Here's the Scoop: Jan. 13, 2010

Are they gone yet?
The 10-day “Period of Forgetfulness” has passed. Memories of “The Visit” are starting to fade. A bit. You see, over the holidays we hosted some friends and their young children. For two years…I mean two days. That’s 48 hours to those of you who don’t keep track of such things. It’s a very, very long time when half of the houseguests can’t tie their shoes.
Not that I don’t enjoy kids. It’s just that I’m not used to them. It’s sort of like poison ivy — I’m sure that wouldn’t be so bad if I had it a lot.
And these were good kids. “Active” is a kind way to describe their behavior, I guess.
For instance, it was sort of cute when these little tykes carried all of the kindling away from the fireplace where I had so carefully stacked it and piled it in a distant wood box. Ha, ha, ha.
The burning desire to play with firewood heated up after this act. I must admit that Mom and Dad’s pride in their eldest son’s “firewood sculpture” was a bit puzzling. Well, it may have been kind of cool if done, say, on the lawn. Not on the dining room floor — because it could (would or is it wood?) crash onto the dining room floor. Well, well…isn’t that cute? Ummm…no. But I didn’t yell. I was a good host.
Maybe I should have shouted, because then “the boys” would have been too scared to stick around and drive their toy trucks across the dining room table. Hilarious stuff.
“Do these kids ever take naps?” I asked in my best joking-but-not-totally manner?
Fortunately, the youngest boy actually did settle in for a nap shortly after the “Will Those Scratches Come Out of the Floor? Incident.”
Unfortunately, Big Brother’s boundless energy could probably power a medium-sized city for a month. Not only was he full of life, he was also imaginative.
I’m not sure what the goal of the “game” was, but this cute little fellow thought it would be amusing to leap from ottoman to couch. And back again. Many times. Whoa…that is funny. But not to me. I’m a bit of a grouch…and, well, the humor of this act somehow escaped me.
Big Brother’s father just seemed confused by the whole circus atmosphere. He was probably pretty sure I was not a fan of “Couch Cushion Pinball” but he didn’t exactly take control from a disciplinary standpoint.
Finally, I couldn’t stand it anymore.
“Son, are you aware that the couch is filled with razor blades and they will slice and dice you if you keep up that jumping?” I asked, dazed by the whole scene.
OK, OK. I know it was a dumb thing to tell the kid, but it was the first idea that pounced into my mind.
Although my threat was stupid, the kid was smart enough to get it. He stopped the hopping. But he shot me a look that said: “Ha, I won’t jump on your couch (until you’re in the other room), but I’m pretty sure I’ll be up crying at 3 a.m., 4 a.m. and again at 6 a.m. — just in case you missed any of the earlier outbursts.”
I’m not sure how the tyke was able to predict the timing of these scream-fests so well, but he was very accurate. And I didn’t miss any.
The second day that this early-morning alarm sounded, I was in a much better mood. This meant, I knew, that it was Leaving Day. To avoid any delays or confusion, I was kind enough to leave a trail of firewood to our friends’ vehicle…kind of like hunters leaving apples for deer.
“Pile in!” I offered enthusiastically. “And keep the wood — my treat.”
Of course, I hope my little ploy didn’t splinter our relationship.