It’s the most wonderful time of the year.
The Great Squirtcapade! I feel like that should be TMed, but also I suspect I’m mangling the name, as I am wont to do.
I love this game.
I wrote about it last year (you can read alllll about it here), and we’re currently at the high stakes point where a lot of kids get taken out and the field is winnowed down. It’s like the Elite Eight of NCAA basketball March Madness. Kinda.
For a quick recap: Kids at No. 3’s high school pay $20 to participate in this contest. They divvy up into teams of two and are assigned other duos to blast with a water gun. The last team standing gets a $1,000 prize, which I really, really, really, REALLY hope No. 3 wins ‘cuz then we can pretend it’s scholarship money since he hasn’t applied for a thing. Anyhoo, I knew it was THAT TIME when Amazon packages containing squirt guns started arriving. If you happen to stumble upon teenagers carrying colorful water guns at the QT, this is why.
After a brief hiatus for spring break, we’re back, baby.
“Mom, canl you sweep the front yard, please?” No. 3 asked one morning, as he walked around half-dressed, shoveling in breakfast. I sauntered outside, looked up and down the street and then grabbed the newspaper (yes, we still get one and are probably the only under 73-year-old subscribers in the neighborhood).
“Coast is clear!” I yelled. “Don’t leave the house without protection!”
“Squirt gun’s in my pocket, Mom.”
“BUT IS IT LOADED?”
When No. 3’s phone rings these days, it can only mean one thing: They’re gunning for him.
Sure enough, he got an unusual invite on SnapHat from someone he didn’t know at his school, and his friend called to say he’d heard from someone else that his pursuers planned to wait outside the house until he tried to leave. Then, they would strike.
It’s all very, uh, soak and dagger.
“Mom, would you move my car to the other street?”
His plan to evade his would-be squirters was to cut through the alley and pop out on another street where the coast would be clear. I was grabbing his car keys before he finished talking.
“Oh, watch out for the mini Pop-Tarts,” he added. “Feel free to have some. They’re pretty good.”
Sitting on a bag of snacks would be the least of my problems in that vehicle. His car is so disgusting I feel like I shouldn’t really climb into it without an updated tetanus shot first. But, there was no time for that. I needed to throw those punks off his tail. I spotted the boys down the street as I backed out of the driveway. They’d picked a great day for a stakeout since there was an open house and lots of random cars to act as cover. Is it a coincidence that I bought a fifth ukulele and the houses on BOTH sides of us are currently for sale? Hmmmm.
I eased out slowly, waiting to see if they’d follow. They didn’t. I stashed the car, and then pondered how I’d sneak back home. I knew where I was, but I’d made a very, very poor footwear choice — this cul-de-sac’s landscaping was, um, a lot untamed, which meant I had to clomp through weeds and dense underbrush in rubber Birkenstocks. I dodged some spikey branches but landed square in a pile of cholla. Such a stupid rookie move. I pulled as many spines out of my foot as I could and hightailed it back.
“I saw them!” I yelled as I pulled off my sandal and removed more cactus needles. I hobbled to the window to peek out the blinds. They were gone.
When the time came for No. 3 him to safely leave the house, he couldn’t find his keys.
“Where’d you leave them?” he asked.
“Uh, right there. On the counter. IN FRONT OF YOU.”
And now you understand why I’m such a useful and necessary lookout.