Birthing Hips and The Underground Tunnel

antsicles, anyone?

What’s that in the Puckett’s freezer you ask? A cryogenic experiment. Look closely and you’ll see the fire ant’s head.

From the boy who just informed me that he knows all about the differences between a black hole and a worm hole, and who is making plans in his head on building a moon colony, comes an announcement about his Christmas List. After his crack about my “birthing hips” earlier this week, I’m not really in the gift-giving mood.

How and why is the boy already turning his thoughts to December 25? Probably the same reason he thinks about worm holes and world peace.

So what DOES he want, I wondered. A C500 chemistry set that will allow him to blow up the largest ant pile ever? A Star Wars Legos jet fighter that can transport said bomb? His own kitchen shears? (keep reading)

NO. He wants an underground tunnel system. Apparently the elves can build this, he says. Maybe all the Doomsday Preppers shows have got him convinced he needs this tunnel system. All I know is, I’d better text Santa STAT so his little minions can get to work on digging! They have 7 months left…tick tock little elves! And I do hope the tunnel is wide enough to accommodate my birthing hips.

I know what’s on my wish list…New kitchen shears, seeing as how last night Justin was using them to cut insects in half, just for fun. A headless fire ant will dance around for quite some time, in case you were wondering.

Vacations with kids: an oxymoron?

We just returned from a quick spring break  jaunt to New Orleans, so I need a quick therapeutic Mom rant. Hear me out fellow parents, before you judge me.

That voodoo that you do...

Mommy, you're the best for buying us voodoo dolls!!!

It FEELS like the right thing to do. Take your kids with you for a little vacation. We’ll all have fun. We’ll get to spend some quality bonding time together. We’ll make memories that last a lifetime. Right. The reality is this: Prepare yourself for the onslaught of whiney questions. How far away is this place? When are we stopping at McDonald’s because I’m tired of Cajun food? Is it ever going to stop raining?

The answer to all these questions is: Zip it!

Or prepare yourself for whiney proclamations. I’m bored! He’s touching me! I didn’t fart! (Even though we all know it was you.) This city smells weird! (Could be because of all the farting going on.)

Just remind yourself that there WILL be whiney questions/proclamations throughout the vacation, starting from the instant you pull out of your driveway (if not earlier) until you step through your front door. That way you don’t set yourself up for failure, in high hopes that it will be an exciting vacation filled with nothing but happy memories of cooperative kids who think you are the best mom ever for planning this little getaway. I call this your much-needed reality check.

Truth is I’m exhausted. I now need a vacation from my kid vacation. I’m sure after a good night’s sleep, my kid vacation hangover will be a distant memory and I’ll be planning our next family getaway. Ah yes, time really DOES heal wounds.

Boys vs. Girls: Head shots

Look at me, I'm so cute.

Now THAT is a head shot! Ok maybe not.

Yes, one can pee standing up; the other can braid the heck out of her long hair.

One likes to read World War II books; the other prefers American Girl magazine.

They both argue about taking showers – but only because one prefers the odor coming from his body, aka his man scent, and the other just wants to finish watching Victoria Justice.

Raising one of each has been a highly educational and entertaining experience for me, coming from a family of 4 girls. So Justin is my only real-life experience that I have being around boys all the time. Take THAT with a grain of salt…

Fast forward to a recent car conversation. When I say “head shots”, what comes to mind first for YOU? Well here is the boy vs. girl version that I caught the tail end of a few weeks ago.

Shelby: Aw Justin, head shots are easy! All you have to do is stand there and pose for the camera.

Justin: No, I was talking about snipers.

Shelby: Oh.

Yes. Oh.

Justin: A Case Study in Oxymorons

Justy's rich! Let's go to Waffle House.

Justin's cousin paid him a dollar to "not talk for 5 whole minutes." Quite the feat for young Justy!!

From the same boy who continues to put the milk jug in the pantry and wash his hands BEFORE he pees, comes more of the keen observations and amazing truths about life, our galaxy, and his tween sister.  Lately, he has been spewing some sharply dead accurate observations – ranging from world peace to bacon – that I thought needed sharing.

“When will the world ever be at peace? Why don’t we just play a game of checkers with our enemies, and the winner takes all.” Sounds like a hell of an idea, as long as the game is rigged so our country sweeps it!

“Blondes DO have more fun!” Lots of blondes in the Puckett household (sorry Brad), so not sure who or what fun exactly he was referring to.

“Somehow, school has actually improved my life!” He sounded dumbfounded even as he said this.

“The whole world runs on bacon.” My fellow pseudo-Mardi Gras mystical society Order of Porkateers are proud of this statement, no doubt.

“Why do people from the north talk weird and people from the south sound good?” I am a bit torn on this statement, having spent my elementary and middle school years on the streets of Philly. Ok, more like the middle-class suburbs of Philly – but still! I was a Yankee at one time of my life. Either way, it’s an ironic question coming from a boy living in deep south Mobile, Alabama.

And finally, last night’s statement as I tucked him into bed (his most priceless quotes seem to come at bedtime). I was merely sighing that I wish HE could remember to brush his teeth, turn on his nightlight, etc without me having to remind him every single time. I was tired of having do the thinking for him.

Justin: “Mommy, you should take the day off tomorrow. Just sit around on the couch and watch TV and don’t worry about us.”

Me: “Ok, but who will do the thinking for you?”

Justin (without hesitation): “Uh, Daddy.”

Me: “Well, you should have said ‘Justin will take care of Justin’s thinking’.”

Justin (again, without hesitation): “Yeah, like THAT’S gonna happen!”

A gal can dream, can’t she?!

My Own Obessions: Public Restrooms and Prison Sinks

I can’t help myself. Lately I have become mildly fixated on the public bathroom experience. I know, it’s sort of twisted to WANT to look closely at anything in a public restroom. We all want to just get in, get out, and get on with our lives. But I like to find ways to amuse myself, just to keep life from getting too serious.And thanks to the advent of  the iPhone (aka my Crack), it’s become so darn easy to snap a quick photo of the oddities I come across during mundane, mindless activities such as using a public restroom. 

As Brad has often wondered as I come out of a bathroom giddy over the ‘prison sink’ (as I have dubbed them) that I just encountered, how are people not wondering what’s wrong with this lady who is snapping photos in the bathroom? Apparently a man taking pics in the men’s bathroom could not get away with this. Unless he wants to get his ass kicked.

So far, no one has punched me for taking photos. And apparently my obsession is catching on, as Brad himself and another male friend who shall remain anonymous are posting pics to Facebook for my ‘Bathroom Collection’. How precious!!! And neither of them has gotten their ass kicked…not once!

Without further ado, I give you some favorites from my Bathroom Collection. Ooh, I sound so fancy! My own collection. Like the Jaclyn Smith Kmart collection. Or the Cindy Crawford Rooms To Go furniture collection.

I know. Something is wrong this obsession of mine.

This Prison sink is at the Georgia Welcome Center…what next? Prison toilets, where we all share a tinkle drain? Say it ain’t so…

In my travels, I have found the prison sink to be popular at state line welcome centers.

Thank goodness for the drawing at the bottom.

Wow. This was one complicated toilet we encountered at a Chattanooga brew pub. Never before have I been intimidated by the simple act of flushing a toilet!

Idiot sign

Dang! I was planning on practicing my swan dive…

super sucker

New Orleans loves them some super-powered hand dryers! These suckers will rip your skin clean off.

Critter Obsessions, Take 2

Dionaea muscipula. Nepenthes.  Drosera paleacea. These are not mythical Greek goddesses. They are part of the latest obsession from the mind of young Justin. That’s right, carnivorous plants. He eats, sleeps and breathes Venus flytraps, sundews, pitcher plants, you name it. And yes he is learning all of their Latin names, I guess just for “fun”.

"Oh how I love you!"

Justin gazing lovingly into the fangs(?) of his precious Venus flytrap.

It’s a miracle he hasn’t been even more absent-minded than usual with his complete and total obsession with these plants.

One question I never thought I’d hear myself ask my 9-year-old son: “Justin, why don’t you use your computer time to play games instead of shopping for plants on Amazon.com?” Seriously. His sundew should be arriving via UPS any day now…goody gumdrops!

If you are FB friends with me (I am not savvy enough to know how to post the link here and/or I’m too impatient to figure out it), you can watch his 1 minute dissertation on Feb 16 into the world of fly-eating plants. Because, “Mommy, isn’t it ironic that a plant eats meat, when there were dinosaurs who ate plants?” Oh if only the two species lived at the same time on this planet, can  you just imagine the chaos? We’d have battles between the demure Venus flytrap and the whatever-asauraus that used to eat plants.

When not giving lectures to the world on his vast knowledge of Nepenthes or Drosera, Justin can be found researching How To Take Care Of A Sensitive Plant. “According to YouTube, you must scoop out the exoskeleton from the mouth of the Venus flytrap with a toothpick. Those are the undigested bits.” Now if only I can get the boy to scrape out the undigested bits from his OWN mouth, aka toothbrushing!!!

“Mommy, can someone get a scholarship for DNA research and cross-breeding carnivorous plants?” Sure Justin, but why don’t you finish 3rd grade first?

The Bucket List

Justin's lunar eclipse schedule

Darn near every minute seems to be accounted for on Justin's meticulous little Lunar Eclipse To Do List

I am going to ask Justin to update his Bucket List for 2012. I figured now that he is 9 and one year closer to old age, he probably has a whole new world of crazy things to accomplish compared to his younger, more tender years of 7 and 8. Some previous bucket list items he has already managed to check off include:

• Go through an entire lollipop without biting it. Mr. Owl is still just dying to know how many licks it took to get to the center of that darn tootsie pop!!!

• See Mother Nature in action: a tornado, funnel cloud or waterspout. The waterspout went down in the history books, but he still gets all tingly and drooly when there’s a nearby storm because he swears each cloud is “ripe to produce a funnel or vortex”. Maybe 2012 will be his year.

• See a lunar eclipse. As some of you may recall, 2010 was the year of the lunar eclipse. Forget the Christmas countdown and opening gifts, it was the countdown to lunar eclipse. We stayed up til 2am to watch the red moon fill the sky that cold December evening. Thanks to Justin’s separate “Lunar Eclipse To Do List” you see here, he managed to stay up late and on schedule with his planned activities for the evening. Apparently lots of Sprite came into play.

• Eat sushi. All you need to know, is that he tried it, followed by “WHAT?! All that money for just snacks? I hope the Japanese at least have a better dessert to offer.” And no, the fortune cookie they gave him was not considered a better dessert.

• Try an anchovy. He did. That will be the first and last anchovy for Justin.

• And I’m guessing, since he is a list-maker, that his 2012 bucket list will include “Own a Venus flytrap” followed by a checkmark. I have never seen a boy get so giddy about a $5 Venus flytrap from Lowe’s. In his mind, it’s almost as good as a new puppy.

• Oh, and too bad his old bucket list didn’t have “Have post-dental surgery conspiracy rant about the government” on it. Because, thanks to Tylenol with codeine, he gave me hours of laughter last year with his paranoid tirade about our government and why did they kill JFK and why are they hiding UFOs from us. It was good stuff, and yes I got some of it on video. He still gets teared up about the government if I remind him of his rant. And I think that’s just precious, Justin!