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Don’t Be Mad

Well, folks, the worst has happened.  I can’t believe that it’s happened to me, but it snuck up on me when I wasn’t paying attention.

I have become a BACKER-INNER!

In my defense, I haven’t exactly been at the top of my game this week for the following reasons:

A.  I got my butt out of bed early for two successive mornings during my summer vacation to participate in a “voluntary” teacher in-service.

2.  I did not stop for Starbucks coffee on my way to the in-service.  And I had time.  A LOT of time, dangit.  In fact, I shouldn’t have gotten up that early.  What the heck was I thinking?

III.  Wonderbutt spent 2 hours last night acting like he had swallowed a tiny lizard who was crawling around in his throat.  I could not find any evidence of what foreign object he had recently ingested.  Probably because he had recently ingested it.

H.  I spent the first of my in-service mornings worrying that Cap’n Firepants would be murdered by a stranger from Craig’s List who offered to buy our mother-in-law’s washer and dryer.

7.  I spent that same morning worrying that Cap’n Firepants would forget he was supposed to meet the guy from Craig’s List, and that the Cap’n might fall for one of those Craig’s List scams that you read about.  “No Cashier’s Checks,” I told him (the Cap’n)  “Cash Only.”  But then I realized that I did not tell the Cap’n it should be American money.  And that we don’t have one of those special lights to check if it’s counterfeit .  And, why is it that flight attendants don’t accept cash for drinks?  Should I text the Cap’n and tell him he should only take a credit card?  But we don’t have one of those machines…

10.  I came to the sad realization that I must have caffeine if I am going to be required to think clearly before 11 AM.  Also, I should get that app for drunk people that keeps you from texting when you are somewhat confused.  But, then I would never be able to text, I guess.

So, this all came about because I participated in a Robotics in-service for a day and a half.  As part of my role at my new school I volunteered (cough, cough) to be one of the sponsors of the Robotics Club.  I figured, hey, I learned BASIC when I was in high school – how hard can it be to program a LEGO robot to roll around on the floor?

Hmm.  A bit harder than I thought.  First, our team had to sort all of the pieces.  Then, we had to assemble the robots.  Two of us had no prior knowledge of Legos.  Sad, right?  Fortunately, our third member grew up eating, breathing, and uh, excreting the things, apparently, so she totally rocked in that department, thank goodness.

Fido. I wanted to name him Wonderbutt, but that was too many characters.

Then, we had to make it do stuff.  By programming it – not by yelling at it.  Caffeine deprivation is not helpful with this, either.

Our final challenge was today – we had to start 4 robots at the same time, and get them all to back into different “parking spaces” without sparking any Road Rage incidents.

My competitive compulsions overwhelmed my anti-backer-innering stance, and the GAME WAS ON!

As you can see from the video below, all 4 robots did fairly well.  My team programmed the 2nd robot from the left – the one that ended up in the third parking space (last one to backer-in).  The robot destined for the 4th parking space made it every single trial time – until I videotaped the experience.  Then it suddenly went rogue and acted like it was being driven under the influence.  Hope he wasn’t texting at the same time…

Have I Got a Deal for You!

If a scientist could figure out a way to take a picture of the actual bits of information stored in my brain, the photo would be featured on the next particularly horrifying episode of Hoarders.

Those of you who know me might wonder if I am overestimating the amount of paraphernalia in my brain; many people assume there is nothing in there. But I assure you that this girl’s noggin is packed full of information.  It’s just that most of it is completely useless to me.  Or to anyone else, for that matter.

Actually, that may not be true.  I mean, have you seen the useless things that people will buy off of eBay?  If you can auction off a dictator, why not a worthless memory?  One man’s trash, etc…

If Craig’s list had a category for worthless memories, you can bet I would be listing some things on it.  Anyone want to buy the phone number from my first house?  That one still sits on top of a pile in my brain.  How about the name of my first grade teacher?    Or the type of cigarettes my dad used to smoke before he quit over 20 years ago?  Why are these so easy to reach when I have to dig through rooms stacked with detritus to find my driver’s license number?

I’ve tried recycling them.  Turning them into passwords or tossing them into stories I’m writing.  When I tried to name our daughter after my first grade teacher so I wouldn’t have a new name to remember, my husband put his foot down.  Inexplicably, I can now remember the name of our daughter’s first grade teacher, 3 years later, but my daughter still gets called by the dog’s name on a regular basis.

I don’t have to sell these junk recollections.  I’d be fine with setting them on the porch for Goodwill to pick up.  Or paying for a storage unit for my memories in The Cloud.

But, since there seems to be no “approved” disposal site, I’m considering throwing some money under the table for someone to pack all of that trash away to an illegal dumping ground.

Or lighting a match and collecting the insurance.

Anyone looking for some extra cash?

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