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Pernilla Ponders…Babies

18 Jul

Pernilla Ponders babies

Tank: (Seeing a baby on TV) Oh, mommy, look a baby!
Me: That’s right.
Tank: I want one!
Me: You have your brother.
Tank: No, I want a new little one like that.
Me: Sorry, bud, no more babies.
Tank: Can I have one for my birthday?
Me: How about a fish?

I can see this is how kids negotiate getting puppies and ponies.

Pernilla Ponders…Language Development

30 Jun

Pernilla Ponders language

Meet Tank. Tank is the older of Pernilla’s two boys. He’s so called because, well, he was quite the sturdy lad in his younger days. And while Pernilla was born in Sweden, schooled in Michigan, and lives in Illinois, she’s really Southern. So I think in a few years some SEC school is going to be thrilled to have Tank on their defensive line. HOWEVER, given the following exchange, we may have a John McEnroe on our hands.

Having a preschooler is a bit like having an English as a second language student with an attitude. They have great command of the language but they still say weird shit:

Me: Tank, no, you can’t blow bubbles inside.

Tank: What?! You are kidding on me right now! Are you kidding me on my head?? Arrghhhhh! Bubbles are so fun. You are not kidding with me right noooooow!!

Pernilla Ponders…

27 Jun

Pernilla Ponders

I should hate my friend Pernilla. She’s talented, smart, funny, gorgeous, and thoughtful. She is also amazingly kind. And Swedish by birth. That last bit is important because there’s a meatball reference later. So, yeah. She shares these little bits of her life that make me laugh until I leak. I told her I wanted to add a feature called Pernilla Ponders… to the blog and she graciously said yes.

In our inaugural post, Pernilla Ponders… Swedish Stereotypes:

You know you aren’t doing much to discourage stereotypes when your admittedly Swedish-looking self drives your very Swedish-looking kids around and the youngest starts chanting “MEATBALLS! MEATBALLS!” at the top of his lungs, and the older one joins in like this is what we normally do – driving around yelling for random meat.

All I need is the Swedish Chef in the lap of Abba in the driver’s seat to really cover my bases.

Morning #1: My SuperStrate Marriage™©

27 Jun

coffee potAs I said yesterday, I’m going to be popping in here and there to talk about what the demise of DOMA means for my marriage. I’m a heterosexual woman. My husband is a heterosexual man. Therefore, forthwith, and heretofore, we are not gay married. BUT! As we all know, letting two consenting adults of the same sex get married makes a MOCKERY of marriage. It leads to men marrying dogs. And dancing.

I’ll admit I feel a little less married this morning. Chuck didn’t make coffee and while it could be he was just running late, I think he feels it too. I think he’s questioning the very foundation of our relationship. Coffee ennui is an early sign of a collapsing marriage. I’m sure he thought about all the mornings he woke up and made coffee knowing his loving wife would later stumble into the kitchen and thank the stars she married another caffeine addict. And I’m sure his next thought was now, the way it’s going, it’s not just straight people who will have that bond. Married homosexuals across the land were also waking up and reaping the benefits of a loving, early-rising partner who was equally addicted to caffeine.

I just…I just need a moment.

Sucking The Life Out Of The Holidays

27 Nov

You know how you think your family is crazy? You’re right. They are. You are the only sane one and you’re pushing the rock of sagacity uphill. Both ways. In the snow. Give in. Just give in.

There’s a yard sign I’ve seen around the internet that says something to the effect of how in The South we don’t hide our crazy. We put it out on the porch and give it a cocktail. There’s a reason for that, but it has less to do with embracing eccentricity and more the fact that there’s only so many people a house can hold. Not that the porch is really any better. Getting all your crazy kin out there with cocktails only ensures the porch will collapse and kill all your dogs.

My cousin Sharon says that while she wasn’t born in The South, she got here as soon as she could. I can only attribute this to a tendency towards stubbornness and a deeply held need to reassure herself she’s not so crazy after all. Having married into a family so eccentric Flannery O’Connor would run screaming headlong into a fainting couch, really all she has to do is show up to receive such reassurance. Her husband, my mother’s first cousin, and my mother like to look straight at my brother and me, and with all seriousness, frighten the snot out of us with the sober reminder, “WE’RE the sane ones.” Do they protest too much? No. No, unfortunately they are not, in this case, delusional.

Your family, normally a somewhat irritating yet benign protuberance on your butt becomes, around the second week of November, a festering boil which cannot be lanced until sometime around the last week of February when the image of your sister singing Patsy Cline’s greatest hits and wearing on her head the wreath you painstakingly created from months of collecting sweetgum balls finally fades. You TOLD her she’d had one too many Brandy Alexanders.

This time of year only serves to make friends of strangers and enemies of family. You’ll happily chat away to the woman in front of you in line who is asking if you understand a damn thing about these computer tablet pad internets she’s getting her grandchildren to play with, but you’ll lunge for Aunt Bunky’s throat if she tells you the story ONE MORE TIME about how they were so poor they had nothing to play with but pecan shells and how they never decorated with holly because they had to boil it into tea. This is the time of year that tries men’s souls. And patience. And livers.

And while I’m on a roll, whoever thought this was a good time of year for hunting season was obviously not just an only child, but an orphan. You haven’t lived until brothers, flasks empty, rifles loaded, come ass-over-elbow out of the woods arguing about why the other one is so undeserving of Mawmaw’s milk punch recipe. Grown-ass men. Armed. Milk punch.

This year I will put my shopping off longer than usual. I’ll pay out the wazoo to get everything shipped overnight if I have to. I’m hoping those Mayans were on to something.


19 Oct

For Chuck

The Experiment

18 Oct

Other than the stress of not having a playground buddy for recess, the worst part of school was word problems. To paraphrase an internet meme, every word problem reads the same way to me:

Two cars travel at 53.5 mph when the train leaves the station at 6:01 PM. How much change will Sally have if grapefruits are 4 for $1.00?

I’m not sure how my parents got through word problem homework with me without massive doses of Valium. Maybe they didn’t. I’d cry, pull my hair, have panic attacks. All of it. The actual math wasn’t really an issue, it was figuring out what the damn equation was supposed to be. I could be asked to speak off the cuff about isolation, gender ideals, and the need for order over chaos in the works of Virginia Woolf and would not break a sweat; but you want me to figure out how many baseballs Dan would have if he gave three to two people, one of whom is three times the age of the other, you will make me cry heaving snotty rivulets of tears.

It’s important to know about my little issue because you’ll need that background to attempt to understand the conversation Chuck and I had last night. You might also want a drink. You see, it started innocently enough–AS IT WILL– with an episode of MythBusters.

To try to cut to the heart of an excruciatingly long story, they wanted to know if two cars crashing into each other at 50 mph would equal the damage done to one car hitting a wall at 50 mph. In a previous episode, one of the guys had said that the two cars hitting at 50 mph was actually like one car hitting a wall at 100 mph. You with me? Seems cut and dried, yes?

If you answered in the affirmative, we clearly have not met.

My problem was the use of the words “force” and “damage” interchangeably. I got way confused. Allow me to attempt to recreate part of our conversation for you.

Me: Okay, what’s with the clay?
Him: (clears throat) They need a control. They’ve constructed a model where two cars will hit each other at 1x speed and 2x speed. The clay blocks on the cars will be measured to see how much compression each block has at the end to see if you have to crash a car into a wall at 2x speed to equal the compression of two cars at 1x speed.
Me: Okay, but what about surface area? Or that cars are made to crumple and aren’t as rigid as a steel wall?
Him: What’s that got to do with anything?
Me: If you hit a stuffed teddy bear with a car…
Him: Where did you get a teddy bear?
Me: …you won’t have the damage you would if you hit a wall regardless of how fast you were going.
Him: That’s not what they’re doing.
Me: They said they’re trying to find out if the damage of two cars hitting at 1x speed is the same or half the damage of a car going 1x speed into a wall. The damage depends on what’s hit. Hitting a teddy bear at 50 mph isn’t going to do a lot of damage to your car.
Him: No, they are hitting either another car or an immobile steel wall. (Does this thing with his hands that I recognize as a non-verbal signal he’s about to go all cage match on me)
Me: But what’s the point? The damage is dependent on what the car hits. Hitting a wall…
Him: I swear to God if you bring up a teddy bear again, I’m walking out.
Me:…I’m not trying to argue with you. I’m trying to understand the experiment. I’m saying the only way to quantify if the damage is the same is to take apart the cars and examine them piece by piece.
Him: What in the hell are you talking about?
Me: The clay blocks attached to the car analogs have flat surfaces. The wall is a flat surface. So the surface area you hit is the same every time.
Him: That’s why it’s the control.
Me: But two cars aren’t flat.
Him: No, stop it. That’s not the point.
Me: How is that not the point?

Imagine this goes on another fifteen minutes or so before we get into the car where it goes on another forty-five. Essentially, it’s more than an hour of Chuck repeating his first statement up there and my attempt to decipher what sounds exactly like the Attic Greek I do not speak. There’s much discussion about resistance, impact zones, equal and opposite reactions, crumple zones, and while I did not drag a teddy back into it, I did bring up a utility pole. Chuck also was thinking of a utility pole, but for a totally different reason.

I look up the experiment on my phone while he runs into his store to drop something off. I try further to explain my bewilderment while we return a bathroom faucet to Lowe’s. Then, while at Walgreen’s, it hits me.

Somewhere force and damage have been used interchangeably in the discussion, but the experiment is (rightly) treating them as two different things.

Me: OKAY!! Here’s the problem. And I bet it’s the SAME problem the nerds had. Force is not the same as damage. Yes, the damage may be similar, but what they’re really talking about is force. Cops always say that the impact speed of two cars is equal to their combined speeds, but that’s not the issue. The force is the force as any good Jedi knows.
Him: Sooo…we’re done now?

The issue is force, and as it turns out, the force of a car hitting a wall at 100 mph is roughly THREE times the g-force of a car hitting the wall at 50 mph while the damage is roughly doubled. That’s because the car is harder to crush the more it gets crushed. Kind of. So, yeah, now I’m done. And I totally get it.

It can’t be said too much: I married a saint.