Vinnie’s Mom says, “Dear Jesus, What is it Vinnie?”

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Vinnie’s mom extends her arm and points toward the hallway leading to the bedrooms, “Go and don’t come out until you get up in the morning. Try to think of a different science project. You cannot use Dexter or any other animal.”

“Mom? Can I color in Dexter’s blonde spots with a black magic marker? I’ll need more turkey to make Dexter sit still.”

“Vincent, do not do anything else to Dexter’s fur. Do not experiment on him. Make sure you brush and floss your teeth. Then shower. Use soap. No getting wet and running out of the shower.”

“Why do I have to shower every night, Mom. Joey doesn’t shower. He takes a bath on Saturdays. He gets to stay up until ten. He doesn’t have to do his homework until he gets up in the morning. You know what Joey told me when I told him what I have to do every day?”

“What, Vincent?” says Vinnie’s mom, her hands now on her hips.

“Will you get mad?”

“No, Vincent, I will not get mad. You are stalling. I know what you are doing. You are trying to stay up late and it’s not going to work.”

“Joey said it sounds like I’m in jail because I have so many rules to follow. Joey doesn’t have any rules.”

“Vincent, how many times have I told you I am not Joey’s mom. I don’t care how Joey’s mom raises him. I am your mother.”

“I know you’re my mother, Mom. You told me about a zillion times. Can I get a snack to take in the bedroom?”

“No, brush your teeth, shower, and off to bed. I will be in to tuck you in after you shower. Then, dad will come in and tell you a story.”

“Mom! Mom! Mom!”

“Dear Jesus, what is it Vinnie?”

“You just gave me another idea for my science project. This one is the best one yet.”

“What is it, Vinnie. I hope it is not a silly idea. You cannot use Dexter or Rupert in your science project. Can you do something like the other kids in your class. You can grow plants, you can see what melts faster ice cream or frozen milk, you can measure if clothes dry faster with dryer sheets than without. These are all great ideas. I was looking them up online.”

“Mom, I can think of something better. Tell Dad I want to hear the next adventure of Power Pete. Dad should quit his lawyer job and write books about Power Pete. I’d read them.”

Vinnie’s mom stoops down to one knee. She motions Vinnie to come to her. She puts her hands on his shoulders. “I know you are trying so hard to come up with the best project ever, Vinnie. Can I make a suggestion to you?”

“Sure, Mom.”

“Instead of thinking of a project, think of a a question you want to answer. When you have a good question, your science project will be to answer the question. Does this make sense?”

“Wow, Mom. You’re a genius. You’re smarter than Dexter, but not as smart as Rupert. I already have a question.”

“Thank you for the compliment, Vinnie. Maybe one day I’ll be smarter than Rupert.”

“I don’t think so, Mom. He reads all day while I’m at school. Here’s my question, Why is Mrs. Navis so mean? It’s perfect, right, Mom.” 

Vinnie looks at his mom who is giving him a look, he says, “I need to come up with a different question, right, Mom?”

“Yes, Vinnie. Now, brush, floss, shower, and tell me when you’re finished,” Vinnie’s mom gives Vinnie a hug and kiss on the top of his head.

Vinnie turns and heads toward the bathroom. Dexter heads toward the kitchen. Even a beagle knows there is no food where Vinnie is going.

Vinnie’s brushing his teeth he runs out the bathroom, his mouth foaming with toothpaste. Dexter leaves the kitchen on a full run heading toward Vinnie. Whatever Vinnie is mumbling, it must be about food. This is the way Dexter thinks.

Vinnie stops at the edge of the living room. Two things happen simultaneously when Vinnie stops. He starts speaking and while he speaks toothpaste foam sprays on everything with five feet of his voice.

“Mom, I got a terrific question for my science project. Want to . . .”

“Vincent. Stop talking. Your getting toothpaste over the rug. OMG, I’m going to have to clean this before it stains.”

“Can I time you, Mom. It could be my science project.”

“Go!”

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Vinnie Returns in 7 Days

“Ray, Ray, Ray!”

Vinnie is holding his stuffed grizzly bear, Rupert, in front of his face and speaking in a falsetto voice. Am I going to slip into an 8-year old boy’s fantasy world to communicate with him? It’s the only way Vinnie will leave me alone.

“What is it, Rupert?” I ask hoping my kids don’t seek a power of attorney and declare me incompetent.

“Ray, Ray, Ray, it’s only 7 days until Vinnie returns,” says Rupert.

Vinnie Returns in 9 Days

“Ray, Ray, Ray, can Rupert say the countdown?” asks an excited Vinnie.

I don’t want to prolong the dialogue, “Sure, Vinnie.”

Vinnie holds Rupert, his stuffed grizzly bear in front of his face and speaks in a falsetto tone, “9.”

“Did Rupert do great, Ray? Did he?” asks Vinnie.

“None better,” I say thinking do I have to do this for eight more days. Ugh!

Vinnie Wins

“Ray, Ray, Ray! I have a great idea,” shouts Vinnie.

I look up from my laptop and say, “Why do you have to say my name three times?”

“Because I don’t want you to forget it,” says Vinnie. Dexter said it was a good idea.

“Dexters a beagle. He can’t talk,” I tell Vinnie.

“He can, Ray. He told me if you don’t bring me back, I can get him the leftover piece of pizza you saved for lunch.”

“Okay, you can return in 10 days, give me a break, Vinnie.”

“Can I come back, sooner, Ray? Ten days is like next year. Please, Ray. I’m being polite, Ray. Does that count? says Vinnie.

I’ve got to bring Vinnie back. It’s the only way he’ll give me peace. I think I’ll say a prayer for his mom and dad. LOL.

Vinnie Never Lets Up

“Ray, I just made you $50,000. Will you bring me back?” said Vinnie.

“$50,000. No way,” I said.

“I did, Ray. I was reading your emails and clicked on the link to somebody named Lufa who said you can get $50,000 if you click on the link,” said Vinnie.

“You didn’t! I probably have spyware, ransomware, malware. Why did you do that?” I stammered.

“Ha, ha, Ray. April Fool! I gotcha.

Vinnie Wants To Return

“Hey, Ray. When am I coming back. I’m bored,” says Vinnie.

“I haven’t thought about it, Vinnie,” I answer.

“Why, Ray? Why?”

Now I Know How Vinnie’s Mom Feels! LOL.

Vinnie’s Mom Understands Guy Stuff All Too Well

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Later that night, on the second floor of a motel that accepts anyone with a valid credit card or cash, in a room sandwiched between the ice machine and elevator, Vinnie’s mom stares out the window looking for the promised spectacular view of the San Francisco Peaks.

“I don’t see the mountains? All I see are railroad tracks and railroad cars. Didn’t the desk clerk promise us a view of the mountains?” asks Vinnie’s mom. 

Vinnie’s dad is lying on the bed, propped against a pillow surfing the channels on the TV. He says, “You say something, Dear? Someone must be filling their cooler from the ice machine. It’s making a racket.”

“Is this the best available room?”

“It was the one with the view,” says Vinnie’s dad. “I thought it would make you happy.”

“I’m looking into a freight yard. Is this what you call a view?”

“It’s the best they had. It took a lot of negotiating to get the view,” answers Vinnie’s dad.

“What was the other alternative?”

“A room with a single queen bed and window airconditioner.” 

What is that smell? I feel like gagging,” says Vinnie’s mom stepping back from the window, placing her hand over his face, and sitting on the edge of Vinnie’s bed. 

Vinnie, Rupert, and Dexter get off the bed and go to the window. Vinnie looks out the window. Dexter sniffs for food. Vinnie says, “Yuck, I smell it too, Mom. I know what it is.”

“What is it, Vinnie?” asks Vinnie’s mom.

“There’s a truck filled with hogs parked under our window. Can I go down and pat them? Please, Mom. I never patted a hog before,” says Vinnie.

“No, Vincent, you cannot pat the hogs.”

“Can Dexter and me go to the lobby? They have snack machines down there. Can I have five dollars? I can look for souvenirs to remember our trip, ” says Vinnie.

“No, Vincent, you cannot go the lobby. You’re tired. Try to go to sleep,” says Vinnie’s mom.

“I’m not tired, Mom. I had so much fun today. It was the best day ever,” says Vinnie.

“Did you ride in the same SUV as me?” asks Vinnie’s mom half seriously.

“I did, Mom. You were sitting in front of Rupert most of the time. The only time you weren’t sitting in front of Rupert was when Rupert was on my lap. Then Dad was sitting in front of Rupert. I think Dexter has to go the bathroom, Mom,” says Vinnie.

“You’re just saying that, Vinnie,” says Vinnie’s mom.

“No, Mom. Honest. He’s sniffing around your running shoes,” says Vinnie.

“Dear, take Vinnie and Dexter, now. He better not do anything on my shoes. Take your time. I’m going to try to take a shower if they have any hot water,” says Vinnie’s mom.

“This is great, Dad. If I take Rupert, it will be all the boys. We can talk about guy stuff that Mom will never understand,” says Vinnie.

From the bathroom, “I understand guy stuff all too well,” says Vinnie’s mom.

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