Friday, September 25, 2009

Indiana Jones Move Over

We've had two adventures today. The first occurred this morning before six o'clock. I had heard strange scurrying noises in the night, but tried to ignore them. This morning when I was getting my shoes on to go walk, I saw a suspiciously familiar looking dwarf hamster running around in our den. It was Goki. I grabbed her and carried her, protesting, back to her cage. Later when it was light enough and Mim was awake, we inspected the cage and found this.

The little twits had chewed away at the rubber ring until they were able to push the porthole out. We still haven't found Luva. I've got some live mouse traps set up, and we'll just hope against hope.

The second adventure was planned. Art decided that this was the weekend to cave in the old cellar in our backyard. This was made at the same time as the houses on this street. (The neighborhood is of the ticky-tacky variety.) It has been useless for the same amount of time. The problem is that it fills with water. I mean several feet of water, depending on the year. Now it will be full of dirt. Art's brother and father came to help this afternoon. (That's his father in the picture.)

I had almost, I mean this close, convinced Art to hire a company from a nearby town to build a pre-cast concrete cellar and come install it themselves. He had figured it up and it would've been cheaper than he and his brother welding one, which was his original plan. However, while the men were working today his father told him he could just build up a wall on one side of the stairs and use the old stairwell as a tiny little 'fraidy hole. (That's what cellars are called here.) Thanks Pops! So now it appears that we will have a cellar consisting of...stairs...hmm. OK, so he saved us a couple thousand dollars...still. It would have been the very first thing that Art had hired done instead of doing himself in our remodeling. (Except the roof, and since that was he and his family, it doesn't count, even though we paid them.) Not that I'm complaining, of course. I love how resourceful and handy Art is, I'm just sayin'. Sometimes it would be nice if he could let someone else do it and go eat pizza with us instead. He'd be as likely to do that as I would be to let someone write a blog post for me, though, so I suppose I can understand. Sort of.

Update: When I went out again they had torn the stairs up too. Apparently the destructive tendencies of the Y Chromosome overrode their genetic tendency to squeeze the last possible use out of something. (I love you, honey!) Pizza party time!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A Whole New World

I think when most adults take a bath, our intelligence and creativity enter a sort of water-logged limbo and we feel a blissful sense of blankness, at least for a moment.

That is most definitely not the experience of my children. They come up with some of their craziest ideas while bathing. And if you've been following this blog for any length of time you know that even their normal, run-of-the-mill ideas could easily be classified as 'crazy'.

For example, the other night Art heard a bit of a cafuffle going on in the bathroom, and when he walked into the bathroom, both children were pulling on the sides of a little plastic cup and saying, "Fight! Fight for the glorious cup!" Eh? Where did that come from? I don't know.

Zaya's new characters often spring, ex nihilo, fully formed, from his imagination while he is bathing. I'll walk into the bathroom to bring someone a drink or get towels ready, and be greeted by something like this.

"Mommy, I've invented three new characters that live in my imagination land. There's Tronic the black swallower, Nucleus the macrophage and Beethoven the vampire bat."

Those were the characters last night. All I could think was, what a crazy team! And if you asked him for details he could supply them. And he will remember them and they'll reappear now from time to time. It's like they were waiting in the nether world of the bathtub for a receptive imagination.

The bathroom is also typically the site of science experiments. I walked in the other day and Mim has two plastic bowls. "Look Mom! If I fill this bowl up with water it sinks right to the edge of the water, but not all the way down, but this one is empty, so it floats on top! Why is that?" And then the next night, with glass bowls, "Mom, the empty one floats, but the full sinks all the way to the bottom really fast! Why is that?"

So we get the great humor of Mommy trying to explain physics. Again. Art really enjoys that, so I try not to if he's in the room. "Ask your father, that's his realm." But I'll give it a shot if I'm cornered and alone. I really hate it when adults make up explanations for children or tell them things are 'magic' or 'just because'.

Maybe they'll be fantasy/sci-fi writers or scientists some day, but I'm not sure their spouses are going to be pleased with the amount of their working day that they have to be in the bathtub. Meetings could get awkward.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


This is something I just heard coming from my son's room.

"Mim, don't you know this is the bathypelagic zone? You're a Manta Ray, and they can't survive in the bathypelagic zone because the pressure is too high. You have to live the mesopelagic zone of the ocean."

"Oh, OK"

I didn't imagine in my wildest dreams that motherhood would be!!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Smooth Move

While using my mother-in-law's gun on Saturday, I accidentally stuck the magazine in backwards, and poor Art spent four hours that evening getting it out.

How? Why? It's really a long story. Let's just say I was flustered during the firing portion of our concealed carry class last Saturday.

In any case, it all came down to trying to push back a little clip that was keeping the gun from releasing another little clip that would allow Art to pull apart the gun. He tried an incredible variety of tools and household items to get it, and ended by using the shaft of an aluminum arrow. In the above picture he's using a DumDum sucker stick. He's holding it the only way he could see down the shaft.

Art is my engineering hero. I would've had to sent it in to the dealer to get it fixed if he hadn't been such a handyman.

Here are all the tools and paraphernalia it took to fix my little mishap, and you can see the gun with no magazine in it in the top right corner.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Don't Lay That Trash on Oklahoma

I may have inadvertently started my son on a life of crime.

On the way home from school, Zaya found an old, half-full bottle of water in the backseat and he asked me to roll down the window so he could dump it out. I looked back to make sure he was holding on to it, and as he started to bring it back into the car I closed the window. Apparently he decided there were still a few drops that could be cast to the wind, because as I rolled it up, his hand was back out the window holding the bottle. When the window started to come up he let go of the bottle and brought his hand back inside.

He had littered.

He gave me a look that said, "What have I done?" His eyes were big and he looked worried and thrilled at the same time. "Oh no, Mommy! Oh, no!"

"Uh-oh, we accidentally littered, didn't we." I tried to keep a straight face, but I'm not sure if I succeeded. "Well, don't worry. I think it will be OK because it was just an accident, and just one water bottle."

He was quiet for about 3 more miles, then piped up from the back seat. "Well, I guess the police probably can't find us now."

"Um, probably not."

He murmured for a while about the law, and then said, "We live in a small town. Policemen are only in big cities, right?"

I tried to explain that we were really alright, and not in danger of being dragged off to Sing Sing or anything, but I'm not sure if he ever believed me.

It's not really a surprise that two legalists are raising two legalist children, but it does make for some great conversations. I just hope Zaya doesn't succumb to his first exhilarating taste for walking on the dark side of the law.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Trouble in Camelot

Well, Goki the first has already been banished from the happy little pink and purple kingdom. (The above picture is Goki in time-out.) He (or she) just wouldn't stop attacking Luva. Granted, Luva is a complete whiny pushover, so it didn't take much, but still...I don't really want my four year old daughter to be witness to bloody murder.

I went back this morning to Ye Olde Pet Shoppe and returned Goki the first. Goki the second came home with us today. She looks much more like Luva in size and coloring. When she first came over to sniff Luva, the little cry-baby rolled over on her back and squeaked even though she hadn't even been touched. Either she's already become a life-long victim, and there's no hope, or the two will get along. I know this, though. If they start fighting viciously it'll be Luva I'll take back this time. Some people are just asking for it, you know? And maybe some hamsters are too.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

What Have I Done!

Well, we've done it. Mim and Zaya have officially earned their first pets. They've been working on these all summer, and today was the day. In fact, when Zaya woke up today he said, "Hey! It's Hermit Crab day!"

So, as you can guess, Zaya chose hermit crabs. Two of them, actually, because contrary to their names, hermit crabs are very social animals and get lonely. His two are named Pincers and Stalks. He's had them named for a month or so now. In the picture they are the two little red football helmets. Someone at the pet shop decided it would be funny to glue little plastic football helmets over the shells of these poor defenseless creatures. Zaya asked the lady if she had any with pretty shells and not any dumb characters on them, but they didn't, so we're hoping they'll move into new pretty shells soon.

Mim chose hamsters. (And, as you can see, an excessively feminine castle/cage) Actually, first she wanted a bunny. We said, "no". Then she wanted a tarantula. We said, "Absolutely not!" Then it was mice, which would have been fine with me, but the mice aren't tame, so you can't hold them. We moved on to hamsters and have never looked back. Mim says they're both female. Only they really know for sure, but because she thinks they're both female, their names are Goki and Luva. (Pronounced love-uh) If one of them had been a boy, it would have been named Bobo.

We chose these two particular hamsters because they were curled up so sweetly together in a cup at the pet store, so we assumed they'd get along. However, Goki has been picking on Luva ever since we got them into the castle. They must have had a falling out in their little cardboard box on the way home. They say best friends shouldn't room together. It must be true.

This is Luva. She's in her wheel.

This is Goki trying to be Steve McQueen.

So far all the animals are enjoying their new homes, and the kids are enjoying their pets. The hamsters are very active and went exploring as soon as we put them into the cage. Luva appears to be more interested in exercise, while Goki has been trying to tunnel out and pick fights with her castle-mate. I hope they're both alive come morning. And so far, Pincers and Stalks are alive. We weren't sure for at first, but after I turned Zaya's light off and left them alone for a while they came out of their shells and started exploring. They're probably just emotionally scarred from having large plastic OU helmets glued to them. I would be anyway. Especially since that's the wrong school for this family. They might at least have had the decency to put a few orange OSU crabs into the tank.