The 12 Days of Christmas

One brand new roof

two happy children

three  family Christmases

four healthy people

five new movies to see

six good friends to visit

seven books to read

eight pounds of cookies

nine belly laughs

ten hours of sleep each night

eleven days of break

twelve family members

–my cup runneth over with the bounty of the season.

Happy holidays from me and mine to you and yours.

 (C) Sara Ackerman 2017

via Daily Prompt: Bounty

The Accidental Martyr

Let me spin a hypothetical situation for your consideration. A man and his new wife are visiting his parents. She’s a pretty strawberry-blonde haired, blue-eyed girl-next door type with a sweet smile and pleasing mannerisms. Yet she’s still a little nervous around her new family, and when she’s nervous she gets an upset stomach. Maybe she has some flatulence.(One never knows in these kinds of situations).

I can picture her, this young woman eager to make a good impression on her new family, but embarrassed by the constant gurgling in her stomach. She makes a quick escape to the family room and, ah, relieves herself of any unwanted gas. Concerned for her welfare and her unexplained retreat, her dutiful husband comes to find her and immediately wishes he hadn’t as an acrid smell burns his nose and makes his eyes water (his words, not mine, er, I mean hers). He braves the stench he knows will close around him in such closer quarter and places a comforting arm around her shoulders.

Just when the new bride thinks things couldn’t be any worse, in walks her father-in-law. She cringes, realizing her secret has been found out. Before she could even utter an “excuse me,” her father-in-law waves his hands in front of his face and says, “Jesus, son! Did something die in your stomach? Turn on the fan!”

The poor new husband, caught between his concern for his wife and concern for stating the truth has no choice but to meekly accept his fate, knowing if he outed his wife, he’d be sleeping on the couch for months. He grits his teeth and says, “Sorry about that. Must have been something I ate.”

The young woman has escaped. But before breathing a sigh of relief, she says, “Yes, really, Husband. Have you been eating roadkill when I’m not looking? Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m leaving.” Thrusting her nose in the air, she beats a hasty retreat.

From that day on a martyr was born and his wife, now not so young after ten years of marriage, knows her husband will take the blame if digestive woes strike again. He has learned to live with the indignity, though perhaps in recent years the ignominy of being held responsible for countless flatulent expulsions is starting to wear thin, for now he has martyred his youngest child. Or so I’m told.

But that’s a story for anther day.

Being cool is apparently not in my repetoire

Today a student asked me how to write a conclusion for an essay. As he is recently arrived to the United States, my explanation took place in Spanish.

(Side note: I’m not a native speaker, and my verbs can be wonky at times, like if I have a headache, or I’ve taught for seven hours straight without a break, or if I stayed up too late reading a good book and I’m too tired to think straight. You know, the usual stuff. Sometimes I slip in French or Italian words in the hope that the similarity in language families will help me and my students will recognize a cognate. When you speak four languages, sometimes it’s hard to keep them straight. Anyway, many days I feel I could have done better or that I have not done enough).

Back to my student. He needed to know what to put in a conclusion and he needed examples. And then from somewhere (maybe my extra supply of awesomeness?), I pulled out a fully formed conclusion. My verbs were perfect. There were no language cross overs. I used advanced sentence structures, and I had never sounded less like an English speaker speaking Spanish. Best of all, he even looked mildly impressed.

Then, of course, I blew it.

 “Oh, my god. Did you just hear that? I was on fire. Have you ever heard me speak that well before? I am awesome!”

I saw the moment his burgeoning respect began to vanish.

He thanked me while my other students giggled behind their hands.  

I couldn’t just play it cool.

(C) Sara Ackerman 2016

The Last Red Head

9 y/o: Ew, there’s a hair in my vegetables.

Me: It’s probably yours anyway. Throw it out.

13 y/o: It’s totally yours, mom. It’s red. 

Me: Lots of people have red hair.

13 y/o: No, you’re the only one.

Me: The only one with red hair? Why didn’t I know about this?Where have my admirers been? Where are my accolades?

13 y/o: What?

Me: If I’m the only one with red hair, I deserve some sort of recognition. 

Hubby: At least a plaque.

Me: Screw a plaque. I want poems written about me and songs describing my beauty.

13 y/o: I didn’t mean-

Me: And a diamond tiara. Where is my tiara? Is nothing sacred anymore? As the only red-haired woman in the world, I have earned the right to a damned tiara!

13 y/o: I meant in the house! You’re the only red head in the house!

9 y/o: (throws the hair away and whispers) Ask for a throne.

Me: Good thinking. I want a throne made of gold, too. 

Hubby: Get me one, but not a wimpy gold one. I want a kick-ass iron throne.

9 y/o: Can I have one with dragons painted on it? 

13 y/o: (rolls her eyes) You’re all weirdos.