...for a different kind of girl

silent surburban girl releasing her voice, not yet knowing what all she wants to say about her life and the things that make it spin. do you have to be 18 to be here? you'll know when i know.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

i once went on a blind date with a guy to see the movie 'cool runnings.' that's as close to jamaica as i want to get after this weekend.

Oh, dear Internet friends, how I've missed you! Did you enjoy a wonderful long holiday weekend with your family and friends (not necessarily in that order)? I hope so, because that wave of calm you're hopefully still riding may temper the jealousy sure to bubble up inside you when I tell you how I spent my long weekend!


I enjoyed a fantastic time in Jamaica! Why, my whole family enjoyed our unexpected little diversion so much that, as the sun set on Monday, signaling what could have been a return to real life, we decided to throw our cares into the ocean and tacked on a couple more fun-filled days in paradise because, knowing my luck, it will be five or six more years before we get to return or, fingers crossed, travel to some other grand destination of one of my children's choosing.

That's right. My oldest son decided we should holiday in the tropics. Ah, to holiday! How I love using that word as a verb! It makes the whole experience seem so carefree and light. Why, you can almost picture me drunk on the first rum drink handed to me, and succumbing to the customary cornrows and beaded headdress, can you not? I can. It's because I can that I feel I should warn you that it's better if you can't.

Also, stop thinking about me in a swimsuit. Seriously. It's for your own good. And just ignore those empty Hershey Bliss wrappers next to my leg. Do I know you?


Too damn bad this particular Jamaican getaway came all frustrations paid by the above mentioned kid, who informed us late last Friday night we'd be going to (or rather 'Googling') Jamaica because he'd failed to realize the scope of a huge project his social studies teacher had assigned two weeks prior. Did I make it seem like this was a fun trip? Then I am some kind of amazing word genius, because, believe me, it wasn't a fun weekend here. Did I also say my son failed to realize the magnitude of the project? OK, I was wrong. He didn't fail to realize that until after I'd informed him the paltry scraps of information he'd gleaned during two week's of class research fell nowhere near meeting the requirements specified in the SEVEN PAGE assignment sheet.

Research a hero native to your chosen country and write a biography of them! Include at least two photos!

Prepare a database of the animals and insects that inhabit your chosen country! What do they eat? What are their prey? Are they endangered? What more can I ask here that will eventually make your mother weep in frustration? Make it colorful!

Do you know how to make a graph? GOOD! Compare the average annual temperature in your chosen country and in Iowa. Now graph them, showing all variables. When you're done, write a paragraph explaining how the climate impacts your country's culture, workforce, and inhabitants.

On and on and on the outline went. Each required category included five to seven bullet points that also had to be researched and incorporated. When I got my hands on it, I got the shakes. Reading over each point and trying to make sense of them was like holding a teleportation device that whooshed me back to college and the time when I ACTUALLY

::deep breath::

(sidebar - My kids' last day of school is this Friday. Typically at this point in the school year, I'm moaning about how they aren't doing anything in the waning hours in regard to actual learning, but last weekend, I confess I was bitching at the audacity of assigning such a huge project with only four days of school left - three, really, considering it was to be turned in today - and going on about how there's no way the social studies teacher is going to thoroughly look at every thing on these display boards, so, OK, honey, if you actually want to state that Jamaica's leading export is, in fact, marijuana, you just put that nonsense down!)

(addendum - I love teachers. Honestly. I support them, volunteer for them, and donate to their classrooms when I can...but gah!!)

(finally - While Jamaica does, in fact, enjoy a thriving drug culture, the country is actually the world's leader in the production of pepper, so put that in your bong and smoke it, instead. Or maybe just season your eggs with it. I mean, that's probably the safest use of eggs when you consider that whole
'this is your brain on drugs' business, right?)

I had NO desire to go to Jamaica. My plans for the weekend involved being outside, enjoying the fantastic weather, riding bikes, shooting baskets in the driveway with my kids, maybe grilling a hot dog or two. They didn't involve repeating
"Really?! REALLY?! Because I've already gone through school! I don't HAVE to attend your seventh grade social studies class, so no, no, I didn't JUST INSTINCTIVELY know you'd need a tri-fold display board!" to my kid after clocking six of the more than 10 hours we spent on this project on Saturday alone. After spending more than 20+ hours total helping my kid, I've still have very little desire to actually go to Jamaica, a fact that has nothing to do with the State Department's recommendation that tourists steer clear of Kingston due to some island fun involving a drug lord, his minions and the words 'lots of bloodshed.' Bloodshed that's apparently been mentioned on the actual news since early last week, but that I knew nothing about prior to this project, of course, because, well, I didn't get to watch any actual news over the last five days. Thank you, Google!

You might want to ask me why didn't I just let my kid suffer the consequences of not completing his project thoroughly and as assigned. No need. I asked myself the same thing a lot. Especially when I woke up around 3:30 a.m., Sunday, thinking about
all the stuff that still needed to be finished in order to to cross them off the outline. I guess my answer is the same one I have when I wonder why I have to tell him every day to put his dirty laundry in his hamper or to brush his teeth, and that's that one day, I hope the light bulb goes off over his head and he finally understands he has to listen, learn, and follow through. I almost thought he was grasping that whole idea until early Monday morning when, as I was stressing out over whether he'd decided to profile the sport of cricket or track ("Include a biography of an athlete from your chosen country who has excelled at the sport, detail the rules, and include photos!"), he looked at me over the top of my laptop and actually said, "Chill out, Mom!"

Though he may actually have told me to
"Chill out, mon." By then, I was trying to talk Tool Man out of his idea that I craft some sort of dreadlock-adorned Rastafarian hat for our son to wear today when he presents his board. That's also when I started saying things like "Jamaican me crazy!" and "Don't Jamaica me come over there and smack you!" I had to say things like that so I wouldn't cry anymore, which I may have been doing during breaks from performing the Beach Boys' song Kokomo for the one millionth time, because, oh, yes, I was edging dangerously close to meeting that goal by Monday night.

(And now you'll pick up that torch!
"Aruba, Jamaica, oh, I wanna take you..." Brain worm! Look! Uncle Jesse on the steel drums!)

When we finally putting the finishing touches on the project Monday night, I did get to go sit on my deck and enjoy the last of the weekend's sun. While watching it set, I tried unsuccessfully to convince Tool Man to be "That Other Guy" to my Tom Cruise while we
acted out a scene from Cocktail and dreamed about opening a cute little Jamaican beachfront bar like our cinematic heroes. Maybe that will be our reward for getting an A on our project.

I mean our kid getting an A on his project. Yeah

Hey, mon! Your bored is not boring!



Blogger Logical Libby said...

Why didn't you just send your kid's teacher a bag of ganja? Same A, less fuss.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010 1:25:00 PM  
Blogger Craig said...

Oh, yah, mon . . . Usain Bolt and Bob Marley. . .

5M pulled a similar, 'oh-hey-I-just-realized-that-I-have-a-huge-research-project-due-on-Tuesday-after-Memorial-Day' stunt. And just to make it more fun, it came complete with a chart for us (ie, the parents) to sign, since part of his grade was how much time he spent working on it. . .

And seriously? You slept thru a final in college? 'Cuz I had a buddy (and I use the term loosely; but he was more than an 'acquaintance') who did the same thing. . . And now I suppose I'm gonna have to blog about that. . .

And I can see why Libby got the reputation for being all 'Logical' and stuff. . . ;)

Wednesday, June 02, 2010 1:34:00 PM  
Blogger justmakingourway said...

Oh boy - I was SO that kid. Procrastinate until the bitter end and then be up until one in the morning.

I like Libby's idea.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010 1:40:00 PM  
Blogger Pat said...

And here I thought you REALLY went to Jamaica and I was all jealous and shit and then I realized it was just your kid's school project, which I DETEST, I might add. My son ALWAYS pulled that crap at the last minute and we had to scramble.

After all that hard work that's all I have to ask is, "You dead, mon?"

Wednesday, June 02, 2010 1:45:00 PM  
Blogger Carolyn...Online said...

We had a weekend like that last month. Six weeks worth of reading guides from fourth grade. I am totally acing the fourth grade by the way.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010 1:59:00 PM  
Blogger Kate Coveny Hood said...

Just reading this gives me an anxiety attack... I didn't enjoy school projects the first time around. And now I have a clue as to why my mother literally wrote sections of papers for me at times. Helping me was taking longer than just doing it herself!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010 2:40:00 PM  
Blogger Aunt Becky said...

I just passed out thinking about it. It's my worst nightmare. That I might NOT BE PREPARED FOR A PROJECT. PROJECTS ARE MY LIFEBLOOD.

My poor children, indeed.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010 5:13:00 PM  
Blogger Anna Whiston-Donaldson said...

Oh my. And I thought my little "trip" to Malaysia last week was bad.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010 5:47:00 PM  
Blogger The Savage said...

Ummmmm... I lust you!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010 6:19:00 PM  
Blogger Meg said...

"...to Bermuda, Bahama, come on pretty mama"

You're mean. I'm going to be singing that for days. DAYS!

I might have been inclined to tell him "tough" and let him suffer the consequences. But then I'd have ended up doing exactly the same thing you did. *sigh* They have no idea how much we do for them.

When do you get your grade?

Wednesday, June 02, 2010 6:19:00 PM  
Blogger Cheryl said...

The finished product is worth all your efforts. I do agree with Libby a little. But charts and graphs are my lifeblood.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010 6:56:00 PM  
Blogger Michele said...

You, I mean he, did a lovely on your, I mean his, project. Gawd, I remember this scenario happening at our house. That why when The Boy graduated from college a couple of weeks ago I was taking all the credit.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010 7:23:00 PM  
Blogger Melissa said...

I hear an actual Jamaican vacation is a LOT more restful. I'd have wanted to crown the kid!

May you have a weekend of being outside, riding bikes, and grilling up some dogs very very soon.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010 9:05:00 PM  
Blogger bernthis said...

oh God, oh God, oh God, i so dread that time of PHoebe's life. Thank God, she's going to be in first grade.

Thursday, June 03, 2010 12:54:00 AM  
Blogger lime said...

can't tell you how many trips like this i've taken over the years. i was relieved not to be heavily involved in the research project regarding the romanov family...or re0enacting their demise. the day came when the child so inclined to procrastination said she'd handle it and i said, "great!"

glad your trip got you an A. time to relax with a nice bit of rum for your efforts. now.

Thursday, June 03, 2010 9:26:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, what an impressive board! Good for you...I mean your son! Too bad it ruined your Memorial Day Weekend.

Thursday, June 03, 2010 10:20:00 AM  
Blogger Bijoux said...

O.M.G. - can I ever relate. I may have to post on it as well. Last weekend was spent running around town looking for solid colored straws for a geometry project of all things. You think you can easily find solid colored straws? HA!

Thursday, June 03, 2010 10:51:00 AM  
Blogger Brian o vretanos said...

He'll know next time to pick Antarctica.

Thursday, June 03, 2010 5:47:00 PM  
Blogger Annah said...

Oh Lawd I used to LOVE those projects in middle school! :)

Thursday, June 03, 2010 8:21:00 PM  
Blogger BonBon Rose Girls Kristin said...

Oh wow. I think I may have done something like that to my mom. I'm in for it with my lil' dude aren't I?

Thursday, June 03, 2010 10:52:00 PM  
Blogger Aunt Juicebox said...

I can't even tell you how suddenly thrilled I am to have a senior. I was all "I'm old" but now I'm all "hahaha no more stupid projects". Or at least none that I'm responsible for. Because you KNOW teachers assign this kind of crap to torture the parents who get to send their kids to school everyday for the teacher to deal with. They punish us the only way they can, by making us have to do homework. Very few children this age can do such an extensive assignment without parental help.

Friday, June 04, 2010 8:28:00 AM  
Blogger Maureen@IslandRoar said...

Been there. Well, not to Jamaica, but to doing-too-much-on-my-kids-project land. I once called in sick to help my freaking out 10th grader finish a bio project. Of course now she worships me for life. Not.
At least you got an A; I know you deserved it! I did.

Friday, June 04, 2010 10:37:00 PM  
Blogger unmitigated me said...

Once my kids got to high school, they were totally cut loose. I didn't even do conferences.

Saturday, June 05, 2010 7:46:00 AM  
Blogger WILLIAM said...

That is one hell of a project. I think you should have put on a picture of Tom Crusie flipping bottles.

Monday, June 07, 2010 9:36:00 AM  
Blogger the weirdgirl said...

Oh, you are a good mom! Very nice board! And this just reinforces the idea that I must keep my PowerPoint skills up. They will be needed.

Monday, June 07, 2010 11:54:00 AM  
Blogger Kat said...

I just giggle snorted through this ENTIRE post. What does that say about me? Probably that in the next 4 years LaLa will get this exact project and I will be screwed. SCREWED I tell you!

Monday, June 07, 2010 5:36:00 PM  
Anonymous MommyGeekology said...

Well, on the plus side, that's a damn good board... right? And you learned stuff. Expanded your brain and stuff. So you can TOTALLY justify any tv-vegging that you do for the next, oh, four years.

Monday, June 07, 2010 7:23:00 PM  
Blogger Christina Lee said...

EEK---- oh my, I totally get why you did all of this, and I know I will be guilty of it one day too!

But you made me ROFL at this:stop thinking about me in a swimsuit. Seriously. It's for your own good. And just ignore those empty Hershey Bliss wrappers next to my leg. Do I know you?


Tuesday, June 08, 2010 9:42:00 AM  
Blogger anymommy said...

For the love of all that is holy. You are like the best mom in the entire world I think. I would have broken down and cried. And then maybe let my kid fail. I now fear real school. Thank you. ;-)

Friday, June 11, 2010 11:34:00 PM  
Blogger Bex said...

Is this what I have to look forward as my two little boys become big boys?

I swear, sometimes your posts read like episodes of The Middle.

Monday, June 21, 2010 8:33:00 PM  

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