Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Rollercoaster and the Dog Shit Navajo Project

Because it isn't enough that I spend approx 3 hours every night helping my middle school-aged children with their mind boggling homework (yet another reason why there are so many alcoholic mothers), yesterday Daniel came home and told me he has to build a mother-fricking "Rollercoaster" for science class. This seemed daunting but not totally impossible (visions of toothpicks and popsicle sticks immediately came to mind) that is until he added it had to be a working Rollercoaster at least a meter high and strong enough for a small marble to complete the course without stopping. Oh and lest we forget, he also needs to do a verbal presentation with the formulas and physics explaining how the marble is able to manuever around the PVC track and at what degree et.al.  I'm sorry, but can someone tell me when eighth graders became experts in transportation engineering?

All this "rollercoaster hoopla" brought me back to my oh-so-important Navajo presentation in the 4th grade. While my memory is a bit foggy I do know that it involved me working diligently for a week straight putting together some sort of mud and stick hut along with a 15 page construction paper masterpiece documenting the life of the Navajo people. I also remember the panic that overcame me when the morning it was due, the Safeway paperbag that I had carefully put the project in was nowhere to be seen. The panic turned to shock and disgust when my mom took a drag from her Marlboro Light and calmly told me that the day before she had scooped up the dog poop in the backyard and put it all in a paper bag. A short trip to the garbage cans and lo and behold, there was my project, buried under a week's worth of our FOUR German Shepherd's dog shit. When you are in 4th grade and your project is buried under a pile of dog doo-doo, its practically the end of the world. Sure the mature approach would have been to have my mom write a note to the teacher and re-do the entire project, but the threat of turning it in late was too much to bear. Mom put down her cigarrette long enough to wipe off the poop with a moist paper towl (I can still see the grease spots that tainted my beautiful Navajo report) while I ran reconnaissance by getting her Price Club sized bottle of White Shoulders and spraying the bejesus out of that project. I think I got a "B".

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