Archive for the ‘Straight Arrow, Short Fuse (Sam)’ Category

Pick Your Battles

Me (to myself):  Wear the bikini.  You’re 45, who cares what you look like, just wear it.  It’ll be fine.

Go downstairs en route to pool.

Mark lets out a wail like an ax murderer has caught up with him.  “My eyes!  Oh god!  There’s some things you just can’t unsee!”

Sam:  “Relax.  It’s just a swimsuit.  It’s not that big a deal.”

Me (in my head):  Gosh, that’s decent.  I really appreciate–

Sam continues:  “Save that reaction for when they’re making out in the kitchen.”

Thanks, Sam.

Mark Puts the Smack-down on Paul

So we’re enroute to grandma’s house for Christmas…

Mark and Kate are watching Sky High on the portable DVD player.

Mark:  “How old is this movie? It must be old.”

Sam:  “2004?”

Kate:  “I think 1995.”

Mark:  “It can’t be THAT old.  It’s not in black and white.”

Paul (born 1996):  “Not cool, Mark.  NOT cool.”

To Be (Before Tea) or Not To Be

I hear quarreling in the kitchen as I’m coming down the stairs.  Uh-oh.  The kids have woken up crabby and are already fighting.  

Sam and Kate whip around as I come into the room.

“Mom!”  Sam pounces.  “Tell her Hamlet is SO about the need to take revenge.”

“UHNT-UH!” Kate objects before I can get a word in edgewise.  “It’s about putting OFF taking revenge.”

Sam:  “We just STUDIED this in my English class!”

Kate:  “Well, I went to go SEE it.”

Me:  “There’s not necessarily agreement on what Hamlet’s about.”  Certainly not before my morning, increasingly caffeinated, tea.

Pronunciation. An’at.

So this exchange went down during yesterday’s Steelers’ game:

Kate:  “Pixburgh is ahead?”

Sam:  “You said ‘Pixburgh’.”

Kate (staring like  the native-born Yinzer she is, despite being transplanted to Maryland):  “How ELSE would you say it?”

Sly Sam Strikes Again

Sam doesn’t often get zingers in on his siblings.  But when he does, they’re subtly hilarious.

So Kate was cooking herself scrambled eggs for breakfast.  Apparently she dropped a hair on the burner, because the house filled with the stench of burning hair.  Sam comes out of his room.

Sam:  “What stinks?”

Me:  “That’s what hair smells like when it burns.  Kate must have got a hair on the burner.”

Sam comes over and inspects Kate, frowning sympathetically.  “Leaned too close and singed your mustache, huh?”

Sam and Kate Visit the Orthodontist

After their appointments…

Sam:  “So do you need braces?”

Kate.  “Yes.  Kind of.  There’s this thing they need to put in first,” makes exaggerated motions with her lower jaw, “to make room for all my grown-up teeth.”

Sam:  “So you have a big mouth?”

Kate (scornfully):  “No.  Weren’t you listening?  There’s NOT ENOUGH ROOM for all my big teeth, when they come in.  So they need to stretch it to make room.”

Sam:  “So, you will have a big mouth.”

Moves Like Grandpa

So I’m in the basement starting a load of laundry.  Sam, Kate, and Mark are playing with Legos and listening to music.  ‘I’ve got the moves like Jagger, I’ve got the moves like Jagger,’ the radio belts out.  Then I think:  Sam is 12.  Kate is 8.  Mark is 6.  Who, exactly, do they think Jagger IS?

Me:  “What do you think this song means?’

Sam:  “Hmmm.  I never really thought about it.  I guess the singer is dancing like…” he pauses, then sheepishly goes on, “I don’t know what a jagger is.”

Me:  “Wait.  You think a jagger is a type of person, not an actual person?”

Kate:  “So what IS a jagger?”

Me:  “Not WHAT.  WHO.  WHO!  Mick Jagger.”

Mark:  “Who’s Mick Jagger?”

Me:  “A rock star.” A horrible realization strikes.  “He’s about the same age as Grandma and Grandpa, actually.”


Three uninterested heads turn away, utterly unconcerned about who–or what–Mick Jagger is.

Kate Makes a To-Do List

It’s that revered season, To-Do List time.  Kate brought her own down to breakfast:

  • Get up as soon as I wake up
  • Brush hare
  • Get drest
  • Brush teeth
  • Have food for brekfest
  • Pack luck–frut cups, cracrs, apple slisis, and more
  • Get folder.  1 folder more.  Second book
  • Chat with mommy (if time)
  • Hope there is time

I’d like to think that even in normal circumstances, I’d find this an affecting plea.  As is, after last week, I am flattened.  Yes, child, there will be time.

Later that evening, I find an addition to the list:

  • Be a derp.  As usual.

Me:  “Kate, what’s this new one?”  I’m internet savvy enough to know what ‘derp’ is but I thought perhaps she’d meant something else.

Kate (disgusted):  “I didn’t write that.  SAM did.”


But kudos to Sam.  He matched her handwriting darn well.

Then I remember.  This is not Sam’s first foray into forgery.  He hassled Paul in much the same way:

I’m not sure how I feel about this handwriting/stylistic mimicry skill of his.  It didn’t work out so well for Chatterton.

Mark’s Love Life is Complicated

Pulling up to karate, Sam sees another student through the window.

Sam:  “Oh no!  Not her!”

Me:  “What’s wrong with her?”

Sam:  “She likes to tickle me!”

Me:  “Ah, well, it’s to be expected.  You’re adorable.  It’s the hair.” (Sam’s is a reasonable, sedate strawberry blond rather than Mark’s fire engine-meets-supernova.)

Sam scowls and goes inside.

Mark:  “I already KNOW who I’m going to marry.”

Me:  “Oh?”

Mark:  “She’s in my class.  I admire her.”

Me:  “What do you admire about her?”

Mark:  “Her hair.  It’s beautiful.  It sparkles.  It shines.”

Me:  “What color is it?”

Mark (dreamily):  “Blond.”

Me:  “Ah.”  Mark’s fondness for blonds is not a new thing.  His precocious appreciation for girls is, at least to me.  His brothers were decidedly not like this.  It’s a bit odd, living with mini Casanova.

Mark:  “I try to smooth my hair down around her.  To impress her.”  (his tone turns mournful).  “But I can’t have a wife until I kill the giant spider.”

Me:  “Oh?”

Mark:  “I keep searching for its weaknesses.”

Me: “It’s okay.  You’ve got time.”


End of School Poem

Sumer is icumen in

Llude scream “Aaii!”

Goeth time and bloweth mind

The kids are home from school.

Scream “Aaii!”


One chaseth cat,

Cat scratcheth, child wailest,

Mama holds her head.

“Aaii, aaii!”  Well she misseth school.

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