7 Quick Takes about carpet beetles, Minecraft, Pong, and pirates
Everyone’s telling me to get hardwood floors. I know, guys, I know. Trust me: this topic has come up pretty much every day since that unfortunate carpet beetles incident. When my clean-freak husband realized that the bugs we’d been seeing on the couch were actually part of an infestation of insects that feed off of filth, it took all my effort to keep him from throwing out the couch, ripping out the carpet, and transforming our living room into a bleached stone floor with a few toys on it.
The problem is that, now that we’ve been married 10 years, we suddenly need to replace everything:
- Parts of the refrigerator are held together with duct tape.
- The dishwasher is on its last legs.
- We’ve outgrown the kitchen table.
- The couch, while rid of the carpet beetles, looks like something you might see sitting on a curb. In front of a crackhouse.
We’re saving up to be able to make a few replacements, and I can’t decide where hardwood floors sit on the list of priorities. Would I rather have a couch that guests aren’t afraid to sit on or a floor that guests aren’t afraid to walk on? A freezer that doesn’t regularly turn the entire bottom shelf into a block of ice or a kitchen table that will sit the whole family?
The traditional 10th anniversary gift is aluminum. We need to change that to be “massive gift cards to Home Depot.”
We did end up getting a Wii, which is all that matters to the kids. I was strongly leaning toward it after the computer game issues I mentioned, but there was another incident that finally pushed me over the edge:
Someone gave us a little console you can plug into the TV that contains Atari games from the early 1980s (I think it might have been a white elephant gift at an office Christmas party). The kids tried it out and actually found it to be mildly interesting. Since they are unsocialized homeschoolers, they had only rarely seen real video games and so had nothing to compare it to. One day a neighbor kid came over to play, and my son immediately wanted to show him his new game.
I happen to know that this boy owns both a Wii and a brand new Xbox with all the hottest games. And so I wish I could describe the look on his face as he watched the homeschooled kid point excitedly at the dot moving across the screen and say, “Isn’t this SO COOL?!”
My publisher‘s marketing department recently sent me their standard author questionnaire. As I’ve mentioned before, every time I imagine my name among their list of authors, it’s like one of those kids’ worksheets where you have pictures of a space shuttle, a limousine, a yacht, and a bowl of oatmeal, and you have to pick out which one doesn’t fit.
The types of questions they asked were, umm, not designed for people like me. Here was my first stab at filling it out:
I’m telling you, the “I am so sorry, a horrible mistake has been made” call is coming any day now.
My dad recently told me that some of our ancestors were pirates. “Pirates??” I asked. “Like…pirates?” Indeed. And, considering that they came to Texas when coming to Texas was pretty much guaranteed to cut your life expectancy in half, I can’t help but wonder if perhaps they were intentionally seeking out a place where the law wouldn’t bother finding them.
Meanwhile, this summer Joe signed our son up for children’s sailing lessons, and everyone was shocked by the aptitude he showed for this activity. Evidently our eight-year-old was literally sailing circles around older kids with more experience in the sport. When I heard this, it combined with the information that my dad told me and it aaaallllllll came together.
I’ve always known that my children are loud, rowdy, fearless, insanely strong-willed, and relish play that mimics battle. I always wondered what’s up with that. But now that I see that they also love seafaring, I get it. They’re pirates.
Let’s do a word association experiment. If you have a son between the ages of 8 and 18, tell me what response this word evokes in you:
I just got tickets to go to the benefit gala for the wonderful John Paul II Life Center where my friend Patrick Madrid will be speaking. My aunt will be in town from Atlanta, and she and my mom and I are going to make it a girls’ night out.
Thinking about this event and the upcoming Texas Alliance for Life dinner made me realize that I love socializing that involves dressing up. LOVE. If I could go to a fancy gala every night, I would. Which is weird because I am an introvert to the extent that I’ve sometimes wondered if I missed a call to be a desert hermit.
So…I guess the perfect life for me would be spent in a remote cave, only coming out of my seclusion to attend lavish cocktail parties. I’m sure this indicates something very troubling about my character.
I just discovered this Youtube channel called Great Depression Cooking, where a sweet 96-year-old lady shares tips she learned from growing up during the Great Depression. (Perspective alert: she mentions that she had to drop out of school because they couldn’t afford socks.) Her stories are fascinating, and her meals are super helpful for families on a budget: