Schrock household by the numbers (now these are fun)

Categorized as 07/26/10 Goshen News column

Fox News, my favorite cable news channel, does an interesting segment called “News by the Numbers.” As I confessed last week, I’m a number hater. This is in contradistinction to Mr. Schrock who went to school to learn about them. On purpose.

If I’m not having to multiply, divide, or perform incomprehensible equations, numbers are fun. After last week’s depressing dose of reality, I’m turning the corner, doing our own version of “News by the Numbers.”

We start off this segment with the number three. That’s how many boys are attending summer camp this year. Junior high camp was first with College Kid going along as a leader. While he was gone, the pounding and mauling decreased by a flat 50%.

A mere 14 hours after his return, number 2 was hitting the back door with his suitcase and sleeping bag on his way to senior high camp. The 50% pounding rate held steady.

Lastly, Three brings up the rear with preteen camp. The pounding percentage will flat line with the beleaguered little target fleeing for the safety of his own camp and cabin.

Our next number is one. That’s the number of pre-camp practice sessions held in the back yard by Two. That I know of.

Two is our roller coaster crazy and adrenaline junky. To prepare for the annual trip to Cedar Point with the senior high, he practices his coaster screams on the mower.

One is also the number of impromptu Johnny Cash concerts to which he’s treated the neighbors. It was only last week that I discovered we were raising a huge Johnny Cash fan. This was news to me. By the time I figured it out, he had memorized many songs and was singing along in his own impressive bass voice.

These concerts were fine when staged inside our four walls right there over the kitchen sink. It was when he moved his apparatus outside and I could hear Johnny singing “Ring of Fire” – inside, windows closed, AC on – that my people contacted his people and shut the whole thing down.

The upshot of it, for the neighbors, was that it was free. Never mind the little fact that it was unsolicited. All they needed was a lawn chair and a cold something-or-other in the cup holder. The downside of it, for the neighbors, was that it was loud. And, as I mentioned, unsolicited.

After the roller coaster prep and the afternoon concert, there were – count ‘em – two mass exoduses in the ‘hood. Final numbers weren’t in yet at press time, so I am unable to report just how many have left the county for good.

In other number news, it was one happy little boy and two cups of ice cream that came home last Saturday. That’s when the 20-year-old strapped the 4-year-old into his car seat and hauled him up to Cook’s Pizza for a belated birthday cup of blue moon. This was big stuff for Mr. Pull-Ups who proudly proclaimed his good fortune to the rest of us (repeatedly) and then giggled when he saw his blue mouth in the mirror.

In racing news by the numbers, there’s been all too much of that to report for my liking. Apparently Mr. Schrock’s sons think the dining room is the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. When they have a grievance, that’s where they take it.

Like NASCAR drivers, they fly around and around and around the table until I’m dizzy and have completely lost count of the laps. There’s no honking to pass in this sport because passing is not what this is about.

Just as in a NASCAR race, there’s an occasional pile-up. This happens when a savvy runner pulls a chair in front of his pursuer. Then an official (ahem) steps in to clear the course and declare a time out.

The other night during dinner, two (there’s the number) of these races broke out. Only this time, instead of the standard two participants, there were three.

Little has discovered the joy of a Schrock-style NASCAR race. As soon as he detects a chase shaping up, he hops off his booster and inserts himself into the flow. Suddenly, there are three sets of legs flying around the table with the owner of the smallest pair laughing wildly. Whether this is good or bad depends on who he’s in front of.

Our last number is one. That’s how many upstairs windows have been used for nefarious purposes recently. When our indoor speedway is too small or a chaser gets too close, the resident primate flashes up the stairs, out the bathroom window, and over the garage roof before dropping to the ground. That’s when a lock-out occurs. Inside, we start to relax, thinking the mischief has been quarantined when suddenly he’s in our midst.

Rats. Forgot to lock the window, too.

Momentarily, I will be going with the number four myself. As in four outside, door locked. As in me on the couch with a fresh cup of coffee.

Wait a second. I’d better check that one upstairs window.

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