Super important weekend things

By Mir
August 27, 2012

I spent half the weekend curled up in a little ball under my desk. Oh, haha! Not really! God, there’s crumbs and dog toys and stuff under there. I do my best fetal position checking-out-of-life withdrawal either in bed or on the Man Couch. (Man Couch has recliner seats. Obviously.)

At one point while I was doing my very best impersonation of a couch cushion, Otto sat down with me and we watched Best In Show, which I’ve somehow never seen before, but actually made me laugh quite a bit. I’m glad I can share this sort of breaking news with you. (Make sure to see this movie from twelve years ago, y’hear? Also, I hear that gas recently went up in cost a little, like it’s more than a buck a gallon now. Let me check into that and get back to you.)

So there is no One Grand Event that took place this weekend, unless you ask Monkey and Licorice*, so I shall cobble together a post for you out of small, inconsequential things like watching old movies and such. It just seemed fair to warn you so that the excitement doesn’t completely overwhelm anyone.

* * * * *

It technically happened before the weekend, but I did finally get my hair cut again. Remember when I cut it all off back in April? It was a lovely cut. I mean, for being nearly bald, and also for having such curly hair that I always sort of look like whatever my hair is doing is some sort of unfortunate accident. My stylist warned me that maintenance of the cut she gave me would require me to get it cut about every 5-6 weeks, and I said okay, and then later I realized that I’d cut it all off because I was tired of dealing with dying it, but then I did something that would require cutting it MORE often than I’d been dying it, and that seemed… kind of dumb. So the only logical thing to do was to just forget about getting it cut. For four months.

In the intervening time I decided that really, I wanted to grow it out again, anyway, so that’s what I did. On purpose. Sort of. But eventually my hair reached Critical Poodle Mass at around the same time that it became clear that I was actually sporting some sort of bizarre clown mullet. It wasn’t pretty.

So I got it cut. She lopped off the mullet-y portion and did that thing where the scissors fly and hair tumbleweeds descend from my head AND YET my hair doesn’t get any shorter. It’s magical. And scary. But now I look slightly less disheveled than I did before. Maybe I’ll go get it cut again in another four months.

* * * * *

Oh, I just remembered (that’s a lie; Otto reminded me) that we actually watched TWO movies this weekend. We keep seeing all these commercials for The Expendables 2, so we watched the original so as to ascertain if the sequel should be added to our ritual of discussing seeing a movie in the theater like grownups and then never actually doing it. Anyway. The movie was terrible. So, so terrible. Like, awful dialogue, people-being-blasted-into-bloody-chunks kind of terrible.

We enjoyed it immensely.

* * * * *

I did pry myself off the couch for a while on Saturday to go run some errands, by which I mean I spent a couple of hours at Goodwill and then went grocery shopping. (Truly, the excitement never stops!)

At Goodwill, I realized why I haven’t been there in so long; I kept finding things I knew Chickadee would like. So instead of a delightful afternoon thrifting for myself, I ended up with a pair of jeans for Monkey, a couple of t-shirts, and a raging case of homesickness for life as it used to be. Whoops.

Then I continued on to the grocery store, where I wandered around and loaded up my cart, then realized as I watched the man in front of me at the checkout buy several large bottles of olive oil that we, too, needed olive oil and I had forgotten to get any. And rather than going back and getting some I just figured “Eh, I’ll probably go to the other grocery store tomorrow for a few more things, I’ll get it then.” I actually DID go to the other grocery store the next day, and no, I didn’t remember the stupid olive oil then, either. I haven’t mentioned this to Otto because he likes to make fun of me for never using a shopping list. I COULD use a shopping list, I tell him, but then what would I blog about?

* * * * *

While I was at Goodwill on Saturday, Monkey was discovering that he’d gotten two questions wrong on a unit test he’d taken for one of his online classes. Now, the FIRST time he got something wrong it was pretty much the Most Horrible Thing Ever because he’d “ruined” his average, he told me. He got a question wrong on a quiz and brought his 100% average down to a 98%! Why didn’t I UNDERSTAND how TRAGIC this was?? We’d had MANY discussions, after that, about how these online classes are a new experience, and several grade levels above where he’s “supposed” to be, and there’s a learning curve, and P.S. no one is perfect and you don’t need to be, either. The point of the classes is to LEARN. What a switch for him, to go from grade-free Hippie School to having grades again. I really worried when he’d flipped out over that first error.

But! He’d gotten two questions wrong, and when I got home and found him looking at his graded test, he was perfectly calm. “This one I got wrong because I must’ve just chosen the wrong letter, or something,” he said. “I knew the answer. That was just dumb. But THIS one is just WRITTEN wrong.” So I looked and you know what? He was right; the question was poorly written. I was so delighted that he wasn’t freaking out (over either question) that I congratulated him on his calmness and asked him what he thought he should do next. “I’m going to send the teacher an email,” he said. We discussed the possibility that she might not change his grade, and he said that was fine, but he wanted the chance to make his case.

The email he sent was awesome. Basically the question said something about how John watched cars going by and noticed an average of six cars an hour, so which of the following statements is true? The “correct” answer was “in twenty minutes, two cars will go by” and the other three answers were totally oddball. Monkey selected “John’s data is flawed,” which was incorrect. In his email, he explained that he knew his answer wasn’t necessarily correct, but technically an average can’t give you reliable prediction for such a small data set. Maybe John watched traffic for an hour and no cars went by for 59 minutes and then in the last minute, six cars went by. In that case, watching traffic for twenty minutes cannot be considered a guarantee of two cars passing by.

It was the height of Vulcan nerdery and I was so proud of him for (calmly!) taking the time to make his case. The teacher emailed him back the next day, explaining how averages work. In other words, she completely missed the point. (Maybe he should’ve just said, “I think the answer should’ve said ‘In twenty minutes, it’s likely that two cars will go by'”). But he dealt with it fine. I think it may have made him a little smug, even. He’s so weird. And totally delightful.

* * * * *

I baked many things this weekend. I’ve finally mastered a gluten-free chocolate muffin I quite like—milk-soaked oats are the secret to keeping it all moist—and that was both good news and bad news. Good news because YUM; bad news because really, do I need to be eating chocolate muffins? No, I do not.

* * * * *

We did not see Chickadee this weekend. We received a phone call from a staff member that she’d been placed on unit restriction just about an hour before we were slated to leave to head to Atlanta. It’s a long story that basically ends with everyone being unhappy and me just getting back into bed for a while because, really, there is a limit to what I can take and that day I exceeded it. The good (?) news is that she has a doctor’s appointment this morning (irony: picking your kid up from the hospital to take her to a different hospital to see a specialist) so I will be spending most of the day with her today. And she will absolutely not run out into traffic or anything while she’s with me, probably. I hope.

* * * * *

Well, now that we’re all depressed and stuff, allow me to clarify that footnote from waaaaaaaay up at the beginning of this post:

*Despite what felt like an uneventful/crappy weekend to me and Otto, I promised Monkey pancakes and bacon for dinner yesterday. To him, that’s enough to make the whole weekend awesome. And THEN while he was bouncing around in his seat when we sat down to eat, he somehow managed to fling an enormous chunk of butter onto the floor, and QUICK LIKE LIGHTNING Licorice gobbled it up while we all screamed, “NOOOOOO!” I spent the evening waiting for her to puke or have a heart attack or something (I believe Otto offered her a Lipitor chaser at one point), but mostly she just spent a lot of time staring at us intently. It’s like she’s realized we’ve been holding out on her all these years, and she would like all of her kibble buttered from now on, thanks.


  1. Debbi

    As always, sending good thoughts to you and your family and continuing to hope for the best possible outcome for all. Blogging is amazing therapy.

  2. Liza

    I love the idea that Monkey tried unsuccessfully to teach his math teacher statistics. Doesn’t everyone know that you need an n of at least 30 to make reasonably valid assessments of probability?

    And milk soaked oat chocolate muffins sound delicious.

    Good luck today. I will be thinking of you and your beautiful, struggling girl.

  3. elizabeth

    I hope today is a Good Day…prayers for insight on the doctor’s behalf…and no traffic. no traffic at all.

  4. Navhelowife

    Bacon and Pancakes are the ultimate dinner. Especially around here. And yes, Licorice was thinking you’ve been holding out on her. My two dogs think that all the time. But they are big enough that one of them actually ATE my cereal yesterday when I walked out of the room. I’m not sure what is so exciting about cheerios, almond milk and a bananna, but neither do squirrels ignite in me a desire to climb trees.
    Sorry about C’s weekend, I hope things go back to improving soon. My one-with-issues had a rough weekend too. Maybe it was something in the air.
    Hope today goes well, and take care of yourself.

  5. karen

    Would it be absolutely rude and horrible and selfish of me to ask for the gluten free chocolate muffin recipe?

    I am so sorry to hear of the crappy weekend.. perhaps this new specialist will have a better approach or an answer you haven’t found yet.

    And, what.. no hair picture? You know we always ask :-)

  6. Michele

    Oh my gosh we had a little cock-a-poo when I was growing up and he always managed to get into things that he should not. The two big stories we still talk about is when he got up on the table via a chair and ate an entire stick of butter. The other is when he somehow got an entire one pound of chocolate off my mom’s dresser and ate all of it. That was a big time poop festival. Also I should mention this particular dog had an existing heart murmur and still the pound of chocolate did not seem to hurt his heart. That little guy lived for 17 years. LOL

  7. Megan

    Thank goodness you’ve finally seen Best in Show. Now when required you can either say, ‘Harlan Pepper, if you don’t stop namin’ nuts…’ OR ‘WHERE’S THE BUSY BEE!!!!’

    Hope this week is much, much better and has a whole bunch of pancake-and-bacon quality moments.

  8. mamalang

    We have to keep the butter in a covered butter dish or our dog steals it off the counter and eats it, wrapper and all. It is the ultimate irresistible temptation for him, even above peanut butter and being vacuumed.

    Hope your day with Chickadee is at least okay (but spectacular would be better).

  9. Brigid

    Thank you for not saying the word “afro.” (Though I was waiting for it, thus saying it in my own head, thus still singing the song. Oh well.)

    Give Chickie an extra squeeze from the internet masses.

  10. suburbancorrespondent

    What is it with this type of teen that they ALL at some point run out into traffic or jump out of a moving car? Do they just feel the need to traumatize us further?

    And, yes, it HAS become all about me. That’s simply where you end up after a while.

  11. Morgaine Fey

    First of all, my thoughts and hugs are with you and Chickie today.

    Also, butter is total doggy nirvana. I have a little black dog with far too many brain cells who once figured out that:

    If I jump onto a dining room chair, I can jump on the table. If I jump on the table, I can jump onto a bar stool. If I jump on the bar stool, I can get on the kitchen counter where DADDY LEFT THE (NOT QUITE) BUTTER TUB OPEN AND UNATTENDED ZOMG!!!

    We had lovely crop circle looking things alllll over the top before we noticed she was not where she should be.

  12. Frank

    Monkey’s math teacher SO makes the dumbass list for the week. You (and he) handled that a lot better than I would have…. it isnt about the grade, its about being careful with how you word the question. I dont know HOW one can expect an absolute truth when operating off of probability.

  13. Karen R

    There are people who don’t need chocolate muffins? Here’s hoping you have as nice a day as possible today, and that Chickadee has a good day. And, if you aren’t already doing this, heating up the cocoa powder in whatever liquid you are using for the muffins before mixing it in intensifies the chocolate taste. Throwing in some dark chocolate chips doesn’t hurt…

  14. Pop C

    Some times – as in this case – a cobbler of little things makes for a great post. I loved the bit about Monkey and the math teacher. It is too bad that she can’t see that the light at the end of the tunel is an on-coming train. I hope your day with Chickee goes well.

  15. Brigitte

    I am glad Monkey is not becoming all jaded and bitter from discovering he’s smarter than some of his teachers, like I did! ;-)

    And now to gloss right over any sad things and skip right to (drooool) BUTTER, mmmmm!

  16. Lindsey P

    Just an FYI….. God loves a terrier…. Make it your mantra. I’m sure Licorice will approve.

  17. bonuela

    i hate to add to your problems, but you do know that otto reads your blog right? i think the olive oil greased cat has slipped out of the bag.

  18. Nancy

    I’m glad you got some time retreat into fetal position for awhile. Enjoy your chocolate muffins. I hope this week brings you happier days. And good for Monkey!

  19. victoria

    I used to watch a comedy called Scrubs. (I’m not even sure if it still runs) One of the main characters repeatedly asked his wife to serve breakfast for supper, or Brupper (I think he called it ;)
    Will you be posting a picture of the new do? (please, and you’re pretty ;)

  20. Melissa

    Butter makes everything better! Take care of you.

  21. not supergirl

    I’m sorry your weekend didn’t go as planned with the visit. I hope today goes well, and some of that not-jumping-into-traffic time is pleasant and comfortable, even joyful.

    I once had a dog (RIP Betty) who ate a stick of butter. She was a scruffy, squat terrier mix and couldn’t reach the table. I’m pretty sure the cat accidentally helped her. The butter consumption had unintended consequences for my pup, and we referred to Betty’s butter butt for a while after that. I’d feel sorry for her, but I’m pretty sure she was just happy to have that butter.

    Also, I love geeky kids who call their teachers on stuff like that. Less so the teachers who don’t get it.

  22. Jenne

    Love Licorice stories! :)

    I just had the same problem Monkey did with a college equine transportation quiz about trailer brakes. I answered the question the way it was written, and then while we were grading it, she clarified it, making my answer wrong. I feel ya, brother! :) Nicely handled, though.

    I can’t go anywhere without thinking “Gracie Lou would like that . . . ” When we were dating, my husband used to make fun of me, but now he does the same darn thing, so he doesn’t bring it up anymore LOL.

    Hugs to Chickie – and, of course, the very pretty Mir. :)

  23. Beth

    My sons have also willingly thrown away points in order to put a better answer down, and I remember that probability questions tend to be worded poorly. If you have 90 red balls and 10 white balls, and you draw ten, you will not always get 9 reds and a white, and my math geek kids refuse to circle the option that says you will.

    They have also had average/data size issues with questions as well. I figure it’s a good chance for them to understand sophisticated problems as well as balancing learning versus grades and showing respect for teachers vs always *having* respect for teachers.

  24. Ali

    So I’ve been having a rough day/month/year/etc. A girlfriend I love dearly sent me this link and said “Impossible to not feel better” She was right….

    http://dog-shaming dot com (in spam-less mode)

  25. Andrea

    hahaha I loved both of the horrible movies that you watched this weekend. But as I tell my husband, if it’s Stallone it’s not bad. Rocky can do no wrong, man!
    Hope your day with Chickie turns out as lovely as possible.
    Hoping/wishing/praying for only good things for you guys.

  26. Beverly

    “Bizarre clown mullet” gave me a giggle. Too bad you got it cut off before taking a picture! :)

  27. Carol

    What a delightful writer you are. I found you through another blog. Thanks!

  28. parodie

    I am so proud of you for how strongly, bravely you are holding things together for yourself and your family in the midst of all this chaos (I want to say “shit”. Can I say “shit” on your blog?). You are inspiring for the rest of us who are working to put one foot in front of the other, every day.

  29. Susan in SF

    Eat the chocolate muffins! Take pleasure where you can get it!

    Hoping you have a good day with your girl today. You are in my thoughts.

    And later, do check out the dog shaming blog posted above. Just discovered it myself and it is guaranteed to find a laugh on it!

  30. Mary K. in Rockport

    I hate it when the teacher is more ignorant than the kid.
    Very good movie – there are several more where that came from. My personal favorite is “A Mighty Wind.”
    I hope this day is going extremely well. (Is is safe to use the word hope? Probably not.)
    I’m seeing a lawyer today to help me whack at Medicaid.

  31. Aimee

    I love that Monkey wrote to the teacher. I don’t so much love her response (come on!) but it’s great that he took it in stride.

    I’m sorry you didn’t get to see Chickadee this weekend. :(

  32. Tami

    When she was a puppy, one of our prior set of dogs,Punim, snagged a plastic butter dish from the table and not only ate the butter on it but chewed off the remaining molecules on the dish. That was eighteen years ago(Puni’s been gone 4 yrs.)and I still use the dish, tooth marks and all.

  33. Chris

    So sorry your weekend was sucky. If not too much trouble, I would also love the recipe for GF muffins. We had a brunch on Sunday where guests brought 8 lovely kinds of traditional pastries which were sat on the table right in front of me. Sigh

    Here is to next weekend (is it too early for countdown?) ;)

  34. Korinthia

    Well, just the idea of your dog waiting for more butter was enough to make this post awesome, but the whole thing was great. Good thoughts your way.

  35. EG

    I love Monkey. And baking as therapy. And haircuts, which are better than therapy. Hope there was no traffic-running today.

  36. Kristin

    Dogs and butter! Yeah, once they get that taste, they don’t forget :-)

    I think that’s fabulous about Monkey’s attitude. I know my own Mr. Sharpie kiddo would have his flipout moment!

  37. Heather

    Hope your day with Chickie has gone well <3 (Or is it yet to happen? Bah. Time zones and posting delays and whatever else just confuse me :P )

  38. Daisy

    I don’t know how many virtual teachers read your blog, or how many of them have sons with Asperger’s, but here I go.

    If a question is poorly worded, I have the opportunity to send a message (called an “issue aware” which leads me to all kinds of punch lines) telling the Powers That Be that a question is poorly worded and would be more accurate if revised. They don’t always do it, but at least I can pass on a concern like Monkey’s. And believe me, I have students like Monkey who will question everything. I love these students dearly; they make me think (and make me smile) every single workday.

    I also have the ability to change a score if a student makes a valid case for a different answer, but we don’t advertise that. Monkey’s teacher may or may not be able to make a change, but she might not want to open a Pandora’s box so early in the year!

    No matter what, he is learning from the experience, and that’s what school, brick & mortar or virtual, is all about.

  39. Jessica

    You’re lucky Monkey knows when to stop, at least. I was the type of kid who would’ve then emailed back to make the point that she hadn’t read my email closely enough and perhaps, then, she hadn’t read her quiz questions closely enough? Perhaps she really meant to stick that “likely” in there to explain the averages? And so on…

    I was a brat, is what I’m saying. Good on you for raising a not-brat! ;~)

  40. RuthWells

    Yum, buttered kibble! Sign me up.

  41. Pip

    My pointer/box cross Floyd has eaten three full PACKS of butter in the three months or so since we got him (we now keep butter on top of the microwave – we can’t put it in the fridge because my other half likes it to be spreadable). He has also consumed four wooden utensils and a tin of custard powder and scattered the contents of the sitting room waste paper bin about twenty times. We keep him around because he does adorable things like, when he’s missing somebody, taking one of their shoes up to his bed and cuddling it.

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