Saturday, October 3, 2015

Nothing Says Happy Birthday Like Tasty Crickets

My birthday was a little over a week ago, and I have to say that this one was pretty wonderful. That morning when my students were entering first period, they loaded me up with brownies and birthday cards, and they sang to me. Horribly of course, but it was so freakin' sweet. I was stumped, wondering how they figured out it was my birthday. I found out later that Mr. Moore (my mischievous retired-teacher-friend) was subbing on our campus that week and had spilled the beans. I gave him an earful when I found out. Except for it was more like an eye-full since it was via texting.

Later that morning, Teri swung by my work and had a large caramel iced coffee from Jack in the Box delivered to my classroom. I guess that doesn't sound like a big deal, but the caramel-flavored one is my favorite, and it's been discontinued. She had to drive all the way to the Jack in the Box by the freeway to find a place that still had a little bit of the caramel syrup left. She also bought me two additional large coffees--sans the ice--and poured them into a bottle for me, so I could luxuriate in my favorite iced coffee a little longer before I lost them forever. 

When I came home from work, Clint, who likes to torture me with the present-opening process, made me work to win my gifts. I was given thirty seconds to run through the backyard and shoot as many clay pigeons as I could. Each clay pigeon had a gift taped to the inside. The catch was I had to watch out for "whammies"--clay pigeons that had "unconventional" gifts taped to them. The game was a blast (no pun intended). My favorite gift I won was this:



I think I about hyperventilated. I've been wanting some kind of gumball machine for my classroom for awhile, but this far exceeded anything I had imagined. Since I can't keep gum or candy in it (against school rules), Clint stuffed it with pencil toppers and miniature erasers. My students LOVE this thing. Clint got the machine from a company in China that manufactures candy dispensers for businesses, and he got all of the pencil toppers and erasers from Oriental Trading Company. Since he stuck with bulk items that were being clearanced out, each eraser ended up costing about two cents. When students put a quarter in, they get anywhere from 4 to 10 erasers. I'm planning to use the "profit" to buy more erasers.

Unfortunately, I did hit two whammy gifts. Whammy gift #1 landed me with three boxes of dehydrated crickets. On the plus side they came in a nice assortment of flavors (sour cream and onion, bacon and cheddar, and salt and vinegar). I gave them to students as prizes. I made a super big deal about it. "Now whoever does the best job on today's presentation wins a highly coveted, amazing prize. It's.....drumroll please.....some delicious crickets! Never say I don't love you." By the time Monday rolled around, my students were wondering what else they could do to win crickets, and I had to give them the bad news that we had run out. Seventh graders are awesome. 

Here's whammy gift #2:






This is Amelia. She's a Brittany--a hunting dog (primarily bird hunting). Clint and Elijah got their hunting licenses last month, and Clint's been pestering me ever since that he wants a hunting dog. One of the groups he and Elijah joined, Quail Forever, basically requires a hunting dog for their outings. You can always group up with others who have a dog, but it's not quite the same as having your own. While I understood all this, we already had three dogs. There was NO WAY IN HELL I was signing up for a fourth. So I told Clint that he was going to have to wait until Cricket (our nearly-11-year-old Corgi) passed away before getting his dog. 

Then I hit that stupid whammy. Which was clearly marked with a 'W', by the way. If I had hit the other two whammies, I would have ended up with a McDonalds frappuchino and a hug. BUT NO. I scored some crispy crickets and a damn dog. Yay me.

To be fair, I don't really notice the difference between three dogs and four. I think by the time you reach three you're already so saturated with mammals that adding one more into the mix is barely noticeable. Plus Clint's doing all the work of training her, so it's not so bad. Amelia is playful and super affectionate, and she's making it difficult to not like her.

Still, if we don't reign this pet-thing in soon, this is going to be us by next year:


(Clint texted me this photo the other day and I couldn't stop giggling)

Seriously, our household is a zoo. If there was ever any doubt, this is what I was dealing with while trying to read in the backyard this morning:


Tipsy and Fable--our obtrusive geese who are still struggling with the concept of personal space.