December 03, 2008

Last minute

Scene: Shaggy Hair is playing the piano. Boy in Black is on the couch surrounded by textbooks, papers covered with physics problems, and his laptop computer. With-a-Why has wandered over to the kitchen area with the kind of stapled worksheet that eighth graders are given for school projects.

With-a-Why: I need an empty can.
Me: Shouldn't you be in bed?
With-a-Why: I have this project due tomorrow.
Boy in Black (without even looking up): Just finish up the Ovaltine and use that.
With-a-Why (dumping out the Ovaltine): I need a rubber band.
Me: Let me see that sheet.
Shaggy Hair: We need to get the piano tuned. Listen.
Me: (over the sound of piano music) You've had THREE WEEKS to work on this.
Boy in Black: (without looking up) It's fine.
Me: It's almost ten o'clock.

With-a-Why sits down on the floor and builds a rubber-band powered Ovaltine can, while his brothers chime in with helpful suggestions.

Shaggy Hair Boy: You gonna race them?
With-a-Why: Yeah, and you get points by how far it goes.
Me: Your grade depends on whether or not the vehicle works?
With-a-Why: I get at least a 60 for doing the worksheet. It needs to go at least two feet to get more than that.
Boy in Black: Where'd we put the skateboard bearings I got to fix the vacuum cleaner with? Try them.
Me: You've had THREE WEEKS and you're just doing this now?
Boy in Black: It's fine.

With-a-Why: The hole needs to be bigger.
Shaggy Hair Boy: That's what she said.
Me: None of you get enough sleep.
With-a-Why: There's too much friction.
Boy in Black: You need friction to make it go forward.
Shaggy Hair Boy: I think you're winding —
With-a-Why: I need a new rubber band.

Scene two: In the car. I've just picked With-a-Why up from school.

Me: How did you make out with the rubber band thing?
With-a-Why: Uh, it was on the fritz.
Me: Did it move?
With-a-Why: I got 60.
Me: It didn't work? At all?
With-a-Why: You're going to say, "That's what you get for doing it at the last minute."
Me: I didn't say that.
With-a-Why: You were thinking that.

Me: So tell me what happened. It didn't move at all?
With-a-Why: It went 60 feet.
Me: 60 feet?
With-a-Why: It would have gone even farther if the wall wasn't there.

Me: (laughing) I was hoping you'd learn some kind of lesson about not doing stuff at the last minute.
With-a-Why: Doing it at the last minute helped.
Me: How do you figure that?
With-a-Why: I didn't have time to do anything complicated so I had to go with a simple design.
Me: Well, I think you're lucky you had siblings to help.
With-a-Why: If it had curved to the left, it would have gone into the attendance office.
With-a-Why: You get bonus points if your vehicle goes into the attendance office and messes with things.
Me: So you didn't really get a 60.
With-a-Why: I got a 100.
With-a-Why: That's what you get when you do it at the last minute.


Songbird said...


Jane Dark said...

Oh, your kids are brilliant. BRILLIANT.

Teri said...

oh, those were the brother and I have similar stories! I wish I had fun siblings like your kids, though....

Nels said...

As the youngest in my family, you know I have a special affinity for that boy!

susan said...

School sounds pretty fun that way, actually.

Anonymous said...


Busymomma66 said...

Too funny. (I'm a last minute person myself--but definitely not that brilliant)

Phantom Scribbler said...


RageyOne said...

LOL! "It's fine." = the best line!

Julia said...

The kid's definitely ready for college.

liz said...

I am now totally regretting that I only have one kid.

YourFireAnt said...

I'm with your kids on this one. The last minute is the only time I ever get ANYthing done. Even now.



kathy a. said...

classic! what did he use for wheels?

jo(e) said...

No wheels. The ovaltine can itself just rolled across the floor, powered by the rubber band stretched inside of it. As he said, a very simple design ....

MamaBee said...

Quite a crew you've got :) I've always been the last-minute type too, but I never had siblings to help me out.

It's one of the reasons I've got two kids.

Name: Matthew Guenette said...

With the birth our first child--he's nearing 8 months now--I find myself coming back to this blog more and more. I know no blog (or snapshot, or anything) tells the whole story, but I admire your family, how the lines of communication seem open, the sense of humor there, how intelligence and creativity are valued. Your blog also has me longing for back east--my home.

KathyR said...

"That's what she said."


My kid is a last-minute-er, too. I just dropped him at school at 8:04. School starts at 8. He's lucky I don't have to be somewhere most mornings or things would be WAY more tense around here. -sigh-

landismom said...

Oy. We're already dealing with the last-minute kids here. It's stressful, but I guess you get used to it.

I hope you get used to it.

Cloudscome said...

I don't know why teenage boys get such a bad rap. They are so much fun!

jo(e) said...

Cloudscome: They really are.

Silver Creek Mom said...


I wish Nathan was like that. Honestly I do. Could he come up here and teach a greade two some basic math, Nathan would listen to him!

Too Funny...I spewed coffee across the desk!