Monthly Archives: January 2008

He’s got Skillz

Back when I was a kid, each of the 4 of us had a desk for homework.  For a while I had a rather large, bulky table of blond “wood” but I don’t recall having a chair.  I do remember that Barbieland often appeared in the table’s underworld.  As I grew older, my parents realized I was ready for a real desk, so off we went to the Unfinished Furniture Store.  I got to help choose the REAL WOOD desk, the hardware, the chair, and the stain color.  Sure, it hung out in the basement for a few weeks until it was completed, but eventually the “wood” table vacated and my beautiful desk took its place.  It’s not a big desk; it’s what they called a student desk with my own specially chosen dark walnut stain finish.   Until 10 years ago, it was the only desk I had ever owned. 
Now that I have 4 children of my own, I have tried to give them that same experience of having their very own desks in their bedrooms.  For many years, they shared rooms, 2-and-2, and even with the use of bunkbeds, there was no extra space for desks…toy storage was the Law of the Land.  
DS2 was the first to get a desk.  But did we go to the Unfinished Furniture Store to pick one out?  Oh, no!  We have SuperDad!  And he’s got skillz.  SuperDad set to work, attaching 4 carved bannister posts to a well-sanded and slightly varnished board (complete with indented tray for pencils).  It wasn’t strong enough to sit on or climb on, but a fairly handsome simple desk without doodads to distract our very-distractable child.  After all, this was why he was being banished to a plain corner of the bedroom to do his homework; the kitchen table offered too many distractions.  While the simple desk was a fine creation, the reason behind it failed…aforementioned ds simply did nothing while seated there.  GRRRRRR….    Back to the kitchen table he went, and the desk went into storage (aka, pile in corner of garage).  Over the years and the PCS-s, it was pressed into service in the workshop, and it now sits in my work area holding piles of stuff… The Queen of Clean, I ain’t. 
Next to graduate to desk ownership was DS1, of dust-bunny-master fame.  I actually bequeathed my childhood desk to him, knowing he would take good care of it.  For a while he actually did his homework at his desk, but more often I would find him drawing Pokemon characters (he’s good at that) or else flopped across his bed doing NOTHING.  It was lonely off by himself, and now he usually does homework at the dining room table.  His desk drawers hold his candy stash, art supplies, and only he knows what else.

Last week, I noted that DS3 (Humorous-Juniorous) has been regularly taking himself away from the dining room table — where he had been goofing off with any available brother — and doing his homework anywhere he found a quiet place that suited him:  standing at my cleared-off work station (someday I WILL scrapbook there!) or on the floor by the sleeping Wii.  Apparently maturity has come to his brain and he realized that he needs to be away from others in order to quickly accomplish his homework.  With the help of my trusty Measuring Tape (yeah, I’m that kind of woman, I’ve got my own personal measuring tape) I discovered that nothing we already had would suffice for the small amount of spare space in his own bedroom.  I mention my quandry to SuperDad, and he assures me that he can handle this, no problem, ‘cuz HE’S GOT SKILLZ.  

**side note:  He nearly lost his ROTC scholarship due to a poor grade in his college carpentry course, and our first house had a rather “interesting” set of shelves for cookbooks, pots and pans…but they were solid.** 

After a few days of SuperDad’s free time spent in his workshop,  the latest creation moved upstairs into DS3’s bedroom.  I was folding laundry and heard the words, “three legs.”   Huh??  I walked around the corner and this is what I found:


SD:  It’s a little unstable; I should’ve angled those front legs forward instead of sideways, but it’ll do.
Me:  Hmmmm….

I took another look at it today, and good gravy!!  it is nearly hideous.  Here’s a close-up of the desktop:


Ummm…yeah.  I wonder what I can find at the local box store?  ‘Cuz while my man might have SKILLZ, this desk makes me want to cry and laugh at the same time.  On the other hand, if you put your elbows on the edge and press down, the desk will come up from the back and whack you in the forehead…so H-J won’t be falling asleep while doing homework! 

View from my window

Tomato-red cardinal waits in a tree
Hungry brown birds bob their heads in the wooden feeder
And tear-shaped diamonds shiver along the branches

I think this is what they call an addiction…


SuperDad and the Queen of Clean

Snake Master
Snake Master

Last night after supper, as the last of the pumpkin pie was being consumed, there began a conversation that gives a strange picture of life in my testosterone-ruled household.  
DS1 found out that ds4 has a new plaque (not the kind on your teeth, but the kind you hang on your wall).  SuperDad had made it for him as a surprise for the reptile-loving kid:  “SNAKE MASTER”  
It is suggested that we all need wooden plaques with our nicknames.    DS4 attempts to name his oldest brother…

SM, who is an innocent 8yo and knows his brother is sleepy:  Bed snake?
{DS1 pulls his hoodie up and covers his head AND face.}
Me:  I was born in the year of the snake.  Does that make me a snake in the grass?   

But they know I am not fond of snakes, so I am dubbed the “queen of clean” (bwahahahahaha…NOT!!)   By the time I recover myself from the crumb-covered floor (compliments of the snake master), SuperDad has attempted to christen DS1 as “bunny master.”

16yo (warily):  What kind of bunnies?  Attack rabbits?  (ala Monty Python)
Me (in a testosterone daze):  Hef’s special friends at the Mansion?
SD:  Dust bunnies

8yo SM:  I remember a beach I didn’t like.
SD:  Me, too   (I give him a dirty look)  
SD:  Oh, you said BEACH!
Me:  Your dad has trouble with foreign languages.  (Actually, this is not true, but it does change the subject again.)
DS1 cracking up and blushing, challenges SD to translation:  Ich moechte ein paar Kekse, bitte.
SD:  Huh?
[I start singing “Stille Nacht” because the word “paar” is in it.]
SD:  He wants a cheese virgin?
Me:  Your dad wants Reddi-wip shoved up his nose.
SD:  Oui, Madamoiselle 
Me:  Cheese, Grommit! 

It isn’t always this bad.

Winter Wonderland

Frozen Brass Bunny

Psalm 51

Open for business

Sometimes I wish I lived here.  Harpers Ferry, WV
It is beautiful, with the trees, rivers, rocks, mountains.   Years ago, John Denver endeared it to me with his song….  Almost heaven, West Virginia, Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah River… 
So I was surprised to discover that lyrics from “Country Roads” did not make it on the official state motto.  Someday I’ll take a picture and document it as true, but for now you’ll have to trust me!  Just imagine driving down a country highway, with trees shading the road, and seeing the sign:  
“Welcome to West Virginia:  Open for Business!” 

What were they thinking?!? 

God understands

My SIL told me about this a few weeks ago, and I finally looked it up today.  
Logan is a 13 year-old boy who lives on a ranch in a very small town in Nebraska.   The “video” is a (mostly audio) clip of a conversation between Logan and a DJ.  Worth listening to:

Things that make you go “hmmmmm…”

I ain’t never seen a hearse with a luggage rack.

I was listening to country music on my drive through the countryside (can you see a common theme here?) and this caught my attention.  Since we clearly can’t take it all with us when we die, what are we doing with our time while we are living? 

I promptly got myself lost on some unmarked roads.  (Okay, okay, I’ll admit there were signs with numbers, but the numbers meant little to me.)  I didn’t see any hearses; in fact, I saw very few other vehicles at all. 

Eventually I made it home, but now I have a new question:  do I need a GPS? 

Little Miss Muffet

backpack sandwich

Today is the first day of the rest of your life.

Sometimes I find that quote a bit unnerving.  What, do my previous 42 years not count?!?   I might as well jump into a lake of chocolate. 
But on the other hand, that quote can be quite freeing.  I can make choices today that affect the rest of my life, and I can choose to make positive changes!