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Weird Science

Bottled Lightning recently graduated with her Masters in Statistics. With the requisite mariachi band recessional.

As I said at her celebratory dinner, I should’ve known way back when that she’d end up a statistician.

1. When she was 3 she had a “binky” collection which consisted of cicada skins. First, she had them in a jar. Then, she got a square piece of cardboard and glue-gunned the whole lot in equidistant rows. The affair ended in a horrible tragedy, when the dog we had at the time ate them.

2. We went on a long road trip when Bottled Lightning was 9 or so, during which she kept a running tab of roadkill we passed on the highway. Separated into species. Quantified. Then charted on the computer.


I know.

Why am I telling you these semi-horrifying tales? Well, to make a point.

Kids do things that make no sense—at the time. Let ’em do stuff that’s weird. Or messy. You never know how it’s gonna pay off.


dear blog…

It’s not that I don’t love you all.

I just have a hard time keeping a blog schedule.

Because if I have a kid with a résumé that needs tweaking or a speech that needs punching up, that’s going to come first. Broken heart? That comes first. Two-week visit from a kid I haven’t seen this year? I’m going to enjoy it.

I know. My priorities are all screwed up.

But things have calmed down now, so I should be back on track. I’m going to finish the week with a fifth Master Writer, which I’m itching to get to. (Hint: He’s British.) (Actually, that’s two hints. He’s a he.)

For now, back to the WIP. Because I find I’m kind of NUTSO when I have to go too long without writing. That’s not good for anybody.

I really don’t want to be on YouTube. At least, not this way.

recession-proofing kids


I had no idea that I’ve been raising recession-proof kids for the past 25 years.  And it’s been so effortless.  I’ve done it with four simple words:

“We can’t afford it.”

Gotta tell ya, I’m pretty tired of all these hand-wringing articles advising parents how to break it to their little darlings that they can’t have every whim that crosses their little pea-brains.  Tell me the truth–did you get everything you wanted when you were growing up?  Neither did I.  Somehow, we survived.

The whole notion of petted, privileged children is a new one.  In the past children worked for their keep.  They had to pull their weight, and the chores they were in charge of could often mean the difference between eating and starving.

Which you’d think would be too much responsibility for a kid to deal with.  Should have made him a nervous wreck.  But in fact, kids that have such chores turn out to have higher self-esteem, more competence, self-discipline, etc.

Oh, irony.  By giving our kids everything, we took away so much more.

raising kids and rising blood pressure

I am the Rodney Dangerfield of mothers.

My children keep a list of things I’ve said that they think are hysterical.  That’s right.  Like I used to do for them when they were first learning to talk.  Bottled Lightning actually called Boywonder to relate the latest lines culled from my witty lips.

Only I don’t see what’s so dag-nabbit funny.  For instance…

The dog had explosive diarrhea, a popular topic in our house no matter which of us is afflicted.  After a spirited discussion about all the things that could have caused it, I said to The Girls, “So you’re telling me she’s been poisoned.”

This is the sort of thing that makes them roll around on the floor, holding their jolly bellies and gasping.

Yes, I test them periodically for drugs.

They roll their eyes when I tell them that they don’t realize how good they’ve got it.  Well, that’s pretty normal for the teen years…even though Freckles McYoungest is the only teen left…

But if I get mad and start yelling…they laugh!

Which makes me even madder!


They’re supposed to quake in their boots and make little mewling sounds!


All my authority seems to come from my kids’ concern that I might do injury to myself, rather than them.  They usually comply with my wishes when they’re afraid I’ll have a stroke.

Well, whatever works.

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