— 1 —
I almost killed myself jogging tonight. Things had been going well until I rounded a corner and saw Carmen, one of the neighborhood girls, with what seemed to be a boyfriend. They were about 10 yards ahead, going the same direction I was — and their sweet but awkward body language indicated that this was the VERY LAST moment that two 13-year-olds would ever want the crazy neighbor lady who’s inexplicably running around the neighborhood in her capris and Mary Janes to interact with them, so I hung back. But I didn’t want to walk forever, and we were on a long, straight stretch of sidewalk where there was nowhere else for me to go. In a move that demonstrates the truth that listening to Let’s Get It Started on your iPod can cause you to mis-estimate your weight, your age, and your level of physical fitness by a margin of about about 80%, I decided to pass them.
A few steps into my run, I realized that they were walking faster than I’d anticipated. But then I really couldn’t stop, because it would look like I ran just to get closer behind them, which would be unbelievably weird. So I kept going. My lungs burned. My legs ached. Finally I caught up with them. I tried to casually say hi as I sailed passed them, but my foot caught an uneven part of the grass and it came out more like, “HA-GHAGHAAA” and I went back to gasping for air. And then I realized that I had to keep running if I wanted to get out of the “weird neighbor lady trying to get to close to us” zone. Finally I made it around the corner, where I clung to a stop sign pole and tried not to puke in between heaving breaths. But then they rounded the corner too, and I had to start running again.
When I got home my husband was startled by my red-faced, disheveled appearance. He asked what happened and I made some flailing running motions while getting out words like, “Carmen” and “walking.” He immediately said, “So you just about ran yourself to death because you saw someone you knew on the street ahead of you?” He knows me so well.
— 2 —
If this keeps happening, I’ll be ready for the Iron Man by the end of the month. Maybe I’ll start an exercise boot camp for socially awkward people, where I’ll arrange to have folks they know walking down their jogging path about every half mile. (For an extra fee, I could seek out people my clients really want to avoid, like bosses, exes, or people they owe money to.) Look out for Jen’s Boot Camp for the Introverted and the Socially Awkward, coming soon to a city near you!
— 3 —
Last week we saw our three middle girls playing some kind of game where one of them crawled around on the floor while the others alternated between pretending to feed her and squealing and running away. I’d seen some friend’s kids do this the other day, where the kid crawling was a puppy dog and the other kids were the owners. So I said, “That’s cute, girls. Are you playing puppy dog?” Alas, they were not. “We’re playing scorpion!” they replied.
— 4 —
When your children find it perfectly natural to play scorpion, it just might be time to call the exterminator.
Our friend Stacey Adams, who owns a pest control company, came over on Wednesday to do a little demonstration of Luke 10:19 for the arachnid population of our house. He and his assistant Caleb were here for a long time. When he was done, he sat down to go over all that they did, and it was epic. Every time I thought he was finished, he’d take a breath and tell me more. It involved the attic, the baseboards, the rocks outside the house, the spaces behind they dryer, secret cracks that serve as a “highway” for rodents and scorpions; chemicals that make liquid plutonium seem like Silly Putty. I got the impression that he stopped just short of using a flamethrower. Basically, if we see another scorpion within the next few months, we need an exorcist, not an exterminator.
(He didn’t ask for a plug, but I’m so delighted with the two dead scorpions I saw on my front porch today that I’m going to give him one anyway: If you live in central Texas and need someone to show your insects and arachnids who’s boss, call Vector 1 Pest Control!)
— 5 —
Here’s a question I can’t wait to hear your answers to: What are your top three favorite cookbooks, the ones you go to again and again for great meals? Mine are:
Have you heard of Khan Academy? I’m really excited about it. It’s a site with over 2, 200 videos on all sorts of subjects. Students can watch a short video, then take a quiz on its contents. They have to get ten answers correct in a row in order to move on to the next subject. And it’s free! My son has already enjoyed watching some of the math videos over the summer, and I think it’ll be a big help to us during the homeschool year.
— 7 —
How is back-to-school week treating everyone? We’re not going to start our homeschooling year until week after next, which I assure you was a decision based on careful calculation of the exact amount of weeks we’ll need to meet the goals of our carefully crafted curricula, and not based on procrastination and laziness.
Have a great weekend!
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