Friday, June 18, 2010

Ridiculous Recumbent

Back when I was about 12, Dad got that stupid bike.  My father is very Italian. Read that as as wide as he is tall. Rotund would be the kind description. Imagine him with big tall flag on his bike--to be seen, lest the rest of what I am about to describe go unnoticed--portable rear view mirror attached to his glasses' temple bar, dressed in black and yellow horizontal striped biking shirt, black shorts and weird little pointy shoes clipped into his pedals. Think John Belushi dressed up as a bumblebee, riding that bike.

Now imagine you're the 12 year old, self conscious daughter of that man. The horror, the horror. And he rode it ALL OVER our small little town.

Flash forward 30 years. 12 year old is now self conscious home educating mom, already aware that she and her children are charting a course bound to set them just a bit apart in the court of public opinion. I bring my 12 year old with me on the annual pilgrimage to my folks' place in upstate NY (why o why o why won't they retire to Florida like normal people???).

My dad asks said son if he wants to ride his bike, which Dad can no longer ride. Next thing I know, Dad has promised to ship my kid the bike. Dad and Nathan are both beside themselves with glee and Nathan makes me promise not to tell Mr. Wonderful until the bike arrives. He wants it to be a surprise.

Now, Mr. Wonderful has seen this bike before and is also acutely aware of the freak potential others may see in our children even before one throws a recumbent into the mix.

I keep quiet.

The bike arrives in two cartons. O, Frabjous day! Calloo callay! Mr. Wonderful dutifully puts the bike together for Nathan, who eagerly takes it out around the neighborhood. Later that night, when we were going to bed, Mr. Wonderful says to me, "I want you to know, I did not say anything negative to Nathan about that bike. But I hope the neighborhood kids don't pelt him with rocks."

So, there you have it.  I've come full circle with that blasted bike, right back around to the starting point.  Me, mortified. This time with a healthy sense of humor about it all.


Thursday, June 3, 2010

Bumper Stickers

I like bumper stickers.  Several years ago, I pumped gas behind a fellow with the best bumper stickers ever.    I told him I was certain we wouldn't agree on politics, but he had awesome bumper stickers.  He seemed surprised that a conservative could have a sense of humor and compliment someone with whom they disagreed.  I don't remember what all his stickers said, but I got the biggest kick out of this one.

Yesterday, my son completed his volunteer hours at the Museum of Science and Industry.  That marks the 11th time since January that I've hauled five kids into and out of Chicago on a weekday.  That's even less fun than it sounds like.

When we left, we discovered a handwritten note under our windshield.  It read "From one homeschool mom to another, you have great bumper stickers!"

Are you into bumper stickers?  I shouldn't be.  I hate visual clutter.  But I have just enough kitsch in me to really love these.  So amuse me.  What do your bumper stickers say?  I used to have one promoting my cousin's kid that read "Life is Song.  Sing It!" I was sad when it disintegrated.

My current bumper crop:

Training Hearts and Minds: Christian Home Education

Break the Conventions, Keep the Commandments (GK Chesterton)

and my personal favorite, the ubiquitous yellow caution diamond which reads:

Caution:  Unsocialized Homeschoolers on Board