Vinnie Returns on Monday

Vinnie returns Monday. Vinnie’s Mom Doesn’t Like the Song Vinnie is Singing to Pass the Time. LOL


Vinnie Wants to Know Who Painted the Painted Desert


“Why, Mom?”


“Because why, Mom?”

“Because I said so.”

“I don’t understand.”

“What don’t you understand?”

“Why I can’t turn my story into Mrs. Navis for my vacation project.”

“Because I don’t want to be embarrassed.”

“You didn’t listen to the story, Mom. It really is good.”

Vinnie’s mom glances at Vinnie’s dad, “You can join in the conversation any time you want to join in.”

“You’re doing just fine, Dear.”

“Mom? Mom? Mom?”

“What, Vincent?”

“You look stressed. I packed Snickers, Twix, Three Musketeers, and six packages of bubblegum. Do you want anything? I think chocolate will make you feel better.”

“Where did you get all that? I didn’t buy it?”

“Remember the night before we left on the trip?”

“What about it, Vincent?”

“Gramma and Grampa came over to say goodbye.”

“I remember.”

“Gramma is the nicest. She gave me a bag of candy. She called it ‘goodies.’ She said to share it with everyone, but not to tell you until we were far away from home. Are we far enough away from to tell you, Mom?”

“It’s your Mom, Dear,” says Vinnie’s dad.

“Don’t go there,” responds Vinnie’s mom.

“Where? There’s the exit for the Painted Desert. Can we go, can we?”

Vinnie’s dad says, “This is our third day on the road. We should have been in Flagstaff yesterday. I was lucky to keep our rooms at the Grand Canyon. We’ll have to pass on the Painted Desert this time.”

“Who painted it, Dad?”

“It was the way it was formed millions of years ago. The desert is composed of stratified layers of easily erodible siltstone, mudstone, and shale,” Vinnie’s dad smiles at Vinnie’s mom expressing his pride how he described the geology of the Painted Desert.

Vinnie’s mom says, “You learn that on Google last night?”

“No, early this morning when I was looking for places to stop for lunch,” says Vinnie’s dad.

“Do they have pizza places at the Grand Canyon, Dad?”

“No, it is a national park. We’ll hike and maybe we’ll see bears or wolves or even mountain lions. We might get to ride a donkey down the canyon trails to the Colorado River.”

“What are we going to eat, Dad? Dexter will starve to death without food. You don’t want Dexter to starve to death, do you, Dad?”

Vinnie’s dad glances over at Vinnie’s mom, “I could use a little help.”

Vinnie’s mom says, “You’re doing just fine, Dear.”

“I didn’t think about food. I thought you were going to think about food,” says Vinnie’s dad.

“I thought I was supposed to think about packing and organizing. I thought you were going to think about the food and lodging,” says Vinnie’s mom.

Vinnie interrupts his parents, “You should have asked Dexter, Dad. Dexter is always thinking about food.”

Vinnie’s mom turns her head toward Vinnie, “I’ll take two candy bars, it doesn’t matter what kind.”

“Can I have one?” asks Vinnie’s dad.

“Too late, Dad. I only have two left and Mom called them. I ate the rest.”


Vinnie’s Mom Learns One of Vinnie’s Dark Secrets


Day 3. 

Vinnie’s dad has the SUV on cruise control zipping along Interstate 40, in eastern Arizona. Vinnie’s mom looks over her right shoulder and sees Vinnie completely engrossed in writing in the notebook she gave to him. She taps Vinnie’s dad on the thigh, he glances over. Vinnie’s mom says, “Vinnie hasn’t said a word in over an hour. He’s really into whatever he’s writing. I’d love to know what has taken hold of him.”

Vinnie’s dad says, “Believe me, you don’t want to go there.”

Before Vinnie’s mom responds, Vinnie says, “Where? Maybe I want to go there. It might be fun. Do they have rides?”

Vinnie’s mom whispers, “I’m sorry.”

Vinnie’s dad says, “It’s only an expression. Mom and I were having a conversation.”

“What were you talking about, Dad? Was it me?” asks Vinnie.

Vinnie’s mom and dad make eye contact. Vinnie’s dad shrugs his shoulders, “We were wondering what you were writing, that’s all.”

“I thought you didn’t want to go there,” Vinnie’s mom mouths to Vinnie’s dad.

Vinnie’s dad shrugs. He frequently uses this strategy when he can’t explain why he did something. It’s a strategy many males learn early on in relationships if their brain is four steps behind their actions.

“I was writing a story. I’m going to give it to Mrs. Navis when I go back to school after vacation is over. I’m pretty sure I’ll get an A because I write the best stories in the class. All the kids want me to read my stories out loud.”

Vinnie’s mom’s heart rate increases by twenty beats per minute. She says, “What?”

“I’ve been doing it all year, Mom.”

“What do you write about? How come I haven’t seen your stories?” says Vinnie’s mom.

Vinnie looks out the window. He turns back, reaches over to the adjacent seat and picks up Rupert. He holds Rupert in front of him. “Rupert, Mom wants to know why you told me not to show her the stories I write for Mrs. Navis.”

“What are these stories about, Vincent?” says Vinnie’s mom.

Vinnie turns Rupert around to face his mom and picks Rupert up high enough to hide his face from his mom. Using his falsetto voice as Rupert’s imaginary voice, he says, “I told Vinnie you might get upset with his stories because they are all about us.”

Vinnie’s dad dives in, “What do you mean, Rupert, all about us?”

Rupert says, “You know, you and Mom and Dexter and Vinnie and me. His last story was how he rescued you when you were talking to fat Mrs. Bevis.”

“He didn’t,” says Vinnie’s mom.

“He did.”

“What did Mrs. Navis say?” asks Vinnie’s mom.

“Vinnie never got to finish reading his story because he was laughing so hard, Mrs. Navis sent him to time out.”

“Time out? I didn’t know.”

“Opps. I don’t think I should have said anything, Vinnie,” says Rupert.

Vinnie’s mom turns to Vinnie’s dad. I don’t think we can ever go home. No wonder Julia Bevis has been snubbing me. I must be the laughing stock of all the parents.”

“Mom. I told better stories about Dad.”


Vinnie’s Mom Can Use A Little Help


Vinnie, his mom and dad, Rupert, and Dexter are in room 301. Vinnie’s mom is laying out clothes for tomorrow’s trip. Vinnie’s dad sits on the end of Vinnie’s bed and is surfing the TV channels. Vinnie is using his bed as a trampoline. Dexter is lying on the floor next to Vinnie’s bed hoping food crumbs spill out of Vinnie’s pockets. Rupert gets tossed in the air at the height of Vinnie’s bounce of the bed. He rises until his head hits the ceiling and he tumbles back landing in Vinnie’s hands as Vinnie is landing on the bed.

“I could use some help, Dear,” says Vinnie’s mom.

“Vinnie’s dad says, “They have free HBO and  Showtime.”

“You didn’t hear a word I said, did you?” says Vinnie’s mom staring at Vinnie’s dad, her arms akimbo.

“Mom, where’s my bathing suit? I don’t mind swimming in these clothes, they’re all dirty from Dexter trying to get food out of my pockets.”

Vinnie’s mom follows Vinnie up and down, up and down. “Will you stop bouncing. It’s making me dizzy,” says Vinnie’s mom.

“Try bouncing with me, Mom. I’m not dizzy,” says Vinnie tossing Rupert toward the pillows. Vinnie now trying to touch the ceiling with his outstretched arms.

Vinnie’s mom walks to the TV and stands in front of it, “Can I get some help?”

“Gee, Dear, why didn’t you say something. What can I do,” says Vinnie’s dad.

Vinnie’s mom says, “Take Vinnie to the pool for thirty minutes. I want time to refreshen before we go out to eat. Vinnie’s a good swimmer, but keep an eye on him.”

Vinnie hollers from the apex of his jump, “Dad, no peeing in the pool.”

Vinnie’s dad says, “I don’t pee in the pool.”

Vinnie’s mom says, “That’s gross.”

Vinnie says, “Joey pees in the pool and so does his dad.”

“Who told you that?” asks Vinnie’s mom.


“No more swimming in their pool.”

“Why, Mom. They use lots of chorine,” says Vinnie.

“If you want to swim, stop jumping and change into your bathing trunks,” says Vinnie’s mom.

“Mom, can Dexter go swimming with us. He can do the doggie paddle.”

“No, Dexter will stay in the room with me and Rupert,” says Vinnie’s mom.

“Rupert can’t go? Why, Mom? Rupert’s certified as a lifeguard,” says Vinnie.

Vinnie’s mom thinks in two more years I’ll be certified as crazy unless things change.

Dexter will howl, Mom. He doesn’t like strange places. He’ll miss me,” says Vinnie.

“Dexter will be with me as he is every day when you are at school.”

Vinnie stops jumping on the bed. He hops down to the floor and grabs Dexter around the neck and hugs him. “I’m going swimming, Buddy. I’ll miss you. You can play with Rupert until I get back.”

Vinnie stands up, “Mom, did you bring my snorkel and flippers?”

Vinnie’s mom glances over at Vinnie’s dad who’s watching the food channel.  She mumbles a silent prayer, “Dear Mother of God, I need a little help. I’m with two males who don’t have a clue. Know what I mean?”

Vinnie’s Mom says, “Is There No Bottom?”


Five hours and six stops later, the SUV pulls into a motel parking lot in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Vinnie’s dad walks out of the lobby toward the SUV, beaming, holding two room pass keys in his hand and a map showing the room’s location.

Vinnie’s dad opens the driver’s side door and slides into his seat. “They take dogs and grizzly bears.” Vinnie’s dad thinks he made a cool joke. 

Vinnie’s mom disagrees. She says, “Are you sure you couldn’t get closer to the airport? Oh my God, the plane is going to land on us.”

Vinnie hollers, “Wow. Was that cool. I could see the wheels. I could read everything on the plane. I could see the pilot’s face. I changed my mind, I don’t want to be a cowboy, I want to be pilot. Rupert can be my copilot. And, Dexter can bark and warn me if planes get too close. Here comes another one. I think it’s a military jet.”

“My ear drums. I think they’re perforated,” says Vinnie’s mom.

Vinnie’s dad attempts a good spin, “The desk clerk said not to worry about the planes, they stop landing at midnight and don’t start again until five in the morning.”

“You’re kidding, right?” asks Vinnie’s mom.

Vinnie interrupts, “Why don’t the fly all night, Dad? This is the best part of the trip so far. I can smell the jet fuel.”

Vinnie’s dad reaches into his pants pocket. “Here’s some good news and it shows we’re staying at a classy place. They gave us three sets of earplugs.”

“What is your definition of classy, Dear? The first thing I’m checking for is bed bugs. The second thing I’m checking is to see if the sheets are clean. The third thing I’m checking is to see if there are locks on the windows,” says Vinnie’s mom.

“You forgot the fourth and fifth things, Mom,” says Vinnie.

Vinnie’s mom turns toward Vinnie, “What are the fourth and fifth things, Vinnie?”

“You need to check to see if the cable TV is working and if you can get delivery pizza,” says Vinnie.

Vinnie’s mom puts her right hand on her forehead and gently rubs it. She closes her eyes and takes a deep breath. When she opens her eyes, she says, “Where did we take a wrong turn?”

Vinnie’s dad unsure of what response he’s to make, says, “Do you want me to answer or is this a rhetorical question?”

From the backseat, “I know, Mom.”

Vinnie’s mom glances at Vinnie, “You know what?”

“I know where Dad made a wrong turn? Rupert tried to tell him, but Dad wouldn’t listen.”

“Oh? Tell me where Dad made a wrong turn.”

Vinnie’s dad is now thinking it would have been better to drive through the night across the New Mexican and Arizona deserts to Flagstaff, Arizona, where there are no major airports.

“It was way back in Texas, Mom. There was a sign that said 60 miles to the Palo Duro State Park. The sign said it was like the Grand Canyon. We’d already be there, Mom. Why do we have to go to the Grand Canyon when Texas already has one, Mom? Why doesn’t Dad listen to Rupert, Mom?”

Vinnie’s dad says, “Let’s get to our room, then we’ll go out and find a nice restaurant and have a relaxing dinner.”

“Dad? Dad? Dad?”

“Yes, Vinnie?” says Vinnie’s dad.

“Can I have all the earplugs? I’ll have a set. Rupert will have a set and Dexter will have a set. Thanks for getting them for us, Dad. Make sure we go to a restaurant that allows dogs and grizzly bears to come in. After we eat can we go to the pool?”

Vinnie’s mom says to Vinnie’s dad, “Is there no bottom?”

Vinnie’s Mom Tells Vinnie It’s for His Own Good


Vinnie’s dad tosses a glance at Vinnie’s mom and says, “We can do this. We can beat Dexter and Rupert.”

“I don’t think so, Dad. Did you know Rupert’s IQ is higher than a genius. It’s even higher than Einstein’s IQ.”

Vinnie’s mom says, “I am not going to let a stuffed animal and beagle beat me. What is Rupert’s IQ. I’m a Mensa member.”

Vinnie’s dad slowly counts to ten, he has a feeling the Mensa member next to him is not going to like the answer.

Vinnie’s mom is not to be bested by a stuffed grizzly bear. She says, “Well, for Rupert’s information, Mensa is the oldest society in the world for high IQ people. You have to have a very high IQ to be included in Mensa. If Rupert’s IQ is so high he would be in Mensa with me.”

Vinnie’s dad is wondering why Vinnie’s mom is sparring with an eight-year-old and a stuffed grizzly bear. He decides not ask.

Vinnie puts Rupert next to his ear. He gently shakes Rupert causing Rupert’s head to bounce. Vinnie nods his head while he’s shaking Rupert. He sets Rupert on his lap and says, “Mom, Rupert told me he is too smart to be in Mensa. He has an IQ of one-thousand twenty-five. He thinks it’s higher but the IQ test can’t go any higher. What is Mensa anyway?”

Vinnie’s mom rolls her eyes and says, “Never mind. Rupert, would I recognize whatever this thing is if I saw it? And, you can’t make up something Dad and I don’t know.” 

Rupert says, “Of course, Mom. Everybody in the world knows the answer. It’s obvious.”

“I am not your mother, Rupert. I am only Vinnie’s mother,” says Vinnie’s mom.

Rupert answers in a sad falsetto voice, “But, you’re the only mom I know.”

“Please, Mom. Will you be Rupert’s mom. He’s starting to cry. Everybody needs a mom and you’re the second best mom I know,” says Vinnie. He adds, “You’d be the best mom I know if I could eat unhealthy snacks once in a while. Joey’s mom lets Joey eat anything he wants and stay up as late as he wants and …”

“I don’t care what Joey’s mom does with Joey. I only care about you. Everything I do for you is for your good.”

“That’s what Mrs. Navis says all the time when she corrects me. Did she tell you to say that to me at one of your conferences?” asks Vinnie.

Vinnie’s dad says softly, “Just tell him you want to be Rupert’s mom so we can go ahead with the game.”

“Do you know what you just asked me to do?” says Vinnie’s mom.

“Uh huh. It’s the only way through, Dear.”

“Rupert, I am your mom. Do you feel better? That does not count as a question,” says Vinnie’s mom.

“Thank you, Mom. Does this make Vinnie and me brothers?” asks Rupert in his falsetto voice. “BTW, Mom, you’re down to fourteen questions.”

Vinnie’s dad interrupts the conversation, “Does the answer begin with a vowel?”

Rupert says, “Once in a while, but most of the time, no?”

“What kind of answer is that, Rupert?” asks Vinnie’s mom. “It doesn’t make sense.”

Vinnie raises his hand, “Oooh. Oooh. Oooh. I know. I know.”

Vinnie turns Rupert to face him. Rupert speaks to Vinnie, “It’s Mom’s turn. Do you mind if I call you Bro sometimes, since we’re brothers?”

Vinnie’s dad covers his mouth to stop from laughing. Vinnie’s mom is deciding whether to be angry or to laugh. She’s walking a tightrope high above the ground with gusty winds swirling around her. She makes a mental note to find a different child psychologist.

“You can be my Bro, Rupert.”

“Thanks, Bro. Fist bump,” says Rupert. Vinnie raises Rupert’s paw and fists bumps. He turns Rupert around to face Vinnie’s mom.

Rupert says, “Mom, do you have any more questions or do you want to guess. If you don’t, it’s Vinnie’s turn and I’m sure he will win.”

“Is this thing imaginary or real?” asks Vinnie’s mom.

“It’s real,” answers Rupert. 

“You said it wasn’t grass. Does it have anything to do with a volcano? Sometimes volcanos come to life and most of the time they are quiet.”

“It could and then it couldn’t, Mom,” says Rupert.

“I can’t take anymore. What is the answer?”

“I can’t tell you, Mom. It’s Vinnie’s turn,” says Rupert as Vinnie turns Rupert around to face him.

“I can’t wait,” says Vinnie’s mom.

Vinnie and Rupert look at each other. Rupert says, “Bro, do you want to ask me a question before you answer?”

Vinnie’s dad can’t hold back, he starts laughing.

“Don’t encourage him, Dear,” says Vinnie’s mom.

“I don’t need to ask a question, Bro. Can I give you the answer?” asks Vinnie.

Vinnie shakes Rupert’s head. Rupert says, “Un huh.”

“Is it a Zombie?”

“Bing, buzz, ding ding, we have a winner,” says Rupert.

“A Zombie? A Zombie? says Vinnie’s mom. “It does not begin with a vowel.”

“Sometimes they are known as the undead, mom. All the kids know about zombies. How come you don’t know about zombies, Mom? I thought you were smart. Rupert knows all about zombies. Now you know he has a higher IQ than you.”

“Are we almost there?” asks Vinnie’s mom.