Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Coolest Book Covers/Mom, Ever

I think there is some universal parental law that says that parents must do things that embarrass their children, especially at school. My childhood cause for therapy was the lunches my mom packed for us. She was a super-economizer, she had to be with seven kids, and she bought the cheapest store brand bread 5 loaves at a time which she'd throw in the freezer. When it was sandwich making time, she'd thaw a loaf and lay one slice of Buddig lunch meat - the kind you can read a book through - between two soggy, misshappen slices of bread. This was accompanied by the aluminum foil mystery wad of carrot sticks, macaroni salad, or whatever side dish we didn't finish the night before. It was better than going hungry, just barely.

My children's cause for therapy is their book covers. I've never had luck with those stretchy fabric covers that schools suggest you buy that never fit or stay on and cost $3 each (four kids, four or five books a piece, you can do the math). So I've always used good, old fashioned, earth friendly, brown grocery bags and a bit of duct tape resulting in a beautifully and sturdily covered book like so: (SS stands for Social Studies)

My kids hate them. They are embarrassed by them, especially my oldest son who immediately doodles all over his with a Sharpie. I honestly think this kind of embarrassment is good for kids. Keeps them humble. But I was met with such protestations this year that the compassionate and creative side of me was moved. So, in the spirit of the brown grocery bag, I used shopping bags from the mall and a whole lot more duct tape to get this result:

I'm now going to have to think of something else to embarrass my kids with. Maybe I'll order braces with head gear for all of them whether they need it or not.

there is no
the end

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Tale of Ten Tickets

When most teenagers first start to drive, their parents usually advise caution before speed. Not my parents. Their feet are so full of lead, I'm not sure how they ever board airplanes. Unfortunately, lead in the feet is a genetic trait, but eagleness of the eye is not. That is how my mother, despite her speeding ways, has never gotten a speeding ticket, but I have a record spanning several states.

I thought I had finally broken my torrent of tickets, but my eight years of driving clean was shattered, this summer, by a road trip through Colorado. Unpleasant as the experience was, it gave me time to reflect, like a cheesey series finale, on each and every ticket I have gotten. The result was....disturbing.

1. Southern Utah, 1990: I didn't even have my license yet, just a permit, and I was driving the family van on a road trip with my mother in the front seat looking at the speedometer and saying, "We're never going to get there at this rate".

2. Houston, Texas, 1991: As an incredibly unobservant teenager, on my way to Galveston, I came up behind a slow moving car so I passed it on the wrong side of the road only to discover it was a police car. I was nabbed for going 20 over.

3. Salt Lake City, Utah, 1992: In the wee hours of the morning, I figured I could turn left even though the turn light was red because the streets were deserted. I turned alright, but the streets weren't quite deserted. Dang!

4. Somewhere in Wyoming, 1992: The best thing about getting a ticket in Wyoming is, at the time anyway, the penalty is one dollar per mile over the speed limit. I was out $17.

5. Sandy, UT, 1993: Got nabbed behind the highschool I was attending. Being a student that the school zone was designed to keep safe apparently didn't help my cause at all.

6. Provo, UT, 1994: I hit a Geo Metro when we both started out from opposite driveways into the same break in 5 lanes of traffic. Why did I get the ticket and not her? I was turning left. Left turners have no rights. Maybe I should start lobbying...

7. almost to Utah, CO, 1995: I discovered that it is a policy in Colorado that if you are going more than 20 mph over the speed limit, the policeman is obligated to take you into custody. Lucky for me, he had mercy in his heart that day.

8. Provo, UT, 1996: Okay so this one's a parking ticket. Sometimes you just have to risk it when you're late for class and there's no other place to park. It's just embarrassing calling your boss to tell him you're going to be late for work because your car got booted.

9. Spokane, WA, 2001: On an overnight roadtrip, the book on tape I was using to keep me from dozing also kept me from realizing the speed limit had just dropped. Sneaky guy was waiting right after the reduced speed sign.

10. middle of nowhere, CO, 2009: I seriously got pulled over for doing 77 in a 65 on a straight, flat, country road. I think it's a ploy by financially strapped local governments to raise revenue, so I'll just think of the $164.50 I'm out as my contribution to stimulating the economy. It makes speeding patriotic, in a way.

So speed on my friends, and don't fret the tickets. It's saving jobs, or something.