Friday, April 29, 2011

Some Blog Business and a Tiny Rant

Hi Everybody.  I have some blog business to discuss with you.  You know how commenting on my blog is easy as pie with no word verification or anything?  Isn't that nice?  Well, I have to change it.  I thought I could put up with the spam in order to make commenting so hassle free, but I am sick of it.  I get an email every time I get a comment and lately most of my emails are because of spam comments on the blog, so I'm afraid I am going to have to put the word verification thingy back up.

I know, it's a pain in the ass, but I don't want any more ridiculously phony comments from who I suspect are non-English-speakers, that have nothing to do with the post and everything to do with the link to the online casino they are trying to get people to visit. ("Your blog are best I read!  Please sent a link!) I also am pretty sure I don't need a bigger penis, discounts on Viagra, or to learn how to unlock an iPhone 4, so, there you have it.  Word verification is re-activated.

I worked today in my favorite third grade class and at lunch I was talking with another sub who said she works pretty much full-time as a sub, but also has a job as a cashier at a grocery store for the money and benefits.   She makes more in a 6 hour shift swiping groceries over a scanner than she does teaching an eight hour day at a school, not to mention health and dental benefits that she says pays 80% of her health and dental costs.  WTF?  Seriously,  What.  The.  Fuck?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

FINALLY! The Highly Anticipated Post About My Trip to Mount Vernon

"Outta my way, Martha!"
My favorite day of our recent trip to D.C. was the day we spent at Mount Vernon.  If you don't already know this about me, I love George Washington.  I was VERY excited to go to his home and do a little walkin' around where he did a lot of his walkin' around.  If you ever go to D.C., I strongly recommend taking a trip to Mount Vernon.  First of all, it is gorgeous, and the mansion is beautiful but way different than I expected, and the museum and educational center are fantastic.  And best of all, it's all GW all the time.  Heaven!  

The first thing we did when we got there is go on the mansion tour.  We couldn't take any pictures on the tour, but if you want to see it you can take a virtual tour at the Mount Vernon Website.  I loved being in the mansion, and what surprised me about it is the dichotomy between how grand it is, and at the same time how primitive it is.  If I was plopped down in 1780 to spend the rest of my life, I would lay down and DIE.  No running water, no indoor toilets, no electricity, no internet, no cell phones, no email, NO BLOGS, no ibuprofen, no diet coke, no refrigeration, no tempurpedic mattresses, no radio, no cars, no infrastructure, no civil rights (unless you had money, white skin, and a penis).  It must have been rough.  There is no way to fully appreciate how wonderful it is to poop in a well-lit, warm, pest-free bathroom that is stocked with toilet paper, and located inside your house; and then wash your hands with warm running water and soap that you didn't have to make yourself out of animal fat.  

The mansion was smaller than I always thought.  Washington spent almost his entire adult life adding on to it and micro-managed the renovations even during his time away fighting in the revolution.  I saw his presidential chair, his actual bed, a silly fan chair that he would sit in on hot days and push foot pedals to make a panel above his head fan him.

fan chair
I also saw the kitchen where the slaves prepared the food.  Oh my god, I would starve to death if my kitchen was like that.  Where is the microwave?  How could I make my Hot Pockets?  I can't imagine making any kind of food over a fire, unless it is hot dogs, and I don't think they only ate hot dogs back in the day at Mount Vernon.  

Cooking over a real live fire.  Just like camping.
After the mansion tour we walked around the grounds for a while.  There is a blacksmith shop that we walked up to and the person dressed like a real old-timey blacksmith said, "We're not open until 9:00!"  It was 8:58.  Blacksmiths were apparently real sticklers for strict time schedules.  

We walked around the front lawn.  It was so beautiful.

Did you know Washington threw a silver dollar across the Potomac right here?
He didn't.  It's a myth.  I can't believe you believed that!  Look how far it is!

After walking around the grounds for a while, we went to visit Washington's tomb.  I got a little misty. 

Then we visited the slave graveyard and memorial.  Again, misty.

After exploring the grounds and the gardens for a while, we headed to the educational center which was awesome.  They have done forensic reconstructions based on Washington's life-mask and a life-like bust, and have made wax figures of what Washington probably looked like at 19 when he was a surveyor:

Pretty nice duds for knockin' around in the woods!
At 45, during the Revolutionary War:

hubba... hubba
And when he took the oath of office:

No, not Rutger Hauer, George Washington!
After the educational center we toured the museum which has the original Houdon bust:

Houdon was a famous French sculptor that went to Mount Vernon to make a life-mask and bust of Washington.  He followed Washington around for a few days to try to capture the essence of the man, and when he saw Washington negotiating the price of some horses and the person quoted a price Washington thought was too high, apparently this was the look he got on his face.
It was the best day ever.  I can't wait to go back again!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Washington DC: Through Kira's Lens

We are back from Washington!  The trip home was smooth and uneventful, thank goodness.  Last night I uploaded all of our pictures onto the computer and Kira took the most by far, 382 pictures in 8 days.  Basically, she took a picture of everything she looked at.  Here are the highlights:

Amy's dog

Something she wants to try

Auntie drinking a beer


She took eight pictures of this thing.  I don't know what it is.  Either does she.  


The day she learned to tie a cherry stem with her tongue, and the best dessert EVER.

random bird

Snake bones


pigeon that appears to have pooped out a cigarette butt.

Some cute lambs at Mount Vernon

She really liked this display at the Navy museum.  There were a series of dioramas showing how diving has evolved through the years.  This one is from the 1500s.  The diver wore a leather hood sealed to his suit with some kind of fat or sap or something, and there was a long leather hose going to the surface.  It didn't work because there was no air pump and no eye holes so the diver couldn't see or breathe.  Kira liked that.  There was another diorama of a tiny naked guy with a glass bulb over his head.  Kira looked at it and then looked at me to see if I noticed his tiny weiner.  The look on her face was priceless.  I should have taken a picture of that.  


She managed to make this extremely creepy doll all the more creepy in this picture.

pigeon bending a stick

Nerdy tourists

Amy's dog


random bird

  Thank goodness for digital cameras!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Washington DC, Day 6: Kid free day of culture, and an obnoxious wife

Amy took the kids off my hands today so they could actually have some fun.  We met at the Pentagon where she works.  When we were checking in the guard assumed both the kids were under 12.  Sam was a little peeved that they didn't appreciate his 14-year-old mustache. After our tour of the Pentagon and the Pentagon Memorial they went to a mall (Kira said, "Not The Mall AGAIN!" We had to explain that we meant an actual crappy dime-a-dozen shopping mall, and not the cultural center of our capital, America's main street, and the reason we came here.  Whew!), and to the movie Rio.  They loved every second of it. 

I went to The Library of Congress to see Thomas Jefferson's book collection, the Main Reading Room, the childrens's reading room, etc, etc.  Then to the botanical garden, then to the American Indian museum and then to the American History Museum.  The kids thought I was crazy.  (A library and a garden???  No thanks!)  I thought it was heavenly.  I sat on a bench next to this statue of George Washington for a long time. 

I love you, George
I like this statue.  I sat next to a man who was holding what looked to be about a three-year-old girl who was totally spent and was curled into a little ball of rage and didn't want to move.  His wife and other daughter came up to him periodically and the wife would say, "Come on, I think you should look around," and he would shoot daggars at her face with his eyes and say, "I can't exactly do that right now," and the wife would say, "But we came here for you, if it was up to me we would have gone to the National Gallery," and I'm surprised he didn't jump up and slap her face.  I think if I would have slapped her and told her to shut her trap and move along, he would have half-heartedly said, "hey crazy, ...what are you doing, ...leave my wife alone," but then thanked me with his eyes when she ran off in a huff.   

Then I bought a book and went back to Amy's.  It was a good day.

Oh yeah, I forgot to blog yesterday after we got back from Mount Vernon.  I LOVED EVERY SECOND.  I think it is my favorite place in the world.  When I get my pictures downloaded I will write up a post all about it. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Washington DC, Day 4: Switchblades, Baby Elephants, Infected Piercings and Dirt Art

Today we had a relaxing vacation day.  We all needed a break from the stupid maniac-pace I was setting for us but THERE IS SO MUCH TO SEE!  I feel pressure to see it all!  It's not possible!  And if you try, it's no longer a very fun vacation.  We started off by sleeping in.  It was great.  Then when we got moving we took a train directly to the Old Post Office where the kids could get their fill of tacky crap and junk food. 

Sam bought a comb that looks like a switchblade.  That will be fun to try to get through airport security.  It will bring back the trauma he went through when he was 8 and we went to California and told him to pack his own carry-on with stuff he wanted to do on the plane, and we never checked what he put in there.  He packed a screwdriver that looked like a gun.  It got confiscated at security and he was inconsolable.  He said, "What did they think I was going to do, unscrew the plane!!!"  We had to lie to him and tell him they would mail it to us just to get him to give it up. 

Then we walked down to the Natural History Museum and watched an Imax movie about baby orphaned elephants and orangutans.  It was fricking adorable.  Then we tried to walk around the exhibits but it was so crowded that the kids started freaking out.  I'm not a fan of crowds either, but I seriously thought they were going to go ballistic on the millions of morons who would step in front of us and stop, or crowd into a doorway and stop, or stand in a moving line and stop.  Keep the flow going, people!  What I found especially annoying today was the people who think to themselves, "Hey, I think today would be a good day to bring my baby and two-year-old to a crowded museum on a hot day, and I'll do it with our new stroller that is the size of a golf-course lawnmower!  Yay!  That's a great idea!  We'll go during nap time to ensure that the kids will be EXTRA whiney and nobody will enjoy themselves AT ALL!"

Like this but bigger, with at least two cranky kids and a couple of dipshits pushing it.

We left without seeing the Hope Diamond, but I've seen it before and to tell you the truth, it's no biggy.  We got out on to the Mall and collapsed in to the grass where we were so comfortable and relaxed that we just sat there and watched people for a loooooong time.  It was like heaven.  Sam read a book, I watched people, and Kira was digging in the ground, but I pretended I didn't notice because she was busy and not bothering me.  This is what she was making. 

It's her initials in mounds of dirt, outlined in twigs.  She wants to go back tomorrow and see if it is still there.

Then we took the train home and listened to this incredibly strange woman loudly tell her friend about all her piercings:  which ones she got first, which ones hurt the most, which ones took the longest to heal, which ones left the biggest scars etc. etc.  Her nipple piercings were "almost not worth it" because of the intense infection she got which manifested itself in swelling, redness, and black pus. Public transportation has it's drawbacks. 

Tomorrow we are going to my boyfriend's house, Mount Vernon. 

My boyfriend
I get to see his last natural tooth, his death bed and his slave quarters!  I don't think I'll be able to sleep tonite, I'm so excited!  The kids: not so much.     

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Pigeons, Dandelions, Common Cars, and A-holes: Washington DC, Day 3

Washington DC chewed me up and spit me out today.  I am wiped.  I bet we walked 47 miles today.  My feet were killing me and my old brittle hips both felt about to break, but I don't think it was the walking that did me in because I've done all this before, and I did it in clogs.  No, this time I think it is my children who are making me feel old and want to collapse.  First of all, let me tell you where we went today:

1.  Walked to Metro, rode to Chinatown.  Went to fucking McDonalds, because kids won't go in to a random Chinese shop and order something they've never heard of before.  Ugh.
2.  Went to the portrait gallery, geeked out on paintings and statues of George Washington.
3.  Walked to Ford's Theater, there was a line around the block.  Skipped it. 
4.  Walked to National Archives only to see another line around the block.  The kids said they would NOT stand in the line even though I thought it was important for them to see the Constitution and Declaration of Independence.
5.  Walked to National Art Museum, walked around looking at art.  Looking at art is fun with a 14 year old who won't even say the word "pad" because it might be construed as being dirty.  Kira and I saw more naked fat ladies made of paint and marble than a person could ever hope to see.  Sam spent a lot of time looking at the floor and the walls and the ceiling, avoiding the visual boob barrage as best he could.  Kira said her feet were sore because the shoes "YOU GOT ME" (emphasize in a whiny voice) are hard as rocks on the bottom and not cushy like the ones I got myself.  We traded shoes (they are kind of hard), but she was complaining again within 100 feet. 

"Hey look, a Honda Civic!"            "My feet hurt.  Hey! A pigeon!"
6.  Walked around the outside of the Capitol and then went in to the visitor's center.  I got verbally berated and practically cavity searched by the Capitol police because I tried to smuggle a granola bar in to the visitor's center.  Like I'm really going to sneak up to Michele Bachman's office and attack her with my granola bar because she's such an idiot.  And then they wouldn't even let me up to see the Rotunda!  WTF?  They said, "There's a scale model in the visitor center."  Lame.  It's a Barbie sized model.  NOT THE SAME. 
7.  Walked through the tunnel to the Library of Congress so I could see the Gutenberg Bible.  We saw it.  The kids were like, "THIS is what you wanted to see?!  It's a book!  And we can't even read the words!"
8.  Then we walked to the Old Post Office to go up to the tower and see the whole city and buy some tacky souvenirs.  It was closed. 
9.  Took the Metro home. 

So that's a lot of walking around but I'm in pretty good shape, I can handle that easy enough.  What exhausted me was the kids.  We were standing in front of the the Capitol and Sam looked at the road and said, "Hey look, a Dodge Ram!"  Kira spent some time at the sculpture garden picking dandelions, decidedly NOT looking at the gardens, fountains or art.  Sam took three pictures of a Camaro parked on the street.  Kira took about 38 pictures of pigeons.  Kira also stalked some pigeons and managed to catch one in the air as it tried to fly away.  A family of tourists nearby then spent about ten minutes gawking at me like I was queen of the hillbillies for having a daughter that catches pigeons out of the air.  One of them screeched, "GO WASH YOUR HANDS!"  Hey lady, I didn't want her to catch the pigeon!  I told her to drop it right away!  It's just who she is, okay?  OKAY!  Leave me alone! 

I think the three factors that are making me feel so worn out were the kids and their fascination with cars and urban pests instead of travel and culture, the a-hole Capitol guard who made me throw away a perfectly SAFE granola bar, and having my parenting skills judged by a random lady obsessed with hand cleanliness.  Tomorrow will be more of a kid-friendly, easy-mom day.  Cramming culture down their throats doesn't seem to be appreciated or all that effective.  I think we'll just go to the Air and Space Museum all day.  And watch an Imax movie.  And eat hot dogs.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Bags of money, baseball, and fecal escapees: Washington DC, Day 1

Today was our first day in DC and it was fun, but I was just a tad bit hung over from my drinking binge from last night to calm my nerves and celebrate not dying and leaving poor Mitch a widower.  When we were about to leave I was running upstairs to grab one more thing and Kira said, "Will you grab my bag of money?"  Here's her bag of money:

It's about 8 pounds of dimes and nickels. 
We started off the day walking to the Metro and going to the Navy Yard.  The Metro was interesting with Kira.  She tried to get on every train she saw, and once we were on, she tried to get off at every stop.  Thank goodness I got her a phone.  Amy and I were joking after about the fourth time I grabbed her collar to keep her from getting on the wrong train, that she'd get on, the doors would shut, she'd see us out the window and then as she is whizzing off to the next station we'd see her open her phone to call us, and say, "Um...where are you guys?" 

We went to the Navy Yard and walked around and then went to the Navy Museum which was interesting.  After the museum we went to a baseball game.  Did you know Washington DC has a baseball team, the "Nationals?"  I didn't either!  We got hotdogs and other junk which is what going to a baseball game is really all about.  Now that I've seen real baseball I have a few beefs with the Wii version, which I'm pretty good at.  It's not the same.  I might not actually be good at baseball.  This was the first pro baseball game Kira ever went to.  I wouldn't call her a fan.  In about the middle of the first inning she said, "Has it started yet?" and then at the end of the first inning she said, "Can we go?"  We said that we were going to stay long enough to sing the song in the seventh inning stretch (which we had all been singing all morning) and Sam said, "What song?"  Not huge baseball fans.  When asked what their favorite part of the game was they both said, "When Teddy Roosevelt body slammed the sausage," which taken out of context sounds INSANE, but that actually happened during the mascot race.  Three sausages were kicking the presidents' asses until Teddy caught up and body slammed one of them and that sort of took the wind out of the other sausages' sails and George Washington won. 

After the game we went to the Mall and walked through the Air and Space museum.  Sam LOVED it.  He wants to go again and spend a whole day.  I think he could probably go there every day and not get tired of it.  He liked the "fecal bags" that the astronauts had to use, complete with two finger sleeves to cut the feces off in a scissor-like motion, and he loved when I told him that "fecal escapees" are a bit of a problem in space. 
You think it looks so easy?  You try it.
It's true.  I read it in the book Packing for Mars by Mary Roach.  It's hard to poop in zero gravity.  "Fecal escapee" is Sam's new favorite phrase. 

Then we came home and made pizza and sat around and watched TV.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Oh Sweet Lord!

The kids and I traveled to DC today and OH MY SWEET FUCKING LORD is it scary to land an airplane in a windstorm, even as a completely oblivious passenger, not to mention the pilot who I happen to see after the flight who was pale and had visible flop sweat.  And why why WHY is it record settingly windy every time I get on an airplane?  Why?  It was a small plane, and there was a field trip of eighth graders on it and they were sitting in the back of the plane and guess what?  Kids LOVE almost dying in airplanes in windstorms, mine included!  What the fuck is wrong with these people?  (oh, and btw, how crazy does a social studies teacher have to be to take a group of eighth graders across the country?)  One time we dropped about 3000 feet in altitude in a sideways, sort of straight down move and all the kids on the plane said, "WOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOO!!!!!" as I was saying "OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD!" and crossing myself.  And I'm not even catholic!  Or religious at all in any way!  I tried to hold Kira's hand for comfort and she yelled, "Ow!  You're breaking my hand!" so Sam held my hand in his big meat paw until we landed.  I don't think the kids know how close we came to dying.  I knew it when the pilot lit up the emergency exit signs while in the middle of the landing approach.  I totally pictured the slides coming out in the middle of the Potomac.  I think the pilot did too. 

So when we got safely down on the ground and my sister picked us up I said, "I NEED A DRINK," so we went to a chinese restaurant and I ordered a "Dirty Arnold Palmer" which was pretty good and effective.  And then we came to Amy's house and I found some wine and some wine glasses and the wine glasses are so big they hold about three quarters of a bottle of wine in each glass.  The kids are now looking at me with worry like they are part of an after-school special starring Scott Baio and should join Alanon or something, when really, they don't realize how they came to dying in a fiery crash and being the lead story on the local news.  A tipsy mother is NOTHING compared to that.  Stupid kids. 

Thursday, April 14, 2011


I have been so lame this week that I'm actually sick of myself.  Does that ever happen to you?  I only worked on Monday for half a day so I've been at home, alone with myself for three days which I usually enjoy, but not this week.  I work tomorrow (THANK GOD!) for one of the worst fourth grade classes I've ever seen, but oddly enough, I really enjoy working in that room. I get to bark out orders like Tommy Lee Jones does in every one of his movies

"Blah, blah blah, warehouse, farmhouse, henhouse, outhouse and doghouse blah blah blah."
and that makes me feel good and important, because like all teachers, I only went in to this profession for the power it gives me over weak and helpless children; the money; and June, July and August!  Just kidding.  I should stop giving the anti-teacher movement ammunition.  They don't need it.

Although I have been lame, I have been kicking some major ass in Angry Birds! Now that I read that last sentence, I think that is just further evidence of my lameness.  But look at my progress!



In case you're not a player of Angry Birds (lame-o) those are a few of my score boards and if you'll notice they all have THREE STARS!  That's perfection, my friends. 

So what has been making me feel so bad about myself this week?  I feel bad that I lost the frog again.  He's in the house somewhere getting drier and drier, I can just feel it.  Either that or there is a thriving community of tree frogs in my house that are mostly really good at staying out of sight.  Who knows.  I never once saw that frog poop.  Isn't that weird?  And I am also getting anxious about traveling with my children across the country by myself.  Mitch has to stay here and work so I can afford to take the kids on fabulous vacations.  I'm pretty much ready for the trip, I think, but I keep thinking of the worst things that could happen, like losing a kid in an airport bathroom, or dying in a fiery plane crash.  That would suck.  But I have to get out there and do stuff or else I end up feeling lame for sitting around my house with my thumb up my butt.  (In my defense, I never actually had my thumb up my butt.)  

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Just Because I Can (not a Conway Twitty song)(I don't think)

Guess what?  I HAVE INTERNET AGAIN!  The reasons why we were without it for so long are boring and confusing, let's just say that my husband is a GENIUS and now we have it again!

Let's see, what information have I been holding in that I've not been able to spew without planning for an outing to the library or a coffee shop?...  Well, now that I have all the freedom and comfort and convenience in the world, I don't really have anything important to say.  How about a little live-blogging:  Mitch just told me he has a Conway Twitty cassette tape somewhere.

Mitch says he likes Conway because he's the "whole package," meaning that he's got the dancing, the hair, the wonderful lyrics that make uncomfortable allusions to date-rape.  Who wouldn't love him?  Probably all of his muses.  No means no, Conway.

Remember the frog I told you about that I found in the bathroom, and then lost a few days later somewhere in the house, and then found again in the bathroom?  Well, I lost him again.  I suspect he's somewhere in the bathroom.  He's a wily little fella.  I wish he'd come back because I really enjoy feeding him flies.  Now when I see a fly I think to myself, "Wow, look at that fly, it's so fat!  I bet the frog would love it!"

I'm taking a trip with my kids next week to Washington DC to see all the sights and stuff my kids' brains with knowledge and experience.  I am SO GLAD the stupid government didn't shut down or I don't know what we would have done.  Probably protested at the capitol, and what's more fun that standing around all day with your mother and 10,000 angry strangers yelling at a building?  Most things.  The kids don't know how lucky they are.  

That's it until the next inane thought pops into my head!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Edison Award in the family! (no, you shut up!)

I think I mentioned this before, by my brother-in-law is kind of a big deal.  The company he founded won the Edison Award for the medical device, the Phrazer, that he invented

Check it out!

While Mat was off in New York, accepting his award, I lost my new pet frog somewhere in the house, and then I found him again three days later in the bathroom!  Yay!  We're all winners!  Congratulations Mat!

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Dark Ages

I have been without wifi at home for over a week now.  How did I ever live without the internet?  What kind of existence did I have if I couldn't find out within minutes what the R. in Edward R. Murrow stands for (Rocky), if cabbits are a real thing or if Mitch was just lying to me again (lying), or what is the meanest animal in the animal kingdom (honey badgers)?  I had vivid dreams last night about looking out at our wifi receiver thingy and seeing five red lights indicating that not only do we have internet, but we have super fast internet, but when I jumped out of bed to look to see if it was real, I saw that it wasn't.  I am doomed to another day of ignorance and hardship. 

Last time I had internet access I had a list of things I had to look up.  For one thing, I had to find out what kind of frog I found in my bathroom, and how to take care of it and feed it.  Can you believe that 15 or 20 years ago people who found frogs in their bathroom would have to go to the library and find a book about frogs?  And failing that, they would have to talk to strangers who might know more about frogs than they do.  TALK TO STRANGERS!  Ugh!  Just kidding.  I like talking to strangers as much as I like talking to anyone.  Especially people I will never see again.  That way there's no pressure to be on your best behavior or to try to be normal, and without the pressure it is, ironically, a lot easier to be normal.  Weird. 

Anyway, I took excellent care of the frog and he was eating the live flies I caught for him, and I think he also ate the centipede I found.  He was looking fat and moist and happy, and then one morning I looked in his home and he was gone.  He escaped.  I crawled around on my knees looking for him for a while, but I didn't find him.  He's gone.  Now I realize that I have given you the impression that my house is full of flies (dead and alive), centipedes, frogs and god knows what else.  I can just imagine the pictures you have in your head of my life style and living space.  I can't deny that yes, I do, apparently live among flies (alive and dead), centipedes, the occasional frog among other things; but despite experiencing at least four of the ten biblical plagues while sitting in my living room, it is quite pleasant and comfortable.  This is rural life, people!  We live with the wild life and without the internet!  I am exactly like Laura Ingalls Wilder.  I'm going to start telling people Mitch's real name is Manly.  (Remember?  Laura was married to Almonzo "Manly" Wilder?) 

Oh, Manly!
I am "working" right now for a social studies teacher that has all AP classes and one yearbook class.  It is so easy which almost balances out the days that I have to teach kindergarten or have to babysit ninth graders.  Almost.  In her instructions for her yearbook class she wrote, "Just have them do whatever."  OKAY!  I can definitely have them do "whatever" especially if "whatever" includes making them give me foot rubs and getting me candy from the vending machines.

Kira in the Car (Part I can't even remember. A lot. Roman numerals may have been a mistake)

Kira: Dad, What is the thickest piece of beef jerky you ever saw?

Mitch: (thinking it was the beginning of a joke or an opening for a story about the thickest piece of beef jerky she has ever seen) I don't know, Kira.  What is the thickest piece of beef jerky you have ever seen?

Kira:  (exasperated) I don't know!  Why do you think I'm asking you?