The intellectual equivalent of a ham sandwich.

Posts tagged ‘cousin’

Babysitter Quiz

About a year ago I was visiting family in Arizona. We were all together for Christmas and it afforded me an opportunity to be a punk cousin (which is a delightful thing to be).

My sister was talking to two of my cousins who are in high school about the idea of them babysitting her child. My cousins are smart, and they have both babysat before so I think they are qualified (plus that whole family thing). My sister was excited about the idea of having them as potential sitters. I jokingly reprimanded my sister for so readily allowing them to babysit without putting them through any sort of test. She said I could go ahead and ask them questions to check their babysitter readiness levels.

I don’t know exactly what I asked, but I know at some point I was asking questions about Bigfoot. When they passed that part I moved on to a clever version of Bigfoot, who would disguise himself and attempt to trick them.

With my credibility now established, I would like to give you three key questions to ask any kid who thinks he/she is good enough to babysit your child/children.


1 – What is the sporks greatest fear?

(This will challenge their ability to think on their feet and deal with the unexpected. Why would a babysitter need to be mentally quick? Oh I don’t know, maybe because kids are f-ing crazy.)


2 – You can only have tuna fish sandwiches for the rest of your life, how many times a day do you brush your teeth?

(This one checks if they are easily grossed out, if so, they probably shouldn’t be around kids. Especially not your kids, because they are particularly smelly.)


3 – Does your mom or dad work in a science laboratory, or perhaps chemical plant?

(Let’s be honest, your kid is probably not a super hero. But MAYBE, if you are lucky, your babysitter has a parent who works at a place with crazy chemicals and through some work accident the kid will end up with a syringe full of potential in their backpack and it will end up mutating your child into something truly awesome.)

Happy Birthday to … GMa and G Pat

October is a big birthday month in my family. I decided to do a little post for some of the birthday boys and girls I know.

I’m combining these guys into one post for two reasons – 1, so that I can do the birthday posts in one week (which is much more soothing to my engineering-side than to have this in one week plus one day); 2, because they’re not immediate family. Sorry guys, I’m biased.


My grandma is crazy in the best way possible. She’s got an awesome sense of humor and has the classic grandma look down. Sweet, little lady? You betcha.

My senior year of high school my parents were going to be gone for a while on a trip to visit my sister who was then studying in Spain. They decided to have my grandma come stay with me for the duration of the trip. I have to admit I was not happy about this.

They had gone on trips in the past without feeling the need to have someone their to supervise me, and yet there I was, needing a babysitter. In retrospect they probably just wanted me to spend some time with my grandma, but I was too thick to see that.

Anyhow. Out she flew from Phoenix to Georgia. And off my parents went to Spain (those punks).

My grandma has always been a pretty healthy eater. As part of this she didn’t work with salt too often. Salt – a mystery food! Nevertheless, she wanted to cook us some nice food while she was there. One night this involved mashed potatoes.

They were, easily, the worst mashed potatoes I’ve ever eaten.

They had enough salt on them to satisfy 30 deer (like a salt lick … get it?). I took a bite and my face just about caved in. But I trudged on. And grandma, wanting this to be a nice meal, ate too. For her, a salt rookie, she didn’t know how much salt was the right amount and apparently thought more was better.

At some point during the meal she looked up and said, “this seems a bit salty.” I would’ve laughed but my face had dehydrated into nothingness.

Why am I telling this seemingly insulting story about my grandma for her birthday? Because I stink at compliments, and also because it shows that she was there, being kind, and trying to do something with me even though it wasn’t her bag of chips. (Her bag of insanely salted chips probably.)

If I could go back in time I would be less of a snotty teenage, and appreciate her visit much more.

Happy bday grandma!, and thanks for being awesome!

And no, I don’t want seconds.

Cousin G Pat

My cousin G Pat is an all-around nice guy. When I was in D.C. this past summer I got to spend an afternoon with him which was great. I hadn’t seen him in a number of years but I knew, and he has stated this, that it made no difference.

For G Pat family is family – and you look out for them.

G Pat and I talked a bit about work and it was clear he has himself a nice spot – he’s a guy who knows how to talk, and knows geeky stuff. (That’s more rare than you’d think. Usually it’s one or the other.)

The odd thing is, I think I’ll always associate G Pat with solitaire.

When I was younger I saw him on two different occasions. He was crazy for little handheld solitaire games (great for road trips). Each time he’d let me borrow one to play, and then tell me to keep it – he was too addicted to them anyway.

Apparently this is true because between trip one and two he’d bought himself a new one. I imagine if I had asked to see his phone when I saw him last I would’ve found ten different types of solitaire on it.

Although handheld solitaire games aren’t much it clearly illustrates (in my mind) the kind of guy G Pat is – that is, like I said before, all-around nice.

Thanks G Pat for grabbing lunch with me in D.C., the handheld solitaires (they killed many hours on a number of road trips for me), and being my cousin!

Happy Bday!

Weekly Wacko (25)

Tomorrow E$ (the sister) and Pierre (the brotha’-in-law … cause he’s a black dude, get it?) arrive! We are heading to SOUTH by SOUTHWEST! I’ll try to post about that soon … I will eventually, it just may wait.

This Weekly Wacko is called ‘Do We Have a Clip? Let’s Show the Clip.’

My sister and I have our various talents. She’s a great people person. I’m tall.
One thing my sister and I are definitely great at is amusing each other. Probably more than I should admit, part of this comes because my sister is great at listening and I love to tell stories.
I mean – look, I have a blog dedicated to trying to get people to pay me to write down stories.
Vanity, I embrace you!

One day my sister and I arranged to meet with our cousin E (who has commented on this blog … because he’s awesome. But he doesn’t realize I’m a jaguar, so he’s slightly less awesome than he could be), and his wife L, for lunch.
On the drive to lunch my sister and I talked. A good idea came to us. I asked my sister,
“You know how on Letterman and other late night shows they always talk to the people before hand so they have these specific questions that lead to ‘spontaneous’ stories?”
My sister knew.
“Let’s do that!”
We each picked a few stories and had our go-to questions for each other. We would seem like such fun people!
“Boy! You guys are just so witty and fun and full of unique stories!” Everyone in the restaurant would say this after we finished our meal. You see, a few minutes into lunch people would all start to eavesdrop because listen to those story tellers go!
“Aww, shucks.” I’d say that as I looked at the bill, then at some of the other people in the restaurant, then back at the bill, then I’d raise my eyebrows, then back at other people in the restaurant.
Sandwiches are delicious. Free sandwiches are divine.
Didn’t Shakespeare say that?

We arrived and parked. A minute or two later cousin E and L did the same. Ready, set, lunch!
We took seats and began looking at the menu. After we ordered we began to talk, the usual, “so, how have you been?”
After we finished this we went into a temporary silence.
E$ sprung into action.
“So … I’ve been wanting to go to Best Buy lately.”
“Oh!” I said in a pathetic attempt to sound casual about it, “that reminds me …” E$ kept herself from laughing out loud, but definitely grinned big time.
I managed to keep a more straight face (remember, I dig the story-telling).
“The other day I was at Best Buy and I was just walking around and people kept looking at me when I’d walk by. I was pretty confused – why do people keep looking at me? I was heading back toward the bathroom when this guy says, “hello,” and I think he wanted to keep talking but I gave him a, “why are you saying hello to me?” look, then walked on by him. After I used the restroom I was washing my hands when I noticed. Oh crap. I’m wearing … a dark … blue … polo shirt. Like the exact same color as the Best Buy one …”
They chuckled. Not that good a story, but kind of funny.
“So yeah …” I continued, “someone probably got fired over that.”

Now, I want you to know, I included this story not because it’s that great but because this is a great idea!
Socially awkward people, cling on to this!
Go out there, grab a fellow socially awkward buddy, strategize, then hit the town! ‘Oh you and your friend are so funny! It’s like you guys sat around for a few hours and planned this whole back-and-forth conversation you’re having!’
Remember, it’s not lying if you change the topic instead of answering the question.

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