mimi smartypants
Seriously, though: what's with the penguins?

unleash your inner seal

Can you help with University of Chicago’s mystery package?


1. Got a call from the school nurse, who did not say a single reassuring thing at the beginning of her call beyond asking me if I was my kid’s mother and identifying herself as the nurse. Thanks a lot!

2. She told me that Nora had complained of some itchy spots, called it a “skin condition,” and said that we had to get a doctor’s note before she would be allowed back at school.

3. As of last night, Nora indeed has a few bug bites or a reaction to lotion or who the hell knows, kids pick at themselves and are not very smart about leaving itchy bits alone. I could go down to that school and find similar “skin conditions” on 3 out of 4 kids, I guarantee it.

4. I plan to check it out further with cortisone cream and some Googling, but you know what? I bet it is fine.

5. If we all went to our doctors with mildly itchy lumps of less than 12 hours’ duration, the health care system would implode.

6. So the nurse and I had several go-rounds of “it’s policy” vs. my “we’ll keep an eye on it, but you cannot seriously be suggesting she miss school for this.”

7. If this is the school’s reaction to this kind of thing, I may need to talk with Nora about self-triage, and what warrants a nurse visit.

8. Although I was as pleasant as possible, and we eventually settled on, “Let’s see if it gets any worse before jumping to conclusions,” it is very obvious the school nurse hates me now. I had better not ever need a band-aid during my volunteer hours. I suspect I would be out of luck.

9. The bumps did fade, by the way, after about a day or so. Still don’t know what that was about. Nora keeps insisting on “spider bites,” but there is sort of a fad among the fourth grade to say everything is caused by spider bite, so I am skeptical. Spider bites are the chemtrails of the pre-teen set.


1. It is really hard not to pull up the “purchased” items on your Amazon wishlist to see what you are maybe possibly hopefully getting.

2. Nora’s birthday is at the end of January. I usually try to stash away extra presents at Xmas time, and then when it’s time for present-wrapping I just decide what to hold back for birthday. But it’s really hard not to just give her all the cool stuff at once.

3. It is really hard to remember to eat something that is not chocolate, champagne, or cheese.

4. It is really hard to wrap gifts. Well, maybe not for normal people. Mine look like Cookie Monster got into the bath salts and took a job at Macy’s. ME WRAP GIFTS ME EAT RIBBON ME BECOME DEMON

—mimi smartypants, tangled up in tape.