Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Dumbing Down

I have been asking myself the same question over and over lately: When did I become so stupid?

According to my teen and pre-teen, I have apparently become the stupidest person in the world. This is evident in the fact that they seem to roll their eyes at everything I say lately.

Although I have been on the earth for forty-plus years, I apparently know nothing and understand nothing. I had an argument with my daughter before school the other day all because I would not allow her to simply roll out of bed and get on the bus. I am critical of everything she does and, of course, "don't understand" anything. All this because I insisted she do something with her hair.

When Sean was on crutches and I had to drive him to and from school, I thought he would die from embarrassment. I was absolutely not allowed to get out of the car to help him under any circumstances and should stay as hidden as possible. I considered renting a white cargo van and wearing dark glasses, a hat and a fake beard simply to spare him the humiliation of the entire middle school realizing that he actually had a mother.

What happened to the days when they hung on every word and I was the center of their universe? I suppose it is called "growing up."

It is only natural for teens and pre-teens to begin questioning beliefs and testing limits. I can remember living in constant fear at that age that my own mother would say and do something that I deemed embarrassing in front of my own friends. And "something embarrassing" usually consisted of being in the same room.

I can accept this (although I call them on the eye rolling and mumbling) as long as they understand that there is no compromising on certain prinicples. When my son decided recently that there are too many rules in our household, he informed me that when he is 16 he is doing whatever he wants. I informed him that if he thinks that will happen, he better have a full-time job and his butt better be out of my house.

Rules regarding morality, grades, curfews, substance abuse and going to church will never change as long as my children are living under my roof. Period. As I have told them before: If you don't like it, get you own house.

My kids know the saying ad nauseam: This is not a democracy. This is a dictatorship. Heil, Mamma!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Birds Of A Feather Sure Make A Mess

One of my favorite ways to pass the time is to watch birds. I have set up two bird feeders outside my kitchen windows, which we keep filled year round.

It is amazing the number and variety of birds that get into the habit of coming to your yard when you feed them consistently. We have logged nearly 30 species of birds over the year. We even had a bluebird--the only one I have ever seen--coming to our feeders for awhile.

There is a downside to this wonderful spectacle of nature. Birds sure do make a mess.

Now that the snow has melted, it is obvious how much the birds have used our deck for "target practice" over the winter. I cannot tell at this point if the deck is supposed to be solid brown or brown with white polka dots.

Apparently I have also spoiled these birds so much that they now refuse to eat any seed that falls on the ground. Even ground feeders like the mourning doves now land in the bird feeders. I got a second surprise when the snow melted--a vast amount of moldy birdseed covering an expanse of lawn and garden.

As much of a pain as it is to clean up these messes, I would not dream of removing the feeders. There is something relaxing about spending a few moments watching the birds go through their daily routines.

Also, you would not believe how much bird watching can entertain cats. We refer to the kitchen windows as "kitty tv" since at least one cat is always sitting on the kitty perch chattering to the birds. This breaks up their daily routine of eating, sleeping, chasing catnip mice, sleeping some more, knocking down any breakables they can find, and sleeping.

So I will continue the expense of purchasing large bags of bird seed and the occasional forays outside with a scrub brush and rake to clean up what the birds have left us.

You'd think they'd come up with a better way to say "thanks."

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

One Smart Cookie

March is one of my favorite times of year. Not only does it mean that the end of winter is near, but the beginning of this glorious month signifies the delivery of Girl Scout Cookies in our area.

We look forward all year to these delicacies arriving on our doorstep. Nothing cures the winter blahs better than diving headfirst into a box of Samoas.

The Girl Scouts actually do a pretty good job of marketing these cookies. They are only available once a year in limited quantites. They have even expanded by allowing certain companies like Dairy Queen and the makers of Edy's Ice Cream to add the cookies to their products for a short time.

Of course, you know the Girl Scouts have got you hooked when you are willing to pay $3.50 for a box containing 16 cookies.

Sadly these sweets do not last forever. We have had them for less than a week, and my 12-year-old son has already devoured two boxes of the chocolate-covered peanut butter ones on his own. I ordered the Thank You Berry Much cookies for my daughter and I since Sean does not care for cranberries. He has eaten half the box. Now he is eyeing up my Thin Mints.

This means war. No one comes between me and my Thin Mints.

I was wathching a show called "Worlds's Dumbest Criminals" which featured a segment on two teenage girls stealing money from a Girl Scout selling cookies in front of a supermarket. When a news crew arrived to cover the story and talk to the very upset young girl, these two teenagers actually came back to the supermarket looking for their 15 minutes of fame. They told the news crew they took the money because it was an "easy crime." Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum were then arrested.

One of the show's hosts declared they had actually botched the crime as she would have gone for the cookies. She explained that she can always make money. She can't make Thin Mints.

I saw news coverage once of an overturned armored truck that spilled money all over a highway and resulted in several motorists exiting their vehicles for a cash-grabbing frenzy. Can you imagine the chaos if it were a truck full of Girl Scout cookies? I would never dream of stealing money that isn't mine, but I have to wonder if I would not be one of those people running around with arms full of cookie boxes screaming, "Hands off the shortbreads--they're mine!"

Since my conscience would never allow me to do this and the odds of a tractor trailer loaded with Girl Scout cookies crashing in front of my house are slim, I will have to be content to enjoy the sugary bounty while it lasts. Soon enough, the boxes will be emptied, the cupboards will be devoid of cookies for another year and semi-healthy eating habits will return to our household.

But all hope is not lost. I have devised a plan to make this fleeting season last a bit longer.

I have hidden the Thin Mints. They will have to torture the location out of me.