Some families are art families. Art families generally have a
favorite medium, but every artistic endeavor from a 2-year-old's
scribbles to an adult's woodcarving is oohed and aahed over like a
brand-new baby. The art family will discuss a project only after it
has been created and will undoubtedly decide it is perfect, because
there is no way to do art wrong.
Little Billy's third-grade clay
sculpture of a blowfish is proudly displayed on the dining table.
Aunt Rowena's watercolor of a lily graces the entrance hall.
No one ever mentions Aunt Rowena's flower-child past except when
she is hallucinating, and they never mention that her lily looks
more like an albino octopus.
Likewise, little Billy never let on that his "blowfish" was
supposed to be a flower vase. Everyone turned it on its side and
decided it was a blowfish... so that's what it is. The art family is
Our family is a science family. Our house looks like any other
from the outside, but inside, you will not see posters of
quarterbacks throwing a football or paint brushes in the silverware
drawer. In fact, if you're squeamish, you might not even want to
It no longer even fazes me when I pick up a Dixie cup in the
bathroom and see something strange in it, resting in a liquid I
can't identify. I simply put it back where I found it and hope the
disturbance didn't ruin the experiment.
Littering my son's dresser, there are parts of pocket calculators
with the liquid crystal display ripped out of them. For what reason?
I can only imagine.
Yesterday, my daughter asked everyone to write "The quick brown
fox jumped over the lazy dog" 10 times in different colors of ink to
see if the colors had an effect on one's handwriting. Everyone had a
suggestion as to how to remove any variables from this experiment.
This is considered dinner conversation.
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There are two cups sitting on top of my refrigerator. One is
growing rock candy; the other is separating tomato seeds from pulp
for planting purposes. The latter is rather gross and involves
growing mold... on purpose. It would be rude not to warn guests to
be wary of that cup. Although doing so only makes them want to look
Batteries are in constant demand, as locomotion is a popular
topic with my 10-year-old. Therefore, the TV remote is always
missing its batteries, which causes as much trouble as a missing
In the kitchen, there are graduated cylinders and petri dishes
gracing the countertop, along with evidence of my attempts to grow a
pineapple by immersing the top of said pineapple in water. This has
produced massive numbers of fruit flies, which my 15-year old uses
to test his fruit fly extermination methods.
In the basement lies the evidence of my husband's attempt to
build solar panels with our storm windows. The results of his
efforts were... inconclusive. Now he has plans to build a solar
dehydration unit with the now unsalvageable storm windows.
If, while visiting us, you were suddenly hit with the urge to
extract some tomato DNA, you'd be in luck! We have the required
mentholated spirits on ice in our freezer awaiting just such an
If someone ever brought a football into our home, it would
probably get the same reception as one of the cups on my fridge
would get in an art home: the look Spock might give you if he
thought something was... illogical.
[By LAURA SNYDER]
Laura Snyder is a nationally syndicated
columnist, author and speaker. You can reach her at
or visit www.lauraonlife.com
for more info.