Tag Archives: humor

Shopping list: glitter that can kill you.

5 Mar

Winding down our Sunday, the kids decided to take a break from basement roller hockey and made a little science project. If you’ve never seen it, there’s a neat little trick you can do to create a whirlpool using two empty two-liter bottles.

DIY whirlpool; lots of whirling going on in there.

It’s a fairly simple experiment and not horribly complicated to create–or get to work. The kids were pretty intrigued by the cyclone effect. I honestly didn’t see the big deal with the whole execution since it’s basically just what you see every time you flush a toilet. But being that my kids seldom (to never) flush, I guess I see the potential novelty with the “experiment.” There are even kits you can buy to make the assembly a little easier. We just used old faithful for our tool: duct tape.

Apparently, you can also do fancy things with your cyclone’s water. Today, we used some orange food coloring for that nice (inadvertent) “whiskey” effect. But the boys wanted more, they wanted to step it up a notch. They wanted to make the experiment their own. They wanted…to put glitter in the water. (Yes, my boys.)

So, I began pulling out craft supplies in the quest for glitter. Boxes and boxes of googly eyes, pipe cleaners, embroidery floss, candy molds, felt. Wait, I found it–glitter!

But, oh no! The only glitter I had was edible. Edible glitter! But the boys were still ecstatic. I explained that this type of glitter would most likely dissolve in the water and not look very cool. They would need *real* glitter for their trick–not the easily broken-down edible type. They were apprehensive of my warnings. So, I handed over my coveted cookie-making supply and let them have at it. It looked like glitter to them; they were one step closer to their dream: a real live glitter suspension whirlpool. (basically, children’s Goldschlager.)

So, of course it didn’t work. The edible glitter almost immediately dissolved in the cyclone. There was slight disappointment. They still played with it for a while. Then they used the assembled experiment as some sort of eastern martial art weapon. And then, finally, they went back to playing basement roller hockey. Abandoning the cyclone.

Getting ready for bed tonight, one of my 8-year-olds looked at me, point blank, and said, “Mummy, tomorrow on your way home from work, can you stop at the store and buy real glitter–the kind of glitter that can kill you? For our whirlpool?”

So, tomorrow, to make a young boy’s dream come true, I am going to buy a big canister of glitter. Non-edible glitter. Beautiful, non-disintegrating, deadly glitter.

Edible glitter. Note: NOT available at specialty stores catering to gay assassins.

Gold, frankincense, and…soup.

7 Dec

Originally posted: Saturday, December 18, 2010 at 1:58am, but you’ll enjoy it more this year. I promise…


My favorite holiday decoration is a hand-carved wooden Christmas pyramid, a gift from my father bought during his trip to Germany. It is such a neat little piece, bought shortly before he died…a wonderful reminder of him around the holidays.  It has a sweet little nativity scene at the bottom, angels armed with their trumpets looking out from on high, and then the shepherds and wise men rotate around JC and the fam when the heat from the candles hit the top propellers just right. We love watching it go around and around, it’s a magical little toy. Whimsical, really.

I  take a long time setting it up. I carefully unwrap all the pieces that I lovingly put away last year. I take the time to talk to the boys about all the little characters, from the angels to the sheep. Tonight, I was talking to the boys about the wise men and asked them if they knew what their gifts were. I pointed to wise man #1’s gift and said “gold,” then onto #2, “frankincense,” they seemed to be interested and said the names along with me with some prompting. But then I pointed to #3, there was a pause. Surely they had been talking through these in their Catholic CCD classes? This one wouldn’t be so hard, right? Larry, Moe, Curley…Barbara, Louise, and Irlene…bacon, lettuce, and tomato…gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Any third item of a pop culture triumvirate should come easy. So, after a second or two, my son looked at me, then looked at the last wise man’s gift, raised his eyebrows with excitement, then looked back at me and shouted… “SOUP!”

Sure, why not.

The poor king who had to lug the hot pot of delicious soup to Bethlehem.



So, in honor of my Dad, and the historical license that is afforded with such things, the gifts of the Magi (in my home) are now, and forever will be: gold, frankincense, and soup.

I like to think it was a nice lentil, or perhaps a corn chowder. Thanks again, Dad.

Santa is not a “first responder.”

6 Dec

Every year around this time, our local fire department (one of three in the township) drives a big fire truck around the streets; sirens blaring, lights flashing, and Christmas music playing. That would probably be cool enough for my kids, but, there’s something even more awesome to this scenario, something even better: Santa is standing up on that fire truck! Waving! Ho Ho Ho-ing! Big spotlight on him! BIG! When we hear the sirens within about a 3 mile radius we are like Navajo Wind Talkers trying to figure out how close or far off the engine is. When he (HE) finally arrives, the kids excitedly run up to the road, talk to Santa for a minute or two, and get a few candy canes. My husband and I usually duke the firemen a little to cover gas, or beers for later. Whatever, we don’t care. It’s awesome.

The only problem with this event, is that this fire department doesn’t come past our house with Santa on an engine every year. Our township is huge, and in many parts pretty sparsely populated. I understand it’s probably tough to get to every street every year, I understand. The worst thing, though, the absolute WORST, are the years when the bedazzled engine crosses over our road at the corner and just keeps going. They don’t turn on our street, nary a stop at the stop sign. The crossroads is about 200 yards away…so the kids could run for it, but they’re usually just too busy freaking out that the engine isn’t turning. For as fun as this happening is some years, other years it is just torturous.

Santa in front of our house, 2008.

So last night on our way to Cub Scouts, there, at the end of our street we saw *gasp* a fire truck with lights a blazing! This was it! The big guy was. On. Our. Street!

Finally. Our turn.

So, being mother of the year, I roll down EVERYONE’S windows. We’re gonna see him. We’re gonna talk to him. He’s *our* road’s Santa tonight!

Now, as we approach the engine, the boys are really having at it. Screaming: “SANTA!! IT’S SANTA!!!!! HE’S HEEEERREEEE! WHHHHHHHHHHHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!” Loud. I mean, Santa’s not gonna miss us this time.

Then, as we get a little closer, I notice that the truck isn’t moving. Hmm, I figure Santa’s just inside the engine, doing some last minute primping. Getting candy canes in order. Texting the missus. Brushing his beard. You know, Santa stuff. But those lights are still going. He has to be in there!

Finally, we’re right in front of the engine, and–boy this is weird–it’s in MY lane? Facing me. Parked. Now, the kids are still screaming. And they’re still loud. They’re not letting Santa pass them by this year. I will also add that they are now unbuckled and halfway out of their respective windows. Whooooo! Throw caution to the wind, this is Santa!

At this point of the story, I would like to take this opportunity to extend my sincerest apologies to the family at the end of our street who may (or may not) have been dealing with a very serious emergency last night when *that* fire engine was parked right outside of their house. With the engine’s emergency lights on. Red and white lights spinning.

On an emergency call.

When we were screaming with joy out of the Blazer’s windows, we really, I mean really, didn’t know that someone inside might have, oh, say, just had a heart attack, or that maybe your basement was on fire. I swear. And I really hope everything’s OK today. I sincerely do. And please, I don’t want you to think that we were celebrating your hardship, and subsequently booing for any reason other than our disappointment that Santa was not on that engine.

I’m sure you understand, right? When I drove past you and your family members (slow motion movie scene style) and you were all glaring at us from your front porch, I could see a glimmer of understanding.

Hope you duked the drivers…

I sincerely hope to see you again in 2011, big guy.

Saint Nicholas Day: a parent’s guide on what *not* to do

6 Dec

Growing up, we didn’t celebrate Saint Nicholas Day. I remember certain kids coming into school talking about this cool and mysterious holiday. All I could gather was that they put their shoes out one night and got little gifts in them the next…and I did not. I’m not (that) bitter, but that’s about all I remember about the holiday.

Recently, my mother and sister took a trip to Holland for my beautiful cousin’s wedding. They brought us back these awesome wooden shoes. Now, I guess we found out the rule for fitting wooden shoes a little too late: take what your shoe “looks” like and then buy a pair of wooden shoes TWICE that size. The older boys (kind of THANK GOD) couldn’t wear theirs, but the youngest took full advantage of clogging around in a pair.

Since the shoes were just so beautiful (and let’s be honest: super annoying), we decided that the best use of these art pieces would be to set them out for Saint Nicholas Day.

So, like I explained earlier, I didn’t grow up with this tradition, so I rely on the internet for all the backup (i.e. country of origin, date to place out shoes, etc.). My kids don’t mind that I’m pretty vague about it, they just know that they’re getting some stuff in their shoes. However, one of my kids was very curious this year…

Carmen: “So, where does Saint Nicholas come from?”

Me: “Germany.”

Carmen” “Does he speak German?”

Me: “Yes.”

Carmen: “Well how does he sound?”

Me (in my best 11th grade German): “Ich bin blah, blah, blah, blah.”

Carmen (after a thoughtful pause): “I’m kind of…freaked out by Germans.”

Me: “Well, Germans aren’t scary. AND, Saint Nick has helpers. Maybe helpful and friendly ghosts will help deliver the gifts. Maybe Pap Pap!”

So, the kid is slightly appeased. But, let’s break this down: I basically just told him the ghost of HIS DEAD GRANDFATHER was coming into the house to deliver his goodies.

What is wrong with me?

I mean if GERMANS freak him out, what is the thought of a ghost in the house going to do?

I really did have good intentions, but fast forward about five minutes. He comes out crying. He doesn’t want a German OR a ghost bringing absolutely anything into the house. We talk. We compromise. We decide that the shoes can go outside. He was pleased with this idea, and he was asleep almost as soon as his head hit the pillow.

Happy Saint Nicholas Day!

One more punch in my kid’s future therapy card.

Staycation: 2011

30 Aug

Every year, I am forced to take a “vacation” during the third week of August. Daycare is closed for the youngest that week and all summer programs for the older boys have finished. It’s an odd paradigm for working parents, this forced vacation, but a common one. I seldom plan a real, live “go away” vacation. Going anywhere with three kids aged 8 and under is neither appealing to me, nor feasible for many reasons–but that’s for another post. So, the third week of August is devoted to me and the kids and our week-long local adventures and distractions undertaken from basecamp (read: home). Here are some outtakes from the week taken from my field journal (read: scraps of paper and previous facebook posts).

Pyramid of cuteness and destruction.

Field report: Monday.

First day of “staycation” with all the boys. West Deer, PA. Carmen found a fossil in the front yard, Paul broke my antique framed print of a girl and her dog that I’ve had since I was little, I made homemade stuffed crust pizza, and Anthony got caught in a mouse trap (the glue kind). Overall, a moderate success.

Homemade Pizza: Boom.

Field report: Tuesday.

Second day of “staycation” with all the boys. West Deer, PA. Tired. Carmen caught a huge, angry snapping turtle (I commandeered the line, totally froze and had no idea what to do, and promptly (and kind of thankfully) lost it), Paul didn’t break anything, I lost one of the last four fly fishing flies that I had of my father’s, and when I asked Anthony what time it was on his Spiderman watch, he said “27.” When asked again, “banana.” Overall, a moderate success.

Seriously scary snapping turtle.

Field report: Wednesday.

Third day of “staycation” with all the boys. West Deer, PA. Disgruntled; losing good humor and motivation. Almost had fisticuffs with the crazy lady in the vet waiting room who repeatedly called Gunner fat. Stopped at Sheetz on the way home and the kids insisted on “accidentally” mispronouncing it “Shitz” the remainder of the day. Welcomed home the in-laws from their 3 week trip to Greece and hometown in Italy; got lots of swag. Not dead. Overall, a moderate success.

Field report: Thursday.

Four “Funday” passes to Kennywood: $80
Playing games until the boys each won a prize: $20
Potato Patch Fries and drinks: $25
The look on your kids faces when they’re feeding their soft pretzel to ducks in the Kennywood pond: a total goddamn waste of $3.75

Trying to hurt/maim Cowboy Joe

Field report: Friday.

Details are sparse. Only things in field journal: “Thinking about going to the rodeo tonight and sitting on aluminum bleachers with chance of thunderstorms. #badideajeans?” and “Lost: Very small frog. Reward: Anthony.”

Frog that was lost sometime Friday.

Field report: Saturday.

Sums Saturday afternoon up pretty nicely.

Kim Kardashian is having her $25M nups today. Here’s *my* day in a nutshell: 1. I’m drinking Miller Light for lunch, 2. my youngest just threw a hoe at me (not a prostitute), 3. a spider was building a web *in the bill of the hat I was wearing,* 4. I just took 2 Imodiums, 5. my kitchen floor looks like a scene from M*A*S*H (seriously, who needed 14 band-aids, I didn’t even see any blood or hear screaming).
And if you ask me if I’d like to trade places with Kim for the day: absofuckinglutely.

Medical waste? We’ll never really know.

Oh, and we went to the North Washington Rodeo.  We bought tickets for $1 for chances to win a live steer, a live pig, a live colt, and a live miniature pony. “Sadly,” we did not win.

Parades and rodeos…forget it. I get all USA and misty eyed.

There is a town called Hooker, PA that you drive through to get to the rodeo. Never gets old for me.

Field report: Sunday.

We drove by a cemetery today and there were about 100 crows covering a section close to the road. It was a poignant sight to me, and  it cut a beautiful shape against the morning sky. Not macabe, just symbolic and there for the looking.

My one twin spoke up after taking in the sight, “You mean to tell me…all these birds, they’re allllll visiting dead people?”: head in the stars.

My other twin to his brother, “They are just. Eating. Worms. Duh.”: anvil of truth.


Well I think they’re both right…it’s just in how you want to look at things, what you *want* to believe.  I was a stay-at-home mom for three years. It was wonderful, and lonely, and fun, and freeing, and maddening, and a little sad. After careful thought, I made a choice to go back to a wage-earning job. My recent staycation was the first week since then that I missed staying home. Parenting is hard, and you seldom know if you are doing the right thing. Don’t worry, if you are doing your best, your kids will love you either way.

Anthony totally tangled in fishing line; confused; filthy.

Your time with your children (in any capacity) will provide a lifetime of wonderful memories for them to cherish. They will remember so many mundane details and thank you someday : head in the stars.

As long as you love them, feed them, house them, clothe them, and provide—your kids will probably (for real) not remember much of the details that you pine over, but—you will have succeeded in getting them into adulthood as functional members of society: anvil of truth.

Just try to enjoy the ride. Most importantly, relax. Seriously. Take it easy on yourself. Everything will be OK. As long as all the frogs are accounted for at the end of the day, you will have succeeded.

Back to school. Paul is probably hiding the lost frog behind his back there…

A few words for my twins, on the cusp of their 8th birthday

3 May

To my oldest boys:

I know that you have learned these things (all these wonderful things in just this week alone–in addition to so many other facts and lessons!), but I would like to record them for posterity and for others, so that they may also be so enlightened.

1. Although generally well-received, high-fives are not always an appropriate greeting to people you see at a funeral.

2. After you shared with me, “the absolute worst, worst, worst word” a person can say (at your request, by whispering it into my ear and spelling it…), and after I asked you three additional times to spell it, yes, C-U-R-T is the absolute WORST word a person can say.

3. I’ve never seen your little eyes light up so much (and with such excitement and joy!) as after you asked me the question that you’ve asked me so many times before, sitting there so cute with your pencils and notebook, “What should I draw?” Before I could answer, “a farm,” or “a cabin on a lake,” or “a bunch of dogs playing poker,” your brother said, without looking up from his book, “Trace your penis.”

I love you more than you love BB guns. But not as much as you’re gonna love your new zip-line. Rock on!

(Note: I have not delineated which twin said what, who are we kidding, I can’t even keep those kids straight.)

The sad birthday story of 2011

9 Apr

As a young married couple, my husband and I decided to pool our money into joint accounts at one bank. We live our fabulous thousandaire lifestyle this way. (Sometimes, depending on the month, hundredaire.) I know couples who handle their money differently, and let me be the first to say that whatever works for you is GREAT. Keep on truckin’.

Where a joint account DOESN’T work is around any holiday requiring gift giving. I check my accounts online almost daily, I mean, it takes two minutes, I still write *gasp* checks, and I like to make sure that the money I wired to my long lost relative in Nigeria (who is going through a VERY hard time) did, in fact, get to him. (SO glad Ndugu found me through my Yahoo account!) Now, I know that some of you probably have solved this gift buying problem using CASH let’s say, but we just never seem to get it right.

So, this year my husband was traveling for work during the week of my birthday. Surely he would get me a gift during his travels…in East Jesus (or thereabouts), West Virginia. Perhaps a thimble or collector spoon from the local Cracker Barrel. Nah, on second thought, maybe he bought me something before he left? Well, according to habit, my little fingers checked the bank account two days before my birthday, a Thursday. I didn’t do it to “check” to see if he had bought me something, I honest to goodness like to be surprised by gifts. I used to get angry when my sisters would tell me what I was getting for Christmas when they would find the gifts, as if on some sort of reconnaissance mission. I checked the accounts out of habit and quickly realized I had made a big mistake.

There, on the top of all the transactions…was a charge for $57.97. Now the way my bank works, until the charge goes through, it just tells you the total pending charge and the physical location of the transaction, not the store.  There it was in all its glory: $57.97 pending in Russellton, PA. I surely hadn’t bought anything in Russellton, PA the day before, and my husband was out of town. Oooo, my gift! But what’s in Russellton? A pizza shop, a Dollar General, a funeral home, the Owl’s club…a florist. A florist! Awww, he had bought me flowers! And he was having them delivered to my work the next day: Friday.

See a month or so ago, we were discussing the act of sending flowers to a person’s place of employ. We held an impromptu Geneva–or shall I say–“Gardenia” Convention on the rights and treatment of flower senders and receivers.

It’s OK under these circumstances:

  • You are a new couple who are grossly and sickly in love with each other (enjoy *that*)
  • The sender has done something very, very bad and the flowers are a very public act of contrition to the receiver
  • You are self-employed, have your own private office–with no co-workers, support staff, or clients
  • It’s a biggie (40, 50, etc)

It’s NOT OK under these circumstances:

  • The receiver is a sadist who enjoys making everyone around her/him feel like complete shit (and momentarily unloved) and therefore sublimate his/her partner’s shortcomings by displaying the bouquet like a big floral fuck you for everyone to ooh and aah at out of sheer politeness
  • You decide to broadcast the fact that you got flowers All. Day. Long. to anyone who will listen AND through various forms of social media
  • You sent them to yourself

Now of course, some of my Gardenia Convention tenets were formed by bitterness. No one (read: MY HUSBAND) had ever had flowers delivered to my work. But to be honest, I never wanted to be “that girl” who had the flowers delivered to her. (Hushed conversations: “What did HE do wrong to send her THOSE?”) Plus, honestly, I think flowers are a major waste of money. (But, oddly,  I sometimes like to buy them for myself.)  He joked he would do it. He would send me flowers at work. I balked at the idea. (My depression-era grandma instilled the simple living in me.) I finished the conversation with a warning of getting seriously pissed off if he ever did this. But, awww, he was going to do it, he was going to send me flowers for my birthday…

So, I woke up on Friday (the big day of the delivery) and to my dismay, one of my kids was throwing up. WHAT! But I HAD to go to work to get my flowers. My husband’s plan would be foiled. I couldn’t stay home and take care of my child. My flowers would sit there in a cold, empty office ALL WEEKEND. So, I feverishly called my in-laws and asked if my son could stay there for the day. “Oh, I’m sure he’s not contagious…just wash your hands a lot.” They agreed, no problem.

Now here’s where the first of many sad and pathetic parts of the day begin (well, aside from the real first one, I guess: pawning off the sick kid). I walked into work, opened the main door into the big open foyer and peeked to see if the flowers were there at the guard’s desk. Nope. Awww, the guard must’ve brought them up to my office, how nice! So, I trudged upstairs and slowly turned my office doorknob with a silly grin on my face, sheepishly said good morning to my office mates and peered over to my desk, just waiting for that big bouquet. Hmmm. Nothing. Must be a late delivery. So I decided to go out to lunch with the gang…it would be a fun surprise to come back to the flowers, gorgeously arranged in a tasteful vase. I came back, opened the door…nada. Around 3:00, I had given up on the “work delivery” theory: he must’ve had them delivered to the HOUSE. Of course!!! I made the long drive home, and instead of going into the house through the normal route (the garage), I went in through the front door. The floral delivery driver probably left them there, on the landing. Nope.

Then my husband came home. I hadn’t seen him in a week. Sure I was glad to see him, but why wasn’t he carrying a big vase full-o-flowers? WAIT, the florist screwed up. He needed to be told. He had gone to all this trouble, and they never delivered my flowers!

Now, I hate surprise parties, but I’ll bet there’s nothing sadder than a person going around thinking that someone is going to throw them a (non-existent) surprise party all day long. That is…nothing sadder than someone who “doesn’t want flowers,” pawns her ill child off at her in law’s to take receipt of the (non-existent) flowers, and then expects to see said flowers around every corner ALL DAY LONG.

Well, I ended up getting a really nice Penguins hoodie (for the game we were going to the next day), and I checked my bank account later. The $57.97 from Russelton…it was an online lunch payment I had made for my kids a few days earlier.

Who wanted flowers anyway, not me THAT’S FOR SURE.

Lets go Pens.

{why i can’t have nice things} industrial masking tape

6 Mar

“A weekly, or as close as I can get to weekly, ritual (who am I kidding that I think I can do this every week). Some photos – with or without tons of explanation – capturing a moment from the week.

A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. A moment that makes me remember why exactly it is that I can’t have nice things (but someday will).”

**A twisted step-cousin twice-removed of www.soulemama.com‘s {this moment}.


I had a really great history professor one semester in college. He taught History of the American Revolution and he was so great, that he actually wore blazers with large, deliberate patches sewn over his elbows. And he was gloriously disheveled. This professor was a huge proponent of questioning history. Or rather, instead of reading an historian’s record of events, he advocated deliberating the significance of historical events using first person accounts and primary source materials. For example, instead of reading a recent narrative about how American Colonists were all riled up by British tyranny, he made us read The Stamp Act. This methodology really changed my way of thinking. Not just about history, but life in general. Namely, there are two sides to every story–and then, the truth.

Most recently, I believe using this primary source methodology would benefit anyone reading about parenting and childcare. Listen, parenting is difficult and completely lawless at times–no one’s going to tell you otherwise. But that’s like saying that the endocrine system is complicated. No shit. I’m not here to tell you how hard parenting is. I’m not going to tell you that it’s difficult. I’m not going to try to compare discipline to the pancreas. Or teaching proper aim into the toilet to the thyroid. I’m just going to give you pictures and first person accounts and you can form your own opinions.

Case in point: the “it’s too quiet what are they doing wrong?” scenario. There is an eerie quiet that overcomes a home some evenings, when a parent’s mind wanders and believes that a child has either a. escaped or b. is doing something very, very bad. I will tell you, the quiet is almost always due to the latter. Alright, one time Baby Anthony did escape–from his own 3rd birthday party, no less–but we found him very shortly after the jailbreak, safe and sound down by the swing set at around 9:00 p.m. in the pitch black night. Who ever thinks the BIRTHDAY BOY will run away from his party? Apparently, not us.

Last night, my husband and I were hypnotized by the evening quiet. A brief, beautiful, perfect moment of…nothing. No yelping. No hitting. No wrestling. No hollering. Nothing. And then…I tensed up. What were they doing? Oh sure, there have been textbook family nights when the quiet was actually because of a game played without biting of a participant or a partner Lego project (Sciullo & Sciullo Engineers, Inc) completed without a punch. Rare, but it has happened. One time, the twins worked together to build a Lego vessel model they designed to be used to remediate the oil spill in the Gulf. But, last night, I didn’t even hear the brrrrshh of sorting through a Lego bin. Nope, what broke the eerie quiet was the harsh, screaming sound of tape being ripped from it’s roll by the footful. And screams. And giggles. And various beating sounds.

Today’s {why i can’t have nice things} is brought to you by industrial masking tape. Oh sure, it can be used to trim out paint work, but why use it for good when it can be used for…taping your hands like boxers do and beating each other about the face.

Perhaps there will be a college course on the Sciullo boys someday, just print out this blog for some source material. Also, they asked me if I would tie them together like conjoined twins to see how those type of twins “fight.”






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