This morning, Meelyn and Aisling were both complaining about their duuuuull pencils and how haaaaard they are to write with and I was very puzzled by this. We have a nice automatic pencil sharpener that I bought at the beginning of the school year last year - it's a sturdy thing and only asks that its batteries be replaced every so often. I bought new batteries for it just last week.
"I bought batteries for the sharpener just last week!" I exclaimed indignantly. "If your pencils are dull, then summon the energy to put the new batteries in the sharpener."
"We can't," said Meelyn.
"But we'd like to," added Aisling helpfully. "Diagramming sentences is bad enough, but boyoboy, when you have to use a dull pencil and draw all those dumb brackets and...."
"Never mind about diagramming," I interrupted shortly. "Why can't you put the new batteries in the pencil sharpener?"
The girls traded a knowing look and then turned their limpid blue gazes on me, innocent astonishment at finding themselves in circumstances that are so absurd as to be incomprehensible oozing from their every pore. Let me just say that there were probably snake oil salesmen selling a remedy to naive homesteaders off the back of a horse-drawn caravan -- a remedy that would cure everything from dandruff to B.O. to the galloping consumption -- who looked more trustworthy and reliable than my two children did at that moment.
"It's lost," said Meelyn simply.
"Lost?" I said, my brows drawing together threateningly. My voice went up a notch. "Lost?"
"We can't find it," Aisling elaborated helpfully. "It's nowhere to be found."
"I see," I replied in clipped tones. "Well, you know what? It's going to get FOUND again very SOON because until it is FOUND neither of you two girls is going to have ANY COMPUTER TIME."
They looked a little panicked. "It could be in the rolling cart with the scrapbooking stuff," said Meelyn hurriedly.
"Or in the Shakespeare crate...."
"Or in a drawer...."
"In a backpack?"
"Out in the van?"
"ON THE FRIKKIN' MOON, MAYBE??!!" I bellowed. "FIND IT. VERY SOON."
"Can't we just buy a new one?" Aisling asked. "It's so boring looking for stuff that's lost."
I had to leave the room at that one and I went out to the kitchen to pound my head on the counter, reflecting that this morning I'd had to tell Aisling for the six hundredth time that there is a difference between Martin Luther, the 16th century Augustinian monk who started the Protestant Reformation in Europe and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the twentieth century civil rights leader who was assassinated in the 1960s.
It's days like this that make me think about the empty nest, which will someday be home to me, my husband, a dog or two and an un-lost pencil sharpener.
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