I Ask Them What They Are Talking About and They Say ‘Just Kid Stuff’

Overheard in the living room:

“Every time Scooby eats a Scooby snack, we have to eat a Scooby snack, and if Scooby eats TWO Scooby snacks, then we have to eat TWO Scooby snacks and if Scooby eats THREE Scooby snacks, we eat three!”

“That’s a LOT of Scooby Snacks!”

It Was Colonel Mustard in the Ballroom with the Candlestick

What a wonderful feeling of accomplishment to put the final touches on a project. Everything has gone pretty much right up until the final point. And then, WHAM, spatulacakes.

The grout is the same color as the cat, the spatula melts into the pancakes. Or the tiniest nesting doll’s face is smudged with paint pen.

I’m pretty sure the difference between an artist and me is that final step. The flub that cannot be unflubbed. The eleventh hour blunder. That thin red line that separates something that could have been a source of pride from something that is a source of embarrassment. But is at least worthy of this blog.

Nevermind. Here is the unveiling of my latest mistake.

Miss Peacock bangs herself with the lead pipe and weeps, “Why did she give me so much mascara? She knows I’m going to blubber and smudge.”

You Can’t Eat Money But You CAN Throw It Away

Ah, these are the dog days of me and The White Car.

This afternoon I did this half-hearted thing I do when my gas tank is being filled: I washed my windows with the dirty squeegy thingy; then, when the pump clicks off, I hurry to finish the windows and don’t squeegy off the excess water-filth.

By the time I got home, I could not see out of the passenger side of the windshield.

“Girls*,” I said, “I will pay you a dollar if you wash my car windows.”

“WHOA.” “WOW.” “A DOLLAR!” they shrieked. “Can we wash the rest of the car, too?”

Knock yourselves out, I told them, but I’m only paying one dollar, and I’m not paying anything if you argue while you’re doing it.

Miraculously, they washed the windows and the car without arguing. I paid them each their dollar and we discussed what a kid could do with a whole dollar.

After assuring Sigourney that yes, you can fold a dollar, no you cannot eat a dollar (“it’s dirty,” I told her, to which she agreed, “yeah, it fell in the MUD and now it’s MUDmoney”), I attempted to explain about going to the store and trading the dollar for something else, such as:

  • A small apple
  • Three or four bananas
  • A small bag of cotton balls
  • A tiny notebook (memo pad)
  • 100 pencils if you go into Office Max 4 different times and buy the maximum limit of 25 pencils for 1 cent each
  • A small pack of crayons
  • A few stickers
  • A cup of rice (white or brown)

“Or how about chocolate?!?” suggested Erma.

“Well, you might be able to buy a LITTLE chocolate for a dollar. Not a LOT of chocolate. But wouldn’t it be better to buy an apple?”

We both knew it wouldn’t be better. Because chocolate is chocolate. And secretly, I was kind of proud of her for wanting to use her money for chocolate. That seemed like such a sillyliss thing to do that she suddenly seemed like my child. (Which she is anyway.)

And then Sigourney wanted to turn her dollar into chocolate right now, which didn’t work out the way she hoped. She later tried to buy more dessert with her dollar, which also didn’t work out.

I heard a rumor that they are going to use their dollars to buy doughnuts and eat them in the park tomorrow. Now that’s money well spent.


*which I only call them when my mother isn’t around

Burgers with the Beetles

It was a quiet evening dinner of hamburgers (and a hot dog for Sigourney).

“Sigourney,” Flathead asked at a break in family banter, “do you want to tell Mommy why you’re not wearing a shirt?”

I had noticed the lack of clothing, but she’s three. Being shirtless is being Sigourney.

“Well,” Sigourney said, “my pet beetle went up my arm.”

I put down my burger (pineapple, cheddar cheese, teriyaki sauce) because I couldn’t keep eating. “Your pet what?”

“My pet beetle. He walked up my sleeve so I had to take my shirt off.”

“Pet? Beetle?”

“He’s over there in the jar.”

“What? Jar?”

“That one. Right behind you.”

I was basically eating dinner in close company with a creepy black crawly thing that had once been up Sigourney’s shirt.

A second later I recovered and ate the rest of my bonsai burger. Because it was that good. And because I was going to have to learn to live with a bug lover.

The Secret Sock Story

When I get home from work this evening, Erma is wearing one pink cat sock and her other six-year-old foot is naked. “What happened to your other sock?” I ask her.

She sighs. “It’s kind of complicated.”

And that’s all she would tell me.

Lumpy Cat

This is my first try at creating a mosaic. Unlike other artists, I received all of my training in mosaic making from youtube, except for the book Flathead got me from the library when he could see I was seriously going to do this thing.

The thing is done. It’s a black cat in front of a moon. The cat is lumpy because I used black grout to finish it off, and also because the consistency of the grout was off, and also because I meant it that way. I totally meant it that way.

And his name will be Lumpy Cat.

* I am totally going to link my ebay seller the-crystal-rose to this post so she can know that the tiles she carefully cut for me have gone to good use.


Next Time I’ll Just Stay Home and Watch a Movie


Ode to the 1996 Honda Civic with the Crayon Stains on the Back Seat and the Seat Belts that Always Get Stuck and the Broken Radio Dial

My car, my sweet car…has been making a low, rumbly sound when I accelerate. Over time, the noise has become noisier. I keep turning the radio up, but the rumbling is fiercely competitive. I think I need a new stereo.

My car, my sweet car…is white. It attracts these small flies. The flies do not bite and they do not buzz. They do make the children shriek and scream. I think I need a new paint job. Lime green or sunshine yellow or the color of whispers and congeniality.

My car, my sweet car…has a lazy right side. The electric window will not go down, no matter how many times I press the button. The right window will go down just fine, but will not slide back up if it comes in contact with any precipitation. I think I need a sunroof, so I can throw the toll bridge tokens out from the top.

My car, my sweet car…is strewn with half-finished art projects, CDs without cases, comic books, baby dolls, and pens. My God, the pens. If ever I owned a pen, it is now hidden in the crevices of the car seats and the cushions. And probably dried up. I think I need a live-in car maid. And some new pens.

My car, my sweet car…has a Minnesota-sized mosquito squished into the driver’s side windshield. It reminds me that I took its life without thinking, only with squishing. It was probably just looking for a way out. Or my blood. I think I need a better bug attitude.

My car, my sweet car…was my father’s before it was mine, and that is why I love it, with all its quirks and irks. Somewhere beneath the ever-increasing rumbling, my car is full of the memories of adolescence. My sweet car.

Add a puppy to The White Car and the car’s minor defects suddenly disappear.

Things You Should Not Google Image Search

Note to self: if anyone, even your mother, tells you to google image search the words “foot” and “callus,” you must pick up the hammer and smash the computer screen, then, just to be safe, smash it a few more times.

The universe is a big place. My mind is a small place. There is no room for pictures of foot calluses.