QUOTE OF THE DAY (OR MORE): "No, no. You don't understand. This is an '89 Calico. I'm pretty sure that exceeds the Kelly Blue Book value. The cat's totaled." --A comedian whose name I forget talking about a vet who presents a $3,000 bill for a 12-year-old cat

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Why me?

I think I have "sucker" written across the top of my forehead. I state this hypothesis because I live on a street housing exactly 1.2 gadzillion kids ages 13 and under. Where do they all hang out? My house. My yard. Sometimes the urchins do innocuous things such as ride their bikes or scooters up and down the street or get a nice, normal, healthy game of football going in the back yard.

Other times one of my sons will come into the house surreptitiously while I am typing away at my computer in my home office, hard at work in the medical publishing industry. I note to myself that he has come in. I then note to myself, somewhat alarmingly, that he is sorting through the trash can.

"What are you doin'?" I'll ask.

"me? Oh! uh. yeah. um. I'm just making sure that all the recyclables are being recycled."

"mmm hmmm. and what are you going to do with any recyclables that aren't recycled?" I'll query.

"nothin'." A loud buzzer sounds for the wrong answer. "Nothing" means "something you won't like" in 11-year-old boy-speak.

"Okay, spill it, buddy. What are you guys up to?"

"Really, Mom, nothing!"

The boy goes back outside and has numerous empty plastic bottles lined up outside near the street (in our front yard, of course). He runs back and forth between the hose and the bottles.

Curiosity kills me, so I wander over to the door and watch.... and listen. Turns out they have some sort of pump contraption, originally meant to be used to power up a water laser squirt gun, rigged to these bottles, which they have filled up with water and are blowing sky high into the air with said contraption. It's really kind of genius. I'm a little proud, actually.

I poke my head out the door and all the boys pretend to be busy with something other than rocketing plastic bottles - anything else that could occupy them, such as a passing ant.

"Oh hey, mom. Looks like the grass needs cutting, doesn't it?"

"Hey, guys. That's kind of cool." I observed.

"Oh..whew! We thought you'd be mad at us!"

"Nah - as long as you recycle all the bottles when you've finished and as long as no projectiles hit anyone or any neighbor's property, you're good to go."

"Cool!!!" the tone changes, "did you see that last fire blast?!!!"

I take a deep breath and head back inside. Not much today. What concerns me is when I hear any of these words in hushed, conspiratorial tones, either alone or in combination with other words:

red dye
food coloring
baking soda
duct tape

Why, oh, why, I ask myself, can these neighborhood boys not pick someone else's house for this stuff? Why is it always my house? I guess I should be grateful that I always know where my children are... except that one time my son's friend's mom came to pick up her son from a playdate and I couldn't find them... but that's another story.

(Note, in this first video, my son's correct use of an adverb in the heat of the moment.)


  1. I couldn't watch the videos because I'm sitting here in a Starbucks and forgot to bring my earphones. But you're right in saying that the kids' invention is genius. I love that boys still think this way in some parts of our great country. It's grand to know they're not all spending 18 hours a day on wii.

  2. Oh, my.

    These are the things I can look forward to, huh? It is pretty genius.

    Also, I look forward to adverbs entering the vocabulary, even if they are used INcorrectly.

  3. That was so cool~! I would totally have been out there with them launching those bottles. I bet you can't wait till their next invention...well, maybe you can wait, but I bet it will be fun. And I love the German Shepherd.

  4. I love you article, and I felt a little nostalgic reading this. Their invention reminded me of the sixties (not that I was around then, but I've done my research).

  5. Them boys is geniuses. Whether or not they become EVIL geniuses all depends on you. No pressure.
    Seriously cool invention.

  6. Love that they're doing that! Our front yard is the magnet too. I'm not complaining. Just waiting for the day when I can be inside to their outside.

  7. That was awesome!! I love the correct utilization of the adverb, and I love how Sophie is "supervising" it all. She is so relaxed amidst the chaos that is boys, what a good dog.

  8. They hang out at your place because your obviously the cool mom!

  9. LOVE IT. I miss those days with my oldest son and his friends. even though at one crazy point (they were high school age by then) some crazy lady called the cops on my son and his friend. They were NOT doing anything illegal btw.

    Now the little guy is starting down the age old path of boy to man and their scientific experiments and wild imaginative shenanigans. :) Is that your cute voice in the background? It must be I know.

    'That worked well, man'.


    Now, I am off to find my mysterious widget. :)

  10. I tried to post this comment once, and Im not sure if it was succesful, so if it duplicates, Im sorry.

    That was awesome! I love the proper utilization of the adverb and I love how Sophie is "supervising". She is so relaxed around the chaos that is boys. What a good dog.

  11. Very cool! Looks like they had a really fun time. For a moment, I thought that dark colored SUV in the driveway was going to be a casualty!

  12. Well, that certainly did work well, didn't it? Very clever those boys are!

  13. Summertime in the ol' neighborhood. Nothing beats it.

  14. That is very cool! We had a water-propelled rocket when I was about that age. It was a lot smaller than a 2-liter bottle.

    Not long ago my boys brough home several appliance boxes from a local store. They made a big fort out of it. It told them I was fine with it so long as they recycled the cardboard when they were done. (I tossed the two, broken, hand trucks they scavenged at the same time and explained things were often tossed in the garbage for a reason.)


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