Day 13, 2012

I love my car. Well, it is not actually a car. It’s a big honkin’ SUV with room for all five of us, the dog, three sets of golf clubs and all of our assorted necessities for ten days away with room to spare. My love for my car is matched only by my children’s love for it.

And truthfully, what is not to love? They each have their own row if Mac rides shotgun, they have seats for their friends, satellite radio, and a DVD player. Of course they take all of this for granted so I spend tremendous amounts of time telling them how, as kids, we would ride in the back seat of the car listening to WMAL which played music once a week on Sundays from 3am-5am and only because it was part of a religious show. It was all talk, all of the time.

I would sit in silence, singing Olivia Newton-John songs in my head and counting the minutes until I would be free of captivity. It never occurred to me to turn on my Toot-A-Loop radio and listen to my own music like my kids do with their Ipods. One, because the frequency was not strong enough and two, because you just listened to what your parents listened to and watched what they watched.

When my kids start fighting over the television, I am forced to play the old-timer card and remind them that I used to be the remote control for my parents. If my dad wanted to watch Archie Bunker, I was the one who changed the channel for him. They are astounded, no matter how often I recount this story, that there was actually a knob on the television that you flipped to a new channel. No remote, no channel guide, no extra tv.

My hope is always that they will be more appreciative of their good fortune but the result is usually closer to pity for me and slight admiration for my having survived such hardships.

Because my car needed rear brakes and an oil change, Mark left me with his car for the day and took mine to the garage near his office. Mark has, what the kids call, ” a regular car.” By a regular car, they are referring to the lack of satellite radio, third row, DVD player and extra hook-ups for ear phones for Ipods. Unfortunately, in their minds, we were going to be like a little pioneer family in that car all day.

I chastised them all for being so high maintenance as we climbed in to take Mac to my office to work for a few hours. It was a Jeep after all so it was not like I was forcing them to ride around in a Smart Car. Five minutes into the ride, I started stabbing the controls for the air conditioning. I asked Mac if it was hot or just me. I am in that stage of life where it gets hot and cold regardless of environmental circumstances. Mac confirmed that it was not my internal thermostat and he started stabbing at the buttons as well, undoing all the changing I had just done.

There is something about being hot and thinking about how hot you are that just makes you sweatier. And crankier. In the fifteen minute drive from my house to drop Mac, I had become more high maintenance than the boys. I did recall Mark saying something about his air not really working a few weeks ago but surely he could not survive like this every day. I called him about it and he said, “yeah, you just have to know how to tweak it.” Well, I didn’t and it would have been useful information to have before he pulled out of the garage with my fully functioning air-conditioned car. Of course the fact that I had left him with a little to no rear brakes was completely lost on me at the time. It was simply too hot to think.

So, I promptly canceled the road trip to Great Falls to fulfill our still lingering social studies requirement. Though driving around in the oven on wheels all day would have been a great social experiment and a great lesson about our ancestors for the kids, I was up for neither one.

Instead, I had the boys focus on science. The boys’ science teacher had tasked them with visiting a science related museum or attraction over the summer. Since we never could agree on a new, exciting science field trip, I was going to put that snake-skin to some good use as it was still languishing on the front stoop taunting me. “That”, I said to the boys pointing at the snake-skin, “is science. Now go find some more.” I gave them my camera and sent them to the lake and woods adjacent to our house and told them to snap photos of science and then we would make home-made postcards.

The science teacher may have needed summer homework, but I needed to be alone with my air-conditioning and I was willing to take the chance that my camera would end up in the lake in order to get it.

Some 30 minutes later, Reed came bounding into the house with the camera surprisingly dry and full of photos. They had found a baby snake, algae, rock formations and science galore. He announced that he had just come home to get water for everyone and leave the camera. Apparently, there was a whole gaggle of boys now on the lake’s perimeter actively looking for science.

When Drew and Reed finally returned home hours later, they smelled horribly, looked grimy and had clearly had the time of their lives. And they had not brought me any specimens from the adventure for which I was immensely grateful. I was also thankful for the opportunity to show the kids that sometimes all the modern conveniences we love side-tracked us from exploring the centuries-old wonders that exist all around us.


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Magnificence in the Mundane

Finding humor in kids and chaos is the best place for your personal blog or business site.

Magnificence in the Mundane

Finding humor in kids and chaos is the best place for your personal blog or business site.

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