So, Cranky is 16. Like most 16-year-old girls, she is focused on a few priorities: clothes, boys, texts, One Direction and homework—if the last item is not on that list, please don't shatter my belief system. So it comes as no surprise that when a diet miracle appears on social media, Cranky would be quick to jump on it.
It's no big secret that the news media want to scare people. Is something you eat every day killing you? Does a madman want your children? What pills did a student find in her teacher's desk? The answers, of course, are: no, no and vitamins. The weather is no exception. If anything, the weather coverage sets the bar for fear tactics. You want a good scare? Check the weather.
Halloween is over. The costumes and gear have been returned to the storage closet. The pumpkin is in the garbage. Or, if you live in my house, the jack-o-lantern is slowly imploding on the front stoop—the face falling inward and sliding down like that Nazi in Raiders of the Lost Ark. But I digress. Halloween is over, yet one thing remains; one wonderful, awful, terrific agonizing thing: candy.
November is always an interesting month, cinematically speaking. The serious Oscar contenders rear their heads, the holiday family films are released, and a stray R-rated comedy or two makes an appearance for variety's sake. This November is no exception.
Halloween is upon us. There's a chill in the air, wet leaves in the grass and an inexplicable credit-card receipt from something known only as the 'Halloween Super Store' on the table. For those of you not familiar, the Halloween Super Store is what I imagine as the modern-day equivalent of the gypsy caravan: It pops up overnight in a previously abandoned retail space, stays open for one month selling all things spooky, and then—more quickly than it appeared—it's gone. The HSS is not a new concept. The receipt, however, strikes me as odd, odd because it means the kids have already gone to the Halloween store—and they have gone without me.
As a parent, you constantly hope you are doing it right. Occasionally, things happen that confirm that hope, changing it into a belief: I believe I'm doing it right. Be it an A on a test, a win in the big game, a good decision on the playground or at a party, the belief becomes a surety. Wow, I'm a good parent—no, I'm a great parent! You bask in the glow of it and fleetingly consider baking cookies or taking on a DIY project. And then one day, your teenage child stands in the kitchen, between you and the cupboard, and says with disturbing sincerity: I need a plate.
So, Halloween is next week. Depending on your disposition, you are either stocking up on Fun-Sized Snickers or making sure you can override the timer on your exterior lights. Regardless of your penchant for spooky—or lack thereof--the season often calls for a costume. I have always prided myself on my ability to turn the most everyday, comfortable outfit into a costume. For three years, I was Alex from Flashdance (off-the-shoulder sweatshirt, leggings—piece of cake). I also revisited Mia Wallace from Pulp Fiction a couple of times (all-black with Cleopatra wig—I'd even do the dance).
So I've been doing some substitute-teaching of late—just a class here and there. I get to brush up on some subjects in which I used to be proficient, back when the wheels were well-oiled. It's a win-win, really—for me. The students (I think) enjoy their time with their new sub. I haven't been pelted with spit wads or been fooled into spending the entire class discussing The League on FX (OK, once, it happened once). So far, I'm teaching, they're learning. All is as it should be. And that's when the teacher I am helping out informs me of one tiny detail: On Tuesday, you'll be taking my beginning Greek class.
Now, I don't know how I missed this, but apparently kids get hit in football. Was there a meeting I skipped where they told you your child is going to get beaten to a pulp in-between Gatorade breaks? I don't want to come across as one of those hysterical mothers, but seriously, I'm not prepared to have Punch finish middle school missing D through H of the alphabet.
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