Z is for The End

Z

 

is for clever twist. According to Crossword Clue Solver there are 829 Z words. This post will use one of them.

I’ve been waiting for 25 letters to share this one. There’s a book we’ve checked out from the library numerous times. Mike Lester wrote a book in 2000 that invokes laughter and thought in equal measure. When you hear “A is for Salad” you know something is a bit off. Until you see the illustration, that is.

I’ve imitated this strategy in a few posts through this ABC to XYZ Challenge. VT, and E are few example of when I told you the letter but what it was for didn’t match. Until you read the post, that is. As you can see in the photo, A is certainly not for salad, but for the alligator that is eating the salad.

It’s a clever twist on your typical alphabet book. We writers are suckers for clever twists. (That’s why Usual Suspects is one of my all time favorite movies) We also know that “The End” isn’t really “The End”. It’s just the point at which the story stops being told.

Butt, this is the alphabet. There is nothing past Z. Or Zed. Or Зэд. Or ゼッド. (Thanks Google Translate)

So here we are…

There’s nowhere to go from here…

I guess this is it…

Z is for The End…

zebra butt

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Y is for Youthful Yearlings: #atozchallenge

Why Y? 

Because it’s the next letter. 

When we look at our kids we often see ourselves when were their age. However many years it may have been. When our parents look at us, they see their youth. This is your youth, take advantage of it!

I’m busy as hell today, so this is all you get. Now go forth and be youthful!

X is for A Word That Technically Doesn’t Start with X But Has An X In It

X words are hard. Arguably the toughest letter to write in the A to Z Challenge. X words are very limited. If you include names of people, places, events and rare old words there are only about 400 of them. If you don’t include all those other words there are really only two X people use. X-ray and xyolphone. The only other time x is used is if you’re a Roman numeral or a math problem. 

So today I’ll cheat and use a word that has an X in it. It may not be the first letter, but it is the second. So it’s close. 

Eplain. Because I do a lot of eplaining through the day.

  • why they have to get up and get ready for school
  • why they need to stay in bed and sleep more
  • why it’s time to go
  • why they have to brush their teeth
  • why they have to put pants on
  • why they can’t have a snack 5 minutes before supper time
  • why they need to pee IN the toilet instead of ON the toilet

The list goes on, of course. I’m sure you could even fill it in for me. If you explain enough consecutive why questions you reach the beginning of the Universe and start to believe this is just some weird experiement and we’re all just a part of the Matrix and you’re most definitely not the Chosen One. 

So why have I had to explain most recently?

1. What is an arse?

We asked Google this one. There’s a fun feature on my phone where all I have to do is say  “Okay Google” and it wakes up and starts listening. I wish the boys were that responsive. DW wishes I was that responsive. I was going to ask Google about the Orioles game from the night before except when I went to say “Orioles” someone else hollered “Fart-arse!” Google didn’t understand and I was laughing to hard to correct it. So we asked, “What’s an arse?” Interestingly enough it did not show me my own picture. She simply told me it’s the British spelling of ass. I’m not British so therefore I’m not an arse. That’s sound logic.

2. How many burgers can a cow make?

I took out a pound of ground beef the other day to make whatever I was making for supper. Being mediocre at math, I knew that I could get four quarter pound hamburgers from it. For those less than mediocre, there are four quarters in one whole (pound in this case). But how many could I get from a whole cow? I’ve seriously considered investing in a cow, or perhaps the whole damn farm, just to supply Crash and Bang with milk. Alas, I know the work schedule of a dairy farmer and it’s not for me. So our milk will come from the grocery store. Anyway, if your cow weighs a thousand pounds, a half ton, you could make about 4,500 burgers. However, that would be equivalent to a Happy Meal burger. If you want a quarter pounder you’ll only get about a thousand burgers from a thousand pound cow. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need a Big Mac and a Whopper.

3. How do checks work?

Checks are still used. Though there were 12.2 billion fewer in 2012 than 2006. I’m sure there are even few than that today. The MICR (pronounced mick-er) line is the important part. This is the line of characters at the bottom of the check. This line include the routing number (aka the banks “address”), your account number, and the check number. The rest of the check you fill in yourself – the recipient, the amount, the date, and your signature. The MICR line is machine readable because the check is scanned and imaged to be processed electronically. Small scanners can handle 45 checks per minute. Large ones can scan hundreds or thousands in the same amount of time. Same as comparing how many meters I can run in a minute compared to Usain Bolt. Your phone acts as a such a scanner when you take a picture of your check and send to the bank to be process electronically. Checks are then destroyed. If you submit a check electronically it’s up to you to destroy. Just give it to my kids. They can tear the hinges off of Hades. They’ll have no trouble wrecking your check so it can’t be deposited twice.

4. Can we get pizza with balls on it?

This reminds of the story of when we went to McDonalds. It was my parents, my brother, and myself. I think I was in high school at the time. Dad asked for an ice cream sundae. They asked if he wanted nuts on it. My brother and I chimed in from the backseat, “Yeah get nuts. Sweaty ones.” My dad was laughing so hard he couldn’t complete the order and had to drive around the restaraunt and re-enter the drive though. So when Bang asked if he could balls on his pizza I nearly lost it. He doesn’t get it, yet, but one day he will. The balls he’s referring to are sausage. He’ll eat fish, sketti meatballs and sausage balls on pizza. Those are the only meats he’ll eat that don’t get smashed into mashed pototoes. Just recently, he’s eaten ham on it’s own. 

Would you like balls with that?
Yeah, get balls. 

W is for

WTH?
WTF?

One of the boys asked about WTF? one day. They caught it on my FB or Pinterest  or Twitter while reading over my shoulder unbeknown to me. “It means Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. As in which day would be best for this to occur.”

The answer is always Friday.
Or never, depending on what you’re asking.

Speaking of asking questions and WTF?, today is Thursday. Time to ask some questions to the little urchins.

seaurchin

No, not these urchins.

Since this is episode 40, I think I’ve exhausted my list of questions. So I’ve turned to the internet. Specifically, Q4Kids. Lets see what random questions I can find there. As always, if you have a fun question you think my boys would like to answer, feel free to ask down in the comments. Also, feel free to ask your own kids these questions. Just be sure to link to this post so I can laugh at their answers!

1. If you had a magic bicycle, what magic powers would it have?

Crash: Flying
Bang: Flying and punching

2. Imagine you could give a superpower to someone else in our family. What would it be?

Crash: Throw fireballs to Mom

Bang:
I would give it to you and the super power would be kicking harder than you

3. If you could make rain taste like anything, what would you make it taste like?

Crash: Pizza
Bang: Apples

4. You have friendly monster living in your closet. What does it look like?

Crash: It has blue reptile like skin, 10 red gleaming eyes, spikes on it’s back

Bang:
All purple, 60 eyes, 2 mouths, 80 heads, he’s slimy, and very very very skinny

5. You were just bit by a spider that makes you grow an extra body part. Which body part are you going to grow?

Crash: An extra leg so I can run faster

Bang:
Another skull

6. If you were to bury a treasure where would you bury it?

Crash: Somewhere in China

Bang:
In Maryland near Nana and Pop Pop’s with a big X

7. What’s the worst super power you can think of?

Crash: Gravity power that makes you go upside down

Bang:
When I touch stuff it turns into poop

8. What is something you are better at than Mom and Dad?

Crash: Building Lego

Bang:
Cleaning

9. If our family lived in a zoo, what animal would each of us be?

Crash: Dad would be an orangutan, mom would be, giraffe, I would be a tiger, and Bang would be a rabbit

Bang:
Dad would be a tiger, mom would be an elephant, I would be a giraffe and Crash would be a turtle

10. What would be the best part of living on a farm?

Crash: Playing in the mud

Bang:
Feeding my animals

V is for The Spice of Life: #atozchallenge

Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. I think. 

So we spice things up a bit by changing it. Though not by switching sides of the bed with our bed buddies.

 is for variety. Don’t get me wrong. Sometimes we like things exactly the way we like things. Our spot on the couch. Our side of the bed. Our icons in the right place on the computer. Somethings, when moved, take some adjusting to get used to. Like water temperature that’s a bit too cold. After wading around for a bit it feels normal again.
However, things need to be kept interesting. 

Suppertime. That time of day when the kids are restless, tired, and hungry. A combination that can be lethal if not fatal. Some nights it’s pasta. Some nights it’s meat and potatoes. Some nights it’s casserole. Some nights, like our house tonight, it’s pizza. Imagine eating the same thing, cooked the same way. Every. Single. Night. After a few nights you’d not want to eat ever again. Hmm… new diet plan?

Books. I love historical fiction. The Book Theif is my favorite. I’ve read it three times now and I’ve even taken notes inside the book. I’ve gleaned so much by doing that, too. But I would probably quit reading if that was the only book I read. And just because that’s my favorite genre doesn’t mean that’s all I read. I love fantasy. Mystery/thriller. Young Adult. The boys are the same way. Crash will read everything from a book of “fascinating” facts to How to Be the Best at Everything for Boys to Minecraft based fiction books to Harry Potter. And DW’s guilty pleasure are the romance novels. Though she enjoys the mysteries and thrillers, too. 

Clothes. While I wouldn’t mind wearing the same thing every day, given that it’s clean, I prefer to spice it up. When dressing for school I’ll wear a tie, most times. Sometimes I just opt for a collared shirt. Fridays are jeans and t-shirt days. I  am currently wearing one of my favorites… running pants, t-shirt and a thin pullover. Comfy. It’s usually what Crash opts for as well. He loves his gym clothes. We try to get him to wear “music” clothes. These would be clothes that make him look handsome. Dressy, but not uncomfortable dressy. Just nice pants instead of gym pants. Part of me wants him to appreciate looking nice and dressing appropriately. The other part doesn’t really care that much about clothes. I loved my parachute pants and neon shirts growing up and I turned out mostly normal. 

Vacations. I’m sure there are some who enjoy going to same place year after year. There are some places I would love to visit every year, too. Assateague Island with its white sand and wild horses. The Highlands of Cape Breton Island with it’s majestic views. But we need to add variety by trying new things and going new places. Our trip over March Break was just that. We visited a wildlife rescue center and a science museum. I even documented the trip, here. This weekend we’re changing up our trip. We’re not taking the kids! Seriously.

U is for Universe: #atozchallenge

Infinitesimally tiny we are. It would take 59,520 people stacked standing upright to reach outer space. If you stacked that many ants atop each other it wouldn’t be the size of a human. It would be 200 feet tall. We are closer in mass to that of a single atom than we are to the size of the Earth. The entire human population can fit comfortably inside Texas.   As we expand outward we get even smaller.

1,300 Earths would fit in our solar system’s largest planet, Jupiter.
1,300,000 Earths would fit inside our sun.
Arcturus, the largest known star, is 26 times bigger than the sun.

Continue expanding outward and we see the solar system. Zoom out further we can see our Milky Way galaxy. Continue outward and our galaxy turns to a smudge as we see millions of other galaxies each with their own population of billions of stars. Continue still further and we see our known universe. There is no comparison between you and the Universe. 

10 to the power of 21. That is 10 to the 21st. 1021.  That is 10 with 21 zeros after it.

10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 = 10 septillion. That’s the estimate on how many stars there are in the Universe. If you’re not familiar with Hubble’s “Deep Field” photograph, NASA pointed that famous telescope at a completely empty piece of sky. Over 10 days it collected this image that represents just 1/24 millionth of the night sky:

Two of those points of light are stars within our Milky Way. All the rest are galaxies. Yes, galaxies comprised of millions and millions of their own stars. 

How amazing is this? How amazing is it knowing that there is something so much larger than ourselves. Something so large we can’t possible begin to imagine the size and scope of it. Yet, being what seems to us, infinitely huge, it’s all made of the same stuff.

The five most populus elements in the universe are hydrogen, helium, oxygen, carbon, and nitrogen. Ironically, those are the same five most abundant elements here on Earth. We are not here and the rest of the universe out there. We are the Universe. We are made of stars.

 

T is for Birthday… 

This A to Z Challenge is in the 7th inning stretch. Not much more to play, now. 

One year is one trip around the sun. That’s 584 million miles.

 is for three. Plus 60. Today is the day my dad turns 63. That’s 36,792,000,000 miles. That’s more miles than Gangnum Style has views. Sometime ago, Bang was assigning nicknames to family members. None of them stuck except for one. Dad’s. Bang called him Pop Pop grumpy frog. Dad is Pop Pop to his grandkids, just like his dad before him and will be after him. We still don’t know how Bang came up with Grumpy Frog, but it still makes us laugh. 

I called Buck and let him know that it’s Pop Pop Grumpy Frog’s birthday and that he really wants a win for his birthday. Apparently he forgot. The O’s are currently losing 3-1. 

Nevermind. They just tied it up at 3.

So, anyway, I get my patience from my Dad. I remember him teaching me to drive a stick shift in his little, blue Nissan pick up truck at the ballfield before it was a ballfield. We were bunny hopping all over the field like Peter Cottontail. When I decided to join the wrestling team in high school, dad would go to the attic with me so I could practice with him on whatever old carpet was up there. In 4th grade I got to go duck hunting with him and a friend of his. I sat in the duck blind reading most of the time. 

Of our favorite stories to tell, though, involves a sucker punch to the chest. Dad was famous for scaring us. Usually, it would happen in the car while he was driving. There would be long lull and silence. Suddenly, Dad would yell smack our chest and scare the shit out of whoever was riding shotgun. Well, one day, I was about 10, I think – Crash’s age. Our house had a long hallway and the rooms were off to each side. I hid in the bathroom and when Dad came down the hall I jumped out, punched him the chest as best as a scrawny 10 year old could. The grunt that came out of him! 

Of course, I’m the dad I am because of the Dad he was and still is. 

*I’m sorry to interrupt this post, but the Orioles just took the lead 5-0 with a two run homerun by Adam Jones. I now return you to your regularly scheduled post*

And now to watch him with his grandkids it reminds me of when he would play with my brother and I. Have a styrofoam pumpkin and some plastic soda bottles? Lets make it bowling. Except the kid will call it knock a boom. Shoot some hoops. Play some catch, some racquetball, horseshoes, or whatever else you want to play. He was always up for it. 

Thanks Dad! And Happy Birthday!

Sunday Share: Week 17: S Days

17 weeks seems such a small amount of time. Especially when you compare it to the 35 weeks we have left until Christmas. However, this time next week will be the last day of April. Mother Nature, being the fickle beast she is, decided to give us 2 inches of snow last night. It looks more like Christmas a week after Easter than it did on Christmas! Go home Mother Nature, you’re drunk.

I found some of these by searching the tag #atozchallenge in my reader. I found some new blogs to follow. Hope you do to!

coach daddy Coach Daddy
S is for Stories – 6 word stories and a 5 year gift…

shari Writing is Communication
S is for Strange games. But not so strange because I play them, too…

musing My Mildly Mortifying Musings
S is for Spark – but not the spark you thought you knew…

bit2read Bit2Read
S is for Something New or Starting Over. Or finding inspiration at TJ Maxx

sandra What Sandra Thinks
S is for Serving Size. Or WTH?

stomperdad All In A Dad’s Work
S is for the best day of the week! Not for Snow like we got last night.

dr-seuss-quote-my-alphabet-starts-with-this-letter-called-yuzz-its

 

S is for…

Two years ago when I first undertook the A to Z challenge and wrote about S, I wrote about stuffies. To date, it is one of my top three favorite posts. It’s also when I created the header you now see on this blog. In it I share how each family member in our house has a special stuffie that represents them. A panda, a rabbit, a monkey, and a penguin make up this household zoo. If our house were on fire I would not leave until I had all four. Them and the external hard drive.

Last year for S I wrote about a game called Slither. It slithered out as quickly and quietly as it slithered in. Speaking of slitherin’… 

Slitherin. Griffendor. Harry Potter. The Deathly Hallows. Sirius Black is dead. Dumbledor is, too. Crash is wondering if anyone else going to die and hoping not. I didn’t spoil it for him. Little does he know, though…

I considered writing a Saturday Share and that would get me off the hook tomorrow, but that feels like cheating. I already skipped Go Ask Your Father. 

S could be for sick. Both boys are coming down with something. S could also be for sneeze, snot, and sleepy. They’ll both be in bed a bit early this evening. 

 is for the best day of the week. Or at least it’s my favorite day of the week. It’s the day I used to devote to writing 100 word ficional stories. In fact, it’s the day this post is getting published. Saturday. For most of us it means no work. Or at least no paid work. We are free to laze in bed or rise early and carpe diem. We are free to travel or stay put. We are also free to enjoy an extra glass of wine or two. 

Of course, it’s also a day when our kids are with us the entire time. If you’re lucky the weather is nice and you can kick them outside. If they’re not lucky, you’ll kick them out into the rain. However, this is East Coast Canada, it’s still cold. Like 10 C (50F) cold. And that’s at it’s warmest. I don’t think it got that warm today. 

Saturdays are for recovering from whatever you did Friday night. Or perhaps Saturdays are for what you didn’t do Friday night. Then Sunday will be your recovery day. Still an S day. No school and no work on S days!

Yeah, right. No work. Saturday is also the day to get caught up on all you couldn’t do Monday through Friday. Rather than just trying to keep up with the mess, you might even get ahead. The laudry that’s still in the laundry basket from last weekend can be put away so you can refill with with fresh clothes (to be put away next Saturday, of course). A weeks worth of crumbs (enough to feed a  of mice) and dirt (enough for a ball field) can get vacuumed. If you’re like us, you might even venture to the car wash for the Deluxe Wash. 

I was ambitious today. After the car wash I cleaned out the inside, too. I’m not sure where the pebbles and rocks came from, but there was half the Sahara back there. Then I armor-alled it. Except for the scratches, she looks fit for a king… or at least four stuffies and two sick kids. 

What do you like to do on Saturdays? I’ve got something you can do. Find me on Twitter! Stomperdad

#AtoZChallenge: R is for…

R

 

is for Relay. It’s also for Ride.

Relay for Life was always one of DW’s Dad’s favorites.  He always attended, always ate at the survivors’ supper, always walked his survivors’ lap. Family would come from a hundred miles away to take part in it with him. Some of them are cancer survivors themselves. So many in DW’s family walk that survivor lap in their yellow shirt on the day Relay for Life takes place. Her dad survived lung cancer. Her step-mom survived colon cancer.  I’m learning, there are some within my side of the family who could have walked that lap, too.

The day after the event he would put on a big shindig (party) and BBQ for everyone. People would come by the dozens.

Our town stopped holding the event so he missed out on it the past two years.

This year, he wanted to join the even in another town and it was going to be his last Relay. His last big support for the cancer research fundraiser since this would be his 10th year cancer free. DW had just finished setting up her own fundraiser page. Then she got a phone call…

This year, our Relay will be in memory of him. DW has raised $1,075 of her goal of $2,000. Please, if you can, click on the link above and donate. Whether you can give $5 or $5,000, every little bit counts.

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R
is also for Ride for Roswell.

For eight years my younger brother has been participating in this bike ride fundraiser ranging from 14 to 44 miles. Our dad and his father-in-law take part, as well. Roswell Park Cancer Institute is located in Buffalo, NY, home of Niagara Falls and my sister-in-law. It is known for its cutting edge research on cancers.  This year, he rides for all who have been effected by cancer. Thus far, he has raised $704 of his goal of $1,000. Please, if you can, visit his page and donate here. There’s no telling how many lives you may change.

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Brother on the left, Dad on the right, Brother’s F-I-L in the middle

I guess, ultimately, R is for relatives relaying and riding for research.