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The Spaghetti Sauce Situation

August 27, 2012 7 comments

So, if you were with me the other day, you are in on my grand plan to sneak Jamie Oliver’s eight veggie tomato sauce into my family’s dinner tonight.  I started cooking early, because it is my strongly-held belief that you just can’t make a sauce in an hour.  It must simmer, my friends.  Anyway.  I made a couple of changes.  So, really, I’m making a seven veggie sauce with no leeks because leeks are essentially onions and why should I chop two different kinds of onions and then have to explain the green chunks in my sauce?  I also omitted the red peppers because peppers are awful in a hundred different ways and no one should eat them.  I added mushrooms instead, so that my veggie count wouldn’t go too low.  Bonus points for creativity, or at least for liking mushrooms.

A couple of things about this recipe.  Firstly.  I will not now, nor will I ever, presume to know more about cooking than Jamie Oliver.  I am sure that this recipe is perfect in many ways, just not in the way that I can serve it to my family and expect them to eat it.  I had to do some stuff to it.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.  As you might imagine, if you’re dumping five hundred different veggies in your sauce, you must first prep said veggies.  My salad shooter was working overtime today.  I would also like to note that the recipe suggests that you use a box grater for all this shredding.  I recommend that only if you have around five hours to devote to this chore and you don’t mind shredding your knuckles.  I won’t go into any detail, but just let it be known that mushrooms aren’t really a salad shooter-friendly food, but you can make it work if you must, and if you are too lazy to pull out the food processor.  So, I prepped and sauteed and dumped in all the veggies, tomatoes and water and this is what I found myself cooking.

Why do so many things I cook look so very disgusting?

This is when I started thinking fondly about Ragu.  But, since I’m stubborn and have some significant investments of time and money in this sauce, I’m going to make it work.  Somehow.  Once everything got cooked, I pureed it all nice and smooth like a tomato sauce should be.  Then I looked at it for a while.  And it looked back.  I had to taste it.  Making myself stick a spoon into that concoction was the most difficult thing I’ve done since I gave birth.  Okay, perhaps I exaggerate, but still.  It took some courage.  And, it tasted about like I expected it to taste.  Like a pot full of vegetable puree.  Like baby food, but not the good baby food like applesauce or peaches, but the bad second-stage lumpy orange mush.  There is no amount of garlic that is going to trick my family into eating this.

Still determined to make it work, though, I carried on.  Luckily, I had to foresight to buy a large can of tomato sauce.  Again, not questioning Jamie Oliver’s culinary genius, but I thought the amount of tomatoes in the recipe for tomato sauce seemed a little on the low side.  I mean, squash is great (no, it’s not), but I need this to taste like tomatoes.  Also, I’m just prepared like that.  So I dumped in the sauce.  And a bulb of garlic.  And about three pounds of fresh oregano and parsley and also some granulated garlic and onion powder, just for good measure.  Also some grated Parmesan.  And I blended it some more.  Then simmered some more.

Lo and behold, friends, it’s starting to taste like spaghetti sauce!  It does not yet smell like spaghetti sauce, though, and that concerns me.  In fact, if I had to name the aroma wafting through my house, I would have to choose old rotten garbage.  But I’m sure it’s supposed to smell like that.  I’m just not refined enough to appreciate it.

Since dinner is still a few hours away, I can’t give you the final verdict yet, but I’m feeling a little better about it now than I was three hours ago.  I think it’s going to work, but primarily because of a fundamental food rule, not because eight (or seven) vegetables get along with your pasta.  That rule?  If it doesn’t taste good, put cheese on it.

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How to Suck It Up: A Comprehensive Guide for Today’s Youth

August 27, 2012 5 comments

We all have our special skills; our gifts, if you will.  I, for instance, am remarkably good at sucking it up.  It has recently come to my attention that my kids some people think that sucking it up is a skill that they cannot learn, that only superwomen like me have it.  They think that people like me are just hardcore, badass, incredibly tough people.  They could not be more wrong!  At heart, I am a big old whiny baby.  I have aches and pains and I just want to lie in bed sometimes.  Yet, I routinely fall down, then pick myself up and go to work.  I have miserable back pain more often than not, and most people don’t know about it.  I once broke my thumb on my way to work, then got an ice pack at the office and avoided writing that day.  (Mostly because I was not capable of holding a pen, but I am perfectly capable of typing left-handed.)  I’m not tooting my own badass horn, here, I’m just demonstrating that if I can do it, then anyone else can, too.  I am not that tough, really.  Ask my husband, who is contractually obligated to listen to me whine for as long as he lives.  Lucky fella.  Anyway, I just know that I have to suck it up and carry on because the world doesn’t stop turning for my little problems. (Or my big ones either, for that matter.)  And so, as I look all around me at the young people living spoiled and coddled little lives, it occurs to me that the time has come for a hard lesson.  And so I present my guidelines for learning to be a Suck-It-Up Master.  You’ll thank me when you have bills to pay and a hardnose boss who needs you at work even if you do have the flu, a migraine, or the black plague.

via diylol.com

  • Listen to your mother.  (Or your father, your guardian, your grandparents and your aunts and uncles.  Whatever loving adult you have in your life.)  Your mother might not know everything (hahahahahaha…I got jokes.  Of course your mother knows everything), but one thing’s for sure, she knows more about life than you do.  You were given a mother to help you.  When you were little, that mostly entailed providing your nourishment and changing your poopy pants.  As you’ve grown, she’s there to help you learn to navigate the world.  If you mother tells you to grin and bear it, then do it.  Of anyone in the world, she is the last one who wants you to be hurt or miserable, so if she tells you to suck it up, then that truly means that it’s time to stop being a weenie.
  • Be proactive.  Or reactive.  Just some kind of active.  Are you doing your part to improve your situation or are you just whining about it?  I admit, it is sometimes hard to resist a good whine.  I will sometimes complain about a headache and Hubs will ask me if I’ve taken any meds.  No, I have not.  Point taken, my dear.  If you haven’t done anything for yourself, then why in the world do you think anyone else will do anything for you?
  • No one cares.  Okay, it’s harsh, but that doesn’t make it any less true.  Out in the big, bad world, no one cares about your problems.  No one’s going to come clean your toilet for you if you’re feeling bad.  Your co-workers will learn to hate you in short order if you miss work every time you get a twinge.  You learn to suck it up because you have to, because in real life, no one is going to look out for you.  There are things that need to be done and you will have to do them, no matter how you feel or what’s happening in your personal life.  This is how you earn respect, a sense of accomplishment and a steady job.
  • Life isn’t fair.  Oh, you’ve heard this one before?  Then it must be true.  Life doesn’t even pretend to be fair.  The earlier you to learn to deal with it, the easier things will be for you.  You are going to have really awful days and you’ll get through them, because you have to.  You don’t always have to be Smiley Sally, but you’d darn well better learn about Brave-face Brenda, because you’re going to need her a lot in life.
  • Some things can’t be fixed.  There are a lot of ailments in life that can’t be fixed.  I’ll bet, if you do a quick Google search, you’ll even find some worse than yours.  What do you do if you can’t fix it?  That’s right, you learn to live with it.  I cannot fix your headache.  I cannot fix my aching back.  Shall we sit around and cry about it while cancer patients the world over pick themselves up and bravely face another day?  A little perspective, y’all.  Works wonders.

I have, on rare occasion, been accused of being a hard woman.  (Shocking, I know.)  I just don’t know how else to be when we’re living in a hard world.  Would I like to hold and coddle my children when they’re not feeling well?  Sure, I would.  I’m not heartless. (I am not!)  I just don’t think I’m doing them any favors by treating them like that.  They are plenty old enough to learn how to conduct themselves in the real world.  It hurts me to see kids and young adults who never learned these lessons and it terrifies me that this is the generation who will be running the world when I am old and feeble.  There’s a lot going wrong with American society and these lessons won’t fix it all, but it surely can’t hurt.  We all admire the person who’s muscling through hardship and making things happen.  You know what separates you from that person?  Nothing.  They just know how to suck it up.

Secret Squash in My Sneaky Lasagna

August 25, 2012 3 comments

Perhaps you, like me, struggle to feed your family healthy meals.  Perhaps your family wants cheeseburgers and tacos and pizza and you’re so tired and worn down by grocery day that you just smile and nod and throw up your hands in despair.  Or maybe it’s just me.

In any case, last night we sat down to make our weekly menu.  This is a traumatic weekly event that we endure.  It’s hard to plan meals.  You have to think of something everyone will eat.  You have to be able to cook them quickly after work.  You have to have reasonably healthy meals.  You have to have some variety so everyone doesn’t groan at dinnertime.  My first request this week was to “lighten it up.”  My people love heavy, rich foods and we’ve fallen out of many of our good meal habits.  My daughter immediately suggested lasagna.  What world does she live in?  What in the name of God is she eating that makes lasagna seem “light”?  Sadly, it took Hubs approximately .2 seconds to get on the lasagna bandwagon.  The power of suggestion immediately ensured that I was outnumbered.  We’re having lasagna, which could possibly be the most calorie-laden meal I serve.  God bless my sweet boy, who complied with my request for healthy meals.  He’s the only one in the house who takes my meal planning seriously and that is why he’s my favorite.  (Not really, of course.  Neither of them are my favorite yet.  The first one to take over the laundry duties will earn that title.)

So, with the help of the entire family we settled on the following menu for the week.  If you’re wondering why there aren’t seven days of meals, then you’re not counting leftover night and takeout night.  Obviously.

Pork Stir Fry.  This is pure optimism.  This meal has appeared on our menu for weeks.  The pork chops are in the freezer, most of the veggies are canned, and I have thrown out rotten shredded cabbage twice.  Something is blocking us from ever cooking this.  Maybe there’s trichinosis in the pork and karma is finally looking out for me.  Anyway, I suspect that we’ll never actually eat pork stir fry again.

Taco Salad.  My son at his very, very best.  He knew I would shoot down tacos in a hot second, so he said, “a really big salad.”  Now, I realize that his ratio of lettuce to tortilla chips will be something like 2:15, but he’s trying.  Also, I can work all day, go get groceries, and still get this meal on the table before 8pm, so it’s a winner.

Pan-seared Lemon Pepper Chicken, Jasmine Rice and Steamed Broccoli.  I’m being specific here because that’s how the boy told it to me.  He really does do a good job and I know that he’d make good choices for himself if I could only make all the Chef Boyardee vanish from the earth for all time.

Shredded Beef Sandwiches, French Fries and Quickles.  Perhaps you’re not familiar with quickles, so I will explain.  They’re cucumbers dressed in vinegar.  Quick Pickles, get it?  Hardy har.  We serve two varieties.  For the purist, it’s just apple cider vinegar with salt and pepper.  For those of us who don’t care for vinegar shots, I make creamy quickles.  My mom made these when I was growing up (well, she probably still does, but she doesn’t give me any…thanks, Mom.) and it’s basically mayo and vinegar with various seasonings with sliced cukes.  The quickles came into this recipe when I suggested raw veggies instead of fries.  Cutie immediately said, “What kind of vegetables?  Raw?! Okay.  I’ll eat it if you replace the carrots with cucumbers.  And replace the cauliflower with…cucumbers.”  So.  We’re having cucumbers.

Lasagna.  So, you know I got trapped into this, but I’ve got their number.  I am making a new lasagna recipe, and I’m not telling anyone.  I’m going to make it while I’m home alone on Monday.  I’m making Jamie Oliver’s eight-veggie tomato sauce instead of using our beloved Ragu.  I’m also going to see if I can hunt up some whole wheat lasagna noodles, although I do not believe my local Food Lion has such things.  I’ll get the low-fat ricotta, although I do refuse to skimp on the mozzarella.  Also, I’m going to “forget” to buy bread.  (I will catch twenty kinds of hell for that, but I’ve got a thick skin.)  Every little bit helps, I guess.  Now, no one tell my family that their lasagna is going to have zucchini and squash in it.  I read a review that said you can taste each and every vegetable in it.  This is not good news, but we’ll hope that I can overcome it by adding enough garlic to take out the entire cast of Twilight.

OMG, you’re cracking me up, memecenter.com

So, there’s my tricky dinner plan.  These people try and try to beat me down, but I am far too sneaky and determined to let it happen.  I mean, if it were just me, I’d be content to have grilled chicken and steamed veggies (and cookies, I mean, never mind.) most nights.  You know, you can season grilled chicken in approximately eight hundred ninety-three unique and delicious ways.  And it’s much better for my muffin-top issue than what we normally eat.  However, I married a man who dislikes chicken.  And then I birthed two contrary children who are determined to dislike anything that I like.  So I have to be creative and sneaky and rely on culinary geniuses like Jamie Oliver to squeeze some extra veggies in there.  And garlic.  Lots and lots of garlic.

Seriously? It’s the Second Day of School!

August 21, 2012 7 comments

Just the other day I laid forth some hopes and expectations I have for this school year.  So far, so good.  The kids seem to have really good, engaging teachers.  I have not had to be involved in any projects thus far.   Their classes seem like they’ll be challenging.  And a teacher promptly responded to my email to answer my question about a ridiculous rule.

So why am I writing about school again?  Because a teacher promptly answered my email to answer my question about a ridiculous rule.  It’s the second day of school, y’all.  Why is this starting already?  I need a good couple of months to establish myself as a helpful and concerned parent before I set the crazy loose.  This is not. cool.

Here’s the deal.  My son’s grade changes classes throughout the day as a group.  They go to homeroom and have English.  Then they march across the hall for Reading, the off to Science and so on.  The problem?  They’re required to leave their backpacks, and therefore all their personal belongings, in the homeroom classroom while they’re gone.  And while other classes stream in and out of that classroom.  There are no lockers.  There are hooks on the wall.  There are rooms full of wily ten-year-olds who might just decide to see what’s in this backpack here.  Oh, we’ve been in this place before.  I’ve already won this battle.  Five years ago my daughter had an MP3 player stolen out of her backpack in this exact scenario.  A friendly conversation with the principal resulted in me getting my way a re-evaluation of this policy.  So now why do I have to do this again?!

I know that my kids shouldn’t have a bunch of personal junk in their backpacks.  I also know that they don’t come straight home after school, so anything they’re going to need after school needs to also be with them at school.  I don’t think it’s unreasonable for me to expect that I can put their crap in their backpacks and have it remain in their possession throughout the day.  I don’t think I should have to think about who might be rifling through their stuff.  I was informed that this practice saves time when the kids change classes.  Yeah, I can see that.  It doesn’t change the very high level of outrage discomfort I have with the practice.  So, I asked politely and I still can’t get no satisfaction. (that’s not a double negative. It’s a hat-tip to the Stones.)  Alrighty.  On to step two.  Step two is still in development, pending a solution for keeping the crazy reined in.

But wait, there’s more.  That’s just the elementary school!  Wait til you hear what the middle school has cooked up!

The kids are not allowed to take backpacks to class.  They have to cram them in their lockers and carry all their crap around all day.  You have a class in the basement followed by a class at the other end of school, with no time to dash up to your second-floor locker?  Too bad, so sad.  In addition, they’re not allowed to go to their lockers in the mornings or in the afternoons.  They are supposed to go on locker break before their last class and get everything they need for last period, homework and first period the next day and haul it all around.  I assume they’re allowed to take their backpacks to last class?  I don’t know.  Nothing about this jacked up scenario makes a lick of sense to me.  My kid’s backpack weighs roughly five hundred thirty pounds and she doesn’t even have homework tonight.  I don’t even know how to approach this without dropping a WTF on someone.  This will change, that’s all I know.  And if my kid gets a discipline slip for the egregious crime of taking her backpack to class?  Hell hath no fury, my friends.

My kids’ schools are Dora’s private hell.
courtesy of hellokids.com

So it’s the Year of the Backpack.  I will be waging the backpack war on two fronts and as God is my witness, I will not back down.  I might not win, but I am perfectly prepared to never, ever, ever shut up about it.

Commercials that I Don’t Quite Love

August 20, 2012 2 comments

I love commercials.  For instance, the Dos Equis guy?  I adore him.  I want to hang out and drink beer with him, assuming, of course, that I can catch him on one of those days that he does drink beer.  Cause, you know, he doesn’t always drink beer.  I have been known to race to the TV if I heard a State Farm discount double check commercial on.  (This might have something to do with my Packer love, but whatever.)  I still remember fondly the commercial with the tiny Darth Vader.  You know, this one.

Yeah, me too.
(okay I know it’s unrelated and off topic. I’m a sucker for memes.)
via paulkatcher.tumblr.com

There are, however, some commercials that I kind of like but find slightly disturbing, for one reason or another.

Topping the list is the Rocket Man commercial.  I know people don’t know the words to this song.  I suspect that this song was written with the purpose of tricking people into misheard lyrics.  God bless William Shatner for teaching me the words.  I’m not bothered by all the alternate lyrics in the commercial, I think they’re great.  What bothers me is the very end of the commercial, with the couple in the car.  Dude says, “I told you it wasn’t provolone.”  Okay, maybe he did, but he clearly didn’t tell her what the correct words were.  Why would he hold out on her like that?  That’s not nice.  Don’t we all depend on our spouse, boyfriend/girlfriend, significant other to keep us from making fools of ourselves?  I don’t like this guy.

We all know the cars.com commercial with the weird and creepy head of confidence that has sprung out of some poor fellow’s back.  Oh, I like the song.  I am, in fact, wont to walk around the house singing under my breath, “hey baby, I want that car, hey baby I really want that car.”  What is bizarre about this commercial is, of course, the weird and creepy head that has sprung out of this poor fellow’s back!  If this is what happens when you go to cars.com, then, no, thank you.  As much as I might want the best deal on a new car, I want a singing deformity even less.

Have you seen the commercial for The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas?  Check it out here.  I can appreciate any Queen reference, but seriously.  What is this?  Is this the kind of thing that often occurs there?  I don’t find that appealing.  I am as easily entertained as anyone else, but I can’t see myself vacationing in a place where everyone is either secretly attending rehearsals for a pool side confrontation or possibly is on acid.  That is not the right amount of “wrong.”  The right amount of “wrong” is much, much less than this.

I know, I’m missing the point.  I often do that.  I also know there’s an argument that these are good commercials because they’ve made me remember them.  Um…not really.  There are actually a lot more that I’d like to include, but I can’t, because I remember the oddness, but don’t remember the product that was being advertised.  That Cosmopolitan commercial?  I got lucky that I saw it a minute ago and therefore discovered what it was about.  I don’t think I’m more likely to use the products or services because of these commercials.  On the other hand, though, if the goal was to get me to look at whomever in the room and say, “What the hell was that?!!”, then it’s a win.  Kudos.

What I Want from School This Year

August 20, 2012 1 comment

Today’s the first day of a new school year.  I just returned from delivering my babies to their respective schools.  It’s the last year of elementary school for one and the last year of middle school for the other.  Be still my heart.

With all the excitement and anticipation of the new year, there are some things that I hope our teachers keep in mind this year.  Now, I’m not bashing teachers.  Most of the teachers the kids have had over the years are everything you could hope for.  But, as in anything else in life, there are a few who have disappointed.  I genuinely hope these reminders aren’t necessary, but I think it’s fair to put them out there.  I do my part.  I make sure homework is done, we discuss the school day and what was learned.  I make sure they’re fed, washed, rested and delivered to school on time.  I buy whatever supplies are needed.  I think up ideas for projects and I proofread papers.  I teach them manners and respect.  I share cookies and cake balls at the holidays.  I don’t think I’m being too demanding by having a few expectations of my own.

This is where I would put a picture of my kids on the first day of school, if I had remembered to take that picture in between asking them fifty times if they had pencils and lunch and if they remembered where class was. Please enjoy this generic pic via zazzle.com instead.

  • I don’t have unlimited time.  I will help my children with their homework and their projects, but I have a life of my own and plenty of things that keep me busy on school nights.  Please be respectful of my time when making assignments that require parental participation.  I am fully capable of quizzing a child on spelling words or history dates while I’m washing dishes or cooking dinner.  I am not so good at multi-tasking while I’m trying to find little objects to stick in a memory box about a story out of a reading book.  This kind of thing is going to make me resentful, and probably make me say things out loud that I should keep inside my head.
  • Don’t dumb it down.  Please make my children work.  In addition to learning all the school lessons, they also need to learn about the value of hard work.  It’s nice to have an easy day sometimes, but they’re kids.  School is their job.  They’re not learning everything if it’s always easy.  Well, they’re learning that everything is easy and what an unpleasant surprise it’s going to be for them the first time something is hard.  Honors English students in the sixth grade are capable of writing a book report, but alas, they were asked to create a book report-type thing on a cereal box.  I don’t even know what to do with that.  I know this, though.  In my professional life, I have had occasion to write proposals, presentations, manuals and countless random memos and training documents.  I have never yet been asked to draw pictures on a cereal box.
  • Don’t neglect the smart kids.  I realize that there are a lot of kids who need some extra attention in order to understand the lesson.  I realize that teachers have a very limited amount of time and resources to accomplish the nearly impossible.  I don’t think this is a valid reason to neglect the needs of advanced kids who hate school just because they are bored all the time.  They have specific needs, too.  Maybe it’s as simple as giving them an extra worksheet to keep them busy, or handing them a book to read.  It’s simply not fair to expect a child to sit still through the eighty-eighth explanation of something that they understood the first time.  And it’s doubly unfair to have the guidance counselor call a parent at work to discuss any possible problems at home because a bored eight year old threw an eraser at a friend in class.  (I’m not condoning that kind of behavior.  I’m just saying, it’s not really a reason to grill me about the state of my marriage or the health of my parents.  Nosy pants.  I might be holding a grudge about that incident.)
  • Please communicate with me.  I’m not the kind of parent who calls or emails all that often.  If there’s a problem, though, the emails will start flying.  If my kid is being a problem, I will fix it.  I just need to know about it.  If my kid is having a problem, I need  you to help me fix it.  Last year I had an assistant principal suggest to me that we just overlook the fact that my kid was being bullied, since there were only a couple days of school left.  I declined that offer.  That’s ridiculous.  Look, I realize that teachers and principals and all the other faculty have a lot of kids on their plates.  I have two.  If one of my two needs something, it’s my responsibility to ask for it.  I will not take kindly to getting the brush-off, no more than you would appreciate me ignoring requests from the school.  Schools want parents to be involved, right?
  • Please don’t expect us to blindly follow rules.  Some rules, yes, we understand.  My children have been taught to follow the rules.  However, if you need to implement a new and unique rule, please, please, pretty please, explain the reasoning for it.  My daughter was once told by a teacher that the class is not allowed to erase answers and make corrections on tests.  I cannot even begin to explain to you the firestorm that this started.  By the time my son had the same teacher, erasers were no longer a problem.  I am certain that the teacher had some valid reason for such an off-the-wall rule, but really?  There are a lot of rules that my kids don’t understand, but I’m an adult with plenty of skill in logic and reasoning.  If I can’t make sense of it, you can be sure I’m going to ask.  If I don’t feel that it’s beneficial to my children or their educational needs, I’m going to question it.  If I still can’t follow the logic, I’m probably going to ignore it.  I will never ever question you if you need to send my kids to the principal’s office for something I told them to do.  As I told one administrator last year, if you have to mark down the grade, then do it.  We all have a job to do, I get that.  But I’m not going to be a sheep and I’m not going to allow my kids to be.  Sometimes an F isn’t the worst thing.

I realize that I sound like a pain in ass mom who teachers dread.  I imagine that there are some who groan when they see us coming at Open House.  I really don’t try to be a nuisance.  I just have high expectations.  I want my children to get everything out of their education that they can, but school is about much more than that.  It’s also about learning how to handle yourself in social situations.  It’s about overcoming challenges that seemed insurmountable.  My son told me recently that he wasn’t excited about fifth grade because he won’t learn anything new.  While I can’t help but snicker and shake my head at his tremendous ego, it also makes me sad, because he’s not far from the truth.  More than anything else, he loves to learn new things and that’s all he wants out of school.  He just doesn’t often get it.

I am starting the new school year with the assumption that the kids will have all wonderful teachers who will excite and challenge them.  I also have lofty ambitions that I will remember the names of each of the ten teachers and maybe even remember who the eighth grade principal is.  I don’t mean to come off as crazy and demanding. (I am crazy and demanding, but I don’t like to advertise it.)  We’re all on the same side here, right?  We all want the kids to do well in school.  I am not involved in the way that includes PTA meetings and walking my children to class, or, God forbid, baking two thousand cookies for an event (yep, that request really happened.  The cookies did not happen.), because that’s just not my style.  I don’t have the time or inclination to play politics and mom-clique games at school.  But I am involved.  Maybe not always in the most fun or pleasant way, but I’m involved.  Look, I will make sure my kid decorates the stupid cereal box, but I think we’ll all be a lot happier down the road if she just learns how to write a paper.

It’s Mathtastic!

August 16, 2012 10 comments

I am an intelligent person.  I took all the advanced classes in school. I made good grades.  I function well in life.  I am almost able to beat Hubs at trivial pursuit.  I can correct grammatical errors in a flash.  I can spell well, I have well-developed logic and I have a mind like a steel trap.  In short, I’m no dummy.

However, I hate math.  I am capable of doing math, but since I’m grown and I have access to Google, calculators and live with two males with numbers in their brains, then I have the option to avoid math.  And I do.  I sooooo do.  If the kids need help with their math homework, they’d better find their father, because I’m having no part of it.  My kids, obviously, are aware of my aversion to math.  They come to me for help with English, Writing and History.  Sometimes Science.  I do not swear at Science (okay, on occasion I do, but that’s another post for another day).  I do swear at math, all the time.  It’s evil and tricky and it’s out to get me.   When I first discovered letters co-mingling with my numbers, it was the worst kind of betrayal.  Numbers are like a foreign language and they don’t even make a number-to-regular brain dictionary.  So, even though I can do math, I have no love for math.  Unless I need to figure out a tip or double a fraction in a recipe, I’m leaving it alone.  I’ll ask my ten-year-old to figure out simple math problems for me.  There’s no shame in my game.

via knowyourmeme.com

My daughter also has a rocky relationship with math.  She does pretty well, but it doesn’t come easy for her.  I have always been careful about my approach to math around her.  After all, who wants to propagate that ugly stereotype that girls suck at math?  Not me.  Girls don’t hate math.  I hate math.  And by nature or nurture, Cutie dislikes math, too.  We like things that make sense, like words.  But, for her, at least, it’s a cross that must be borne, at least until she finishes school and gets a lucrative enough job to move out of my house.  With the new school year upon us, we had a conversation last night about math.  It went something like this.

Mom: I got good grades in Algebra, but I never liked it.  You know what I liked, was Trigonometry.  That was easy and pretty fun.  Now, Calculus, ugh.  No one should ever take Calculus.  It’s of the devil.

Cutie:  Mom, I thought you had to be really smart to get into classes like Trigonometry.

Mom:  Well, those were the advanced…wait a minute.  You just called me dumb.

Cutie:  I did not!  You are the smartest person I know and also really pretty and young and thin.

Okay.  That’s not what she said.  That’s what a good child would have said.  What my kid said was this:

“I didn’t call you dumb.  I just meant, I thought you had to be REALLY smart for those classes.  I mean, like, really good at it.”

Yeah, yeah.  She called me dumb.  Cutie better recognize.  Not only am I smart enough to breeze through Trig, I am also smart enough to know when to wave the white flag at the Calculus that’s kicking my ass.  Further, I am smart enough to avoid all math forever after.  I’m even smart enough to birth a child to do my math for me, a human pocket calculator, if you will.  To Cutie’s credit, the backpedaling was immediate and furious, and to no avail.  She’s going to be hearing a lot about Mom’s stupidity, for a long time to come.

Mind like a steel trap, you know.