It’s been a very busy week. It seems that the dissection of small animals was not interesting only to me and other parents. The Broken Arrow Ledger (circulation in the dozens) sent out a photographer to chronicle the event. My own little darlings were, sadly, not featured nor quoted but it was a good front page article nonetheless. It was apparently the most exciting to happen in Broken Arrow that day. I’m not surprised. It’s not uncommon to have a photo on the front page with a caption like:

“New Right Turn Lane”

Word on the street is that squids will be dissected next. It was news to me that squids had any moving parts at all that would be discernable to elementary school students. Perhaps that will be the whole point of the exercise; to illustrate that sometimes, jelly just moves by magic.

The third Boy Scout campout has come and gone and is notable only in that Evan went and I didn’t. The big week-long summer camp for all boy scouts is coming up in June and homesickness is always a big problem with the younger ones. As a test, we sent Evan out without yours truly to see how he handled it. It seems he handled it fine. Melissa always packs plenty of extra clothes and underwear and this time, like all other times, it all came back neatly folded and still unused. This comes as no surprise to me; Mel always grills me when we get back as to whether I made Evan change his underwear and my answer is always the same:

“Did I What?”

Note to all women: if you want us to enforce the changing of underwear, come out and say it; don’t ask leading, accusatory questions after the fact. No good can come from this. Perhaps more good than going without a change of underwear for several days, but I digress.

They had a mission this time: to prepare the scout camp for the upcoming week-long hoop-de-do so they were put to work on Saturday morning and allowed to run wild on Saturday afternoon. It was a great warm day; just right for swimming. Unfortunately, nobody had remembered to bring swim trunks. No matter, they all took to the water in their clothes. When chafing discomfort drove them from the water, they took to the canoes. There were quite a few other activities but apparently, Evan stayed in the water most of the time. Surprising, since there was some riflery to be had but that involved waiting for a turn and that’s hard for little boys. I guess it was just easier to stay in the lake splashing.

This week, I got to sit on a “board of review” for a kid who is going to be promoted from first class scout to the next rank “Star”. It was just like when I sat for my oral exam in graduate school except I was on the other side of the table. Just for grins, I asked:

“What’s the charge to mass ratio of the electron?”

Thankfully, he took it in the spirit it was intended. In other words, he didn’t give me that “what a geek!” look.

The paintball experience has been a watershed event in the lives of all that participated. Evan gathered all his money, birthday and otherwise, and invested in his own gun. It came late last week and great was the rejoicing. Melissa was placed in the unenviable (for a woman) position of going to a paintball store and having the CO2 bottle filled. I erected a sheet of old particle board in the back yard and he blasted away at it until it was completely covered in colored paint, all the while concentrating intensely, noting things like accuracy, precision and such. Pretty scary actually.

The poor dog was horrified; I knew her previous owner and as far as I know, she has never been mistreated or had a gun fired at her, but she’s pretty smart and so was hiding in one corner of the yard. The poor thing was huddled miserably in the corner shivering with her nose shoved into the corner making herself as small a target as possible. This didn’t last long, we had to take off to drop Evan off on his campout. Let the paintball games begin.

Another biggie was the passing of the old minivan. As you recall, we actually bought a newer one around Easter and it has taken me this long to talk anybody into buying the old one. Here’s a used car hint: get rid of your cars before they turn 100,000; that’s a huge mental thing for most people. All most people think is: “Dad Gum! That car has over 100,000 miles on it.” The lady who bought it actually paid me in cash. $2000 in a big wad of $100 bills. She brought along a blank-faced teen-aged girl to drive her other car back. So, there we were, standing by a parked car at about 10:00 at night, in the dark, counting out $100 bills, with a young girl standing there in a halter top waiting. I’m so glad no police officers happened to cruise by. Come to think of it, I’m glad none of our friends happened to cruise by either. Anyway, now I’ve got my space back in the garage. WOO HOO!

As if that weren’t enough, the Spanish club took a trip to a local Mexican restaurant. This one is unique in our area in that it actually employs Mexican people. The requirement: the kids had to order in Spanish. Evan’s educational experience is, apparently, not quite what it should be; he ordered water and tortillas. You would think that, even though “Taco” is probably not real Spanish, he at least would have tried to fake it. Or maybe tried to order “Pollo Strips”. I guess not.

This time of year, things loosen up quite a bit at school and so they have “Wacky Week”. Monday was “twinkie day” in which the kids were encouraged to dress alike. Leave it to a bunch of girls to turn a simple thing like that into a vast fashion production. Deals were made, promises were broken, misunderstanding abounded and great was the crying and gnashing of teeth. By the time Sunday night had rolled around, Erin and Melissa both had been on the phone to at least five other little girls and their mothers trying to coordinate all this and make sure that the proper attire was either worn (or in some cases bought.) And there, my friends, you have reason #98 why it is great to be a guy. (If you’d like the complete list, email me. Hint: you’ll see hints of two other reasons in the first part of this message: they involve underwear and guns.) Thursday was “wacky hat” day. That was interesting.

But the biggest event of the entire week was fifth grade day. The whole day Thursday was devoted to letting the fifth graders have fun. It seems to be a sort of “graduation” for them. Evan is not too thrilled about moving on to middle school and with good reason; now they are kings of the hill. They are the oldest, the most experienced, and get to do the funnest stuff. Who would want to move on and be at the bottom of the heap again? Add to that the prospect of puberty and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. Anyway, there is a park within walking distance of the school so they all walked over there where I and many other parents were waiting with hot dogs on the grill. One mom had…are you ready?…18 rolls of film. My hat’s off – I’m not the camera geek any more. She came over to me and said “do you know how to get my camera to work?” How ironic that at a school event, she hadn’t done her homework. They ate hot dogs, played games, and went generally wild and had a great time. Someone had arranged for a schmaltzy “memory” video to be made which was dutifully watched. I didn’t even see Evan all that much; he was too busy going wild. His teacher finally rounded up him and others in his class for pictures. Boy, it’s tough to corral a bunch of fifth graders for more than three minutes. Especially, when they’ve all just had a can of soda.

They had a talent show of their own which was actually more like the old Gong Show. I videotaped it; it’s not too bad. Copies are available for all interested parties (yeah, I know … just be nice.) I have been asked to do some weird things before but, to support this show, I was asked to search the Internet for a version of La Cucaracha. I defy you to top that one. Surprise! I found about seven different versions. Why? Evan and his buddies did a dance to it. One girl did a jazzy dance number with a strobe light; I overheard one of the dads whispering to the other “I saw a show like this once…at a batchelor party.” The other ageed: “Yeah, I saw one too in Bangkok recently.”

Evan’s teacher is moving away soon so there a few sentimental moments centered around that. But her move is more significant in that she actually owned the class guinea pig. She doesn’t want to take it with her so guess who gets to adopt it? Ding! You guessed it. Evan will share the honors with Erin and the creature will have a new home soon. We’ve taken care of it several times over the weekends and it seem to be the perfect pet; he doesn’t actually do anything. He just sits there. It’s like a stuffed animal that poops. The dog will have to be given some instruction regarding the new pet (See Dixie? Don’t eat!) but other than that, things should be unchanged. The kids are quite excited.

Then there’s my weekly golf game! But, I’m running a little long here. Perhaps another time. You must be nearly asleep now anyway.