asked for it, suckas…
Our Almost Annual
change much in 2011. But we’ll
manage to drag this out for a page or five, anyhow.
Betsy got fired.
Well, they told her that the school was “changing format”, but we know what
that really means. Luckily for her (but unluckily for the poor children of
Philadelphia) she’s a card-carrying union member, and as such, they couldn’t
just fire her. They had to push her off on another school. Her philosophy?
“More victims! Woo Hoo!!”
John managed to
keep his employment this year, but is certain it will end. The apocalypse is
coming, we tell you, and you’d better not trust the banks. Surprisingly, there
are no militia groups in Southeastern Pennsylvania for John to join, but he’s
been thinking hard about joining the NRA. Too bad they charge money.
The house continued
to be a big proponent of entropy – things breaking left and right, and us
fixing them only when necessary. We have become the “tare weight” of the
neighborhood: that house that parents point out and say, “kids, you never want
to live like that!”
They seem to have
no problem, however, sending their cherubs to play in the “back yard” where
Stinky and the Moth keep their “fort.” John and Betsy are thinking they ought
to get waivers signed, however, as the “fort” is becoming a bit unkempt (cue
deep harmonica music…)
Sean’s fort is
beginning to look Fred Sanford’s back yard. He and Tim collect other people’s
garbage and stow it back there, big things like broken grills and old office
furniture. When the neighbors complain, John has to figure out how to throw
this stuff away.
threatening to destroy the fort with a chain saw and burn the remnants. But the fort is made from treated wood,
and the EPA has rules about that sort of thing: it should be cut up and thrown
in a landfill so it will pollute the groundwater.
Other than the
strange hoarding tendencies, the boys are absolutely angelic. Cherubim and
Seraphim. Perfect in every way.
|Sean really is an angel!|
At the end of the
last school year, Betsy fielded a call from the school counselor. The
chicken-scratch hieroglyphics that Tim calls his “handwriting” nearly got him
fitted for a cripple-brace that would force him to keep his fingers in the
appropriate positions (and would naturally make him the most popular kid in the
third grade). Therapists were called in to evaluate him at taxpayer expense
(this is a pattern) and noted that this special boy was jittery and couldn’t
How did they
Even when asked to
wait quietly for a few seconds, the therapist noted (from behind a two way
mirror) that he could not help but swing wildly between two chairs like a
monkey. District psychiatrists were alerted and straightjackets were
ordered. To make matters worse, Tim stated he preferred running and playing
outside to schoolwork.
|He likes to move it move it.|
recommended quiet video game playing several hours a day to soften him up. And
for our part: only one soda for the boy at breakfast.
Sean is keeping the
school psychologists busy as well. His musical tastes leave something to be
desired (he had to inherit that from Betsy), but that is common at this age. He
treated us to one earworm that had the memorable line “I hate my life and I
want to die…I ain’t got no iPhone.” Our genius son thought it would be fun to
write this out on the cover of his school notebook. His friends thought this
“Well son,” replied
Dad, “Your friends are wrong.”
“But Dad, they were
right about Santa Claus!”
Of course, Sean’s teacher
saw what Sean had written. Now if you are thinking that this is the kind of
thing school psychologists live for, you’d be right. They train for this stuff.
They swooped in to rescue him, and even called us at home. They pleaded: why
didn’t we just get him a cell phone before he does something rash?
suicidal, not even with John and Betsy as parents. Adolescence is not here yet.
Thus the therapists
and psychologists have joined the long line interventional social workers that
look down their noses at the Rogers’ parenting regimen.
Which is not such a
bad thing. If they were looking up their noses at us that would make us
John and the boys
toured western North Carolina, learning about Native American culture in a
traditional casino in Cherokee country. Chief Vinny Testalone introduced the
boys to "racket tearing," a traditional Indian method of basket
weaving or cat skinning or something. Sean took notes but refuses divulge the
details, Timmy’s notes are illegible. John was out, following “free drinks”
signs around the casino.
John also fell for one of the biggest scams around: gem mining. These are about
as common in western North Carolina as wedding chapels are in Vegas. What a scam. The
boy sifted through $10 bags of sand to find colored pieces of glass (the
"emerald" stones still had traces of beer bottle paint on them). Dad almost escaped
at that point, but the boys were ushered in to see the "expert gemstone
appraiser," who informed the boys that their finds were "extraordinary."
Again, Dad almost
escaped with his wallet and some dignity, but the boys were alerted to the
astonishing fact that the gemstone shakedown business was right next to a
fly-by-night jewelry making "factory."
Result? John and
his money were soon parted, paying $60 for a pair of mommy earrings that he
could have gotten at Walgreens for $5. But they made a great Christmas gift!
Oops… sorry Betsy.
|Santa is Watching - Be Good!|
Hope your Christmas was
filled with booty (Betsy: “John, booty means something completely different
these days.” John: “You and your new-fangled slang. Can’t even stop nagging me
for the Christmas letter, can you?”) and that you have a new year.
John, Betsy, Sean, Tim,
Titus, Loki, the vole under the garage, and various camel crickets.