Go Ask Your Father: A Verbal Typo, Acid, Radio, and Pee Pees

Happy Friday everyone. We’ve got friends coming for a sleepover with their two little girls. We can’t to see them! (and their parents, too) So here is this week’s question and answer episode. Let’s get smarter!

1. What’s friction?
Bang was sitting on the couch working diligently at some additions problems I printed for him. He solved them with Lego bricks – make a stack of 7 then make a stack of 5 stick them together, count them up and know that 7+5 = 12. Then he asks his mother this question. She tells him it’s when things rub together. Like when you rub your hands together and they get warm, that because of friction.

“Oh. Well then what is a fraction?”

That’s a verbal typo. He said friction, but meant fraction. The difference a vowel can make! So she then explained that a fraction is piece of something, like when you cut a pizza and eat part of it.

2. What’s acid?

It’s a chemical that can be corrosive and dissolve some metals. It can also refer to fruits like citrus that can be acidic. This is what gives them their sour taste. There are acids everywhere, including in your stomach. Normally, your stomach has ph value of 1-3, or up to 4-5 after a large meal. However, for the most acidic acid, which is fluoroantimonic acid, it lands on the Hammet acidity function (kinda like ph) at -28. To give you an idea of how strong that is, a ph of 1 is acidic enough to burn skin. If it’s that strong, what can an acid that strong be contained it? A can of Coke? Nope, Coke has a ph of 2.53. It’s kept in a container made of the same stuff you fry your eggs on. Teflon.

3. What is FM?

Radio waves, believe it or not (hint: believe it), are a form of light. Like microwaves, ultraviolet rays, x-rays, and gamma rays. Of course, it’s not within the visible light spectrum. Developed in 1895 by Guglielmo Marconi, an Italian inventor, radio was born when sent and received his first signal. In AM radio, where all the talk shows are, the AM stands for Amplitude Modification. Amplitude is the hight of the wave. So by changing the hight we can change the sound. FM, where the good stations are, stands for Frequency Modulation. Frequency is the rate at which the wave moves or how often the top (crest) of the waves pass in a second. By changing the frequency we can interpret the electromagnetic frequencies as sound. It’s all over my head, really. Even after reading about it for a half hour I’m still not sure how it works. All I know is that when I turn on the radio and hear Rag-n-Bone Man’s Human, I’m happy.

4. Do girls have pee pees?

Do they ever buddy. In our house, pee pee is a general term and can used for both the male and female genitalia. Yesterday I got to explain the differences, albiet carefully. I told Bang that his pee pee is called a penis. A girl’s pee pee, like his mother’s, is called a vagina. “Oh” he says. All the while I was explaining this I was sitting on the toilet doing my business. 

Questions I Asked My Kids

Spoiler Alert! If you watch The Voice, Gold Rush, This Is Us, Blindspot, or Grey’s Anatomy and you aren’t all caught up, skip down to the questions!

I mark the days of the week by what show is coming on after the boys are in bed. On Mondays (starting next Monday) is The Voice. I’m excited for this season’s group of judges – Adam, Gwen, Alicia, and Blake. 

On Tuesdays its Gold Rush and This Is Us. In Gold Rush I’m rooting for the Hoffman’s to get a little luck and for Parker to find himself again without his Grandpa around.  This Is Us gets me every time. From William’s story and death which  pulled powerfully at heartstrings, to the story of Jack and Rebecca to the growing up of their three kids. The writers and set designers have a done a spectacular job of recreating each time period from the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, and today. Of the five shows I’m highlighting, this is the one I recommend the most.

On Wednesdays it’s Blindspot. I love the drama and thrill and the “OMG! We only have 3 minutes to this or the whole world explodes!” story line. I really hope Roman turns out to be a good guy. Tonight, Thursday, it’s Grey’s Anatomy nightI’m curious to hear the rest of Karev’s story and where the writers take him. Last week’s episode when the 9 year old who died in a routine surgery hit too close to home since I have my own 9 year old. On a side note, since Izzy left the show years ago I’ve been looking for a new girlfriend. DW likes Karev. I’m okay with that.

Fridays are Fridays! It’s either time to catch up on shows we may have missed through the week or game night with friends. Win win!

Now for the questions…

1. What do you want to be when you grow up?

Crash: Police man
Bang: Heaven-man

2 What superpower do you wish you had?

Crash: To control the world with blue lightning
Bang: Cape power to appear my cape – like teleporting

3. What is something I always say?

Crash: I love you
Bang: Do your math

4. What is something mom always says?

Crash: I love you 
Bang: Room

5. What do you wish we would say more often?

Crash: Yes to the things I want and No to the things I don’t want.
Bang: You don’t have to do anything but play plasma cars

6. Where do you wish we could go during March Break?

Crash: Legoland
Bang: Horseback riding

7. What is something you learned today?

Crash: The line of symmetry in art
Bang: I don’t know… I know everything!

8. What do you NOT want for supper tonight?

Crash: Pickles
Bang: Peas

9. What three words best describe you?

Crash: Amazing, gaming, and brother-annoyer
Bang: Bad, distractive, and beautiful

10. Can you tell me a story or a dream?

Crash: I was in Minecraft and I was a slime and I had a diamond sword. I was hitting chickens and they would split into two chickens.
Bang: I had secret dreams but I’m not telling so just write “I don’t know”

Time

The past is just a memory. The future is unforseeable. All we have is right here, right now. 

This very moment. 

I’m hearing stories of my father-in-law. 

Of how he grew up with a twin sister and they were the second youngest of 17 kids. 

Of how his first job working at gas station, he made $25 a week and would give most of it away to kids for new shoes, or to go to the circus, or for fries and drink, or to go to the movies. 

Of how much he loved kids, particularly his grandkids. He would walk for hours to get a granddaughter to sleep when her father just couldn’t do it. He always had a joke or would act a clown to make them laugh. He would pass them his spare change. He always had a treat for them.

Of how he knew so many people and touched so many lives in big ways and small. Whether through an act of kindness, the giving of a nickname, or just talking their ears off, he was an influence far and wide. 

Of his use of the English language. There were no swear words in his vocabulary, though he swore enough to make a sailor blush. To him they were just verbs, adverbs, and adjectives. 

Of his days working as a welder.  I’m told that whatever job he was on he was always one of the best. Though that doesn’t surprise me because he always took pride in his work. 

Of how he loved company. He truly believed the more the merrier. He’d invite friends and tell them to bring their friends. It wasn’t uncommon for friends to arrive with their friend’s friends. Then he would start up the BBQ and feed you. 

Of how some animals liked his home better than their owners’ home so they’d come live with him instead. He adopted stray cats. He adopted a bearded dragon that couldn’t travel with his granddaughter. 

Of how he would bail kids out of trouble. He would give them a place to sleep when they were tired. He would feed them when they were hungry. 

Of how much he gave. His money. His time. His tools. His Jeep. A listening ear or an earful. His home. 

He gave me his greatest treasure… His daughter and his family. For that I’m forever grateful. 

His memorial service was Saturday. There was food and a few swear words, the place was packed, memories shared and laughter rang through the tears. 

Go Ask Your Father: Fat Lips, Vision, AEDs, and Undertows

Happy Thursday night or whatever time of the week it happens to be for you when you’re reading this. I’m settling in getting ready for yet another snow storm. School was cancelled Monday because of snow. It was cancelled Wednesday because of ice. It’s likely the kids will be home to drive me nuts again tomorrow because of more snow and ice. I’m putting them work if they’re home tomorrow!

Why do we get fat lips?

chapped-lips2You can tell a lot about a person by looking at their lips. You can tell if they’re wearing lipstick, for instance. You tell how big their labial tubercle (that bump in the middle of the upper lip) is. And women, did you know the bigger your labial tubercle the easier it is for you to achieve orgasm? You can also tell if they’ve been in a fight. When the soft tissue of the lips is damaged it becomes inflamed and swollen. This creates what we all know as a fat lip. Bet you never look at lips the same way again.

Beside getting a taste of a knuckle sandwich, fat lips can also be caused by dehydration, an allergic reaction, from a food allergy, or sunburn.

How do eye glasses work?

DW and I are nearsighted (myopia). She wears her glasses all the time. I have a tendency to lose mine. One pair is at the bottom of a river. Being farsighted simply means that our eyes do not have adequate focusing power. In other words, the focus point falls behind the retina instead of on it. Farsightedness (hyperopia) is exactly opposite – it forms a focus point in front of the retina. So eye glasses and contact lenses redirect the light so that it focuses the image on your retina so you see a clear picture.

sight

The top image shows how light focuses on the retina.

What’s an AED?

While ice skating yesterday, Bang noticed an odd looking box attached the wall outside of the ice rink. Naturally curious he wanted to know what it was. It was an AED or Automated External Defibrillator. Automated because all a user needs to do is follow audio commands connect adhesive electrodes to the patient and from there the computer takes over to check for a pulse and heart rhythm. It will only deliver a shock if it detects a heart that is in ventricular fibrillation (Vfib), when the heart beats with rapid, erratic electrical impulses. This causes pumping chambers in your heart (the ventricles) to quiver uselessly, instead of pumping blood. The shock momentarily stuns the heart and gives it the chance to resume beating effectively. Essentially, it turns it off and turns it back on it again to restart it.

What’s an undertow?

Not to be confused with rip currents, an undertow occurs in all bodies of water where waves crash on shore. It’s strongest in surf zones where the waves are larger. After the wave rolls onto shore gravity pulls back toward the ocean and the water rushes back out collecting in the next wave. This outward rush of water and the inward rush of a wave creates an undertow. They are only dangerous to those who can’t stand against the backwash (outward rush of water) like children as the undertow only goes out to next incoming wave.

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Questions I Asked My Kids

These kinds of posts usually happen on Thursday. They’re my rules so I can break ’em if I want to. I feel like I’ve been watching education systems fall apart. DeVos, who has no experience in public schools and various other major skills, has become Trumps Education Secretary. Here in Nova Scotia, teachers are in their 3rd month of a work to rule strike because classroom conditions no longer meet students’ needs. But those are posts for another time on another day. Today we need a smile and a laugh. Who better to look to for that laugh than a certain 5 and 9 year old. Crash and Bang can deliver a laugh faster than a Superbowl commercial. 

1. How fast can you run?

Crash: I’d say… fast. 15 miles an hour
Bang: A million miles ahead of a car

2. Where does snow come from?

Crash: Comes from rain. Rain gets cold then it falls as snow.
Bang: Clouds

3. Why do birds fly?

Crash: So they can get around easier 
Bang: To get to their home because walking would be too slow

4. What’s something Guppie (their grandfather) always said?

Crash: I’ve got a surprise for you (Kindereggs)
Bang: I’m going to make stew

5. What is something that will remind you of Guppie?

Crash: His cottage, throwing rocks, teaching us how to curse
Bang: About talking to Nanny Sharon, throwing rocks, snuggling under the warm (electric) blanket, and lots of money – he gave me lots of money.

6. Can you tell me a story or a dream you had?

Crash: I had a dream. From that TV show Ghost Adventures except it was me and my friends and not the guys on the show. Rocks were being thrown horizontally at us from nowheres. I sat next this guy and felt this draft of really freezing cold air around us.(Guess we won’t be watching that show again)
Bang: I was playing on the new Nintendo Switch and I was playing Yoshi’s Wooly World and I got hit by a big ginormous metal spider robot.

7. Why does Dad love Mom?

Crash
: Because she’s beautiful and funny and has a great sense of humor
Bang: Because she’s his wifey

8. Why does Mom love Dad?

Crash: Because he has strong muscles
Bang: Because he gives hugs and kisses

9. How many TimBits can you eat?

Crash: one jillion ten thousand nine hundred ninety nine
Bang: 3,001

10. How do you know Mom and Dad love you?

Crash: Because they let us stay up late, they feed us supper, put a roof over our heads and give us clothes
Bang: Because we snuggle.

Go Ask Your Father: Trains, Clouds, Supper, and Stars

How do steam trains work?
Like most little boys, and even some big boys, trains are amazing pieces of machinery. Bang came to me to the other day wanting me to look up videos of coal furnaces on steam trains. He wanted to see the coal burning. There were more than enough of such videos on YouTube to satisfy a five year old. Naturally, while watching the coal burn he wondered how it made the steam train chug.

That’s a busy gify. Upon closer inspection you can follow the chain reaction. We’ll start with that bright orange space in the back. The fire. That’s what Bang was originally fascinated by. The heat from the fire is carried through the boiler – the long, horizontal, yellow section. The heated pipes boil the water which rises into the dome at the top. As more and more steam rises it also rises in pressure. The pressurised steam then travels down to the piston. The piston opens alternating sides of a chamber. This alternation moves a larger piston which is connected to a shaft that turns the wheels. It’s this step that give the steam train its signature chugga chugga chugga. The steam is then released from the chimney.

Why are clouds white?
I didn’t really have an answer for this one, right away. I was stumped and had to admit that I didn’t exactly know. I know fog is white, too. But if water is clear, air is clear, why are clouds white? It turns out it’s because of the size of the droplets of water clouds are made of and how sunlight reacts when it goes through said large drops. Do you know what a micron is? It’s 1,000th of millimeter. A droplet of water in a cloud measure about 10 microns. This is HUGE compared to the rays of light passing through it. Like a hotdog down a hallway huge. The light gets scattered, but because the drop are so huge all the light gets scattered equally. When you mix all the colors you get white. So clouds are white because light is white.

What’s for supper?
Seriously? I don’t know. Unless I’m in the mood to make spaghetti/lasagna sauce, I sometimes don’t know what’s for supper until about hangry o’clock. This morning I ask Crash what he wanted for supper and he said McDonalds. I said, “Nope, I’m cooking.” So he suggested shepherds pie. Unfortunately, we just had something similar last night so I made him pick again. He offered pork roast but I had to shoot that down because we’re cooking for DW’s mom’s birthday on Sunday and we might be having that then. The fourth try was tacos. We had taco Tuesday on Friday. Picky eater Bang doesn’t eat tacos. He requested scrambled eggs, toast, and bacon. I put on my short order cook hat and we all got what we wanted. Yummm…

Where are stars?
In DW’s eyes. There’s some on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, too. There are also billions of them in the sky and this is what Bang was referring to as he gazed out of his bedroom window at bedtime this evening. All of the stars you see are in our very own galaxy, The Milky Way. Looking at the night sky, distant galaxies will be confused for a single star. There’s only one star in our solar system – the sun. The nearest star to our sun is called Alpha Centuri. This is actually a 3 star system even though it looks like a single star in the sky. It takes light travelling at 186,000 miles per second four and half years to get here. If it were to suddenly explode we wouldn’t know it until 2021. For the stars even farther away, we see even older light. To compare, the galaxies photographed in Hubble’s Deep Field photo are roughly 13 billion years old (which is also the shelf life of Twinkies). Earth is only 4.5 billion years old so those distant galaxies are 3 times older than our planet! Incredible!

Parenting vs Baseball

It’s America’s pastime.

Even though I live in Canada, I’m not really a hockey fan. I don’t have a favorite team. Kids in schools ask me, “Who do you go for?” (translation: Who’s your favorite hockey team?) I always give the same response just to see the shock on their face. “I don’t watch hockey.” I usually have to pick their jaw up off the floor. After a few minutes they regain the use of their voice.

My favorite sport to play is soccer. Those hockey kids in school know this from all my days subbing in their gym class. Otherwise, baseball is where my loyalty lies. Particularly with a certain black and orange bird.

We’re now 11 days from pitchers and catchers reporting to the warm climate of Sarasota Springs, Florida. We’re also 25 days from their first spring training game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Argh…

This means we’re also not far from our friendly, family rivalry as DW and Bang are Blue Jays fans.

All this talk of baseball makes me want to compare the game of baseball with raising a family…

1. Training

It’s all about creating and moulding the best team possible. Mind you, I won’t get fired for having too many losing seasons, but I’m still responsible to do the best with what I’m given. Just as the players are responsible for improving their game, we’re responsible for being better than we were yesterday. Perhaps it’s teaching the kids a new skill they need for school or sport or life. Perhaps it’s improving ourselves to be better at whatever it is we’re trying to improve upon. We’re always striving for the next homerun…

2. Patience

There are roughly 150 pitches thrown by each team. Some crazy level of patience is needed to get through the 3+ hours it takes to deliver all 300 of them. Multiply that by 162 games per season and you’ve got 48,600 pitches to watch. When kids are throwing temper tantrums, you’re spouse isn’t paying attention, and you’re afraid your house is so messy it’ll appear on the next episode of Hoarders, you need patience. Though, unlike baseball, parenting isn’t a summer game. It’s all day, every day with no hope of winning a world series and the pay sucks.

3. Coaches

A baseball team needs lots of specialities. There are managers who oversee the whole shebang. There are also pitching coaches, hitting coaches, bench coaches, bullpen coaches, first base coaches and third base coaches. A household works much the same way. I’m the cooking coach. Not because DW can’t, but because I enjoy it more. DW is the paying bills coach. Nobody likes that position. I’m the cleaning coach because I’m home more often. DW is the snuggle coach because she’s so snugly.  

4. Bases

Speaking of bases… 1st base is kissing. 2nd base has something to do with boobs. I’m fairly confident that you can figure out 3rd base and a homerun. Without the homerun, without “scoring”, we wouldn’t have the families we have. No kids, anyway. May you all hit homeruns tonight without gaining extra players on your team…

 

Go Ask Your Father: Dictionaries, Weekends, Playing, and Airplanes

How long does it take to make a dictionary?

Though it’s writing began in 1857 it’s first volume wasn’t published until 1884. It was estimated to take 10 years to complete but took 70 when a 10 volume edition was published in 1928. This is about the same amount of time it takes me to get DW’s to-do list done, aka the honey-do list. The second edition, twenty volume Oxford English dictionary contains 171,476 defined words. That’s almost as many words as a chatty, world pondering kid can say at bedtime. 

Is it the weekend?

It most definitely is. It’s the time of sleepovers, staying up late, and not sleeping in because kids never sleep in. However, it wasn’t the weekend at the time of this asking. It was a school day. Bang was either looking for a few more minutes of sleep or to sleepover in either his brother’s bed or at Nanny’s house. Most of the time he enjoys his sleep. We normally have to wake him for school. His brother is destined to be a farmer because it’s up at 6 am, sometimes earlier. I saw a FB quote that goes something like this: As a kid I couldn’t understand why parents wanted to sleep so much. As an adult I don’t understand why kids are never tired.

Who’s going to play with me?

Poor Bang. Nobody loves him and he always has to play all alone. Note sarcasm. Sometimes we build a hotwheels races track. Sometimes we play Mario Kart on the Wii. They boys especially love this because they laugh their little heads off when DW swears at her racecar. Sometimes we play Bug Trails. It’s a fun little matching game and I don’t even have to let him win. He beats me fair and square! Sometimes I call “Not It” and I go cook supper. Or I call “Bedtime”. Or I delegate it to his big brother. He’s been tired and cranky this week so playing with him has felt much like petting a porcupine.

Can an airplane fly with no roof?

DW and I watch Mayday, a show on the Discovery Channel that show how and why planes have crashed. While it’s informative and entertaining, it’s also nerve wracking. We have flown numerous times and it makes DW even more nervous to fly. I find it consoling knowing that these issues have happened in the past, they were thoroughly investigated and solved so they don’t happen again. Besides, statistics show that it’s safer to fly than to drive. In one recent episode we watched part of the roof of the fusalage ripped off. 

The plane landed safely and the only fatality was a flight attendent who flew out of the plane when the roof departed. If you remember once upon a time, planes were built with open cockpits. But a plane that’s supposed to have roof and suddenly doesn’t can continue to fly so long at the remainder of the fusalage can handle the stress load and the drag isn’t too great. It’s the wings and tail that provide the lift. Drag (the wind pushing on the plane) will slow the plane down. So long as the plane flies at speeds greats enough to provide sufficient lift, it will carry on soaring with the birds. Other planes have lost parts of it fusalage or cargo doors yet the entire plane went crashing down because it’s drag was so great it couldn’t get lift. DW and I both agree that it would be fun to investigate plane crashes, though it would be disheartening to know that what we were investigating may have caused many to die. I, myself, would love to learn to be a pilot!

Questions I Asked My Kids: Would You Rather…

So apparently I’m doing this blogging this all wrong. DW shared an article with me about a lady who is making over $50,000 a month with her blog. A MONTH! I’d be happy to make that in year, let alone 30 days. She also spends 40-60 hours a week on her blog. I might spend 7-10 if I write every day. 

1. Would you rather drink lemon juice or eat a cricket?

Crash: Drink lemon juice
Bang: Eat a cricket
Mom: Drink lemon juice
Dad: Eat a cricket 

2. Would you rather have stupidly huge hands or huge feet?

Crash: Huge hands
Bang: Huge hands
Mom: Huge hands
Dad: Huge hands

3. Would you rather have your grandmother’s hair or her first name?

Crash: Her Hair
Bang: Her hair
Mom: Her hair
Dad: Her name

4. Would you rather be the best player on a team that never wins or the worst player on a team that never loses?

Crash: Worst player on a team that never loses
Bang: Best player on a team that never wins
Mom: Best player on a team that never wins
Dad: Best player on a team that never wins

5. Would you rather have feet for hands or hands for feet?

Crash: Hands for feet
Bang: Feet for hands
Mom: Hands for feet
Dad: Hands for feet

6. Would you rather be blind or deaf?

Crash: Deaf
Bang: Blind
Mom: Deaf
Dad: Deaf

7. Would you rather be horrible at a job but get paid alot or be perfect at a job and get paid a little?

Crash: Horrible at a job and get paid alot
Bang: Perfect at a job and get paid a little
Mom: Horrible and get paid alot
Dad: Perfect and get paid a little

8. Would you rather be able to only whisper or only shout?

Crash: Shout
Bang: Shout
Mom: Only whisper
Dad: Only whisper

9. Would you rather give up electronics or junk food?

Crash: Junk food
Bang: Junk food
Mom: Junk food
Dad: Junk food

10. Would you rather have an elephant trunk for a nose or a giraffe’s neck?

Crash: Elephant trunk
Bang: Giraffe’s neck so I can go through the ceiling
Mom: Elephant trunk
Dad: Elephant trunk

I encourage you to ask your family member these questions. Bonus points if you can guess their answer!

Being God

Perhaps Jesus was God’s son. Perhaps Jesus was God himself. Either way, it is said that when Jesus walked our mortal Earth he was a worker of miracles. He could make the blind to see, cripples to walk, dead to live. I’m not here to preach to you though.

Then it came to me…

We parents are God, too. Think about it…

Jesus healed the sick. We know that having a sick child is miserable for everyone. So we do everything we can to make them better. Snuggles. Cool baths. Medicine. Lots of sleep. A trip to the hospital to see a doctor if warranted. We bestow upon them our powers of healing. Granted, it’s not as instantaneous, but still, we, too, heal the sick.

Jesus clothed the poor. From their very first breath outside of their mother’s womb we put clothes on our children. We plan what outfit they’ll wear home from the hospital. We buy clothes month after month after month after… as they outgrow outfits faster than they can put them on. WTH? They just tried on those pants at the store and they outgrew them on the way home! And our kids are dirt poor so they need us for clothes.

Jesus fed the hungry. Sometimes with fish and garlic bread. We feed the hungry, too. Sometimes with hotdogs and macaroni and cheese. Sometimes with pizza. Most times with veggies, we hope. We can’t keep food in the house. “Can I have a snack” soon evolves into “I’m hungry” which eventually becomes a shortened grunt, “Imungry“. They eat a full meal and minutes later they come back looking for a snack. They seem to eat their way through a dozen grocery bags of food on the way home from the grocery store.

We may not have all the patience of The Shephard, but we do what we can for our little sheep. We heal them, we clothe them, and we feed them month after month, year after year whether they worship us or not.