Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Backrub Emporium II

Son: Backrubs are now 15 cents, because you like them, Mom.
Daughter: Can I buy a backrub?
Son: Of course. You'll have to wait. Mom has three minutes left. But I like rush hours.
Daughter: Let me get money. [Returns with a quarter.] How much will this get?
Son: Two minutes.
Daughter: Do you accept chocolate coins too?
Son: In some situations. But not today.
Daughter: Darn it. Can you give one of my minutes to the kitten?
Son: Yes, but you still have to pay for it.
Daughter: Okay.
Daughter: Now I want to pay for the other kitty.
Son: Okay.
[Cat enjoys backrub.]
Son: That'll be fifteen cents.
Daughter: Again? I don't want to give you all my money.
Son: Mom! She won't pay!
Daughter: But he's taking all my money!
Me: If you don't want to spend, then don't contract for services. But once the service has been rendered, and you agreed to it in the first place, you have to pay. That's what the law says, too.
Daughter [getting tearful]: But he just wants a lot of money! I want to make money too!
Me: You can. Set up your own business.
Daughter: Oh, I can sell backrubs too?
Son: NO. That's my business! Mom?!
Me: You don't actually have a patent on them, so she can set up her own business doing the same thing if she wants to.
Daughter: I'm only going to charge FIVE cents for mine.
Son: But then... nobody will buy my backrubs any more!
Me: You have a choice. Either compete with her prices, or advertize something different. What service do you provide that she doesn't? That I would be willing to pay more for?
Son: A cafe option. I'll make you tea.
Daughter: Me too!
Son: Hey! That's not fair! It was secret!
Me: Well... advertizing isn't secret, or you'd have no clients.
Son: Well then, I'll have something else as well. Cookies.
Daughter: I'm building a CIRCUS in mine!
Son: I can't compete with that!
Daughter: You can buy my circus.
Son: Mom, can I buy her out?
Me: You could join together and make one business that offers whatever you want.
Son, to Daughter: Do you want to join my business? You can be my employee.
Daughter: Okay.
Son: I liked it better when it was my business. It's hard having a little sister.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Because They're Purdy

See my new socks, a gift from a fellow (but far superior) knitter? Aren't they wonderful?

So now I am inspired to knit more and better socks. We had a knitting marathon yesterday, and clocked around 8 hours. My kids' teachers will both have fancy pants scarves for Christmas!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Meta Ewwww

Daughter, staring in horror at slab of cooked (cow) tongue on her plate: Can that taste ME?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Well, She Says She Is

Son: Friend hyperventilates a lot. If he was a demigod, Ares would not be his father.
Me: Well, the two of you like theater. Maybe you're sons of Apollo?
Son: I tell you. If Artemis wasn't a maid...

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Son's Backrub Emporium

As the lemonade stand business tends to dry up somewhat in the cold season (and who wants to sit in the front yard in sub zero temps anyway), Son decided to go into a new off-season business. He sells backrubs. As his first customer, I was treated to the following observations, during a ten minute backrub:
  • I think ten cents a minute is a good rate, don't you? Because then ten minutes is a dollar. Boy, if I go for an hour, I can make it big time! Wait; it's only six dollars. Hey, but still, that adds up fast, doesn't it Mom?
  • My hours are: after my homework is done, until seven or eight o'clock. Tonight I'm workin' late. But only for tonight.
  • Sometimes, I give free backrubs. Samples. But samples are only three minutes long.
  • I want to open a spa, too. But I'll have to use the bathtub if that's okay. Because I don't have my own hot tub or anything.
  • You have three minutes left.
  • You're at time. You should know that it's still ten cents a minute. Do you want me to rub your back some more? For ten cents a minute? Mom?
  • Thank you for being a customer. You'll find me here tomorrow, too. After my homework is done.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

I do! I do!

Hearts to student group who asked, sincerely, if "I have a favorite font." I do! And just asking shows that you know your audience, at least, and that all fonts were not created equal, and that these "nit picky details" are what makes Technical and Professional Writing so interesting. And that I've seen so much Times New Roman default in my life that it brings me out in hives.

And so, if your paper is in Garamond, you will earn extra credit, or at least goodwill-while-grading, which often amounts to the same thing.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Haven't We All?

Me: Tomorrow, we need to get a gift for Girlfriend's birthday party.
Daughter: Oh, this is bad. This is bad, this is bad, this is bad, bad, bad.
Me: What? Why?
Daughter: I have no idea what to get her.
Me: Well... the best gifts to give are usually the ones you would like best yourself.
Daughter: Hm. Well, I've always wanted a water bed.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Handling Contradiction is the Sign of a Sophisticated Mind

Daughter, on her Christmas parade costume (a wrapped box): I didn't like it. I felt cold, and hot.

Daughter, on eating spare ribs: This is both yummy and disgusting, at the same time.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Have Kindle. Am Now Important.

What really did it for me was seeing all the chic commuters in London clutching their kindles as they rode the rails. And not having watched commercial TV in ages (thanks, Netflix) I was quite defenceless for the week-long advertizing bombardment during my trip. And the kindle commercial sure is cute.

And I bought the more expensive one, because it works in other countries! You can download books from amazon in less time than it takes to get pickpocketed on the tube! And it's such a shame that the covers for them aren't cheap, which feels like a scam but probably isn't.

And now, I'm multi-tasking. Because although my kindle hasn't even arrived yet, some cool techno-voodoo called WhisperNet has delivered books to it, as it travels along in its box on its way to me! And that, my friends, is just so unbelievably cool I can't stand myself. I have a kindle avatar. Admire me.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Things that were wonderful:
  • Meeting my new(ish) niece for the first time, and observing my brother and sister-in-law as wonderful parents;
  • Reintroducing my mother to the UK many decades after her emigration from there;
  • The pub lunch;
  • The Tower of London, because every time I find another room I haven't seen before, and because you really do feel as though you stepped back in time;
  • The winding roads, hedgerows, manor houses, ancient forest that looks like Watership Down (before the apocalypse);
  • The British Library "treasures" collection, because yes that is the _________ (fill in the blank with any authentic document you can think of), for real;
  • The underground, on the first day for novelty value, and on subsequent days just for being efficient;
  • The windows at Harrods, which were decked up to show scenes from Peter Pan and which looked amazing;
  • London A-Z, because maps rock, and a pocket-sized map of London really rocks;
  • The Woman in Black, now in its 21st year, because every time I go it's like the first time and the hair stands up on my arms;
  • In-flight movie screens that play through take off and landing, that work by touch, and give access to more than eighty movies, not to mention TV shows, so that nervous fliers have something to do every minute of the flight;

Things that were less wonderful:

  • The cost to get into Westminster Abbey: now 15 pounds, just to get in, which is nearly the entrance price for the Tower of London. I understand it's a landmark, and needs expensive maintenance, but it's a cathedral, and I'm sure you just boosted the price because it's been picked as the wedding venue for William and Kate. But for that price, you could heat the place, and the bones of the kings and queens of england could be more comfortable, as could I;
  • The underground, because you look at people working in holes in the wall down there and think what the state of their lungs must be like. Besides, who wants to spend an hour in each direction to commute, standing?
  • The weather, because although snow is lovely, it stresses the infrastructure like the apocalypse, and minus temps in London just aren't fun;
  • Showing up at St. Paul's to discover it's been closed for a US Thanksgiving service. I'm happy they did it, but our timing was way off.
  • The interior design of Harrods, which is modeled after a Venus Fly Trap;
  • The design of the touch screens in the plane. Seriously, who didn't realize that people obsessively poking the back of your head for a ten hour flight wouldn't be fun? And I know there is technology for making other people's screens less visible. Every screen for rows in each direction was perfectly visible, so that all children on the flight had a nice clear view of every action film, shoot out, sex scene, crime scene, and ... oh year, Dexter, whenever they turned their little heads.
  • Heathrow airport. Because although flying just isn't much fun anymore, it's a wonder anybody makes their flight from Heathrow!

So glad I went. By next year, I'll be ready to go again!