Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Dreaded Peanut

Boy #2 went to a one-week basketball day camp with a friend of his last week. I went to sign him up the same day he started, so I had sent him with his own lunch even though the camp provides lunch. I just wasn't sure they'd have a lunch for him since we hadn't signed up in advance. I dropped him off, took the packet of information they gave me, and went home. I started reading the stack of papers. By page 3 I was already a little stressed out. He hadn't taken a backpack, just a water bottle and his lunch bag. Already we were not in compliance. Under the heading of BREAKFAST, on page 4, another reason to worry. "Your child should eat a healthy, nutritious breakfast." OK, in some cultures Trix IS considered nutritious, but probably not at this camp. The milk counts, though, I'm pretty sure. Then on page 10, I started to panic. LUNCH AND FOOD SERVICE: Please do not send your child to camp with peanut butter or any foods containing nuts or made with nut products. Please do not send "lunchables", sugary or junk foods, candy, soda, red or blue drinks, or glass containers. Such items will be confiscated if found. This section was in bold print AND was underlined. OK, so on his first day of camp he had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, contraband which would be confiscated if found. I immediately called the camp and confessed. The director went out to the playground to confiscate and destroy the offending sandwich. Boy #2 ended up eating the lunch they provided.

I just don't remember the peanut arousing such fear and horror when I was a kid. Peanut butter was the most common lunchbox item around. Now the peanut is banned in many schools. Some schools have peanut-free tables for the kids who are allergic. Many schools just ban the peanut because it is easier that way. What happened in 20 (OK maybe 30 or so years)? The peanut, so small, but so powerful, is feared everywhere. Next time maybe I'll just send a little baggie of Trix for lunch--oh--but that would break the zero-waste rule. Maybe if he eats a big enough breakfast he won't even NEED lunch. That could be the best idea of all....

Saturday, July 28, 2007

What I Did On My Summer Vacation, Part Three

Boy #2 and I came back to LA recently for a few weeks. We got home and walked in the kitchen and I immediately noticed several little bugs in the kitchen. They looked like mini moths. I opened the pantry and saw a few more. I started killing them and kept finding more. I called Mr. Minivan at work and asked him if he had noticed them. "Oh, yeah, I saw them about a week ago," he said. Great. I did a little research--thank you Google--and found that they are called flour moths, and they come in the house as eggs in a bag of flour or some grain-containing food. Then they hatch and multiply, etc. I'll spare you the details.'s war. It's us against them. We can't all stay. I bought some moth traps, which are supposed to attract them. The moths are either incredibly stupid or the smartest bugs ever, because although some have been trapped, others are just flying around the trap laughing at me. I spoke to a friend who had the same problem a couple of months ago. She is getting me her exterminator's number. It's the eggs we must eliminate, you see.

Speaking of eggs, a couple of days after the Moth Battle began, our house got egged. Don't know by whom, can't figure out why, don't know why they didn't hit our cars, parked right in front of the house, don't know any of these answers. Our neighbors' houses were fine. Thank you again Google--two hours of scrubbing and cleaning later and the house looks great. Never looked better, in fact.

Problem is, things usually happen in threes. What could possibly be next?

Friday, July 27, 2007

What I Did On My Summer Vacation, Part Two

Bonjour my charming readers. I am now French. Mr. Minivan and I took advantage of the boys being at camp and hopped across the pond for about a week. We had a great time. I had never been to France before--I loved it! Can't wait to go back. I need to start smoking and learn to drink espresso to really fit in, though. Oh, and learn to ride a motorcycle or scooter. Everyone spoke at least some English, which was great, because I speak only about 6 words in French, and none of them are "Where's the ladies' room?" Our suitcases arrived a day after we did, so we were forced to shop a bit. Luckily, July is when one of the big "soldes" (sale) takes place. (The government regulates the soldes, which take place only in January and July) Unluckily, the dollar is very weak against the Euro. We bought just enough to get by till our stuff arrived. The stores were mobbed--a soldes is a big deal when it only comes twice a year, apparently. Armed with TripAdvisor and Chowhound info and recommendations, we went to the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, the Marais--where we stood in line for great falafel and schwarma. We walked and walked the neighborhoods and the Champs d'Elysee, ate fabulous baguette sandwiches on the street, and had a great time. We went to the South of France for a few days after Paris and drove all over. It was fabulous. I found all the people we met to be friendly and helpful. You can immediately tell who are the Europeans and who are the Americans. It's easy. The ones with the cigarettes are the Europeans. The ones lugging the large suitcases are the Americans. On the way back we stopped in London for the day. If you think France is expensive, go to England. You'll immediately feel much better about the Euro. Prices are similar to what you'd pay in dollars, but they are in pounds. Get it? One pound is worth 2 dollars. So 19 pounds for two drinks in a London hotel doesn't sound too bad....until you realize that is really $38. My 12 pound gin drink was the best $24 drink I've ever had. Actually, it's the only $24 drink I've ever had.

I am regarding this trip as my summer camp and in the words of Boy #2, "Next year I'm going for 8 weeks."

Au revoir, my lovely readers.