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Archive for February, 2010

Feb 26 2010

When a Time Line has no Time Line

Posted by Mugs @ 7:44 pm in Family

Middle school projects are so much easier to direct, because the teachers give the students milestones to meet along the way. In high school, the student is told when the project is due and expected to create milestones for himself. Josiah’s milestones consist of: “The project is due tomorrow. I guess I’ll get to work.”

Abby is brilliant at making poster board presentations. She color coordinates the items, determines the correct font, and spaces the layout before she glues items onto or writes on the poster board. She can complete a poster board presentation quickly and efficiently.

Josiah’s poster board presentations are never quick and efficient. He starts at the top and by the time he gets to the bottom, he runs out of room. He miscalculates spacing, writes with permanent marker in the wrong place, and becomes frustrated by 930pm because “everything won’t fit!”.

He was given 6 projects at the beginning of this semester. Instead of working on some of them during his two weeks of snow days, he decided to use the time for book reading, t.v. watching, internet surfing, and video game playing. I gave reminders (he would say I nagged him) about the benefits of working on projects in advance. His defense of leaving the Spanish project until the last minute was “it’s just a time line.”

He went to bed at 230am last night.

Feb 25 2010


Posted by Mugs @ 12:09 pm in Family

The Christian comedian Tim Hawkins makes fun of mothers and their habit of yelling “Careful!” immediately after their child has done something unsafe. He points out the absurdity of yelling “Careful!” when it can no longer do any good. I am one of the countless mothers who says “Careful!” a moment too late, and cannot stop myself from saying it.

We Manrys have been watching the winter olympics these last couple weeks and my children are constantly told which sports their mother will not let them do: No luge, no bobsled, no skeleton, no moguls, no snowboard halfpipe, no snowboard cross, no ski cross, no freestyle skiing, no ski jumping, no short track speed skating…

How can the mothers of these athletes bear watching their child navigate the narrow ledge between success and disaster? I am too big of a wimp. Just watching Ovechkin check Jagr so hard in hockey that he flies across the ice, added “no ice hockey” to the list. (Lucky for Abby, Field Hockey is still o.k.)

The sports at the olympics are dangerous, but nothing compared to the x-games madness. Zeke has decided snowmobile jumping is for him. One kid jumped his snowmobile off a giant ramp, let go of the handle bars, flew to the back end, caught himself, and climbed back on. It was one of the craziest things I’d ever seen.

I’m sure his mother yelled “Careful!” in the midst of it. How could she not?

Feb 24 2010

100 Days Come and Gone

Posted by Mugs @ 11:47 am in Family

Zeke, Abby, and Josiah all had kindergarten classes that counted to 100 days. When Zeke’s 100th day of Kindergarten arrived, he brought in 100 marbles. They had a party. It was a happy day indeed.

Gabe went to Kindy in Australia and was too busy taking timed math tests and working on his handwriting to worry about parties for counting to 100.

Zeke came home from 100th day, and declared himself pleased with his accomplishment of Kindergarten.

“You do know that Kindergarten is not over after 100 days?” I asked him. “I’m done,” he said. “I did 100 days of Kindergarten. We counted to 100 and now it’s done.” He refused to believe me when I told him he had 3 more months of Kindergarten left.

The next morning while I was trying to get him out of bed, he insisted, “But I did my 100 days. I’m done.” The child hates to get out of bed in the morning. A trait he inherited from his mother.

He was forced back to school and has been none too happy about it for over a week.

A few days ago, Abby was telling us of another middle school student who refused to do any of his homework. Homework is a major part of the class grade and he couldn’t pass the classes without doing it. He was dismissed from the school.

After listening to Abby’s story, Zeke responded, “I wish I did that.”

Feb 23 2010

Mad Cat! Mad Cat!

Posted by Mugs @ 12:06 pm in Pets

Today, Patches had to go to the vet. Abby had given her the warning signal yesterday by placing her in the cat carrier. Patches acted as if the cat carrier was not big deal. Last night, Abby and I caught Patches to put flea and tick treatment on her. Patches acted as if the flea and tick treatment was not a big deal.

This morning, Abby put Patches in the cat carrier and Patches suddenly decided it was a big deal.

I have had several Mad Cat experiences in my life. The Maddest Cat I ever met was a tiny little kitten in Germany. I told my soldiers that I wanted a cat, so they caught a wild kitten who lived behind the dumpster and put it into a closed cardboard box. They warned me not to open the box until I got home.

When the kitten jumped out of the box, there stood this fluffy little gray creature, hair standing on end, hissing, snarling, and scratching. I had read “how to tame a wild cat” or some such nonsense and knew to keep it isolated in one room until it calmed down.

This little kitten didn’t calm down. I could not get close to it. Finally, when it had smashed itself in the small space between the screen and the window, in an attempt to escape from my second floor apartment, I gave up.

My roommate and I went in with towels, caught it, and put it back in the box. I released it back to it’s home behind the dumpster. My soldiers never tired of asking if I wanted them to catch me another cat.

The scariest sound I ever heard a cat make was made by my German barn cat. She would periodically jump through the window of our house with a live mouse in her mouth to play with. One night I woke up to the sound of her growling. I had never heard a cat growl like that before. It scared me.

The most frequent Mad Cat, of course, now belongs to my dear friend. My cat moved in with her and has since refused to move out. She does not tolerate being transported anywhere whether by cat carrier or leash and when she goes to the vet, she is not viewed in a favorable manner. One time my friend attempted to bring her cat on a flight. Security asked her to remove the cat from the carrier. She told them that was not a good idea, but they insisted. When the biting, clawing, yowling mass of white fur emerged, security changed his mind.

Patches’ cat carrier was chosen by Abby because it was fashionable. It is pink and brown fake leather with netting screen. It has a fuzzy pink carpet inside. It looks like a gym bag. Stylish it might be. Sturdy it is not.

This morning, Abby put Patches inside the carrier and zipped it up. Patches promptly shredded the netting screen and hurled herself against the end until she came flying out.

Gabe attempted to repair the carrier with duct tape. It held for part of the drive to school, but Patches was MAD. She would periodically stick her head or paw out to bite and scratch Abby. Abby held her in by force of will.

When all the kids got out at school, Patches gave me an earful and lunged at me periodically for the remainder of the drive. We got to the vet and Patches went silent.

She weighed in at a whopping 13 pounds. She let the vet check her eyes, ears, and body. She objected only when the vet looked at her teeth. Amazingly, she remained silent during her vaccination.

She continued in silence the whole way home. She is now wandering around the house looking for Abby. It may be best for Abby if she does not turn her back on Patches today.

Feb 22 2010

A Zeke in Quotes

Posted by Mugs @ 11:42 am in Family

“Mom, don’t give me hints.” (spoken when I try to help him with homework)

“Love Ya, but don’t kiss me.” (spoken after I told Dale “Love Ya” and kissed him)

“I’m so loving Mathilda” (spoken about a character in a Wii game)

“It’s 8:03; KKs at Wii; and Mathilda’s mad at me.” (apparently they had a falling out)

“I got something up my belly.” (spoken during a card game after Gabe used the expression “something up my sleeve”)

“I’m serious!” (spoken anytime he is not believed or when he needs an exclamation point)

“I’m infinity.” (spoken when outvoted by his three siblings)