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Monday, January 16, 2012

Of Germy Mice and Men

If you’ve ever read my “about me” page, you’ll know I’m a rookie homeschooling, stay-at-home dad of three boys (our latest edition dropped this past New Year’s Eve, which was sweet timing on the 2011 tax break hook up!)
Cheers, Son.
Anyway, I was self-musing
Is it me, or does that sound a little rude…?
 …when it occurred I haven’t shared much about the homeschooling side of things, so...
I’m a member of two wonderful homeschool support groups. One is the Oahu Military HomeschoolersConnection; the other is the Military Home Educator's Network of Oahu.
Although most definitely a male in the minority, the moms have not been mum in their support for the tall, bald guy who wears a Boppy on his head and talks with a funny accent.
The Man. The Legend. The Manilow.

I’ve received some great advice the last several months - all in an effort to figure out what No. 1 Son needs to learn so the guys in the Black Suburban won’t chuck me in solitary with only The Very Best of Barry Manilow for company.

And then I got to thinking... if the ladies are hooking a brother up
or am I now a sister??
...well then, gosh darn it, the least I can do is volunteer to host a monthly family friendly event.
This was in November.
I never thought two months would go so fast!
However, allegedly smart that I am – with fifteen years in the restaurant industry I thought it'd be a breeze, no a sneeze, to spend two hours teaching the kids – and moms – about germs, bacteria and how much of a fungi I am.
Seriously. With lines like that, will you say a prayer for my wife? Please?
“GermFest 2012” had scheduled special appearances by minor chefs such as “Gordon Flimsay” and “Auntie Bea” – (a second cousin to Rachel Ray.) Both were unable to attend.
Smart people.
I had printouts, pictures and tons of research in the days leading up to The Event
Cool name, someone should make a television series… oh…

This was going to be awesome!
Only it wasn’t.
As soon as I realized there were other dads there….
There were never any dads at the other events I attended… OK, maybe there’s one or two, but why were they here, in number, at mine?
A manly tear – just one – escaped my Dutch-Irish eyes.
The other dads meant I wouldn’t be special – but I’m the host – I must say, I was unprepared to be so un-specialized.
Standing in front of the small crowd of about twenty,
including the three dads…
my inner announcer said let’s get ready to rumble and that Ego has left the building – complete with his blue rhinestone jacket.
But it was too late. Unraveling quicker than a dropped music cassette tape
(Sorry, I’m listening to the '80s :)
…my two-hour show – highlighted by a “Grilled Cheese Making Quiz”
Kitchen Nightmare?
(with questions like: Can you spot the twelve nasty, germy things I’m doing to this poor, innocent Grilled Cheese Sandwich?)
 …ends one hour, fifteen minutes early.

Really? I was like one of those speed-reader guys… the ones who do the legal stuff in the commercials that spend twenty seconds on the benefits - and two minutes on how dangerous the pills are.
 My presentation ended in forty-two minutes, and for a few moments, I stood there, mouth agape – grateful for the lack of dodgy tomatoes heading my way.
Strangely enough, the dads seemed happier – I’d saved them an hour – so all was not lost.
And I did learn something - even if no one else understood a word I speed-said - singing Happy Birthday (twice) takes about twenty seconds – the exact time needed to kill the pesky germmy germs - so my washing skills have improved dramatically.
(You should see the weird looks I get from the dude standing at the next sink...)
Oh, oh, oh,… and did you know October 15 is Global Handwashing Day :)
A useful tip the next time you’re playing Trivial Pursuit.
Note to self: Change music genre on Pandora… the '80s are launching a full-frontal attack!
Have you ever over-extended while writing?
What suffered most? You, the family or the writing?


Leigh Covington said...

Mark, you crack.me.up!!! Oh my gosh. So hilarious. And I swear, working in the food industry ruined me when it comes to germs. I'm such a germophobe now! *sigh* I guess it's better than spreading them in mass quantities. I'm sure your germ presentation was a huge success!

Morgan said...


Holy crap... still laughing...

Thanks for the laugh. You made my morning!!!!! :D

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That was funny! How dare all those other men try to steal your attention away from the ladies?
I'm paranoid about germs. I'm sure your presentation would've made me worse.

Mark Koopmans said...

@Leigh: Thanks, my fellow germophobe. I at least had a blast, but I can't believe I talked/ran through my schedule so fast!

@Morgan: No worries, it was a comedy of errors, with me as Chief Script Writer :)

@Alex: Cheers, and yeah, it's probably good you didn't make it... I had a 10-day old T-bone next to a fresh one... and meat *stunk* up the place:)

Emily R. King said...

The germ thing had me squirming. Ick.
I can so picture you hosting an event for a bunch of home-schooling moms. I'd go!

Cloudia said...

writing seriously means living over extended unless you have no responsibilities and servants.
You? No? Me neither. Took me almost a decade to write a 144 page novel!

Aloha from Waikiki
Comfort Spiral

> < } } ( ° >

Cassie Mae said...

I'm a speed talker too, but at least you ended earlier and didn't try to wing it for another hour and 15 minutes. That's totally what I would've done, grossing out probably everyone in the room with potty talk.

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

Oh boy, Barry Manilow gives me flashbacks to the seventies. I was very young then but I remember that crooner.

Very funny.

Mark Koopmans said...

@Cassie: Funny! I can totally see you doing that... but I was like "I got nothing left..." :)

@Michael: Shhh, don't tell anyone, but Manilow was on my Bucket List and when I got to see him in 2002... the concert was awesome :)

Nancy Thompson said...

I admire anyone who home-schools or helps out in the classroom. My hat's off to you. I think, no matter what you did, how long or how short your presentation, it was still appreciated. Not a lot of dads out there like you. Keep it up.

(And in case you didn't know, American gals love a guy with an accent!)

ali cross said...

Mark, I am just laughing all over the place. I'm sorta sad that I gave up homeschooling just before I met you! We could have shared war stories. (We homeschooled for 3 years - and my hubby works from home, so we were an all-together-all-the-time family).

I've totally had lessons that went like the one you described. So what was up with the dads? Did they take the day off from work to go see the homeschoolin' dad?

Mark Koopmans said...

@Nancy: Thanks again...you really made my day with those comments:)

@Ali: I am *so* glad I'm not the only one who's gone through such an experience! Thanks for making me feel better - and I have no idea re. the men - they had nothing to fear (judging from my presentation :)

M Pax said...

I had a habit of not breathing when public speaking, so I can relate. I've gotten much better.

Luanne G. Smith said...

There's a Global Hand Washing day? Really? I finally have a reason to break out the fancy guest soaps!

Annalisa Crawford said...

Hey Mark - just stopping by to return the follow. Great blog!

Linda King said...

Brilliant! I could see it all! Hope you're hosting another one soon!

Tara Tyler said...

i'd love to be at one of your speedy presentations!
and how awesome that you home school!

Tony Van Helsing said...

Global Handwashing Day, does that mean I have to spend all day washing my hands?

Suze said...

'Note to self: Change music genre on Pandora… the '80s are launching a full-frontal attack!'

Very nice.

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