Tuesday, May 31, 2011

It Doesn't Matter If You Win or Lose

But, damn, it feels good to win one every once in a while.

Final score, 9-8.  As far as the boys were concerned, that one determining run....

...felt as good as twenty and, despite being beyond excited, they managed their win with grace and good sportsmanship which, is exactly what we all expected from them.

Nicely played, boys, nicely played.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Boys Are Weird, Chapter One

Man-Cub: Hey, Mom, wanna hear a joke?

Chelle: Um, sure.

Man-Cub: Ok, so there's a pickle, a cucumber and a, you know, wiener, k?

Chelle: Oh, this can't end well.

Man-Cub: Just listen!

Chelle: Okaayy...

Man-Cub: So, the pickle says, "I have it so rough, when I get big and juicy, they drown me in a jar of vinegar" and the cucumber says, "Yeah, that's nothing, when I get big and juicy, they slice me up and throw me in a salad." And then, the, you know, wiener, says "So what? When I get big and juicy, they throw a bag over my head and beat me until I puke!". Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha! Get it?

Chelle: Yes, son, I get it. Do you get it?

Man-Cub: Mom. I'm twelve.

Long conversation including the word condom and a bonus description of what an STD can do to, you know, a wiener, followed.

Hey, I told him it wouldn't end well.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

And They'rrrrrreee OUTA There

School's out for summer.

Cue singing in three, two, one...Schooool's out for summer! Schooool's out forevah!

The Teenager celebrated by bringing a dozen of her closest friends home for a Wii marathon prior to the meeting of our ASTRA club which was attended by most of it's twenty-seven members so, when all was said and done; we had half the Freshman class on the front porch, in the house and in the backyard.

Oh, excuse me, we had half the Sophomore class on the front porch, in the house and in the backyard. Sophomores, already. Gah. Good thing they are so mature and all.

Or not.

Anyway, the Man-Cub was equally excited about the last day of school although, for entirely different reasons or, more specifically, for one reason in particular; he was planning to elicit a kiss from his little girlfriend. Unfortunately for the little Lothario, his girlfriend was taken ill and had to leave school early, leaving the Cub's lips in the lurch.

Yes, I'm totally bummed for him, too.

Or not.

But, yes, summer! I'm looking forward to the combined scents of sunscreen, food cooking on the grill, blooming flowers, fresh fruit, campfires and smores as well as to the lazier pace we seem to keep during the days that don't begin with a trip to the school drop-off lane. In fact, just the thought of skipping the drop-off lane makes me giddy enough to don a panda hat, myself.

Or not.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

How Do You Feel About Seefood?

Friday night, while dining at our favorite Chinese restaurant, Hugh and The Teenager engaged in their usual father/daughter banter, banter that almost always ends with some sort of crazy dare or bet and; that night was no exception.

The bet? That The Teenager couldn't eat two pieces of sushi of Hugh's choosing. If she somehow manged to choke down the sushi, she got to paint Hugh's fingernails in the color of her choice and he would have to wear the polish for at least a full day.

Believe it or not, this is actually one of the most benign of their bets, especially when one takes into consideration the fact that we now have to find a reputable tattoo parlor/piercing salon in which to have The Teenager's bellybutton pierced thanks to the whole "If you stay on the Honor Roll for the entire year, you can get your bellybutton pierced" fiasco that Hugh blindly entered into last summer. On the one hand, yeah, Honor Roll, all year long. On the other hand, well, obviously and, I digress.

So, a bet was sealed with a handshake and this followed...

Because she manged to fulfill half the bet (she managed to hold down one piece of sushi prior to The Barfing), The Teenager convinced Hugh to hold up at least that much on his part which is how his left hand came to look like this...

OPI, naturally.

As an aside, aren't you glad you aren't the family that gets to sit next to us at the Chinese restaurant?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Things I Did This Weekend Because the World Didn't End

Since Friday night's baseball game was mysteriously cancelled Hugh made the rare suggestion that we go out for dinner and a movie as a family. He specifically wanted to eat Chinese food and to see the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie so, we did. For the record, the food was good, the movie was meh. Also, for the record, the definition of meh is: a distinct absence of Orlando Bloom. I mean, the movie was ok it just lacked a certain something (Orlando Bloom) and I doubt that we will be adding it to our Pirates DVD collection.

Although we did not experience the Rapture on Saturday, we did finally get some sunshine and the Man-Cub and I took full advantage of it by cutting our shopping trip to Neighboring City as short as possible and racing home to start working on my flowerbeds, planters and porch. We manged to get everything finished by the end of the weekend and I am now ready to host our High School service club as it installs its new offiicers and initiates its new members on Wednesday afternoon. I'm also ready to host our first Porch Night which will probably happen later this week or early next week, assuming the sunshine continues and the thunderstorms we have been experiencing don't make a return visit.

So, it was a very busy-and productive-weekend and I'm so grateful to the Cub for sticking it out with me; his help was invaluable and I enjoyed spending time with him, especially considering the fact that he is barrelling toward adolescence and will, sooner rather than later, arrive at the conclusion that it is totally uncool to hang out with his mother at which point I will have no choice but to buy stock in a good winery and begin drinking its profits away.

Because I think it's always best to have a plan in place despite the fact that the Rapturists will no doubt choose another date for the beginning of The End like, any day now.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Rapture Day and I'm Still Here. Is That a Bad Sign?

So, yeah, I haven't yet vanished into thin air, leaving behind my clothing and other Earthly bindings, this can mean one of three things:

1. The Rapture doesn't actually get started until later in the day, I mean; it is early.
2. The Rapturists got the date wrong in which case, I'm sure they are totally bummed since no one likes to plan a party and then find out that all their plans were made for the wrong day, like, how embarrassing.
3. The Rapture actually happened and I am too sinful to have been chosen, meaning that I will have to endure the Apocalypse with my family and friends (who also appear to still be here, sinners).

Seriously, though, those poor believers. Yesterday they were convinced that, by today, they would be entering the Pearly Gates. Today they must be devastated. Maybe tomorrow they will be able to look back and laugh. You know, while they plot the next date for the Rapture. Hey, maybe they can get on board with the Mayans and throw their hat in the 2012 ring, too.

In the meantime, I guess the zombie population that everyone expects to spring up after the Rapture will just have to wait which, gives us all more time to prepare ourselves, accordingly.

Thank goodness the CDC has provided some helpful information for doing just that.

Our government at work, people.

Wait, our government is working? Maybe it is the End of Days.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Game Called on Account of...Hell, I Have No Idea Why the Game Was Called

So, yes, the baseball game scheduled for this evening was cancelled by the other team. Despite the crappy weather we have been having, the field is surprisingly dry so I'm not sure what the reasoning was in cancelling unless the coach from the other team also coaches the High School baseball team and the team is in the play-offs (is that a baseball term? I have no idea) for the State championships and must therefore travel over the mountain for the games, as, incidentally, is the case with our team but, hey! Hugh was willing to go it alone and I have a hard time believing that the other team couldn't find at least one dad willing to pinch-hit (ha! BASEBALL term!!) for the coach. Also, run on, sentence, run on!

Anyhoodle, instead of freezing my ass off in the concession stand tonight I will be lounging on the couch watching movies on Netflix. That might sound like a really lazy way to spend a Friday evening but I look at it more as a peremptory strike (BASEBALL term! Or, Legal term, your call) against exhaustion by charging of my personal batteries prior to a hella-busy weekend of shopping, gardening, flower-planting, porch decorating, housecleaning, laundry, and the organizing of my family's enormous amount of crap for an eventual yard sale. Good times.

On the bright side, the shopping I will be doing will take place in Neighboring City and will include the purchase of bridal shower and wedding gifts for Brandon's sister (Brandon, you may recall was The Teenager's best friend until his untimely death four years ago). I'm so touched by how close The Teenager and Brandon's family have remained and we are really looking forward to attending the wedding and the parties leading up to it.

Also, while in Neighboring City, I will hit Sam's Club which is always fun this time of year since the summer merchandise is starting to arrive. Plus, you know, samples (the only bribe necessary to convince the Man-Cub to accompany me on a shopping trip)!

With any luck, I will find the perfect flowers for my porch planters which is something that I have been unable to do thus far, locally and; with stops at Old Navy, Pier One, Great Deals and Tuesday Mornings, I should be able to knock everything off my Must Have list.

You know, so I can bring it all home to compete for space with the clutter currently awaiting my yard sale (head-wall, head-wall).

Anyway, it's going to be a busy weekend with or without a baseball game thrown in. 'Tis the season, I suppose.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Once Again, I Blame Mother Nature

 I was listening to the radio while driving home in a pouring rainstorm today and a particularly fast-beat song came on; as if on cue, my automatic windshield wipers began to slap across the windshield faster and faster as though keeping time to the music and, before I could stop myself I said "Yeah, you get down with your bad self!" as though the wipers could actually understand me. I think all this crappy-ass weather has me slightly unhinged and I hope my room in the looney bin has nice, thick padding on the walls.

 Or, better yet, I hope it has velcro walls and; I will wear a velcro suit and throw myself against the wall to see how well I stick while singing show tunes in midair, just because I can.

I'll get down with my bad self, for sure. Mwaaah,ha,ha,ha,ha....

What's that? I sound crazy? Well, you would be crazy, too, if you couldn't sit through your son's baseball game without fear of getting frostbite... in May. Or, if you couldn't sit through another game without fear of contracting sunstroke...two days later.

Mother Nature certainly has a lot to answer for, recently.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

What IS Muskrat Love, Anyway?

While making my usual three-mile run/walk around the park yesterday, I was startled by a small furry creature that scuttled across my path.

At the time I was in an area of the park where a section of the running trail narrows significantly and crosses over a bridge spanning a small creek. To the right of the bridge is a marshy area, complete with cattails and other, um, marshy plant life (not a botanist, like obviously). To the left of the bridge, the creek cascades down from a small waterfall into a pool-like area before running under the bridge and into the marsh and, in this section, is a rock formation that resembles a natural dam although, I’m pretty sure it was man-made.

Well, I used to be pretty sure, now I’m not quite so positive. And, I digress.

Anyyyywaaay, I was approaching the bridge at a slow jog when the critter scurried across from the marsh to the pool. At first I thought it was a cat but then it occurred to me that cats don’t so much like to swim and this thing was definitely swimming. I slowed down to get a better look at it and, despite having a pretty decent view, was unable to identify its’ species before it disappeared into the rock dam. I did rule out beaver since the animal’s tail was bobbed and not long and flat nor did it have beaver-like teeth; its’ teeth were more, um…ferret-like and, since I’m pretty sure ferrets don’t live in public parks, I ruled that species out pretty quickly, too.

I continued my run/walk and, despite rounding the park three more times, I never saw the animal again. I gave the matter quite a bit of thought, however (there isn’t much else to do when one is running laps around a park, after all) and arrived at the conclusion that the creature was an otter. A sweet, furry otter with a cute furry otter-wife and a den full of adorable otter babies. During the day, they scamper about on the bridge and through the marsh, playing otter games and speaking in English, just like every animal ever animated by Walt Disney.

As you can imagine, that made my enjoyment of my time in nature ever so much more special.

That is, until later that evening when my husband and my son disabused me of the notion of a family of otters living in the park. Instead, they decreed that the creature was probably a muskrat, which, just…ewwww.

Because, muskrats are, I don't know, skeevy, somehow.

So, I decided that, if the creature was a muskrat, it couldn’t possibly be a good muskrat, oh, no. It was obviously a muskrat that had been mutated by toxic run-off from farming pesticides in the water, turning it into a man-killer that prowls the least frequented part of the park just waiting for the opportunity to leap out at an unsuspecting jogger so it can chew off her face and drag her corpse into the rock den to be dined upon by the muskrat’s equally mutated wife and children because, I mean, obviously. What else could a muskrat be doing hanging out in a public park?

And, while I prefer my original Disney-like version of the situation, I do intend to step up the pace when I enter that particular part of the park.

Just to be on the safe side.

Monday, May 16, 2011

And, Just Like That, Mother Nature is Back in My Good Graces

The weather this weekend was both beautiful and fully conducive to completing the outdoor chores that I had on my To Do list, finally.

On Friday, my parents arrived with my seven-year old nephew and he and the Man-Cub proceeded to run each other into exhaustion with Nerf Dart wars, a Wii game marathon and a contest to see who could fart the loudest and most frequently within a twenty-four hour period (tie).

Of course, they had to take a short break in order for the Cub to attend his baseball game Friday night. The game went well if you ignore the part where we arrived at the ballpark to find that the concession stand had been broken into and our entire inventory stolen. As an aside, there is a special place in Hell for people who steal from programs that benefit children, I mean, really.

On the bright side, once I was finished giving my statement to the police, I was able to sit in the late afternoon/early evening sunshine with my parents, where we watched the Cub make several awesome plays at second base.

Saturday morning dawned bright and beautiful and my parents upheld their part of the Grandchild Spoilage Clause included in their Grandparenting contract by taking us all to Denny’s where the children were allowed to drink chocolate shakes with their pancake breakfasts.

Hugh was scheduled to work the Wine Festival being held in town during the day so, we said goodbye to him at the restaurant and hit the shopping center for some serious browsing although, not much actual purchasing of merchandise (I know, I’m shocked, too).

We were just about to head to the nursery to pick out flowers for my front porch when the weather took a slight turn for the worse, with dark clouds rolling in, thunder booming and lightning flashing, which totally killed my mood for planting window boxes so; we browsed the nursery only briefly before leaving empty-handed and heading home to relax for the remainder of the day.

Unfortunately, my parents had to take their leave of us on Sunday and, after they were gone, the Cub and I set about planting the vegetable garden, which we accomplished in record time (as an aside, having a child who is willing to carry the heavy plants, dig rows, drop seeds and stake tomato plants without complaint is such a tremendous blessing; I can hardly be blamed for spoiling him a little rotten, myself. Also, I am in training to become a Pod Person one day in the very, very, distant future).

Since the weather was being so cooperative, we hit the nursery again, this time choosing the vegetable plants that would round out the garden. I did look briefly at flowers but, with the exception of some beautiful Oriental Lilies for the flowerbeds surrounding the back porch, I didn’t buy a thing.

Instead, we made our way back home and I set about cleaning the front porch to get it ready for our first Porch Night, which I’m hoping to host as a celebration of the end of school later this month.

Unfortunately, the porch was far dirtier than I initially thought and the cleaning took a lot longer than I would have liked, in fact, I didn’t quite finish (ok, I wanted to watch Boston Rob win Survivor finally, so, sue me) and will have to complete the hosing today before I can arrange my furniture and bust out the cushions, candles, and various decorations that make the porch homey.

Then I will buy the flowers for the window boxes.

I like to stretch my chores out over a long period of time, obviously.

Ok, I’m just lazy. But, I can no longer complain about the weather and that’s A-ok with me.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Dear Blogger, Please Don’t Eat My Post. Thank You in Advance for Your Cooperation

Blogger appears to be having some issues and yesterday’s post has inexplicably disappeared. No worries; it basically consisted of some very whiney drivel about the weather, and today is spectacularly beautiful, so, we can overlook that minor faux pas and we shall focus on the positive.

Positive #1: My parents and my youngest nephew are on their way here from Mayberry. We are going to spend the weekend together, watching the Cub play baseball, shopping for flowers (me) and spoiling the children (the Pod People).

Positive #2: I lost another pound this week, which places me fifteen pounds closer to my ultimate goal.

Positive #3: Although I have to work in the concession stand at tonight’s baseball game, I will be doing so with one of the coolest moms on the Dream Team roster and I have a super-sized bag of salt water taffy with which to sweeten the deal.

Positive #4: The weather is supposed to remain this gorgeous throughout the weekend.

Positive #5: I just got a call from one of my former Board members at Old Job; he offered me tickets to a luncheon prepared by a former Top Chef contestant and, while I have previous plans and cannot attend the luncheon, the fact that I was the first person he thought of to give the tickets to made me feel super-special. Also, he always refers to me as “Pretty Lady” which makes my head swell even if we do technically play for the same team. Which we do.

Positive #6: I bought fresh flowers at the farmer’s market today and they look stunningly beautiful on my windowsill.

Positive #7: The barista at Starbucks got my Venti iced skinny Cinnamon Dolce Latte absolutely perfect today.

Positive #8: All the good summer movies are starting to be released and, with weather like this, a trip to the drive-in cannot be far off.

Positive #9: New OPI shades, ‘nuff said.

Positive #10: Blogger appears not to have eaten this post.

It’s a good day to be alive.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Summer, Summer, Where For Art Thou, Summer?

This past weekend, The Teenager and I were lounging in lawn chairs on the back deck, tanning ourselves and enjoying a light breeze (in between gusts of wind that sent elm seeds hurling into our tender flesh).

Yesterday, it snowed all around us.

Yes, in May.

I suppose we got lucky, we did dodge the snowfall but; the skies poured buckets of cold rain instead and, the general dreariness of the day was enough to remind one of the darkest days of winter even without a blanket of snow.

Today, ominous dark clouds hover menacingly over the town, heavy with the threat of rain (or snow) and I am just so. Tired. Of. Crappy. Weather.

I’m ready to plant my garden but the soil is too wet to work.

I had planned to buy the flowers for my front porch planters this weekend but, now I’m afraid that the weather would just kill them and that I would be wasting money, time and the limited amount of sanity that I have left.

And, I know that I don’t have it so bad; I watch the news and my heart breaks for the people in the South, people who are losing everything they have to raging floodwaters so, obviously, my piddly little gardening issues pale in comparison.


I’m really ready for some sunshine.

And, heat.

And, fresh fruit and vegetables.

So, waddya say, Mother Nature? Help a girl out?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

When Doing Slapstick for Lipstick Comes Perfectly Naturally

The results are in and it appears that Fun Night was a huge success. At today’s meeting of my women’s club, The Teenager and I were lauded for a job well done and, in addition to the numerous compliments, we were given gift cards to Sephora which, while greatly appreciated , was wholly unnecessary given how much fun we actually had planning and executing the game show portion of the night.

Speaking of game shows, one of the compliments I received today was a favorable comparison between myself and Vanna White which is somewhat ironic given the fact that, when I was a graduating Senior in High School I was voted most likely to secede Vanna on Wheel of Fortune (mostly as a joke due to the fact that Ms. White has posed nude in Playboy that year, something the Super Prude in me would have never allowed).

For the record, Vanna White is like sixty-something and smokin’ hot for her age; if I age one-tenth as gracefully as she has I might just reconsider my anti-Playboy stance.

Or not but, whatever; at least I’ll have glowing skin courtesy of some fancy potions from Sephora and, I believe the lesson we have learned here is that volunteering is good for both your ego and your dermis (which is the scientific term for skin, a little something I learned while watching Jeopardy, a game show having nothing whatsoever to do with Vanna White).

The end.

Monday, May 09, 2011

The Weekend Finished What the Week Started

My ass, it is officially kicked.

Friday night’s Fun Night, however, ended up being a huge success (deep sigh of relief). The Teenager was a gigantic hit with the ladies, the games went better than expected and there was a lot of laughter all the way around. By the end of the evening, I was exhausted, exhilarated, had lost the majority of my voice thanks to the level of volume that I was required to keep up throughout the evening and, was ready for a trip through the Starbucks drive-through which was what I had promised The Teenager for all her help.

After a good night’s sleep, I spent Saturday helping Hugh in the yard. We completely pulled up a rather large flower bed, tried our level best to eradicate the bind-weed that has been steadily taking over the flowerbed for the past couple of years, laid down new weed barrier and a six-inch layer of wood chips. With any luck, the flowers will thrive and we won’t have the weed problem again (wishful thinking).

Once the work to the flowerbed was completed, Hugh continued yard work with some serious attention to his lawn while I cleaned the house, shopped for groceries and played the part of chauffeur, driving The Teenager and Kaz to town to attend a carnival sponsored by our local Lions Club. By the time picked the girls up later that night, I was thoroughly exhausted and ready for bed.

One thing I was not ready for was how sore I would be the next day. Seriously, Sunday morning, I felt like I had been beaten with crowbars, courtesy of the weeding, I imagine.

The aches and pains didn’t stop me from jumping right into more household chores, of course although, since it was Mother’s Day, I slacked just a bit. For instance, instead of washing the windows like I had planned to do, I spent an hour lazing about in the sunshine with The Teenager. We are both a bit pinker for our efforts despite the fact that the wind carried elm seeds at a velocity that actually caused the small seeds to sting uncomfortably when they hit our bare skin; in the name of relaxation, we persevered.

Dinner last night was lovingly prepared by someone other than myself (thank you, chefs at Chili’s) and I rounded out the weekend with an early bedtime.

So, the weekend was in keeping with the week preceding it. This week: less is more and, by less I mean; I intend to participate in as many slothful activities as possible. You know, right after I host Book Club tonight which reminds me, must prepare canap├ęs. Yeah, this week isn’t going to be busy at all (famous last words).

Friday, May 06, 2011

Dear Week, You Are Kicking My Ass

Monday-Normal workload plus a trip into town for a massage-my one activity aimed at relaxation for the week-baseball practice for the Cub, much stressing done over whether or not we would have enough volunteers from our High School service club to serve at the annual Senior Sports Banquet later that night; we did.

Tuesday-Normal workload plus woman’s club meeting and a baseball game in a nearby town.

Wednesday-Normal workload, meeting for the fundraising committee of the Community Foundation of which I am a member plus a couple of hours in the baseball concession stand, cleaning and organizing for the games next week.

Thursday-Normal workload plus a meeting of our High School service group, errands intended to help prepare me for Friday night’s Fun Night event at a local country club, baseball practice, more errands for Fun Night, dry-run of the games planned for Minute to Win It at Fun Night, craft hour aimed at bedazzling a ginormous sports bra to be used as the Good Sport Award at Fun Night and an hour or so in the kitchen, baking banana bread for Friday morning’s convention break while simultaneously trying to watch The Vampire Diaries (noooo, do not kill my evil pixie, Damon! Noooo! Ok, they probably won't because Ian Somerhalder is too hot to replace, whew! Dodged that bullet) before realizing that I lack a necessary ingredient for said banana bread, mad dash to town to purchase ingredient, followed by the decision to simply buy some damn banana bread and call it good.

Friday-Say it with me, normal workload plus errands to finish off the details of Fun Night (not sounding so fun at this point, is it?), a trip into town to drop off the banana bread I made bought for the morning break at the convention, treat The Teenager to dinner at her favorite Chinese buffet as a bribe reward for her help with Fun Night, actually attend Fun Night, where I will emcee Minute to Win It followed by either basking in the glow of a project well done or a trip to the liquor store to purchase wine with which to dull the sting of failure.

Is it any wonder that I am actually looking forward to a weekend during which Hugh and I plan to completely re-do a large flower bed, till and fertilize the garden, thatch the lawn, power wash the front porch and wash the outside of all the windows in the house?

Oh, wait….

It is a wonder.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

If It Weren't For Procrastination, I'd Have No Skills At All

Remember a while back when I casually mentioned that I had been chosen to plan the Fun Night activity at my woman's club's annual convention? Yeah, that happens tomorrow. Care to guess how prepared I am for it? Go ahead, take a guess.

If you guessed, not very much, you would be right.

On the bright side, The Teenager has agreed to help me and, together, we designed the games for our Minute to Win It event, gathered the necessary supplies and even came up with a pretty ingenious item for the Good Sport Award. I might be able to pull this off, after all.

We'll find out, tomorrow because, no matter how good I am at procrastinating, I cannot control time. That would be cool, though.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

In Which We Discover Additional Evidence of the Presence of Pod People Among Us

The night before last, Hugh brought home a car for The Teenager to test drive; a friend of his is selling the car and thought we might be interested and, since we have had such a hard time finding a used car that was both affordable and in decent shape, we jumped at the chance to test this one out.

The test drive took us on numerous back roads, ending at Oscar and Emily’s house, where Hugh dared The Teenager to ask her grandmother for $2500 to help defray the cost of the car, should we decide to buy it. He was joking, of course but, when The Teenager merrily bopped into her grandmother’s house, batted her lovely eyelashes and sweetly asked the woman to fork over some cash, my mother-in-law- a woman who could squeeze a penny until Abraham Lincoln cried copper tears-totally told her that she was sure they could work something out.

Hugh and I both immediately nixed that idea, it was a joke after all and, we have the money set aside for the car already but, people? She was totally prepared to lay the cash down for that child. With a smile on her face.

A smile!

I’m not sure what the alien’s eventual plan for world domination might entail but I’m guessing it includes an army of grandchildren ready to do battle for the people who have spoiled them rotten which, is actually pretty ingenious when one thinks about it.

Pretty ingenious, indeed.