fuzzy, black dogs

fuzzy, black dogs
All three of my fuzzy, black dogs -- Bob, Ace and Lilly.

Phillip's Scenic Overlook

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Reasoning with Six Year-Olds

I simply can't hold back any longer. Originally, I told my wife and friends that I would not write about work, but I just can't adhere to that promise. Since I started working as a teacher's assistant, I've heard some funny things and had funny things happen to me.

In fact, just earlier today, one of our little girls got sick on the playground. Normally when that happens, it's my job to get them to the office so someone can come and pick them up. I diligently wiped everything she touched with a disinfectant wipe. Then, we made our way to the office.

"Well," I said along the way. "It seems you may have a stomach bug."

"I don't have a bug in my stomach, Mr. Haworth," she said with wide-eyed horror. I had to explain to her what that meant and reassure her that I didn't think she had an actual bug inside her stomach.

There have been numerous kids to ask me how old I am. One of the boys, however, phrased it a little differently by asking me "Are you old, Mr. Haworth?"

"I guess so," I answered with a shrug. "I'm 43 years old."

A long, resonating, bug-eyed "whoa" was his only response. My wife, who is two years younger than I, has had her children tell her "you're older than my grandma!"

One of my favorite incidents happened two days ago with one of my students immediately following a math lesson.

"Mr. Haworth," she said with a most curious look on her face. "What is that on your finger?"
"It's a ring. It's my wedding band."
"You're married?" she responded, amazement burning bright on her face.
"Yes, I'm married."
"How old are you," she then asked.
"I'm 43. I'll be 44 in March," I said. Her jaw dropped. "I have a son who's older than you are. He's 14."
"I thought you said you were 43, Mr. Haworth... And married... He should be about nine."

I tried to explain to her that he is indeed 14, but you try reasoning with a first-grader. While I'm still trying to figure out where I went wrong with that math lesson, she's still telling her classmates that, not only am I married, but I have a nine year-old son to boot.

The funniest thing to happen occurred only about three weeks in to the new job. And a word to the wise -- watch out for the girls. Their observations and inquisitiveness will simply astound you.

"You're not fooling anybody changing your tie like that, Mr Haworth," said one of our girls. When I started the job, I wore button-downs and ties every day in hopes of making a good impression.

"We know you're wearing the same shirt over and over again," she informed me. "Changing your tie isn't fooling anyone."

I told her I wasn't wearing the same shirt. She stood there, arms folded with a look of suspicion on her face. I tried to reason with her by explaining the subtle difference between that day's shirt and the previous day's shirt. They did look similar, I'll admit. However, as I've said, there is no such thing as reasoning with a six year-old.

"Oh, Mr Haworth," she said with a look of misgiving and shaking her head. One would think I was trying to pull one over on her. "You need to ask your momma... Or your wife to buy you some new shirts."

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Alien Life Discovered on Earth?

My son and I suspect that fuzzy, black dog number two (or fbd2, for short) may not really be a dog. As of this writing, we have yet to ascertain the black creature's species, or if she really belongs to the animal kingdom here on earth.

We, my son and I, have had numerous discussions on this very topic. There have been many guesses about the fuzzy creatures origins, but none have proven helpful. I have included below some of the main points that come up each time.

"Almighty Princess," another name we call her, does not like drinking from the communal dog bowl. Instead, she acts like a sloppy drunk, wandering from one drink to the next in search of leftovers. Water, tea, coffee or juice. It doesn't matter. If she can reach it, in goes the fuzzy little head. Lap, lap, lap.

Fbd2 gets violently ill every time she consumes any store bought dog food. I have to make all her food for her. This fact is partially due to a mistake which occurred at the vet. A knowledgable vet should be aware of what substance they are injecting into what creature.

Also, every time I trim her nails, they grow back. They grow back fast. And they grow back longer! She uses these incredible claws to climb vertical surfaces, like my front or the back of the sofa, much like a cat.

Most amazing of all, though, is her ability to slip into hibernation at will. Take a good hard look at the picture above. She's only eight pounds. She's easily the smallest of the three. However, she can sleep, unmoving, in my bed for up to 14 hours at a time. No bathroom or stretch breaks. Completely immobile. I don't even know of any humans that can perform that trick!

Anyway, when I get the dna and carbon lifeform tests back, there will be another blog post announcing my newest claim to fame. Until then, we'll just have to wait and see...

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A Project Is Only as Good as Its Details

I currently work at a local school as a teacher's assistant for three great ladies. They give me administrative work, which suits me just fine. The more detailed and difficult the project is, the better. I'm quite familiar with the copiers our school uses and can make them do nearly anything I want.

Strangely enough, I've always been a project-minded kind of a guy, even as a young kid. No matter how old I was, each project had its own little details and nuances. I revelled in mentally ironing them out.

There was the Burmese tiger pit, for example. It had to be deep. The original plans called for a depth of no less than 10 feet. It had to have sharp stakes at the bottom since I didn't want to be mauled by a live tiger when I went back to claim my prize. It had to be well covered so it couldn't be seen by sharp tiger eyes. And, most importantly, it had to be someplace my dad wouldn't accidentally find or, worse, fall into.

I did complete the tiger pit. Considering all the sneaking I did to get my dad's tools into the woods behind our house and back again, and the amazing depth of my tiger pit, it came together in record time. About a month after commencement, the tiger pit was ready for its first victim! I diligently checked it throughout the rest of that summer.

Hindsight being what it is, I now fully understand the flaws inherent in that project. First, it seems there's a slight discrepancy between an eight year old's 10 feet and 10 actual feet deep. Secondly, long sharp stakes differ according to age as well. And third, my monumental disappointment at not being able to make my own tiger-skin carpet could have been avoided. It seems I missed the detail where you research the location and range of the quarry you wish to capture...

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Expanding My Streak of Insanity for Another Year

Today's post is a very special one. "Why," you may ask, "is it so special?"

Well, this is our first anniversary, my dear readers. It was on this day (January 14) one year ago (2011), that I published my first post, "Fuzzy, Black Dogs Versus Two Inches of Snow." The same post, I might add, that my teenaged son holds as a standard for all the posts that have come since. So, according to my kid, the first was my best and one day, IF I'm lucky, I'll post another that might be as good or as funny.

Of course, I think all my blog posts, with the exception of a few serious posts, are pretty funny. However, I'm particularly fond of "Shooting Ducks" and "The Battle of Yorktown, Revisited." The first simply because I couldn't think of anything to write and I had a fun excursion into an odd writing exercise. The second because it was a direct result of a hilarious conversation I had with my son.

In fact, a good third of my stories come from conversations with my son. Fewer come from conversations with my wife, but that's due to no fault of her own. She doesn't have the same streak of insanity that my son and I share and loosely call 'humor.' She seems to be okay with this. Even more, she seems to be okay being married to someone with such a warped sense of humor.

A large majority of the rest are either taken from real life or have come from my head. That, as my son has said before, explains a lot. So as we venture into our second year together, let's have fun and see where my head will take us!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

"Pardon Me... Do You Have Any Grey Poupon?"

I did some stupid things as a teenager. There were some go-cart, skateboard and bicycle stunts. There were even some fireworks experimentation that nearly blew appendages off my body. The one thing that was not part of my repertoire, however, was vandalism.

I've heard of all sorts and types of vandalism before. You know the stories... Toilet paper, eggs or other supplies applied to houses, cars and other personal property. I've even heard of burning people's yards and, of course, there's the famous scene from "The Help" where toilet seats were spread out in the front yard. Heck, I even know of a neighbor who had curse words written in his front yard grass with bleach!

But I have honestly never in my life heard of someone Grey Poupon'ing someone's car! While I'm glad to tell you I have now, I'm sad to report it was MY car!

What, exactly, were they thinking?

"Hey, Fred, let's go around and squirt mustard on peoples' cars."
"Better than that, Eddie, we can Grey Poupon (Dijon, or insert whatever fancy brand you like here) someone's car! Let's do it with style!"

Naturally, the person or persons who decided to mustard my car did it on one of the coldest nights possible, thereby creating a lovely form of frozen pop-art upon the side of my car. Silver, Volvo stationwagons, I imagine, make the best canvasses for this type of art.

Having said that, I'm beginning to wonder if I should clean the car, or sell it. It's possible that the art may actually enhance the value of my vehicle.