Archive for June, 2008

And punctuation, too.

June 25, 2008

I’ve written about my nephew F. before. He’s twelve, going into 7th grade, and the second child of my younger sister, M. He has a penchant for posting questions on Yahoo! Answers and they never fail to crack me up.

His most recent question:

“Am i sphyickec if it’s real?”

“for the last year iv’e been able to tell what show on tv will come on in the next couple of hours minutes or days. so am i sphyickec (i don’t know how to spell it right).it started after i hit my head on the concrete when i broke my wrist left if it matters and i’ve not told anyone. last week right before the phonerang i said it’s for you grandpa 2 seconds later it rang and it was rich for grandpa rich is his freind. theese pictures just appere in my head like i’m just outside and tehn all of a sudden the image apppere’s or like i just all of a suuden can tell what’s going to happen. one time while i was at micheals house he was playing atv offroad fury and i just blurred out he was going to crash and get hit with an atv and it happend. i think i;m about able to control thembut it’s hard and sometimes when these predictions happen i have a terrible migrane or headache. Like when i was watching the debate of hilary and obama and i had the strangest feeling like obama will win and then”

Additional Details:
“i felt sick and had threw up in the bathroom so ami i’m kinda scarred(afried)

i am at the age of 12”

Okay, wow. To sum it up (in case the poor punctuation and spelling threw you off.) My nephew, F., believes he’s psychic because he predicted that:
1. Certain tv shows would appear on TV (in the next minutes, hours or days.
2. The ringing phone at my dad’s house was for my dad,
3. Someone playing a video game would crash.
4. Obama would win a debate.

And that falling and breaking his (left) arm and bumping his head caused this new abilitiy.

My favorite response by a Yahoo! Answers answerer is:

“I think it’s so cool that you can predict what will happen in the future and you need to work on your spelling.”


June 24, 2008

Last weekend was the annual Heritage Days Festival in our little town. It involves a talent show, musical acts (all Christian or Country-blech) and a carnival with rides, games, and funnel cakes. (Mmmm… funnel cakes!)

Taylor went with a couple of other boys his age. I asked him if he had fun, “Yah.” What did you do? “Nothing.” Did you ride any rides? “Yah.”

Conversing with my fourteen year old is very uninformative.

Luckily his friend B. is a chatterbox.

B. came over the next day and said “Did Taylor tell you what happened at the fair?”

Um, no.

“Some girls hit on us. One was fourteen and one was twelve. The twelve year old was really ugly but the fourteen year old was okay. The twelve year old, she said she wanted my….. you know, um…. ‘testicles.'”

So creepy!

And weird, I mean, really, testicles?

When my kids entered preschool I would be shocked when they knew something that I hadn’t taught them. It was both delightful-they were so smart- and a little sad, realizing that soon they would no longer be in the protective little bubble of mommy and daddy love, but would be influenced, sometimes negatively, by the outer world.

From pre-school to trashy girls at the fair. The time has flown.

I asked B., “So, what did Taylor do when the girls were hitting on you guys?”

“He ran away.”

Potty training at three may have been a bitch, but having a slightly immature boy is now a blessing!

June 19, 2008


Yesterday, riding in the car, my daughter said “I have a problem.”

To the mom of a teenager, that’s the panicky equivalent of yesteryear’s “We need to talk.”

“That sunscreen you bought me, SPF 50, well it’s not letting me tan at all.”

Damn, I was wondering when she would figure that out.

We are fair skinned, freckled, Nordic people, not prone to tan but prone to skin cancer; at thirteen she doesn’t care about that, but I do.

I’ve always preached risk management to my kids. We wear seatbelts, don’t ride in the backs of pick-up trucks. Don’t drink and drive, etc.

BUT, I’ve never wanted my children to be afraid of the world or afraid of new experiences. For example, one year Reagan fractured her wrist on an obstacle course; the next year she said “I suppose you don’t want me to do it this year.”

I let her.

And we talked about risk vs. reward. About how life is not risk free, and how we take sensible precautions but that we can’t let fear make our decisions. (Except when it comes to bungee jumping… we were going to do it one year and we all chickened out!)

To her, the risk of skin cancer is worth the reward-being tan like all her friends.

So what do I do? Forbid tanning? Hand her a bottle of lower SPF sunscreen and cross my fingers? I’m uncertain. If it was a matter of imminent danger, it would be a no-brainer, but it’s not. Is the (slight) risk of skin cancer lower or greater than the reward (*fitting in) that she gets?

I just don’t know.

(*Yes, “fitting in” sounds trite, but for a 13-year old, it’s vitally important. And “laying out” and tanning is a whole social occasion for the girls in our neighborhood. They meet up, make snacks, arrange towels, music, etc… so it’s not just the tan itself that is important to her, but the whole social aspect of it.)

Father’s Day

June 17, 2008

On Father’s Day my dad was supposed to arrive at Chez Wood around 1:00 or 1:30 after dropping my nephew F. off at the train station in nearby Galesburg, IL.

Before his expected arrival I started the grill, made a couple of salads, prepared potatoes, garlic bread and chicken to be grilled, cut up onions and peppers to cook with brats, made dessert.

Almost immediately after putting the meat on the grill it started to pour. Lovely.

Meat, garlic bread and potatoes done. Jennifer dripping. Previously clean kitchen floor coated in tracked in grass. Everything ready, but no Dad.

I called him; F.’s train was delayed. ETA: 3:20. I wrapped everything up, stowed it in the refrigerator, not wanting to give the gift of “Upchuck and the Big D” for Father’s day.

Later I hauled everything back out, re-heated, and prepared the table. Dad was expected any minute. The phone rang.

My mom. Dad was helping Forest stow his luggage aboard the train and it “took off.” Hmmm… don’t they announce it before they depart? My dad was on his way to a town (Princeton) that is about an hour north. Shit.

Despite their looming divorce my mom offered to pick my dad up and take him back to his truck. Thank goodness. My friend Chad was in town-he lives in San Francisco-and, in our typical mid-30’s (hell, we are boring!) fashion we had plans to eat out with MarySue and maybe get coffee. (Bars are too loud. We don’t want to drink and drive, etc… all good reasons to avoid bar hopping, but further evidence that we are OLD.)

I feel bad for my dad, though, spending Father’s Day waiting for a train, riding on a train, waiting for a ride home from the mistaken train ride and missing out on Father’s Day dinner (and Father’s Day beer).

Plus, my sister M., the mother of F., did not attend last weekend. Despite the fact that she lives with him, M. did not feel compelled to attend our Father’s Day gathering as it involved getting up before 2 pm.

Next weekend F. comes back, so we are postponing Father’s Day until then and hoping his train will be timely. And someone else will be helping F. with his luggage!

Breaking the ice.

June 10, 2008

My work is holding a training session today and our employees from around the state arrived in scenic Princeville this afternoon.

As always, I was in charge of finding an ice breaker. I’m the queen of ice breakers and am definitely going to put it on my next resume. (Experienced in brief introductions and silly games?)

My online research yielded some fine choices:

“Balloon Bop”
A balloon is kept in the air, as well as calling out someone’s name, also call out a body part which that person has to use to keep the balloon in the air until he/she calls another person’s name and body part.

I resisted the opportunity to yell “Maria, BOOBS!”

Dignified, I know.

“The Magic Lamp”
You and your team have just found a lamp. You rub it, and surprise! A genie appears. The genie grants you three wishes. You are allowed to make three changes at work. You may change yourself, your boss, your job, the people around you, etc.

Really? Is that a good idea for a workplace ice breaker. “Hi, I’m Jennifer, if I could change three things about my office, I would make my boss not a dick, I would wish that Howard would brush and floss, and I really wish that I was a teacher rather than a dumbass database administrator.

Okay, I’m sure that game would not do wonders for my career. (BTW, that was totally hypothetical; I love my boss, there is no “Howard” and databases, well, they are FABULOUS – Hee, hee, now I’m playing last years ice breaker, two truths and a lie.)

Ultimately I chose “Me, too;” a game in which everyone was given a bundle of ten straws, and had to make a statement such as “I have climbed a mountain.” Everyone else that has also done the activity throws a straw in, too. The first one out of straws wins.

One of my co-workers has eaten iguana.

Three have climbed a mountain.

Several have graduated from college, locked themselves out of the house and a surprising number have accidentally killed a pet.

Nenna, our newest employee has also “fought with her last boss…”

Hmm… maybe not what I would have lead with during the ice breaker at my first meeting with a new boss.

I wanna make love in this club, in this club, in this club.

June 6, 2008

I swear they play that Usher song more than once an hour on the radio station my teen daughter likes.

It came on the other night while Reagan and I were in the car and I tried to catch all the lyrics. Not only does Usher want to “make love in this club,” he wants to do it on the floor and in the bathroom.

Reagan’s question:
In the men’s, by the latrines? Ick! Or in the women’s, in a stall?

My response:
Um, Rea, really either would be “ick!” Because having sex in a club would not be “making love,” it would be indecent exposure.


June 6, 2008

Hi everyone. I just found a bunch of comments in my spam folder that weren’t spam, including a couple from myself. (yes, I comment on my own blog!) So sorry to anyone who might have thought I found their comment offensive or unacceptable, I haven’t yet deleted any comment other than spam, so if you ever leave me one and it doesn’t show up, feel free to send me an email.

Spy Guard

June 4, 2008

Yesterday at work, my officemate, Mari, says to me:
“Oh, a message just popped up that I have a virus.”

Me: “Is it from Norton anti-virus?”

Mari: “No.”

Me: “Oh, don’t click on it! It’s a virus.”

Mari: “No, it says I have a virus.”

Me: “No, it’s the virus. Don’t click on it.”

Mari: “I already clicked on it.”

Me: “Ugh. It’s a virus!”

Mari: “I know, it told me I have a virus.”

Me: “No, IT’S the VIRUS!”

Mari: “Now it wants me to buy a program to get rid of the virus.”

Me: “It IS the virus, it has infected your computer and now wants you to pay to get rid of it.”

Mari: “No, it’s the one that told me I had a virus.”

Me: Bangs head on wall and spends the next hour removing* said virus.

*Special thanks to my good friend Lee for his advice and help in this matter.

A bunch of “D.S.”

June 3, 2008

Reagan and I were discussing doody semantics last night. And she said “One piece is a called turd but the plural form of it is poop and a pile is called……


very mysterious

June 2, 2008

There is a David Sedaris story that goes something like this:

“One summer my family was embroiled in a mystery. Someone was wiping his or her butt on our mahogany colored bathtowels and replacing the towels on the shelf, properly folded. At one point or other each of us was the victim and one of us was obviously the perpatrator.

My parents and older sisters were pretty easy to rule out. It was hard to imagine any of them being so immature, and, well, gross.

My grandmother also lived with us, as did my younger brother, who seemed to lack the dexterity to re-fold the towels.

My whole family played detective, trying to catch the culprit. We staked out the bathroom, watched for signs of a tender tush, and questioned one another. My mother noted that the person must be ‘one sick individual’ and my sister, the latest victim, responded ‘and he eats corn.'”

In the Wood household we are having our own mysterious summer, which, until today, did not involve poop.

Last Friday night at 1:20 am Taylor came into our bedroom and said “Dad, I need your help. N. (well known bully that lives near us) is outside and keeps knocking on the windows.” Chris got up, went outside and no one was around. He came back to bed. And we listened. Definite noise, more of a soft thud, but it sounded like it was INSIDE the house, not outside.

Chris got up and searched again. Outside and inside. No one.

More waiting, more listening, still an unexplainable noise.

Chris and I both get up. I shut every door in the house (all the closets, etc, because the noise was similar to a door gently thumping into a door frame.)

The noise stopped.

Then yesterday the kids were asleep and Chris let the dog out. He had been sleeping in Reagan’s room.

When Reagan got up and let him back in there was a paper clip on his ear. Not dangling, earring style, but on his ear to the paper clip’s hilt.

The dog was not thrilled about this.

How in the hell did a paper clip get on his ear? Chris was working around the house, both inside and out, so anyone coming into our yard would have to be awfully bold.

Taylor was asleep. Reagan had been sleeping, too, plus I can’t imagine either doing such a thing.

Not being a dog lover, I’m the most obvious suspect. But, really, it wasn’t me!

(And, yes, we were able to remove the paper clip and it hadn’t caused injury.)

Now today, my husband just emailed me this:

“I’m sitting in this conference and feel that my wallet is sort of poking my ass in an uncomfortable way. As I shift my weight in the chair I realize that it is not my wallet and wonder what it is. I reach my hand into my back pocket and pull the object out to discover that it is a hard, dried dog turd. How did a hard, dried dog turd get into my back pocket?”


I’m trying to figure this out. A series of random, coincidental weirdness? A poltergeist? Or is there a prankster in our midst?