A Box of Cheese

by Leslie

Every year as the New Year approaches, I think about all the ways I want to change – you know, resolutions and all – and I decided 2011 would the year of the clean and organized closet. I delved into it’s depths with a bucket of hot water and Murphy’s Oil Soap ready to get down to business when I found a Velveeta box full of Dave’s old cassette tapes.

Dave's box of cheese

I immediately halted Operation Closet Cleanse, grabbed the girl’s Dora the Explorer boom box and called for my husband. He stomped up the stairs and I eagerly greeted him with a presentation of his treasure box of goodies. The left corner of his mouth led the way to a full face grin as he said, “Wow, Leslie. These have got to be at least twenty years old.”

“What’s on them?” I asked anxiously knowing their contents could be something Ah-mazing.

“Gosh, who knows? Could be anything…”

I grabbed a tape, popped it in and pressed the star-shaped play button. “…here he comes to the ring, folks. Let’s see if he can do it tonight!” squeaked a voice that sounded like a hillbilly Peter Brady.

My eyes glimmered. “What’s this?”

“Oh…oh geez. I think this is me and my cousin…being wrestler commentators.”

And it was. They also did a radio show in which Dave played a number of characters calling in to request music. My favorite was a sheepish, stuttering husband who’s wife kept yelling at him to get off the phone. (Yes, he did both voices.) He wanted to hear Louie, Louie.

I was just about to declare this the single most glorious collection of cassette tapes ever assembled when he began to find mix tapes. By then the girls had followed the sound of roaring laughter to our bedroom.

“What are these?” Julia asked picking up a tape.

“Cassette tapes! This is what we used to play music on when daddy and I were kids,” I told her.

Lucy put one to her lips and blew into the end of it like it was a harmonica. “It not make music!”

“You don’t play them like an instrument. You play them on the radio.”

Five minutes later they were bouncing on the bed to Sir Mix-A-Lot’s version of Iron Man.

I learned that Dave knows all the words to Lady by The Little River Band. And that he didn’t realize You’re All I Need by Motley Crue wasn’t so much a song about love as murder. (That’s right, Jack Wagner.)

We sat together for a large part of the afternoon holding our breath during the silence between songs as we waited for a long-forgotten tune to coax memories from the dark places in our brains. We sang and danced and told our stories. I met a whole new part of my husband that day and fell in love with it, too.

Time off from school can be such a good thing. With hours to be idle, Julia has started a number of projects, but this is by far my favorite.

Julia's Notebook

She’s constructed a “notebook” from parts of a cardboard box and filler paper. She intends to write in it regularly through the next year. I think she’s off to a great start.

Entry #1, Christmas Day

Guitar entry

When I asked her about the picture, she told me, “That’s you clapping…and there’s daddy saying, ‘Settle down, Wife!’ because you were, like, really excited that I got a guitar.”

Entry #2, Box of Shame

Box of Shame entry

Okay, so maybe I’m a little proud mom-ish, but I think the kid is a little bit brilliant. And funny.

Entry #3, The Wii

Wii entry

Look at how pissed Dave and I look in that illustration. She totally nailed us. We really look that way.

I can’t wait to she what she writes and draws next. She’s quickly becoming my favorite author.

“Just a minute!”

How many times do our kids hear that? Here’s a way to help them visualize just how long that is: make an hourglass. Or in our case, a ten minute timepiece. Here’s what you’ll need to make it.

Hourglass Supplies


  • 2 empty plastic drink bottles, washed and dried
  • 1 plastic drink bottle cap
  • sand
  • funnel
  • duct tape
  • nail or other hole-poking tool


  1. Pour sand into one bottle using a funnel.
  2. Hourglass 1

  3. Use a nail or other tool to poke a hole in the plastic bottle cap.
  4. Hourglass 2

  5. Place the cap on the sand-filled bottle.
  6. Hourglass 3

  7. Invert the empty bottle, position it on top of the other bottle and secure them together with duct tape.
  8. Hourglass 4

  9. Flip the bottles over so the sand flows through.
  10. Hourglass 5

  11. You can use a clock to figure out how much time your “hourglass” measures and add or remove sand to adjust the time. (We used 8 oz. bottles and filled one 3/4 full of sand for a ten minute timepiece.)
  12. Hourglass 6

  13. Use your “hourglass” to keep time. We tried using ours in the morning to help us get out the door on time. It worked!

How will you use your “hourglass?”

Originally written for and posted on the now-defunct My OH! Momma website.

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