The House that Keeps on Giving and More Books

Our house appears to have this burning desire to prop up the economy all by itself. The good news is that the tile re-grouting wasn’t as expensive as it could have been and, against all odds, the electrician believes the basement wiring is safe. However, I had a guy come by to service our fireplace and now I realize the only way it passed inspection was by us misinterpreting what the fireplace receipt, forwarded by the old owner, actually said. Apparently the pilot hood (?) is being held together with bailing wire and some electronic part that shuts off the fireplace if it gets too hot has a short in it. So, the fix is less than a new fireplace but more than we truly want to spend for a feature we’re rarely going to use. The good news is this house allows us to stay just as busy as we want to be, sometimes a little more.

In other news, I’ve been looking for interesting chapter books to read to Calvin. A while back I perused the catalog looking for good candidates. I requested several including Have Space Suit Will Travel, by Heinlein, and Cosmic, by Frank Cottrell Boyce. Just for the record, I know that both of these books are way above Calvin’s comprehension. However, he seems to have a pretty good tolerance for listening to me read random things.

I checked out the books from the library today and started with Have Space Suit Will Travel because Cosmic looked thicker than I was expecting. I thought Calvin would be intrigued by a boy getting a space suit but I forgot how much commentary there was in the story. So, we gave up on that one pretty quickly because Calvin didn’t care that Kip’s education is subpar. Cosmic turned out to be a better fit.

Cosmic is the story about how Liam, an almost-thirteen-year-old-boy who looks thirty, accidentally gets lost out in space. He records an audio diary of the events leading up to him being lost in a space ship so he can hand it over to his parents as an explanation if he survives. The writing is amusing and Calvin seemed willing to flip through another picture book while I read it to him (I thought he was going to play with duplos while I read. Me reading was a sneaky way to convince him I shouldn’t build another firetruck/rocket/garbage truck for him).

While reading the book, I found a library bookmark in it with the query on one side, “Why was the dinosaur afraid to go back to the library?” with the answer, “Her books were millions of years overdue.” I tried to explain the joke to Calvin but it’s a little old for him, plus, I didn’t find it particularly funny. Anyway, the book reading experience was going fairly well until Liam recounts attending Waterloo High for the first time and accidentally getting mistaken for a new teacher. Instead of fessing up at once, Liam allows the principal to shepherd him on stage at assembly to introduce him to his future students. For some reason, this particular scene had me laughing so hard I was crying. I kept trying to keep reading only to break down mid-sentence in peals of laughter. Meanwhile, Calvin was still obsessed with the bookmark we had found and kept trying to repeat the joke. I would patiently read it to him, then start reading the book and once again, start laughing hysterically. Calvin believed I was laughing at the bookmark joke and, apparently believing he found the best joke ever, proceeded to mostly memorize the joke. I have visions of Calvin completely confusing his preschool teacher on Monday when he tries to recount this joke to her.

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