I was never in to sports as a young person. There just isn’t an athletic bone in my body. Don’t believe for a second, though, that I’m not competitive.
I come by it honestly. My dad was an athlete. Apparently he was such a good pitcher that he was scouted by the pros. He had a hell of a fastball. Then, he threw out his arm. It was the kind of injury that could be fixed pretty easily today, but not so much back then. Fast-forward and my poor dad is working for the railroad and is the father to 2 of the most un-athletic, non-sporty kids you can imagine. That wasn’t going to stop my father, however. My poor kid brother got signed up for all kinds of sports when he was young, and who better to coach the baseball team?
There is a legend in our family of the time when my father kicked over a stack of bats when my brother missed a fly ball. This legend is 100% true. I was there. I saw it. My dad was the John McEnroe of little league baseball. I have inherited this spirit.
Last Friday, Stella brought home an assignment due Wednesday. Each kid had to pick a planet and basically make a poster about it. Parents could help, of course, but the kids had to help pick the facts and write them for mounting on the poster (really just a big piece of construction paper – pitiful). No sweat. Stella has taken to the space unit like a duck to water. Her terrifying memory has absorbed it all. She already knew that Mars has 2 moons and the difference in the composition of Saturn’s rings vs Neptune’s and Uranus’. And she’ll tell anyone who will listen all about it.
She picked Venus. Dammit. Next to Mercury, it’s probably the lamest planet. And she has to have a kick ass poster because I said so. That and the Harpy – who claims to be a “scientist type”- dismissed me at the beginning of the year when I offered to bring in minerals and fossils to show the kids. She asked me if it was a “hobby” or did I actually do this for a living. She’s such a bitch. So much for pushing STEM and proving female role models in these fields.
Anyway. Sorry. Deep breath.
So Stella had some favorite facts she wanted to feature (hottest planet, rotates the opposite direction from Earth, is almost the same size as Earth) and I dug in and found some cool pictures and facts online to rev it up. (Note: where was the Internet when I was a kid?!?! We had to use encyclopedias for this shit!)The main thing was we -I mean Stella- needed a gimmick. Something to amp up her poster from the rest of the herd. Her handwriting is appalling. I knew that was going to be a liability. We had to use that F’ing construction paper, so LED lighting was out (and that was discussed, believe me). Then magic happened. I stumbled upon the most amazing, wonderful fact. Although Venus doesn’t have liquid water (too hot) it does have “snow” on its mountains. It’s composed partially of galena, which is lead sulfide. (I feel your eyes glazing over. Stay with me. I’m almost done.)
That was it. I’m a damn geologist. I do happen to have galena sitting around my house. I broke off a small chunk and then Will and I had to get really creative to find a way to attach it to flimsy-ass construction paper. We finally settled on a blister pack from a children’s Tylenol.