fuzzy, black dogs

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

Phillip's Scenic Overlook

Monday, January 28, 2013

Fear Not, Superman. I've a Pocketful of... Chiastolite?

My wife got a ticket recently. It seems there was a slight problem with the back end of the vehicle. After a brief discussion as to whose fault it was, it was decided that I would be the one to take care of it.

While I've already relayed my previous courthouse experience with you, this one was considerably different.

Due to detrimental weather conditions (a nice, slippery layer of sleet), there was no line with which to contend. That turned out to be my only saving grace since no one had to wait on me.

I was smart enough to disarm myself of all pocketknives before leaving the vehicle. I also dumped a couple of pens (all metal, of course) in the car, as well as some scraps of paper with notes scrawled on them.

After a slippery journey from the car to the actual courthouse door, I was greeted at the metal detector by two nice women who looked as though they could kill me with their hands tied behind their backs.

I started the emptying process with my inside jacket pocket. Five minutes later, as I finished with my jacket contents, security lady number one pointed out that my jacket also had to go in a tub. That would have been good to know before I dumped those pockets!

With the jacket off, I took off my school ID which hangs around my neck by a lanyard. I then proceeded to empty all four pants pockets.

"And the belt, honey," security lady number one reminded me.

I started with pocket one, though I should have started with two. Two holds my change, and that takes a while to dig out. Instead, I started with pocket one which contained my cell phone, coupons and several other general scraps of paper. I went counter clockwise from there.

The next pocket yielded some dollar bills, more coupons and more scraps of paper. The next is, simply put, the wallet pocket. It holds nothing of value.

Later that day, after I had emptied half the change in pocket two, I had both security ladies' full attention. I felt their eyes on me, scrutinizing the three buckets I managed to fill. Security lady one's hand grasped a fourth tub, but I had only one last item.

"And that leaves the rock," I announced, pulling a small, blue rock from my pocket and dumping it ceremoniously into the little square tub. Both ladies just stared. "It's chi... A rock my son gave me. I've carried it for maybe three years now!"

If I didn't think I hadn't worn out my welcome by then, I would've explained that the rock is chiastolite. Allegedly, it 'repairs chromosome damage,' as well as some other health benefits.

I never knew my chromosomes required repairing. I'm still not sure if my son was trying to send me a message or just give me a pretty, smooth rock he found on a gem mining excursion.

Whatever the answer, I pondered over the state of my chromosomes as I walked to the clerk of court window. Which ones have been fixed? Which need to be fixed? And how, exactly, do chromosomes get broken anyway?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Driving Miss Daisy

My 15 year-old son recently got his driver's permit. This, in and of itself, is a problem. Luckily though, he's not turning out to be a chip off the old block!

Unlike his father, he did not have a spectacular accident his first day driving with a permit. In my defense, it was dark. Also, my father, mother and both my sisters were distracting me. Add to that a tow truck driver, towing a school bus, who was clearly over the double yellow line and you get disaster. The real deal-sealer, though, was the swinging school bus door being wide open! It was the swinging door that actually ripped down the side of my Dad's leviathan station wagon that I happened to be driving.

Regardless, it's more of a problem for me than it is for my wife. She really doesn't enjoy driving.

Me? I love to drive! I love automatics, but prefer straight drives. I like station wagons, trucks and sports cars. I like diesel and gas powered vehicles. I'm not big on minivans, but I've driven those too!

The car has not yet been made that I can't handle. I've driven Hondas, VW's, Chevrolets, Fords, Porsches, Land Rovers, Mazdas, Pontiacs, Saabs, Toyotas, Acuras... Well, you get the idea.

On a side note, I've not yet had the pleasure to drive a Jaguar, Lamborghini or Maserati. If any of my readers have one of these fine vehicles and need it test driven for speed, endurance and agility... Feel free to contact me.

This, of course, is the root of the problem.

I'm torn between being a good dad and letting my inexperienced son drive my car and being an avid car enthusiast who doesn't want to share his baby. Not only that, I hate being a passenger. I'd much rather be the one behind the wheel.

For now, I'm opting to be a good dad and allow my son to chauffeur me around High Point. Luckily, the NC Department of Motor Vehicles requires me to be in the front seat while he's driving.

Miss Daisy, I am not.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

First-Graders Can Be a Little Scary

Life is still crazy as a first grade teachers assistant. The workload still keeps me busy (luckily), my coworkers are still cool and the kids can still make me laugh.

Sometimes they scare me, too. Nothing strikes fear in my heart like the phrase, "I think you're confused, Mr. Haworth."

I must say, it is quite amazing how observant those little six and seven year-olds can be.

"You got a haircut, Mr. Haworth," one student told me recently.
"Why, thank you for noticing," I said to her.
"I couldn't help but notice, Mr. Haworth," she responded. "You needed it pretty bad!"

There are other times when my students are spot on and I would do well to be more observant myself!

"What," my student said.
"What do you need, buddy?" I responded.
"What Mr. Haworth," he said.
"I said, what is it," I asked, keeping my cool.
He said 'what' one more time, giving the word a little more emphasis. The girl beside him began to giggle.
"The word on the the flashcard is 'what,' Mr. Haworth," she said.
Well, it turned out the flashcard word was 'what.' That was not the same word that was on the back of the card. As I flipped through the cards, I discovered all the cards had different words on the fronts and backs.

Score: kids, one; teacher assistant, zip.

Who knew the upside-down words on the backs of the cards weren't the same as the words on the fronts of the cards?! Go figure!

The bad news is that, with this being my second year at the school, a large portion of the second-graders remember me from last year!

"Oooh Mr. Haworth," said one of my first-graders from last year. "You got a haircut! It looks better than that time you spiked it!"
"Mr. Haworth has never spiked his hair," I told him.
"Actually," a teacher behind me said, "it seemed pretty spiky last year when you got that really bad haircut."

Funny, I'm not sure if I mentally blocked that experience out or if I just plain forgot about it. Regardless, I believe the current score comes to kids, two; teacher assistant, still zip.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Reflections of the Holiday Season

As each year passes, I tend to look back on the Christmas season and reflect. I also look back on it and rate it according to how unique, trauma-filled, stressful or fun it was.

On a general scale of one to ten, with a ten being a horrible, stressful holiday season, I rated this past Christmas a two.

It seems the holidays really went pretty smoothly this year. A couple of ornaments fell, as they do every year, but no trees. I don't think any ornaments or gifts were eaten. No one was hurt, maimed or traumatized... At least, none that I know of!

The most unsettling thing that happened were the fuzzy, black gifts we gave friends and family this past Christmas. I felt like I needed to pass out razors with the gifts just to shave the fur off!

Over the holidays, Ace took up residence under the Christmas tree. Add that to the usual shedding of all three dogs and suddenly the gifts begin to resemble a litter of black, furry pups beneath the Christmas tree!

I enjoyed the seeming restfulness of the holiday season this year, though. It was a nice respite from years past when we've had trees knocked over, ornaments eaten and trees brown early. Dogs generally don't care what vessel holds their water, so long as it's wet.

I've nearly completed putting the remnants of Christmas away. The ornaments, lights and garland have all been put away in my nearly OCD style.

"Holidays," part of the decorative words Happy Holidays which we display in our house, still stands atop of the door waiting to be tucked away. And "Happy?" Well, it stays put since my son told a few years ago, "We can always use some extra 'Happy' all year round, daddy."