Newsletter #11
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Hare–Raising Adventures
11th Publication, March 26th, 2001

I want to start this newsletter by recognizing the good people who have requested to receive the Newsletter since my last publication, or who have requested before, but I forgot to put them on. Namely, Mary Lou Shay, Scott Sundby, Rachel Plowman, and Dr. Richman. I also want to remind you all that if you want to be removed from the hit list, just send me an E–mail to that effect and I shall gladly comply — after all, anyone who is foolish enough to refuse my long monologues doesn’t deserve them (the only exception being those who are over worked, and can’t deal wit the great saga).

Last month, when Pete told Mom that the school choir was going to see the play The Phantom of the Opera at Broadway and they had extra tickets, Mom contrived to send him to see it as an early birthday present, since the play’s run was going to end shortly.

Once again Dad went off on one of his many trips. This one was a conference in Maryland on the second, and while it was planned to go for several days, it ended early because of a humongous blizzard that all the weathermen were predicting. To be politically correct, I think you would say weatherpersons, but I loathe the word persons (don’t ask me why), since people is a much better word, and the whole idea of political correctness is a bunch of hogwash (did you ever wonder where that word originated from?). Anyway, we were all excited by this titanic snowfall that was anticipated, but there was nothing! Only a paltry inch or two fell. The weathermen, not the least shamed by their grievous blunder, went right ahead and said that it would come the next day. The next day came, and I think we only got one inch. In the newspaper on the third day were several stories about the lack of gigantic precipitation, and one article about a weatherman basically saying that it wasn’t her fault, and that we should be grateful that we have computers, because they wouldn’t be able to be so completely wrong without them there was not a single statement of remorse or acknowledgment that she had been wrong and there was not much else to say. The only people that can appear to get away with lies are politicians, weathermen, doctors, dentists (don’t worry, this won’t hurt…), marketers, and beauticians (or so Mom says — I wouldn’t really know).

About a week later, I noticed that Nutmeg, the newer guinea pig, had a strange red spot on his back/neck (the two kind of melt together), and when I conferred with Dad, we came to the agreement that we should go to a veterinarian and see what they said, so the next day Mom, Steve, Ben and I went to the veterinarian. I had been wanted to take Crunch pig (Sage) and Nutmeg to the vet just to make sure that they didn’t have anything like this for a couple weeks, and also since I have aspirations to become a veterinarian myself someday, I felt I should at least have seen one vet’s office by the time I was fourteen, so this was a good opportunity for me. Nutmeg, most likely sensing something was up that he would mot like, was very skittish, and when I had put him in his wooden cage (with no top) for short trips and picked it up, he desperately tried to scrabble up the side of the cage and hide in my jacket. I eventually took pity on him, and he spent the trip as far inside my jacket as he could get. He continued his wild attempts to hide all throughout the visit, even trying to escape into the veterinarian and veterinarian technician’s lab coats. Despite these distractions, the vet decided that the red spot was probably merely some dermatitis or a small wound or scratch that got infected, and she prescribed some cream that we should apply twice a day, and it should clear it up in a week or so, but if the spot got worse, or didn’t go away, that we should come back. There were two things that were amusing about this cream. The first was that it cost almost three times as much as the pig himself (thirteen smacks as opposed to five smacks), and that it said that it was for use on cats and dogs only. Mom and I decided that it must be there as a deterrent from people using it themselves. Within a week, the cream did its work, and the spot was gone.

Since we realized that the vet trip would waste most of our day, we decided to go full out and do other trips for the rest of it as well. After going to the vet, we came back and dropped Ben off at home, and then went off to Wal–mart to have my picture taken, because this was the first time a special deal (meaning dirt cheap) had been offered since early fall, when I still had the horrendous haircut Mom gave me. We were told we had a 45 minute wait, so we spent the time meandering around the store, and I found out something that astounded me: regular bed pillows only cost five dollars. The only time I remember getting a pillow was when Mom broke the bank getting supplies for Dan when he went off to college for the first time, and that one cost $30, not five. I pointed out some throw pillows, and Steve immediately tried to convince Mom to get one for him. In the end, Mom bought him a throw pillow, and I got a regular pillow for the bay cement (basement), and I paid for it myself. We got a fair amount of other things as well, and then, finally, they were ready for me to take my picture, which the lady did. It took about five minutes — one ninth of the wait.

After Wal–mart we were very famished, so we stopped at Taco Bell for brief lunch, and then moved on to A. C. Moore because we had two five dollar gift certificates. We spent a while there as well, looking at all the stuff. I eventually got some fairly strong magnets and a kneaded eraser, keeping within five bucks. Steven exceeded his budget by a large margin, buying some paint and a wooden box. We then made our last stop at Hackman’s Bible book store, since I had a gift certificate there as well. After spending a while waiting there (notice a trend here?), I got a book which at first appeared to be a novel placed in Scotland in the medieval ages or something, but has since turned out to be a modern novel mainly dealing with politics, although there is some historical stuff in it too. I wanted to stop at a pet supply store (I forget why — mainly just to see what they had, I think), but we had to rush back to pick up Ben from nursery school. We arrived at the church where he goes, only to find that Dad had already gotten him, so from there we just went home. I know to some this in–depth account may seem tediously mundane, but this was a rare occurrence, and worth noting — actually shopping.

On the thirteenth we had a speech night at the church for the high schoolers who are enrolled in the Pennsylvania Home schoolers Association, who must give, of all things, a speech every year in order to get a diploma. This year there were five people — Sarah and Rachel Plowman, Gabe West, Jonathan Ennis, and Hannah Stone. Sarah had to give two speeches because she had joined PHA later, and hadn’t done any of her assigned speeches, so she spoke upon the women of the French Resistance and compared and contrasted two kinds of Christian Psychology and secular psychology. Rachel spoke about the Impressionists and how life was for them, and Gabe gave his speech on the history and differences between the martial arts. Jonathan’s speech was on the question Who was the Pharaoh of the Exodus, and Hannah’s was on Biblical Women and Feminism. They were all very good. After the last speech, Mrs. Plowman stood up and said that she would get three people to volunteer to give an impromptu speech, or she would force three people to (by hook or by crook were her words). Eventually Jim Femister, Dad and Peter were chosen. The rules were that they each had two minutes to chose between three subjects that had been written on a card that had been given to each them, and prepare what they would say (I had had a sickening feeling once I realized that Mrs. Plowman was up at the podium for a little too long, and then she sprang this — I was sure that at least one person from our family would be chosen, and so I waited, resigned to my fate, but God was merciful, and Pete and Dad were chosen in my stead). They did well as well, although Dad was in mid sentence when he had to step down for the next person.

On the following Thursday, I asked Mom if we could go to the glasses shop to see if the guy could fix an earpiece that I had broken (those of you who remember way back when I got them, we chose them because they were made of a flexible metal to prevent them breaking — what a rip–off [come to think of it, that was a pun]). I told her that if he couldn’t repair them, it was fine, because I could just get some of Dad’s Epoxy or something and we wouldn’t have to get new frames. So much for that. He couldn’t fix them, so Mom stood quietly by while he tried to find a pair that would fit me while still being able to cut the lenses down to size. Eventually he found a pair that looked alright on me, and he said that he hoped to have them ready the next day. On the car ride back, Mom attempted to make me feel guilty by telling me the I cost a huge amount of dough, but I speedily pointed out that I cost her nothing, since I was fully prepared to go home and fix them myself when he said he couldn’t, but Mom was worried that I would, by some fluke in the laws of Physics, poke my eye out.

On Friday, the glasses still weren’t ready, so I had to suffer the weekend without eye enhancement. Dan came home that day as well, and Mr. And Mrs. Fletcher stopped by for supper on their way back from dropping one of their kids off at a camp that was considered, by them at least, to be less than the minimum standard for living arrangement, but it was pointed out that it was wet and muddy at the time, and that might have affected the impression they got.

On the nineteenth Dan and I finally went to get my glasses. Having to endure the weekend as a blur (actually, everything just appeared fuzzier, but it sounds cooler to say blur) gave me a greater appreciation for them. We also stopped at a cd store, where Dan’s shady appearance wasn’t offset enough by my innocent look to prevent him from being required to produce identification in order to use Mom’s credit card..

The next day I had my home school evaluation, and for the first time I was going to someone other than Mrs. Badorf, from whom I never had any fear that I would hear anything wrong said about me, so I was naturally on edge. We drove out to the house where he had set up his base, and went in. It actually went pretty much the same as Mrs. Badorf’s evaluations, but one unnerving aspect that I wasn’t expecting was having to discuss The Lord of the Rings. I was supposed to have picked out a selection from a favorite book to read (presumably to make sure that I could read, and read with some degree of aptitude). Since I felt it wouldn’t be a fair representation of my reading skills if I memorized the section beforehand, and since I had no favorite scene, I just opened the book at random, read a paragraph or two, and then expected to be done. Much to my surprise, he then asked me what had happened, and where the people who I read about (Merry and Pippin) were. Not knowing the answers right away, I was scrambling around, trying to remember where in the story I was, and here is where reading the book each year saved me. After that, not much of interest happened, just talking about the school year, and what I will do next year, since I will be in high school. After that, we went to Rita’s to celebrate my survival and the fact that they were giving out free Italian ices because it was the first day of Spring.

Once Jim Femister heard that I was starting on my web site, he was quick to try and get in and strike a deal — his help and the use of some of his graphic design books for greater recognition and thanks on my home page. I, of course, agreed, since there would be no harm to me, and I would get a lot out of it. He then lent me a graphic design book, which focuses on typography, with the warning that he would give me a quiz at the end. I read the book, which was very informative and took the quiz (re–designing a newsletter that a friend of his sent out). I was then upgraded to the web design book, which I am in the process of reading right now. I think Jim is trying to subtly and overtly coerce me from the straight and narrow road of being a vet and/or a writer, to going into some type of computer field, although his coercions, however ill intentioned, are at present a boon (especially in designing my web site, which all construction on has currently halted, due to a computer component dying — see below).

Since Christmas we have been having innumerable computer problems, which basically handicapped me to various degrees. At one point I could receive E–mails but not send, and at others I could do both, but not send to the list, and so on. Right now our (the kids) computer is dead, and we are waiting for a new motherboard, which means that I can’t work on my site to be, and I can’t access the list of you subscribers (once you get this, you can safely assume that that particular problem has been fixed). Now we are predicted to have our DSL chopped for a month or two (no Internet, Email, et cetera, unless we use NetZero, which is a pain, but I guess we’ll have to.)

This coming Thursday will be the end of MAFiA (as we know it), but they are having a final program at Thursday night at seven in case anyone wants to see the infamous establishment’s accomplishments, so I hope to proceed with my plans to plague the public institutes of Philadelphia with my presence (for the newcomers, I said I wanted to hitch a ride with Dad, who goes to New Jersey every Thursday to teach classes and have him drop me off and pick me up at the Philadelphia Museum of Fine Art, The Franklin Institute, and the Philadelphia Zoological Institute). I will have more on this subject in my next letter, no doubt.

I hope to have my site up by the next newsletter, but with these unstable computers I make no promises. Once it is up I will send a note to you all, so you can ridicule me in yet another way. I wish to dispel any thoughts that you would refrain from commenting, correcting or suggesting ideas to renovate or improve my site and newsletter. Don’t be intimidated by my imposing presence or a desire not to hurt my feelings — speak out. I can’t make it better without you readers’ input.

–~Snowshoe Hare~–
    –~Christopher Green~–

*Here Endeth The Newsletter*