Monday, July 30, 2007

Letters from Camp

This time last year I received a frantic phone call from my sister. She wanted me to Fed-Ex a care package to her 11 year-old son, Justin and his 8 year old brother, Aaron who were away at summer camp. Apparently Justin was extremely homesick. Aaron was also a bit reluctant to leave the comforts of home. The boys' counselors let them sneak in some Hermit crabs that my sister let her boys buy on the way to camp. It was hoped that this would ease the separation anxiety.

The situation was so bad that Justin's camp counselor called. The counselor recommended that my sister write more frequently and send a care package.

Justin, her oldest had been faxing a series of letters that my sister found upsetting. She felt guilty leaving her two boys for four weeks at an out of state, sleep-away camp and the notes broke her heart. It was a several hour-long drive to take them there and she was ready to jump in her car, drive for hours and take them home, early.

After getting all the necessary information to send a care package, I asked her to fax copies of my nephew's missives. They were so over-the-top, and entertaining I am adding them to my blog. The original letters have been destroyed by the author. He found out his Mom and Aunt had been sharing them with others. All that is left are the copies that were faxed to me.

Spelling & grammar are mostly verbatim.

1st Letter

Dear Mom / Dad:

Take me home now I want to go home so badly I don't care that the crabs are here, the crabs could die for all I care but I just can't believe you just left me here

take me home now,

2nd letter

Dear Mom / Dad:

Please take me home!

I'm misrable without you. I can't stop thinking (about) you guys and the more I think about you the more I cry.

Who knows they may give us a refund.


Letter 3

Dear Mom /Dad: tuesday

I want to go home, Aaron wants to go home were both really homesick, he allways asks
" When are we going home" but when I ask him how home-sick he is he says just a little but I know he is really sad I just don't want to call so I disapoint everyone and oh yea, I sharted in my pants.

continue on second letter

love Justin

letter 4

Dear Mom / Dad : teusday

I miss you so much I just want to go home. I miss your guses comfort I even had a dream that I never saw you again. I was fishing with dad at the beach when dad went for a swim but I dont rember much of it but in the end dad was atacked by the fish and I jumped in to help him but I woke up.

Love Justin

letter 5

Dear Mom / Dad:

Take me home now! I'm getting really pissed of 'cause your not repling to my milloins of letters and Aaron's hermet crab died and they say I can't call you unless I'm like totaly balling so call me the seconed you get this

take me home now
p.s. I 'm just about to fake cry so I can come home

letter 6

Dear Mom:


The best part of the story is that when Mom & Dad came to pick the brothers up when the session ended, the boys were crying because they were not ready to go home!!!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Side-Show Tomato

I found this tomato growing in our garden. It has a proboscis that looks like Pinnochio's nose. My hubby is afraid the tomato has some sort of produce cancer and will not eat it. I think it looks like a chicken. I used another tomato and some basil leaves to prove my point. What do you think?

Friday, July 13, 2007

Don't Rap & Drive

And other helpful driving tips

Rush hour traffic can get backed up at the light before the freeway intersection on my morning commute to work. There are a few apartment complexes and streets that empty into the main drag.

I make a conscientious effort to not block driveways when I come to a stop and will signal a driver that it is o.k. to cut in front of me by wildly gesturing with my right hand.

The other day, I was approaching this intersection when the gentleman in a white car in front of me was waving to a car stopped at the end of a driveway.

"What a nice guy!" I thought. "The light is green and he is letting her cut in. Even I am not this courteous! "

As the other driver started to turn onto the street, the nice gentleman did not stop. Fortunately the lady had good brakes! I glanced back to the white car. WTF??? - the guy is still gesturing!!!!!

At that point I realized he was keeping time to his drive-time jive, blissfully unaware that he almost caused an accident.

.....Later that day I received a monthly newsletter in the mail at work from a local auto service. As I was glancing through it, a headline caught my eye. " Don't Text And Drive "

Now that just struck me as hilarious! Who the hell can text while driving? I can't even do this when chewing gum. I rarely text and when I do it requires all my concentration.

"Andrea!" I gleefully called out to one of my co-workers. " I have a driving tip for you!"

She looked up from her lunch-time reading.

" Don't Text And Drive!!!!!" I chortled, expecting her to laugh with me.

" I've recently stopped doing that." she said straight-faced.

I realized she was serious. I knew that she was prolific at sending text messages but how the hell can you do this while watching the road??? Apparently she can type out short messages on her cell phone keypad without looking.

Is there some kind of special typing class for cell phone users??? Must be a Gen X & Y thing!

I surveyed all my 20 something associates and they all admitted to texting while driving. I could feel my grey roots showing. Wow do I feel old and feeble.

I came up with some other driving tips :

If you are not a good driver, Do Not get customized license plates or have your business logo emblazoned on your vehicle. You can be easily identified and trust me, this is probably not good promotion. My mini-van has a bumper sticker that states: "IF YOU DON'T LIKE MY DRIVING, STAY OFF THE SIDEWALK" Now that's truth in advertising!

Only put cans or cups of clear, sugarless drinks in your car's cup holder. This will minimize the stain & sticky residue factor when there is a spill. Try to limit sips to when car is at a stop. Oh, BTW...Gin,Vodka or any other clear "adult" beverage is never o.k. while driving.

If you must talk on your cell phone, put it to speaker and keep your phone out of sight. Make sure you are able to keep both hands on the steering wheel so you won't piss-off other drivers. (Drivers that are seen talking on cell phones while driving can incite "cell phone rage.)

and last but not least,

If you like to sing along, chair dance or use your steering wheel as a drum when listening to your car stereo, DON'T do so while driving!!!!! Either turn to a classical or talk radio station or turn off your radio. You look like an idiot and you might cause an accident!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Almost Dying from Laughter

My oldest son was a Heimlich maneuver away from a possible homicide charge. The weapon? - inducing laughter with a really lame joke /really stuuupid statement while his brother had a mouth full of blue Kool-Aid.

Dinnertime with three young boys can be extremely challenging. In addition to having to be a short order cook ( if you consider microwave meals or pizza to be cooking ), I also have to be a Peace Officer. As the boys have gotten older, they have learned how to use the microwave themselves and are not supervised as closely. These lapses of policing provide opportunities for the boys to get out of control.

It starts with a slightly silly comment or joke and before you know it my three little monkeys get spun out of control. All it takes is a silly look or word to induce raucous laughter. It is all in the delivery! At this point either glasses full of liquid get spilled or food gets spewed across the table signaling the end of dinner with no hope of dessert.

This past week, dinner started out much the same. Food was set out, boys seated, Dad was in the basement on his computer and Mom retreated to her "quiet room" *. The giggling started and before I knew it I heard laughter followed by a big thud.

"Alex!!!Alex!!! Are you alright?!!!" my oldest and baddest boy yelled to his brother. As both my husband and I came running, my middle child was on the floor choking with his big brother slapping him on the back.

Apparently as Alex was taking a big gulp of Kool-Aid, his brother made him laugh. " Boogers are tasty!" was the lethal joke. Unable to swallow and fearful of spraying the room with blue liquid, he fell to the floor choking. He somehow managed not to spit out any of his drink. After coughing and gasping for what seemed like an eternity, he regained his breath.

Blame and punishments were doled out. I was in trouble for not keeping watch; dessert and after dinner television were cancelled for that evening. My youngest son refers this event as " the time Devon almost killed Alex".

So now you will believe me when I tell you dinnertime at our house can be murder.

* my "quiet room" is what I started calling the living room after I got a new comfy "shabby chic" sofa group. The boys were allowed to jump on and pull apart Dad's to make sofa forts but not with in my quiet room with my new furniture!

Project Hummingbird

My 6 year old is becoming a "birder". I had given him a Fandex Family Field Guide on North American birds which he has memorized. He constantly IDs birds and he appears to be right most of the time. Unfortunately we don't know enough to catch possible mistakes.

When he was at the library a few weeks ago, he was given a bookmark with a photo of a duck on it. He took one look at it and announced, " This is a wood duck!". The librarian peered down at him from her perch at the checkout.

" Isn't it pretty? Wooden ducks come in lots of colors!" she chirped in a sugary voice.

My little birder looked at her with a puzzled look. My husband explained that our son had a bird guide committed to memory and this was a photo of a wood duck, not a "wooden duck". From the dumbstruck expression on her face, I guess she learned something new that day.

To encourage this educational hobby, Daddy bought a Hummingbird feeder and hung it outside an upstairs window so the boys can watch the Hummingbirds snack from dawn to dusk. Hummingbird feeders come in bright colors, usually red to attract the tiny, long-beaked, helicopter-like birds.

My clever boys decided to help "advertise" our new 24 hour diner. They used brightly colored K'Nex plastic building pieces to create a windowsill garden. ( see above photo ).

From the looks of our frequent little whirling customers, it looks like their campaign was a success! ( see photo below)

Saturday, July 7, 2007

How to get a total stranger to pay for your groceries

It's never a good idea to go to the grocery store late at night or when you are hungry. A few weeks ago I did both.

My brother-in-law & his eldest son were coming in for the weekend. I wanted to make sure we had a well stocked refrigerator. By the time I left for the store, it was after 9:00 p.m. and I took my oldest son. We were both tired and hungry. The boys love to grocery shop with me, especially when I am hungry, because I am an impulse buyer. I will let them buy brand name products and a lot of junk that Dad won't. Dad is price conscious and is a fan of the generic brands of grocery items which don't quite taste the same.

We made a thorough sweep of the store and filled our cart with all the essentials and more. By the time we made it to the checkout, my tired assistant was beyond hungry. We were in luck, there were no lines and the cashier had a bagger.

As my son was helping unload the cart, I had the cashier ring up the family-size pack of chicken breasts first because I was confused about a sale sign near the chicken. When the chicken was rung up at regular price, the cashier gave the pack of poultry to the bagger to check the sale sign.

I was a bit concerned that the meat section is at the back of the store but we had a lot of groceries and no one behind us. The bagger also had our chicken which I wanted either way and we were now committed to wait until he returned.

The rest of our groceries were rung up and bagged while a man with three items got in line behind us. He put them on the conveyor belt, oblivious to our situation. I was now getting uncomfortable. Where is our bagger boy? I have a surly 10 year old giving me the evil eye, another person in line and I just wanted to leave.

In the blink of an eye, before I could apprise the gentleman of our situation, he had pulled out his credit card and with a flick of the wrist, paid for our groceries.

He was on auto-pilot and did not notice that his small pile had not moved from where he deposited it. The cashier was flustered as I thanked the man for buying us $80 worth of groceries! Now we both had to go to customer service to correct the situation. Just then the bagger boy came back, sadly with no answers. " They are all different prices??!" he reported back, clearly confused.

As I was leaving the line for the service desk, the cashier grabbed the chicken from her "helper" and ran off to the poultry cooler. My new "friend" and I had to reverse the transaction at the service desk. He sheepishly apologized while I tried to make light of the situation. Of course when we got back to the line, my chicken and the cashier were MIA . After a few more uncomfortable minutes she returned.

" The sale was on chicken breasts with bones, yours were boneless!"

I thanked her, although at this point I really regretted questioning the price, grabbed the cart and rolled out with my angry side-kick in tow. As we made our way out the door, I started to laugh as I realized how farcical this shopping trip had become. By the time I reached the car, I was laughing so hard, I was crying.

It may not be a good idea to go shopping late at night when you are tired and hungry, but you might get lucky and have someone pay for your purchases.