I am NOT spending another thousand dollars, er twelve hundred bucks, but besides that…


The Forsythe Middle School Science Fair has hit the A2 Snooze! It is billed as the biggest middle school science fair but I’m not sure it has ever been in the Snooze before. For a few years, I co-chaired the fair with my old Haisley Mafia buddy Vicki. We had an absolute blast! For five days every winter we lived in the middle school gymnasium and the “tech room”. Most of the kids would do an experiment and set up a project board with graphs and charts and photos and whatever else they needed. The tech room was where all the “oddball” projects went: those that needed lucky-shucky or water or just had an odd shape or size. We tried to accommodate everyone. We helped 400-500 kids set up their presentations, show them to their classmates and families, get them judged and take them down again. And kept track of the various databases throughout the whole thing. That was my job. Vick’s much bigger and more important job was overall organizer and SCHMOOZER! You are dead in the water if you don’t have a good schmoozer on your team. I mean that. And I am NOT one!

One year, I took a clue from Catherine, our main YAG costume mom supreme, and plastered “THIS IS A NO PANIC ZONE!” signs on the gym doors. One of my favorite memories was during the setup that year when Mr. Ezekiel, the *excellent* teacher who has been behind this huge venture for about a gazillion years (and probably still looks like he’s about 25) told us that he had come down to the gym in, well, rather a state of panic, which more or less dissipated when he saw our sign.

Of course, another favorite bit was the Saturday Night Midway-Through-The-Fair Celebratory Dinner over at Knights. With ‘hattans or whatever, of course. I sure hope the volunteers who took over the science fair after us have kept up that tradition. On the other hand there was also the Sunday morning after when Vicki and I met up for breakfast and to do her kids’ paper route only to discover that my fantabulous old POC made a burning smell when I started it up.

So, what about those science fair projects anyway? Do the kids do them or do the parents do them? Our judges, who were all actual scientists recruited from the university and local science-oriented concerns were very concerned about that and so were the teachers! Folks, people can tell when *you* do your kid’s project! And that’s one of the reasons that Mouse’s 6th grade rat maze project won a 4th place medal. It was obvious that, although she may have had a little help, she and Izzy the Rat had done the heavy lifting. An excerpt from her report stated that it was hard to catch Izzy when she came out of the end of the maze and couldn’t always get anyone to help: “This was a problem because my sister doesn’t like to hold my rat because she always goes to the bathroom on her. And my mom just isn’t crazy about rats.” Well, not totally true. Izzy was a wonderful rat. But fair enough. I wasn’t all that crazy about having Izzy crawl all over my shoulders. Or pee on me.

Being a co-chair, I knew that Mouse had won a medal before she did and that posed a problem for me. How the heck could I get her to attend the award ceremony. Just try to get a kid with the tentative relationship to middle school that Mouse had to go over there on a Sunday afternoon. I conspired just a bit with her dad and older sister and somehow we got her over there. Was she impressed? Hmmm. Her reaction was, “Mom, I just won because you knew the judges.” Uh, not. And then, when we got home, she promptly hung the medal where she felt it belonged, on Izzy’s cage. That was okay with me.

Mouse didn’t win another medal in later years. From the judges anyway. The next year she included guinea pig in her project and he was definitely not a very cooperative subject, which did not help. I couldn’t give her a real award but I did sneak a little home-made “cutest rat and guinea pig” award in there. Labeled “from MOOM!” so no one would think it was real. That’s okay. I think sometimes that being behind the scenes on so many things has reinforced to me that it’s okay if my kids don’t win every time. When you are involved in the backstage stuff you see how much goes into the whole thing. You can see that some kids are more engaged than others and you can tell those who are driven by parent over-involvement. It is definitely nice when my kids win sometimes. But it’s their effort that counts, not mine. And that makes it all the better when they do win something. Click here or on the pic for a short slide show.s <<== I’m leaving that pesky “s” there because it represents the fact that I rely HEAVILY on shortcut keys and the control key is not in the same place on my Windows laptop as the command key is on my Macbook.

4 Responses to “I am NOT spending another thousand dollars, er twelve hundred bucks, but besides that…”

  1. jane Says:

    I’m 99% certain that Bubs and Harry did NOT help Pooh with her Prime Numbers entry into some science fair several decades ago. Perhaps she could confirm at the 100% level, and if we’re really lucky, find the photo from the fair – we’d all love to see those glasses, long hair and short dress!!!

  2. kayak woman Says:

    Even I remember that prime number sieve. She had it up at Christmas one time. I have no doubt that Pooh was on her own on that. I’d love a pic.

  3. mouse Says:

    you’re strange.

  4. Pooh Says:

    Actually, Mom did help me. I don’t remember what the sequence of events, but the paper had to be retyped with different size margins and line spacing. This was before the day of click on page setup, change a few parameters and hit OK. Bubs volunteered to retype the whole thing for me, since I still had school and new projects and HW to do. She was great and was zipping along, and then she came to the pages with footnotes. SCREECHing halt, and maybe a vocalized screech or two! Of course, the new margins meant that the footnotes were not on the same page as before, and to do footnotes meant rolling the paper up, until it almost fell out, then rolling it back the required number of lines, plus a few more fiddly operations. What a pain, even with Correrasable brand paper. Thank you, thank you, thank you again for doing that major job for me, Mom.