Thursday, April 8, 2010

Better Late Than Never - I Hope - Team WhyMommy's Virtual Science Fair

I have a friend who always wishes he had a pocket physicist. You know, someone you could turn to when a bizarre question about the physical world comes up. But sadly, not a person in our peer group is a physicist.

But recently, I learned that there's a mom in town who is an ASTROPHYSICIST which is surely the title given to really badass physicists. And she's a blogger, and I will forever be jealous that she came up with the pseudonym of WhyMommy, because I wish I were clever enough to come up with any funny pen name, let alone the perfect one.

In any case, about a week ago I got the chance to be a regular contributor to DCMetroMoms. Although I have yet to post, it seems like a fun creative writing challenge. As part of that, I got an email from Stimey who told her story of a friend who has kicked cancer's ass once, and now has to kick it again. That friend, WhyMommy, is the aforementioned astrophysicist and in her honor, a virtual science fair was held.

I'm all about anyone on Earth kicking cancer's butt, but I fell flat on what my science project could be. But yesterday, the day I was supposed to write a post in honor of WhyMommy and science, my science project walked right into Connor's wheelbarrow. Or was mysteriously transported there by Connor or Helen.

As Ed was enjoying the Nats game with friends, Connor, Helen, and I were playing in the backyard. I was continuing my battle with English Ivy -- and might I just boast here that thanks to the bulldozer last year and lots and lots of ripping the crap out, I plan to declare victory sometime in the next six months. Helen was pushing her wheelbarrow around, and Connor was finding trash in the yard and carrying it in his wheelbarrow.

Apparently some item he picked up was home to the lizard featured above.

OK. Stop. Do the math. Three people are home. None of them are Ed. One of them has to deal with the lizard. I do not like surprises, and coupled with the wasps nest Connor and I discovered when he asked me to dislodge an old board from our now defunct pond, and the harmless but still annoying carpenter bees that were buzzing around, I decided I was in over my head.

I called my dad. Why did I choose him? Because he told me lots of stories about a woodpile behind his boyhood home, catching lizards, and watching their tails pop off. Clearly he is the closest think I know to a lizard expert.

I know this particular virtual science fair participant is thinking, holy crap! They're going to disect an animal.

But no, no, no, no, no. There will be no disections. I just needed advice on how to unload the critter without risking injury. I needed to confirm that lizards are not dangerous. I wanted to make sure that if I attempted to move it to a lizard-friendly habitat that I wouldn't get attacked in the process.

My dad's advice? Just dump the wheelbarrow out. It'll be happy to run right out of it.


So here is our science fair entry.

Connor carted the lizard all over the backyard while Helen and I followed, and we talked about where it might like to live. In this sunny spot? Under the wooden boardwalk, in the garden? How about the pile of old wood? After finding a suitable spot (we chose beneath the wooden boardwalk), Connor dumped it out in it's new home.

Of course, by now Connor and Helen practically thought this lizard was a member of the family, so we skipped bath (in honor of science!) and Connor and Helen took turns holding the lizard, driving it around the yard in their battery-powered car, and finally bidding it good night.

And all the while I was thinking, "hey Susan/WhyMommy, I haven't bumped into you at the thrift store like my friend Ellen, but I still hope you kick this cancer's butt! And not just because I hope to send you some of those physics questions that I cannot answer."



  1. OMG, HILARIOUS!!! And I can't get OVER that you found a lizard! Here! (I totally would have cut it open, but I like what you did way better!)

    (And YAY! Welcome to DCMMs!)

  2. From that photo, that looked like a skink, which is just a kick ass lizard - way more colorful and cool. Glad you got to see it, and that it's tail didn't come off in all the carting around. That always freaks me out about lizards - wiggling separated tails.

  3. This is such a GREAT post! Science is way better than bath. :) I am someone who has been known to call people to dispose of spiders for me, so I know of what you speak. I would probably lose my voice if I came across a wild lizard in my yard.

    And yay for being a part of DC Metro Moms too!!!