Hard Love

It is always encouraging when a student asks in week thirteen of a sixteen-week class, “You let us resubmit assignments for a better grade? Has that always been a thing?”

Yes, that has always been a thing.

And yes, I mentioned it a time or two or five.


It’s a hard love.


Smart Is as Smart Does

I keep a clock in our bathroom, but every time the electric blinks, the reading on the clock starts over at midnight. A long, long time ago, I gave up trying to program the correct time into it and simply figure out, after each random blink of electric, how many minutes I need to add or subtract for the correct reading.

But the other day, early morning, half-asleep and hair still wet, I glanced at the clock, added the required fifteen minutes, and panicked. Because I had ten minutes to leave the house.

Suddenly awake, trying frantically to ascertain where I had lost fifteen minutes, I barely dried my hair, swiped on some make-up, shoved in my contacts, and grabbed my phone.

Only to realize that when he was updating the clocks for the time change over the weekend, my husband had included the clock that he never uses, the clock that no one cares about but me. And the bright numbers staring back at me from the bathroom counter were actually correct.

In other words, I hadn’t lost fifteen minutes.

My husband tried to assure me that he had gifted me with fifteen minutes.

Like a bank robber returning his loot is somehow gifting the bank.

Everyone says my husband is a smart guy.


Halfway There

Here is an old story from 2004, when Younger was not quite five and thought if he persisted long enough he would get the answer he wanted:

On the days that I work, I leave the apartment, drive across town to the school, wish Elder a good day and push him from the car. I then turn around, drive back across town then hit the highway that will eventually lead us to the smaller highway that will eventually take us to the gravel road that will eventually carry us to my sister’s house.

So, the other day, Younger, already squirming in his seat, asked, “Are we halfway to my aunt’s house yet?”

We had only just delivered Elder to the school. “No,” I answered.

“Halfway, Mommy. Are we halfway to my aunt’s house yet?”

“No, Younger, we are not.”

“Halfway, Mommy. Halfway. Are we halfway to my aunt’s house yet?”

“No,” I answered for the third time, my voice climbing in decibel. “We are not.”

He hesitated only a moment before demanding rather sullenly, “Do you even know what halfway is?”

I passed the halfway marker to insanity when that child learned to talk.

What You Say?

My husband was explaining his work day to me and mentioned “a tertiary problem.” Then he paused and asked, “Do you know what tertiary means?”

I turned from filling my glass with water from the refrigerator and lifted one eyebrow at him, cocking my head to the side.

“I’m not being condescending,” he immediately backpedaled. “Just checking.”

I know the meaning of lots and lots of words.

Like crime of passion.

And insanity defense.

Just sayin’.



Can’t Get No . . .

Tuesday, the readings on my dash told me one of my tires was low, so, before classes, I stopped at the gas station. And since I had paid for the air, I decided to top off all four tires.

When I restarted the car, my readings told me that all my of tires were at exactly thirty-two pounds.

All of them.

The exact same amount.

And that, my friends, is what we call satisfaction.

Whatever the Rolling Stones might think.

The Real Question

Younger has struggled in college — with cutting a pizza, using a waffle iron, and blowing the fuses in his room.

Then, the other day, he texted the question, “What is the average length of time to cook popcorn in the microwave?”

Fairly quickly after receiving a response, he texted, “Follow up question. How much smoke does it take to set off a smoke detector?”

And then — “One year in chemistry and I’ve already created a new element.”


We were just praying for Younger to survive college.

Now, we’re praying the college survives Younger.