When I was about Chickie’s age, I was busy chewing my way through everything Stephen King ever wrote. The freakier and scarier, the better. This came up when I tried to convince Otto to watch Bates Motel with me the other night; he’s not so much a fan of a series that is fairly unapologetic about the amount of blood and gore, whereas I love it. I found myself explaining that—for me—there is catharsis in stories filled with terror. I get to experience all the fear/loathing/panic my body can handle WITHOUT having to relate it to my own particular life, and afterward, somehow my brain goes, “Well, then. We’re fine. Thank goodness none of that stuff was happening to US!” And I walk away happier.
Apparently that’s odd…? Like, most people read/see scary stuff and it just freaks them out? I’m now wondering if I am the only person who enjoys freaking myself out this way and feels fine, after. (Example: I watch Bates Motel, I can happily move on with my life when it’s over. But I have a real-life encounter like the last one I told you about and I’m disturbed and squicked out for days.
This tells me that fear is relative (duh). So here are a few other recent frightening things:
Spoons. Part of our family lexicon is the phrase “SPOONS ARE SCARY!” as a catch-all to mean anything from “I am being ridiculous and I know it” to “help me, please.” I keep meaning to add getting a video of this to my to-do list, except I don’t have a to-do list. ANYWAY, once upon a time one of us was eating something in a bowl, with a spoon (oh, who am I kidding—I’m sure it was ice cream), and when the eating was finished, the bowl was put down on the floor for Licorice to lick. The spoon was still in the bowl, and Licorice was fine until she bumped the spoon, and then the spoon clattered a little and Licorice turned into the world’s biggest crybaby. She danced around the bowl, head cocked, darting forward and back, utterly confused as to how proceed.
Because on the one hand: ICE CREAM. But on the other: SCARY SPOON. You understand her predicament.
Now if we want to torment the dog, we put down a bowl for her to lick with the spoon still in it. She will wait (dancing, maybe whining a little) until someone removes the offending utensil and she can lick in peace.
Should anyone ever wish to rob our house without having their ankles toothlessly gnawed on, they should simply put down a bowl with a spoon in it on their way in. Spoons, man. SPOONS ARE SCARY.
Geese. Am I the only person who loves nature and all of God’s creatures and all that jazz, but finds geese loathsome? I am ashamed. I’m trying to love them. But it’s HARD. They’re mean, and they poop everywhere, and not like bird poop, either. Goose poop is like dog poop. I don’t understand.
So we have this pair of geese that come back to the pond every year, and oooh, ahhhh, the wonder of nature! They come back from… wherever they were… (I mean, this is the south, right, so did they go FURTHER south? do they live at a different pond during the winter?) and they make a nest and lay eggs and have babies and TRY TO EAT MY CHILDREN. It’s finally nice enough out to go walk down to the pond and enjoy nature and HOLY CRAP, RUN, THE GEEEEEEEESE!
Recently I gave Monkey and Lemur some stale bread and sent them down there to try to convince the geese that they were friends. The geese—and really, who is surprised?—gobbled up the bread and then tried to attack them. The only redeeming value in this exercise was the boys’ reenactment of angry, threatening geese in the kitchen when they returned.
There should be a movie called Geese. It would be like The Birds except instead of there being tons of them, there can be just two geese who are nesting. That’s scary enough.
Science! And finally, science is scary, man. SCIENCE IS TRYING TO BURN MY HOUSE DOWN.
Have I ever mentioned that Chickie is kind of the ultimate science nerd? Maybe once or twice…?
So Chickie missed Science Fair this year while she was living with her dad, but her current science teacher has the kids doing experiments as their Big Project, anyway, and then those projects can be held and entered next year. I thought this would be a big relief for Chickie, having the opportunity to work on her project while she’s not as busy (hell hath no fury like a kid trying to juggle a complicated lab-based experiment and marching band…), but no, the whole thing basically infuriated her, because it is Wrong and Bad and she Doesn’t Want To. She wants to do a continuation of her last project for next year, and she doesn’t want to do it NOW, so she will do something Different Which Is Dumb.
[Insert a week of circular "You have to do a REAL project" "No I DON'T" conversations here. Fun!]
Finally her experiment was determined and she was sure it was going to be much less complicated than what she did last time, except, of course, it has kind of expanded to fill the space and I’m not convinced it’s any less complicated than what she did last time, except for the part where she’s not actually housing algae microcosms in jars in my bathtub.
The first day her experiment was running, part of it involved a crock pot set to high with a bunch of index cards propped up inside of it. Only, ANOTHER set of index cards is under a “light” test condition, so these cards needed to be kept hot, but dark. So we put a dish towel over the top of the crock pot.
HEY GUESS WHAT! You’re not supposed to do that. A few hours later we discovered that the cards were still intact, but the plastic handle on the crock pot lid had melted and malformed pretty badly. Also? It didn’t smell so good. Whoops!
Well, that was remedied, and thankfully I am the Crock Pot Hoarder and had set her up with one of the Lesser Crocks so I wasn’t upset about the handle. But then last night that set of cards was swapped out for a different set, and the new cards had been painted with jojoba oil. No problem.
EXCEPT that Otto woke up at about 2:30 last night completely convinced that we were dying from inhaling toxic fumes. From jojoba oil. In the crock pot, which happened to be in our room.
You know I love Otto with every fiber of my being, but 1) his track record when it comes to things he believes in the middle of the night is poor, and 2) I smelled NOTHING. Like, he was pacing, fretting, and I smelled none of these toxic fumes he was ranting about.
But clearly SCIENCE WAS GOING TO KILL US. Otto eventually left the room with the crock pot and I went back to sleep. This morning I discovered that he relocated it to our fireplace, ran an appropriate extension cord for it, and then opened the flue so that the TOXIC FUMES OF AN ALL-NATURAL MOISTURIZING OIL won’t kill us all. My hero (?)!
Corn. And finally, I offer this tidbit, because it still makes me laugh:
A few days ago I made a sweet potato/black bean/corn taco mixture for dinner one night. One of my children—I AM NOT NAMING NAMES—took one look at it and said, dead serious, “I can’t eat that, it’s got corn in it. I can’t digest corn.” When I gently suggested this was not actually a problem, said child continued, “I’m not kidding, I don’t digest it. It comes out whole.”
O RILLY? YOU ARE A SPECIAL SNOWFLAKE, INDEED!
Forget Monsanto and all of that. Corn is scary because my kid—only my kid, not like the rest of us—can’t digest it. THE HORROR. It’s worse than spoons and geese and toxic jojoba oil COMBINED!