Tag Archives: lawn art

Playing with Fire: part 1

10 May

Ah fire.  Giver of warmth, charred hotdogs, and toasted marshmallows.  Fire has always been a problem for my family.  I wouldn’t go as far as saying that we’re pyromaniacs, yet fire has been the prominent figure in many of our stories.  I would like to share one such story with you.

When I was in JR High, I loved to set things on fire, build camp fires, experiment with fire, etc.  I think this stems from a failed attempt at being a Boy Scout.  I did manage to get my fire chit when I was a Boy Scout.  It was pouring and our leader told us he’d give us our chits if we could keep a fire going.  One partially ruined London Fog raincoat later…..

This story, however, is about paper airplanes, balloons, and a bit of my hair.  Yes, I did set a bit of my hair on fire while burning a balloon.  Lighting a balloon on fire is pretty cool.  Because it’s rubber, it flames for just a second (dripping molten hot lava-rubber all over you), then is out.  Unfortunately, the air inside the balloon sometimes makes the flame pop, which is how I set a bit of my hair on fire…

What?  Where do the airplanes come in?  Well, right about here I guess.  As I said earlier, I loved to set stuff on fire.  Somehow I got this great idea that setting paper airplanes on fire and throwing them out my window would be cool.  Nothing like seeing a flaming jet hurl from an open window to the grass below (please remember that this was WAY before 9/11 and I was young and VERY stupid).  Eventually, my brother joined in (yes this one was all on me).  Every now and again, we’d accidentally set the grass on fire.  Just a little bit.  I wonder if my parents figured out what we were doing when we would go careening down the stairs and rush out the front door to put out a little grass fire….  Regardless, we kept this up until moms friend came over.  Remember yesterday how I told you she was the one who spotted all the toys all over the yard?  Yeah.  She nailed us again.  I think the conversation went something like: “What are the boys doing?”

“What do you mean?”

“There are bits of fire coming from the upstairs window.”


Ah crap…  Caught again….

 I can’t remember what our punishment was, but I’d bet it was a doosy.  This was probably one of the many times my brother and I had to stand in opposite corners with our arms out straight without touching the walls.  I’d bet this stunt got us 10 minutes, plus a grounding, plus a surrender of all fire starting materials we might have possessed.  I will say that I never played with fire again.  My brother on the other hand….

The Cleanest Room Mom has EVER seen!

9 May

Growing up my bedroom was on the second floor of our house. It was also our play room. My brother and I had a huge collection of Lego’s, Matchbox cars, and GI Joes. We usually left my room a mess because, how were we going to find what we were playing with if we don’t leave it right where we were last playing with it? My mom (a neatnick) hated my room. She hated that we would leave everything lying around willy-nilly. We had bins for the Legos, yet they spent most of their time in huge elaborate displays of cities, towns, space stations, etc.

Now that I’ve set the background, I’ll tell you how my brother and I made this tornado touched room into a spotless beauty in less than thirty minutes. “Clean your room!!!!!” Mom yelled from the bottom of the stairs. “Fine. (sigh)” we yelled back. Quickly we picked up the piles of loose Legos scattered across the floor, leaving behind our city, space station, and shipyard, of course. So, Legos are put away, now what? “I don’t wanna clean anymore.” “We have to, mom will KILL us if it’s not done.” “Hey…. I’ve got a great idea!” I can’t remember which one of us thought it would be a great idea to toss all our toys out the window (I think it was my brother), but we did it. We tossed EVERYTHING. Cars, GI Joes, toy safe and stuffed animals, right out the window. Mom was AMAZED we got the room cleaned in just half an hour. She was sure we’d pull one of our usual stunts: “Mom, we’re play-cleaning. We’re cleaning as we play! Honest!” “We’ll do it later!”


My mom’s friend either couldn’t remember which house was ours, refused to park in our driveway, or hated my brother and me. She always drove past our house to turn around in the neighbor’s driveway to park on the street. She and my mom are talking over coffee, or something and she brings up the mess in the grass on the side of the house. She wonders if we’re having a yard sale. Mom goes BALLISTIC (see the Colander Incident for another such episode)! Of course my little bro blames the idea on me, and I of course do my best to pin it on him.

The Aftermath

Of course we cleaned up our mess, and worked twice as hard as if we had originally just picked up our stuff. I don’t know how we thought we’d get away with it. It’s not like the lawn wasn’t going to need to be mowed, or the stuff was just going to disappear, or little elves were going to pick it all up and put it away. I guess I just consider myself lucky that we weren’t killed for that one. Of course it’s lucky we are alive at all since this is one of our tamer stunts…