Now my daughter won’t stop reading

This is a post a wrote a while (four years) back.  I saved it to use when I needed it.  I need it today.


The other day The Kids and I are driving around running errands.  The Girl and I are talking about something with Girl Scouts and listing all the girls and whether or not they are coming to this event.  After I’m done listing she says, “what about Susie?”  (OK, her name isn’t really Susie, but that’s not important).  I told her that Susie had moved away, which prompted a complaint about how Susie was only here for a few months.  I explained that I thought Susie’s family was only here for a short time after her step-dad got back from being deployed, which prompted, “Mama, what does ‘deployed’ mean?”

Holy teachable moment, Batmom.  I explain that deployed means when the soldiers go away to where the war is and fight in the war.  She asks about where our soldiers are fighting.  I start talking about Afghanistan and the Taliban.  She finds it mildly interesting that there are places in the world where girls and women must be covered up and aren’t allowed to work or drive cars.  No biggie to her, though.  Then I mention school and books.

Next thing you know she’s almost in tears over the thought of anyone not being allowed to read and what a horrible, terrible, life-destroying thing that would be.  How she can’t imagine going without her books.  How she would never be able to sleep without reading in bed.  How she could never live without The Hair of Zoey Fleefenbacher Goes to School.  How she would never want to sit alone in her room without Mama and Papa reading to her, or one of her favorite books to keep her company. How horrible it would be to never read a new adventure.


This year, she’s read I Am Malala, among many other booksand opened a public Little Free Library with her girl friends.  The world is good.

Taliban: 0     Girl: all the wins


The Three Best Smells on Earth

A few words on the power of scent, figured out based on the three best smells in the world:

  1. Palmolive Original Scent.  Both of my grandmothers used Palmolive to wash dishes when I was a kid.  That Palmolive smell is the essence of unconditional love and joy.  My mother’s mother, delicate, tender, utterly undomestic, and unflinchingly supportive and loving to her grandchildren, cleaned her dishes with Palmolive.  When we would help clean up after holiday meals, summer sandwich lunches, and Christmas cookie baking, we used that Palmolive.  My father’s mother, tough, strong, domestically accomplished, and unflinchingly supporting and loving to her grandchildren, cleaned her dishes with Palmolive too.  Helping clean up after hearty dinners and special treats and in between crafts and volunteering, we used that Palmolive.  Those two women were very different, but identical in the way they loved and supported everything their grandchildren did.  Even when we were less-than-gracious, poorly mannered, or downright snotty, both of them were loving and kind as they corrected us.  Both made sure each of their grandchildren (16 all together) knew we were loved utterly and completely.  Both supported us in whatever aspirations, big or small, we had.  Both have been gone many years now.  One day at the grocery store I decided to test-smell dish soaps.  When that Palmolive smell hit my nose, I was overwhelmed by a sense of security and appreciation.  No dish soap but Palmolive will do for me since that day.
  2. Petrichor. I don’t know what it is about this special smell when rain falls on dry soil, but it seems like the essence of clean fresh purity. If ever I find anything that really smells like it, I’m buying everything in that particular scent. Except dish soap, of course. See #1.
  3. Diesel fuel.  I do know what makes this particular scent resonate security, safety, warmth, and home.  My dad was in the Navy when I was a kid.  He was on submarines.  That meant he spent three months at a time gone.  Not off where we had to call him or send email.  Three months completely incommunicado.  At the end of that three months, the submarine would came home and trade crews, and dad would come home after work every day (or almost every day) for three months.  Diesel fuel, used infrequently but necessary on the submarine, was stored onboard for the whole three months.  All those months in cramped quarters, packed with machinery and equipment, meant everything sort of seeped into everything else.  When dad came home after those months-long absences, all of his clothes, bedding, etc. were infused with that particular odor.  The smell of diesel fuel was the smell of dad coming home to play, to work, to help, to discipline, and to be part of our lives.  Who could ask for more?

Runner’s World Asked, so I’m Answering


I probably haven’t mentioned it, but I’ve been running.  What counts as running for me, anyway.  No one is even chasing me.  Bizarre, right?

Anyway, some of you may have read the awesome article by Heather at Relentless Forward Commotion about the reality of the back of the pack at the Heartbreak Hill marathon.  You may also have read this awesome article by Patty, April, and Amanda at My No Guilt Life wondering why it took a regularly speedy runner to bring attention to this issue, even though regular back-of-the-packers have been writing about it for a long time.  If you haven’t seen it, take a moment to check out Heather’s follow-up about the flap the two ideas have generated.  Runner’s World, showing that they actually care about what happens to EVERYONE running their races, posted this article asking for input on what to do to make their races more workable for BOPers.

OK, Runner’s World.  There are a ton of things you can do to become relevant to ALL runners, but especially BOPers.  Here’s my list, in no particular order except the order I felt like writing about them.  None of them apply to only you.  Some, in fact, apply more to other race sponsors or magazines, but you get all of it.  You’re the only ones even asking.

These things are about races.  Remember, you asked.  

  • Give a generous finish time and state it clearly before we register.  Leaving it open-ended doesn’t help us.  It just leaves us confused about whether or not this race is for us.  Of course you have practical and perhaps theoretical limits on what is a reasonable time to compete the course.  Figure out what those are and make your stated maximum finish push all the way to the envelope of those practical and theoretical limits.
  • Explain why you chose that as your limit – the city needs streets open by then, you are concerned that runners will not be safe in the weather longer, you think that longer is beyond a reasonable endurance test, you really want to cater to faster runners, whatever it really is.  Tell the truth.  Of course you don’t owe anyone that explanation, but it might help us see how generous your limits are and why they’re important.  That would help us see your limits as reasonable, even if they are under what we feel comfortable attempting.  That’s going to help us have a nice warm fuzzy feeling about you, even if we don’t register for your race this time.  We’ll remember that warm fuzzy when we are fast enough to be ready for your race.
  • Explain before registration exactly what will happen if we miss those maximums.  Will we be asked to run on the sidewalk, but find the course otherwise still open?  Will we be left to our own devices, but the finish line, etc. will still be set up?  Will we be unceremoniously scooped up by aggressive sweep vans?  Will we be rounded up by rabid wolves?  Whatever the answer is, just let us know what to expect and we can make a reasonable decision about whether or not we want to risk it.
  • Have an easily-identifiable pacer run that race-maximum pace, so that it’s easy for us to tell whether we are ahead of it or behind it. That person could also serve as a handy reminder for volunteers, medic tents, police, spectators, and sweepers to tell whether or not they’ve seen the end of the official finishers.  
  • Start that pacer in the last corral, so that they aren’t finishing when later starters still have time left under the limit.
  • Make sure you tell us how to identify this pacer, and that this pacer is distinct from all other pacers, runners, volunteers, etc.
  • Make sure your police, volunteers, etc. know that they are expected to stay at least until that pacer passes, or longer if that fits your policy for over-maximum “finishers”.  
  • If your over-maximum policy says that runners get support on the course longer, make sure it’s there.  Remind anyone and everyone you hire or recruit that they are expected to cater to slower runners, too.  Remind them that a 12-minute mile is the same distance as a 6-minute mile, but you spend twice as long running it. 
  • Have volunteer shifts that start when the back of the pack is expected.  Volunteers aren’t on an endurance challenge.  Give them a chance to have fun and be excited when the back of the pack is passing and they’ll likely be excited when they cheer on that back of the pack.
  • Have each volunteer shift restock water, Gatorade, energy, medical supplies, etc. as they arrive at their station.  Overlap shifts enough to give outgoing shifts time to clean up and incoming shifts time to set up.  That will make it more likely for us to find clean, inviting, well-stocked stations as we progress through the course.
  • Keep your finish line and timer open as long as you can.  Well after your last expected finisher, if at all possible.
  • Consider starting your slowest corral first.  You could set them so that most folks are finishing at the same time.  In the days of electronic timers, there’s no need to have the fastest finisher be the first to cross the finish line.  It will be completely clear at the awards ceremony, and everyone will be there for it.  I know this one is controversial, but it would be a bellwether of slow-friendly race organization.  I know it would also create a new set of problems related to the crush when the faster runners catch up to the slower runners, but you can mitigate that if you…
  • Include a brief primer on running/race/course etiquette in the registration confirmation letter or email.  Everybody learns it somewhere.  It would probably make the entire race more fun for everyone if all the slowpokes and beginners knew the “unspoken” rules from the get-go.
  • Give every finisher a medal or whatever your finisher marker is.  OK, we want a medal.  Give every finisher a medal.  Give the winners trophies – they’ve earned them and we want to aspire to winning them someday.  Even if you have to charge us a few bucks more to get them.  We’re already paying $25-75 to enter your race.  Bumping that to $35-95 won’t cost you more registrations than it gains.
  • Plan a longer after-race party so that slower runners get to participate.  We want to party, too, even if we are beat to Hell and look like we’ve just wrestled sweaty wolverines.
  • That reminds me, take pics BEFORE the race, too.  I wish I had a decent pic of me racing, but they all bear a striking resemblance to the above-mentioned sweaty wolverine wrestler.  Maybe that’s just me.
  • Make your giveaways true-to-size.  That means whatever size we order fits like that same size in other stuff.  Then we don’t order an XL and get something that fits our kids.
  • Ask everyone to stay and cheer for later finishers.  If possible, locate your after-party next to – instead of around the corner from or down the street from – the finishing chute.  Then as we head towards the finish we pass that excitement and fun.  We can even pretend it’s all about us if that’s what keeps us running. 

These things are about magazines.  I understand that you should probably take it as seriously as you do any other unsolicited advice.  Just some ideas to consider:

  • Include a column written by a REAL beginning runner.  Hint:  someone training for his first marathon, but who has 25 half marathons under his belt, is not a beginning runner.  No one wants to have a beginner give advice.  Oh, except for the people who are only a few weeks or days behind that runner in their training.  This might not be the source of great experience and information, but it might be a great source of inspiration, especially to those who otherwise will not hear a voice like theirs.  Sure, there are plenty of blogs out there.  If you don’t want to run a column, we can go read those blogs instead. It’s like Barbie:  yeah, you can play with ones that don’t look like you, but having one that DOES look like you is a lot cooler.  
  • Include a Q&A column for newbies and/or slowpokes (many of us are one and the same) where we can ask questions and get answers that don’t make the questions sound stupid.
  • An article on race and/or training etiquette.  
  • An article on what to do when you realize you’re not going to make it in under the race maximum.  
  • An article on how to pick out your first (inexpensive) pair of running shoes.  
  • An article on qualities to look for in basic-level running gear.  
  • An article on how to find or recognize slow-friendly races, or even just a note on race listings pointing out which ones might be slow-friendly.  At least give us their course maximum times.
  • An article on how to time yourself to learn your pace.
  • Articles on how to evaluate a hurt or injury, how to tell the difference, when to see a doc, and what to do to take care of yourself.
  • Articles on how to train after an injury.
  • Articles on how to get back after a break from training in general.
  • Features on pros and cons of various brands of various gear, including when and why you need it at all – things like hydration systems, clothing, shoes, training apps, energy options, GPS watches, compression gear, socks, headbands, electrolyte replenishers, etc.
  • Most important:  accept that as long as you are including slow and/or beginning runners, speedier old folks might be less excited.  That might not work for you.  Figure out whether or not it will and go confidently forward.

Is all this hard-core running?  No way.  Most of it might not even be considered real running by a lot of folks.  It is real running to the scads of people out there plopping one foot in front of the other, regardless of speed (or lack thereof ).  It’s real running to the new guy.  Think of this:  as soon as the new gal learns about compression gear, she might go buy some.  Ka-ching, advertiser.  Maybe the slow guy will stop running on the left and mucking up the course for everyone who needs to get to the front of the pack.  Maybe the slow ones pay for more race entries and buy more gear.  Maybe more races and gear become available.  Everyone wins! 



20 Reasons to Love Houston


Houston is still a whiskey-and-trombone town, and proud of it. We aren’t trying to be Paris, France. If that was what we wanted we’d just skip over to Bush Intercontinental Airport and hop on over the pond. We like us, and we like you. We have a sense of humor, even about ourselves. It’s easy since we’re pretty sure we’ll have the last laugh.

Here for you is a list of 20 things to love about Houston. If you live here or are from here you’ll know these are awesome. If you aren’t from here, maybe you can see how wonderful Houston is.

20. NASA. No, I can’t move it farther up the list because it’s not really Houston any more. However, the legacy is and will always be Houston. The phrase is “Houston, we have a problem.” Which is good for a certain movie actor, since “Cape Kennedy, we have a problem” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

19. The Galleria. Any shopping venue that draws international tourists who stay at the hotel attached to the mall and never, or rarely, leave that mall during their visit has to be something. Plus, you know, Nordstrom’s.

18. Higher Education. Houston has something for everyone in post-secondary schools. Rice is an excellent major private university. The University of Houston is another well-respected research university. Texas Southern University is only the best-known of the HBCUs in town. Religious schools abound, as do junior and community colleges. Plenty of other schools round out a full plate of colleges and universities.

17. The petrochemical industry. Between bringing in big money and providing a good living for blue collar workers, the petrochemical industry is a vibrant, sustaining part of everything Houston. Its very grit is part of what shapes the essence of Houston – rough, tough, strong, confident, and resilient.

16. Air conditioning. Nobody does it like Houston. You can practically catch a chill in some of the malls and museums, which is pretty striking considering that the temperature outside is approaching “surface of the sun” for about six months of the year.

15. Amateur athletics. The Texas Bowl is a highlight of the college football season. There are lots of opportunities for the average Joe to enjoy a game of golf or a run, as well as fantastic high school football and basketball, and the full range of other high school sports from baseball to swimming to lacrosse, and everything else.

14. Traffic. I’m not kidding, either. Although Houston traffic can be outrageously heavy, it’s rarely gridlocked unless there’s a major catastrophe, and those are rare. They’re so rare because Houstonians are notoriously courteous drivers. Everyone knows the rules, even the unwritten ones, and everyone has the same goal in mind – a smooth commute.

13. Nature. The climate and estuaries on Galveston Bay provide habitat for many species of birds, fish, and other animals. Houstonians appreciate that biodiversity, so we protect it through various entities such as The Houston Arboretum and Armand Bayou Nature Center that provide education in and protection to specific areas, as well as organizations that provide education and protection in general, such as The Galveston Bay Foundation and Houston Wilderness.

12. The Museum District. Everything from Egyptian mummies to environmental art to interactive children’s installations are waiting for people to appreciate them in the museum district. Just because we’re down-to-Earth doesn’t mean we’re uncouth, ya’ll.

11. Performing arts. The Houston Grand Opera is world-class, and the Houston Ballet and Houston Symphony added to the opera provides plenty of high-toney entertainment. Broadway touring shows and local companies provide plenty of other live entertainment. The Theater District provides plenty of beautiful, fun venues.

10. Diversity. You don’t hear about it a lot because it’s not something Houston or Houstonians work at. It just happens. We come from everywhere, and we aren’t really that into getting all het up about where someone’s from or what religion they are or what they look like. The youth of Houston as a city helps Houstonians stay focused on what people do, instead of who their people are.

9. The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Yeah, you can claim that you’re too sophisticated for the rodeo, but that just shows you haven’t been to this one. Kenny Chesney, Toby Keith, and Alan Jackson aren’t the whole lineup. Bruno Mars. Mary J. Blige. Styx. Pitbull. It’s not your grandfather’s rodeo.

8. Travel. If you want to go somewhere else, Houston is a great place to start. Non-stop flights to six continents and dozens of countries, as well as nonstops all over the US make it easy to get where you need to go. Two cruise ports make great couples getaways or family vacations quick, easy, and affordable.

7. Galveston. It’s far enough away to make you feel like you went somewhere, but easily close enough for a long day trip. Since Ike they’ve really been classing up the joint, too. The Pleasure Pier, Moody Gardens, the San Luis, and a ton of great restaurants make it a great day trip or weekend stop. Not to mention a fine destination vacation for out-of-towners. Did I mention the beach?

6. Food. Houston has a diversity of food genres that fits the diversity of Houstonians, but what makes all of it great is the availability of fabulous ingredients fresh, fresh, fresh. The Gulf of Mexico offers up a bounty of seafood fresh daily. Local farms and ranches provide fresh meat, game, and fowl, and the climate provides for fresh produce almost year-round. That ingredient trifecta improves the quality of everything made with them, and are a nice draw for excellent chefs who know about the importance of great ingredients.

5. Professional Sports. It’s like a smorgasbord of major- and minor-league pro sports. The Texans. The Astros. The Rockets. The Dynamo. The Shell Houston Open. The Aeros. The Skeeters. The Houston Marathon. The Houston Rodeo. Auto racing. Wrestling. Tennis. Softball. Houston has the big-time in whatever sport floats your boat.

4. Herrmann Park. 445 acres including The Houston Zoo, the golf course, the railroad, the Houston Museum of Natural Science, the lake, the reflection pool, Lake Plaza, Miller Theater, and all the other accoutrements of a great urban park, plus easy access via metro rail or car make Hermann Park a grand destination that draws in people from the suburbs and provides a welcome respite from the urban pace for inside-the-loop dwellers.

3. Houstonians. People in Houston are down-to-Earth. They take care of each other in a very basic way. The way that makes you go buy a new couch and give the old one to your neighbor’s nephew not because you want to protect the environment or because you want to support the economy, or even because you need an excuse to buy a new couch, but because your neighbor’s nephew needs a couch. The way that makes you spend half a morning making enchiladas for a coworker with a sick child, just because they need dinner, even though you don’t really like that coworker. The way that makes you let a car in front of you at the 288/45 merge, even though he obviously didn’t read the merge signs for the last mile.

2. The Medical Center. This is an easy no-brainer. When you have medical facilities that people come to from around the world to get great treatment in great conditions, you have something worth keeping. I’ve got my beefs with hospitals around here, because spending a lot of time with anyone makes it easier to find their flaws. Still, in terms of technical skill, you just can’t do better.

1. January. Average highs in the mid-60s is the kind of weather other places dream of in January. Just cool enough to make the mosquitoes lay down a little and let you take out a sweater. Warm enough for pretty much anything you want. Generally perfect.

On My Birfday


The Boy has figured out that there’s a catch to this birthday thing.  For three years he went along and every year at the same time he would have a birthday.  It was pretty cool because there was new stuff and it made his parents happy.  The first time it was like some big stinking deal where, like, everyone he knew came around and we all ate at a restaurant.  The second and third were fine, too.  Lots of people came around and generally poked into everything, and there was cake. Who doesn’t want chocolate frosting, right?  No big deal, though. 

Last year, though.  Last year was different.  First he had a birthday when we had cake and there were presents.  Who doesn’t like presents?  And, you know, chocolate frosting.  Plus, he turned four.  Every time someone says he can’t do something his sister can do, they say he’s too little, so getting older must be a good thing.  His sister is older and she gets to do all kinds of things he’s not allowed to do.  When did he turn four?  On his birfday.  Bring on the birfday, man.

Then, only a few days later, his friends from school came over for his birthday party.  More presents and more cake.  Yay!  This is awesome!  Everyone knows what birthdays mean, too:  On each birthday you get one year older.  He had a birthday last week, when he turned four.  This week he’s turning five.  When did he turn five?  On his birfday.  At this rate he’ll catch up to his sister.  Score!

Then, about two weeks later, his grandparents showed up and put a playset complete with swings and slide in the back yard.  What did they say?  Happy birthday.  Awesome again!  Now he’s six!  When did he turn six, you ask?  On his birfday.  His parents don’t seem to get it, but it’s not the first time he’s noticed that they’re not the brightest crayons. 

For two months he was the same age as his sister.  Then she had a birthday and turned seven, but still, he was closing the gap.

A year later, he had another one of these great cake/frosting/presents events.  It was so awesome that he decided to humor all the people who seem to have missed his last two birthdays and think he’s now turned five.  They can’t help it. 

Within a couple of months, though, he realized something.  The service around these parts was starting to suck.  He kept hearing that he was five years old, so he was big enough to brush his own teeth, buckle his own seatbelt, wipe his own butt, put on his own clothes, or get himself a drink.  Nobody told him that accepting birthdays obligated him to take care of himself.  What are parents and teachers for if he’s brushing, buckling, wiping, dressing, and drinking all by himself?  This situation can’t be allowed to stand.  It’s just wrong.  Wrong, wrong, wrong.

After some clever thinking, he found a solution.  He’s sending some of these birthdays back.  He’s going back to being four.  He’ll just declare that he’s no longer five.  He’s four.  Now every time someone tells him to be a big boy he says, “I’m too little.  I’m four.”  When did he turn four?  On his birfday, of course.  This is a great system.  And four is apparently the perfect age.


HI! How can I not help you today?

I think I might have completely irrational expectations from customer service.  I have this vision of people who answer the phone or work at the front desk who say things like, “I can’t do that, but I can solve your problem this other way” or “I don’t know.  Let me ask my boss.”, or even “Yes.”  Reality is not so…..useful.

About three months ago The Hubs and I took the kiddies out to dinner at our favorite local Cajun seafood restaurant.  While we were there a vicious thunderstorm blew up, and we ended up driving home in a hailstorm.  Scared the peewaddle out of The Girl and The Hubs, and The Boy still gets kinda weird every time he sees a cloud.  After we pulled in the garage we noticed a bunch of little dings in the car.  Well, crap.  They weren’t bad, but the car is less than a year old.  We decide to get it fixed.  We have insurance, right?

We call the insurance company.  This is the new agent – not the one we The Hubs started getting insurance with back in the 70s or something.  I think that guy had the nerve to retire.  Just ’cause he’s been doing this for 50 years he thinks we don’t need him anymore.  Anyway, these new folks aren’t very invested in us.  When The Hubs called them in January and asked to be sure we have rental car coverage and “anything else we might need”, they didn’t think he meant rental car coverage for non-collision.  So, we pay for the rental car out of pocket.  Joy. 

We call the place that did the bodywork when my car had a run-in with a stray shopping cart at a big-box store.  They tell us that getting hail damage fixed is a big stinking deal, and that everyone has hail damage at the same time, so they’ll call us when our number comes up to let us know when they’ll fix it.  This is around the first of April.  In mid-May they call and tell us that we’re lucky – they can fix it starting on July 22. Yeah, we sure are lucky that after six weeks they were able to tell us that it would only be another two months before they got started on the work.

We get back from vacation in late June and I call them to ask how long they think they will have the car – I want to make plans for things like us maybe visiting my parents and The Girl going to camp.  The girl who answers the phone tells me that there’s a process and they have a waiting list, so I’ll have to bring the car in for an estimate and go through our insurance company before they can even start the process.   


Sweetheart, that’s why I started the convo by telling you that we have an appointment with you to begin the work on July 22. We’ve already done all that. All I’m asking is how long it usually is, like a rough estimate. Gimme a days/weeks/months guess, based on your experience.

She tells me she really doesn’t know, and that they’d have to see the car first, which is why she told me it’s a process and I have to bring the car in before they can start the process. It’s like the world’s biggest circle jerk, and she’s pulling it all off completely on her own.

After several trips on this merry-go-round I ask if there is anyone there who can help me figure out a rough estimate of how long they’re going to have my car. Mike, her manager, gets on the phone and tells me that it’s a process and he’s going to explain how the process works.

They can’t both be this dumb, right? I interrupt him to say that I really don’t need another round of “the process”, and I’d appreciate it if he could just give me a rough estimate of how long they will have my car. Again, I ask for a days/weeks/months estimate, and tell him that after 30 minutes listening to the explanation of their “process” I’d appreciate it if he’d go ahead and cut to the chase. He actually has the nerve to say, “if you start acting like a human being I might.”

What the Hell? Clearly the company policy is not “the customer is always right”. In this case they don’t even adhere to “the customer is always a human being.”

Anyway, I hang up on him. When I walk in the door to the house The Hubs is sitting there playing on his computer, and I ask him to please call these people and try to get some kind of estimate on the time frame. He asks what’s going on and I give him the blast. He calls them.

The same Mike guy gets on the phone and explains that they have a process and launches into the 10-minute stock explanation of the process. The Hubs listens politely and then asks how long they think it will take, explaining that we know it’s an estimate and it might end up taking more or less time, but roughly what should we expect.

At this point the guy explodes and yells at The Hubs about how he is prohibited from giving out that information. Seriously, I’ve never run into anyone, from house painters to surgeons, who couldn’t give me at least a rough estimate of how long something was going to take. These guys are prohibited from doing it, though.

After that was when we decided to call someone else to fix the car. Their first statement: Well I don’t see why you would wait months. How’s Monday sound? It’ll take about two weeks.

The new place has the car now. I’ll let you know how it works out.

Not a tigers one, Mama.

My son is super awesome.  Just today I told him we were gonna go have an adventure this afternoon.  We were going to meet The Hubs for lunch and then try to maybe go for a ferry ride.  Not terribly exciting, but hey, take the adventures you can get. 

So I told The Kids that we were going to have an adventure.  The Girl wanted to be sure she could bring a book.  The Boy?  He said, “I love adventures!  But not a tigers one.  No tigers, Mama.”.  OK, so he’s not into tiger wrestling.  Too bad, since I was totally planning that for next Saturday.  About ten minutes later he’s giving me more detail about this adventure.  He tells me, “We’ll have to take an airplane.  A China one.”  Clearly he and I were not on the same wavelength about the term “adventure”. 

I categorize going to the grocery store with both kids as an adventure.  Seriously, will this be a “two sweet angels everyone wants to steal” kind of grocery trip, or a “no, I’ve never seen those two Hellions before” kind of trip?  Will they help me remember what’s on the list and run to various parts of the store to get things for me, or will they tear up the list and laugh maniacally as they throw boxes and bags of food to the floor?  Will the people at the store ask if the kids want stickers, or ask us never to return?

He imagines snarling tigers that we must defeat to continue on our way.  Probably while walking the enitre length of the Great Wall on our way to traverse the Mongolian steppes riding semi-wild horses.  Bareback, of course.

Me, I think of the time I didn’t cancel the dental appointments that The Hubs was not going to be able to help with after all.  Wondering if The Boy is running down the highway as I worry about what the dentist is finding in his sister’s mouth, all while I’m trapped under the leaf blower and the jackhammer the hygenist has in my mouth.  At home The Girl can climb a towering bookcase to get down the hidden iPad so she’s got something to do besides play with 5 trillion toys or read 5 thousand books.  At the dentist, she can’t find the iPad in my purse so she’s stuck putting her hand on every item in the dentist’s treatment room while my mouth is full of hands and suction keeping me from telling her to stop and sit down. 

The Boy, he’s off the the wilds of Asia. 

His adventures sound a lot more fun than mine.