“Isn’t that like three hours long? I won’t be able to stay awake.”
“Mom. It’s o-kay.” He says that in a way that indicates he’s impatient with me, and trying to keep his eyes from rolling. It’s annoying – probably something he picked up from me.
“And The Incredible Hulk, too?”
“Yeah, mom. It explains why the Hulk is always hitting Thor. I gotta know why, because Thor is … well … you know … Thor!”
We’ve been in town “running errands” which has become code for “surviving cabin fever.” We’ve picked up a couple treats, a harness for Nina, the cat, and now we’re checking out movies. Are we the only people who take this long to decide on a movie?
In desperation I say, “All right. Get ’em both. The weather looks like it’s going to be a good weekend for watching movies.”
As we drive the 30 minutes from town to home I say, “What’s The Martian rated?” (I realize diligent parents check movie ratings before renting a movie, but I haven’t been diligent since the thermometer dipped below freezing, and I’ve no plans to be diligent until I see the grass starting to green.)
“Mom, let’s check Common Sense Media” – another thing that a diligent parent might do before renting a movie – “when we get home.” I may have heard Will’s eyes roll.
Jen has been concerned about Nina going outside since we moved. Will seems to think that you open the door, the cat goes out, you open the door, and the cat comes in. Jen is verklempt at the thought that her precious furry sister may run away, back to our old house. The other day she asked if I thought Nina might run away if she gets out. “Are you kidding? Since you started feeding her stinky canned food, she’d be a fool to leave. She loves that stuff.” Will, the ever-helpful one says, “But there’s a lot of soft food outside, too.”
“Ew, Will! Gross!”
So Jen has concocted this idea that if we had a harness, she’d be happy to take Nina for walks on a leash. At this point, I’m willing to do whatever it takes to get Jen comfortable with the idea of Nina going outside. The cat clearly exhibits cabin fever worse than we do.
After grabbing a coat and buckling up the harness, Jen takes Nina out to the yard and tries to “take her for a walk.” Will is laughing at the absurdity, while I am searching Common Sense Media for reviews of The Martian. I start to tell Will what the reviews are, but he has joined his two sisters out in the yard.
I go to the window to see if progress is being made, only to see Jen and Will staring down at their cat, while the cat ignores them, as she plans her escape through the door that she hopes is her entrance to safety. I am dumbstruck in the way that happens when you are removed from a situation and see it objectively.
We are those homeschool people.
It is a Friday night and I am verifying reviews for a moving that’s clearly perfect for families, while my kids are out in the yard “walking their cat.” And they are having fun.
I’m not sure if I should be relieved or worried.
It’s true what they say: “Homeschoolers march to their own drum.” Admittedly, our drumbeat is a bit confused – a fusion somewhere between old country, adult contemporary and blues with a bit of pop thrown in, but you get my point.
After 20 minutes of trying to encourage the cat to take that first tentative step, they come in to get the verdict on the movie.
“Jen, Common Sense says it’s perfect for 12+. There’s some language, but that’s it. He drops the F-bomb a few times, but as Common Sense indicates, who wouldn’t drop the F-bomb if they’re stranded on Mars. Hell, Jen, you would.”
It’s rare that we find a movie that all of us enjoy. This fit the bill. The four of us stayed awake. Almost. A movie has to be outstanding in order to keep a guy awake who gets up at 4:30 a.m. and gets home at 5:30 p.m.
As the final credits rolled I said, “Way-to-go, Will. Good choice. That was great.”
Will laughed, “Told ya!”
I couldn’t resist. “Did you hear all the references to math? Did you get that math can save your life?”
“I knew you were going to say that. ” And this time he couldn’t keep from rolling his eyes.