it’s a good thing he went to the hospital when he did because the bruise on his hip needed some ice.

I don’t think I could ever measure up to those two guys.  I’m pretty much a pansy who hates being on roofs now and whimpers whenever a semi drives by me.  However, I do think I’m probably going to take advantage of my age like my grandmother does.  My grandma (who will soon be 90 and who will NOT be getting a cake with 90 candles…lesson learned) does more than embrace her age – she exploits it.  She still drives on her own and even plays soccer with my son in her backyard.  Now, granted, I’ve been in the car with her when she decided that traffic rules don’t apply to her after a certain age including the “we always drive on the right” rule (I told her that I know she feels like she’s had a good long life, but I would still like some more of mine) and I have caught her standing over my son’s prone body looking down on him (in her sweater, long skirt, and sneakers) mockingly telling him, “Well, we could tackle in soccer when I was a kid!”

I have a long way to go, but it’s going to be fun when I get there!

“Age is an issue of mind over matter.  If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” ~ Mark Twain

So Many Tears

Continuing from yesterday’s post, I kept subbing for a couple years.  Most of the time it wasn’t anything to write home about: a Math class here, a Music class there, once in a while I would pitch a kickball game or two for a gym class (sorry, “Phys. Ed.” – now my PE friends won’t blow whistles at me and make me do a lap).  It was not fun by any stretch of the imagination, but I didn’t mind the work.  It was a double-edged sword, though.  On one hand, if I had a rotten group of kids, I just needed to survive the day and we went our separate ways; however, if I had an awesome group of kids, we only had one day and we went our separate ways.  Then I got a game changer – a multiple-day placement!  Three days, one class, I could actually try my chops out as a real teacher with the same kids and actual day-to-day lessons.  I was stoked (yeah, I said stoked – c’mon you know you used it in the 80’s, help me bring it back)!  PLUS, it was second grade!  I wanted to be an elementary school teacher!  Had the stars finally aligned and put me where I was meant to be?

No.  No, they hadn’t.  The stars had scooped me up, swung me over their head like a lasso, and dropkicked me into the seventh layer of Hell.

I showed up early and read the plans – everything was immaculate!  Everything was scheduled down to the minute.  On Wednesday: go over the morning events (attendance, date, birthdays, Pledge of Allegiance, lunch orders, etc.), then we work on Math, then they go to the library, then they come back and we have reading time, then it’s lunch, recess, story time, social studies, and off they go.  Thursday is the same thing except we exchange gym for library and Friday they go to art and after story time all the classes can go out for Friday Fun Time if you did all of your work for the week!  I never met the woman I took over for, but she was a planning guru!  I had never felt so prepared and everything was going perfectly until the kids showed up.

They filed in and put their coats and backpacks on the hooks and I hear the whispering start, “Who’s that?”  “Where is Mrs. [so-and-so]?”  “Is that a sub?”  They were all so cute!  And, now that I have my own kids I know, the cuteness is how they get you – they smile between their rosy cheeks and bat their big innocent eyes and make you lower your guard, then WHAM they do something demonic.  All the pictures of Satan as a cloven-hoofed, fanged beast is totally wrong – the real Devil looks like Shirley Temple or that kid from Jerry Maguire!

They all took their seats and I introduced myself.  Hands instantly shot up – like all of them.  Now I could start to see the stereotypical characters starting to emerge.  My eyes were pulled, as if by a magnet to one adorable little girl in the front row – that’s because she’s the one that is in charge of the class; I must have instinctually been drawn to her strong leadership qualities.  “Hello, Mr. Williams.  Welcome to our class.  We’re glad to meet you.”

Okay.  That was creepy – like Stepford Wives creepy.  What second grader talks like that?!

Then a voice from the back of the class – obviously a student who has given up hope of ever being called on when their hand is raised due to the fact that they have been cursed with a last name that starts with a letter that curses them to a seat in the Siberia of the back of the classroom while the creepy greeter gets called on all the time because her name is probably “Aaamanda Aaaronson” – yells out, “Are you a sub?”

“Yes.”

A sweet little voice from the middle of the room squeaks out, “Where’s our teacher?”

Then a little boy pipes up – you know that kid – the one whose parents let him watch anything he wants so he can grow up well-rounded and not sheltered from the evils of the world.  The parents who are “new agey” and expect the hands-off approach will make their children “free thinkers” but really they just turn into “jerky little nut balls” who express themselves turning everything they touch into a weapon of mass destruction, know how to recreate every artillery sound effect perfectly with their mouths, and have a tendency to torment every other living creature within their line of sight.  “She’s dead.”

Now before I can reprimand him for his comment, the mousey girl who asked starts wailing, “No!  I don’t want her to die!”  And that was the first of many, many crying children.

I finally got her calmed down and used my stern teacher voice on the instigator who smiled back at me the whole time (that little…) and we were back on track.  I tried to take attendance and “Aaamanda” chimed in to tell me how their teacher does it.  And I took lunch orders, but not the way their teacher does it.  And by the time we were ready to say the pledge incorrectly I turned to my Quality Control Agent and firmly, but politely, told her, “I’ve got this, thank you.”  Gasp.  Lip.  Whimper.  Meltdown.

A boy cried when another boy had to go to the bathroom before him.

A girl cried when I told them it was time to go to the library and she didn’t like how it always smelled like books.  A different girl cried on the way back from the library because she wasn’t leading the line.

A little girl was talking back to an elderly woman who volunteers to help the kids in the classroom once a week and I gave her my best stern teacher routine and she crumbled (okay, I was trying to get that one to cry – you aren’t rude to grandmotherly ladies- it’s a rule) .

Kids who weren’t even in my classroom were crying in the cafeteria.

Two kids fell at recess and cried.

Finally we got back in for story time – she reads to the whole class and calms them down after lunch and recess before the last lesson of the day.  THIS is why I wanted to become an elementary school teacher.  Reading to children.  Passing along my love of books and storytelling that my teachers gave to me.  A chance to…Bridge to Terabithia?!!  Are you friggin’ kidding me?!!  I looked where she left off and, no, I wasn’t going to get to THAT part on Wednesday, but I did on Thursday and it was like the sprinkler system went off.  If you haven’t read the book, I won’t ruin anything – just know that if you WANT to make a roomful of kids cry (except that one little sociopath who reenacted the scene in his seat with sound effects) that’s the book to use.

It was the longest three days of my life.  It actually made me change my major!  To this day, I don’t know who I was substituting for, but my hat is eternally off to her, and ALL elementary teachers who can control their classrooms, teach their lessons, and hold on to their kind, patient, nurturing personality.  I’m very fortunate to call a few of these people my friends and I am in awe of how amazing they are at their jobs.

The only redeeming moment I had was when it was time for Friday Fun Day and my twisted little friend hadn’t done all of his work that week and I finally got to make him cry because he had to stay back and finish!  What’s the sound effect for someone not doing their homework and having their hopes shattered?  Make THAT noise smart guy!  Oh, I guess you are! Bwahahahahahaaaaa!

“If there were no schools to take the children away from home part of the time, the insane asylums would be filled with mothers.” ~ Edgar W. Howe

Technically They Didn’t Warn Me

…when we last left our hero (me), he (I) was making sure that no one in the orthopedic specialist’s office missed him (me) when he (I) left.

I was not a good patient when I was younger – not in the least.  I was the kind of patient that they gave workshops about when nurses are being trained.  I have since gotten much better, but I was completely different in my youth.  I also did some very stupid things.  Things I never told my parents about.  Things that they will most likely find out by reading today’s blog post.  Can you still get grounded when you’re in your 30’s?  Oh well, no sense worrying about that now – here we go.

I had been living with my cast for about a month and I had gotten pretty used to it – it wasn’t really holding me back much.  Writing was still a bit difficult, but even that was manageable.  One thing that it didn’t stop me from doing was playing video games and my friend had some really cool ones that I didn’t.  So, like most days, I went over to his house after school.  I always had a great time over at his house: cool video games, plenty of junk food, a very short walk from school – perfect!  However, the exception to the good times was when he was on the phone.  This boy could talk.  I have never met anyone, A-NY-ONE, that can chat on the phone longer than this guy – it was really ridiculous.

So there I was, waiting for him to get off the phone so we could play games together.  I mean, really?  You have a guest!  Check your etiquette handbooks- not cool, sir, not cool.  So after a decent amount of time, which knowing me, was probably two to three minutes, I decided to start doing stupid things to annoy the crap out of him until he hung up the phone.  I was dancing, making stupid voices, gargling, and I even remember throwing myself down his stairs a couple times (yeah, I know, a brilliant idea since I already had once fractured limb – you don’t know me, I do what I want!) trying to get him to hang up the phone!

***You see you young whippersnappers, “Hanging up the phone” means turning the phone off.  Back in the day there were two pieces to a phone attached by a fun, springy cord that you could whap your little sister in the face with if you timed it just right.  If you put the talky part back on the dialy part, you were “hanging up.”  Now you damn kids get off my lawn!***

I finally decided that I would get his attention by threatening to light a Kleenex on fire.  (Stop shaking your head so judgmentally – I already acknowledge that these were “stupid things” – besides I was just “threatening” I wasn’t “actually” going to do it)  I had one of those long barbecue grill lighters and the fire was far away from the Kleenex, no chance of it catching fire.  Sheesh, I’m not THAT stupid!  Then I upped the “wow factor” by doing a quick swipe of the flame by the Kleenex (stop judging Judgey McJudgerson – why don’t you go say hello to the skeletons in your closet?!!) and I was surprised to find out that a quick swipe will heat up the aloe on the tissue and that it turns into light green vapor (see, would you have learned that if I didn’t do this?  No.  You’re welcome).

Now, I forgot that my friend was even on the phone, I was too mesmerized by the green aloe vapor.  It was like a tiny herbal genie popping out of the lamp!  It would have been great if it had been an actual genie because I would have wished for Kleenex to be infused with an endless supply of aloe.  Alas, that was not the case and after a half dozen passes, the little green poofs were no more.  Another fun science fact, once the aloe is gone, the Kleenex cannot handle any more quick swipes…

FOOM!

The Kleenex was ablaze.

Now we find ourselves in a good news/bad news situation.  Yeah, sure, I had just lit a fire in my hand.  BUT, glass half full, my friend hung up the phone!

I did what any logical person would do if they had a handful of flaming snotrag – try to run to the kitchen and put it in the sink.  This would have worked if I was already by the sink.  Or in the same room as the sink.  Or within 50 feet of the sink.  Impressively, I made it four whole steps before it got too hot and I dropped it…on his cat.

Now we find ourselves in a good news/bad news situation.  Yeah, sure, I had just singed the cat’s eyebrows off.  BUT, glass half full…well…um…I got nothing.

The fire landed on the carpet and I did what any logical person would do if a flaming snotrag just bounced off a cat and landed on the carpet – I tried to beat the fire out…with my cast.  IN MY DEFENSE the doctor told me not to get the cast wet!  HE SAID NOTHING about keeping it away from open flame!

Now we find ourselves in a good news/bad news situation.  I successfully put the fire out with minimal charring of the rug.  However, my arm was “technically” on fire.

I did what any logical person would do if they had just heroically saved the carpet only to find they have a flaming appendage – finish running to the sink and put the cast under water.  Okay, the doctor did say not to get it wet – that one is on me, my bad.

Now we find ourselves…aw, screw it – we had a major problem on our hands.  We had a burn mark on the carpet, a cat with no eyebrows, and a slowly disintegrating cast.  Fortunately the only thing my friend was better at than jabbering on the phone was coming up with the wildest, most asinine stories ever and selling them better than a politician wearing a mask in a high-stakes poker game (the dude was good).  He concocted a story that his sister must have been smoking in the house again (she was much older and had been told numerous times not to do this by their mother) and the cat was playing with the lighter, knocked it to the floor, got her paw on the trigger, and lit it.  Furthermore, I tried to put it out, but my cast caught fire because I’m a moron (so it wasn’t a complete lie).

Now we find ourselves in a good news/better news situation.  Not only did his mom buy it, but she actually yelled at his sister!

So, the moral of the story.  Don’t waste your time talking on the phone when you have a guest.

“Bad decisions make good stories.” ~ Ellis Vidler