We’d never do our kid’s homework, but papier-mâché and science projects just don’t happen on kitchen tables without some intervention and guidance.
Erin- Oy, this week may qualify as the Everest for School Projects, but I do believe we have made it to base camp. This week has been non-stop. Ellen and I have both been up to our eyeballs in school projects.
Ellen- Well, if you have been up to your eyeballs, I guess I’ve been up to my armpits. I do only have two kids to your five, after all.
Erin – For the record, when we were planning said family, nobody mentioned school projects times 5. Factor that in, people! It should be right up there with college tuition and the cost of diapers.
And I am not feeling your math on this one. The proportions don’t seem right. I have 5. You have 2. I’m not seeing a 3/5 difference between the armpits and the eyeballs.
Ellen- I was dealing with epidemiology, laminar flow patterns, and Rube Goldberg machines. I think that closes the gap.
Erin- Well, I need a drink to even pretend that I want you to expand on that.
Ellen- Remember the drinking games in college? Ah, those were the days. We had such endless hours of time that we had to create games so that drinking lasted long enough to fill them.
Erin- Ahh, those WERE the days! Loved the game “Never Have I Ever”! Somebody would start by making a statement that starts with “Never have I ever”. Then anybody who “had ever” had to drink. I remember this being one of the more structured drinking games with rules and everything. There was even moral high ground: lying was strictly forboten.
Ellen- Holy Preciousness. You all can save your eye muscles the strain of the eye roll. I have you covered. I guess they liked their drinking games with contrived Shakespearean structure at Erin’s liberal arts college.
Erin-I think it had something to do with being run by Jesuits, but I’m just guessing.
Ellen- Anyway, I went to the University of Maryland during the period when they were transitioning from being a contender on Playboy’s Top Party School List to Not-Your-Safety-School.
Our games were not structured, and the only moral high ground was not to target your best friend’s boyfriend as your next hook-up. That being said, we also played ‘Never Have I Ever,” just without the integrity.
Erin – Can you imagine if The Sisterhood crashed the party on those poor 20-somethings?
Ellen – Ooo, I’m envisioning “Never Have I Ever: The School Projects Edition.” We would either make those poor Innocents’ heads explode or exponentially increase their dedication to birth control use.
Erin – It might go something like this:
Innocent 1: Never Have I Ever violated a farm animal.
Erin: (Take a drink) Check. I just shoved a rooster in a can.
Innocent 1: Did you just say you shoved a rooster up your can?
Table shouts: “Spill the story, spill the story.”
Erin: Puh-leez. We had to papier-mâché a rooster for a third grade character in a can project.
Innocent 1: Well, that was a lot more boring than I thought it would be.
(Sideways glances among the Innocents. A few raised eyebrows.)
Innocent 2: Never Have I Ever dabbled in bondage.
Ellen: (Takes a drink) Well, I may not technically qualify, but seeing as I already took the drink, I’m going to go for it. Yesterday, I had to scour the house for a pulley, steel cable, and duct tape so that Coco (13) could construct her Rube Goldberg machine. But, the rubric did specifically say the machine could not “imply profane, indecent, or lewd expressions,” so I’m going to take a penalty drink for game foul.
NOT Coco’s Rube Goldberg Machine
Innocent 1 whispers to Innocent 2: Wait, what did she say?
Innocent 2: I think she said that Rudy Goldberg, you know, from Econ class, puts roosters in bondage…
Innocent 3: Never Have I Ever worn knock-offs or discount. (Smirks as she pushes perfectly manicured hand through shiny, sleek hair)
Erin: (Takes a drink). Hunger games T-shirt for book report for seventh grader. Biddie(13) had to create original designs based on characters from the book, print her designs onto transfers and iron them on. They were originals, but you can’t get more discount than ink-jet transfers on Wal-Mart t-shirts.
Innocent 3: O. Kay. (looks at Innocents 1 and 2 with scarcely concealed horror)
Innocent 4: Never Have I Ever seen a musical. (Clearly lying or overcompensating for something.)
Ellen: Just hand me the bottle. I’m living in High School Musical, and Coco is only in 8th grade. Last year, Leader of the Pack: 5 times. This year, Bye Bye Birdie: 5 times. I love you, Drama, oh yes I do.
Wait, I’ll take another party foul drink, because I actually do love it.
Innocent 5: Never Have I Ever abused any balls.
Ellen: Oh Sweetie. Party foul for wince-producing flirting and/or poor attempt at double entendre. On second thought, I’ll take the drink for my snarkalicious judgment. You’re young and perky; you can totally pull off a line like that.
Erin-whispers to Ellen: But only for about 5 more years. Snicker, snicker.
Innocent 2: Slow down on the party foul drinks, Lady. After this tequila, all we have is a garbage can full of grain and Kool-Aid.
Erin: (Takes a drink) Hey, back off. Do you want her to start talking about the Rube Goldberg thing again? Oh, and back to the balls, fill me up, because I helped Charlie(11) cut an old foam ball in half to create a model of the animal cell.
Innocent 1: I don’t think that is what she meant…
Erin: It’s a DRINKING game (speaking slowly just in case she’s a little slow). Now pass the bottle.
Innocent 6 (clearly here only because her roommates think she spends too many Saturday nights at the library or babysitting): Never Will I Ever Force My Child to Pursue Something She is Not Passionate About.
The Sisterhood: GROAN!
Ellen and Erin: PARTY FOUL! No future tense. You don’t KNOW what you’ll do.
Ellen: Going to take two drinks for this one. Just to numb the pain. I forced Jellybean (11) to join Science Olympiad; to push her beyond her desires for perfection. I thought it was an activity where she could learn and create without worrying about the grade on the report card. But I am paying for it. I am now teaching fifth graders epidemiology.
The Sisterhood: By unanimous vote, we vetoed the idea of hitting up Red Box and just having them watch Contagion.
Erin: Never Have I Ever built a salinometer.
All of the Innocents in unison: WHO let all of these chicks in here!?!
Ellen (Takes a drink): Score a third drink for Science Olympiad. We constructed one out of drinking straws and modeling clay. It took two hours. I could have gotten one on Amazon for $15.95 in 15 seconds. AND it was eligible for Free Super Saving Shipping. I could have added that callous buffer I’ve had my eye on to the cart and been good to go.
I have advanced science degrees and six summers working in a marine biology lab on my resume and I’m having a hard time finding the worth in this. I have to avoid eye contact with the girls when I proclaim, “This is a great learning experience.”
Innocent 4: Maybe you should say it with jazz hands. Jazz hands make everything more convincing.
Innocent 2: Yeah, you’ve never seen a musical! But more importantly, DON’T ENCOURAGE THEM!
Erin: At this point, we have finished off the bottle of tequila and have moved onto slurping up the garbage can of grain with the leftover drinking straws from the salinometer project.
The Sisterhood: Um, I think we’re about to get bounced from this shindig.
Ellen: You can throw us out, but if you procreate, we are your future.
Innocents run screaming from the room with hands over ears.
Erin: Pipe down! We’re leaving. But just be grateful we didn’t bring the “Never Have I Ever: The Midnight Feedings/Mastitis/Explosive Poops Edition.”
By Ellen Williams Erin Dymowski