Forty Four Dollars and Five Hours

Gone are the days of book reports written on 8.5 X 11 college ruled paper with detailed answers to comprehension questions and a small box for a crayon drawing of the main character.

Gone are the days of Paper Mache planets using a bottle of blue starch and thin strips of old newspapers followed by a coating of poster paint.

Gone are the days of mammal posters drawn on flimsy $.49 white poster board using markers, and Elmer’s White glue to attach the hand written report with information gathered from the sixty pound encyclopedia and photos cut out from glossy National Geographic magazines.

These days are different.

We exited the arts and crafts store with the materials needed for my thirteen year old son to construct a three dimensional plant cell for his seventh grade science class. He had beads, pipe cleaners, felt, sheets of Styrofoam, hot glue sticks, clay, and tooth picks, and I had a wallet that was forty four dollars lighter.

I suppose that I could have scoured the house for colored construction paper, buttons, barbed wire, duct tape, and dental floss instead, but given the procrastination factor multiplied by the time needed to build the cell, added to basketball practice, divided by lunch, dinner, and church, I opted for quick and easy. I opted for, “I’ll take you to the store, you fill the cart, and I will shut my eyes, cross my fingers, and swipe the debit card.”

When we arrived home, my boy meticulously cut, pasted, glued, cut some more, fashioned, fixed, adhered, and manipulated, the forty four dollars worth of items into a gorgeous, three-dimensional, plant cell.

Five hours later his project was complete and the smell of hot glue saturated the air along with felt lint and dust from the Styrofoam.

Five days from now, when his project is graded and returned home, all the time and money spent will be a distant memory.

Ten days from now the plant cell creation will be stuffed in the trash can, uh, I mean cupboard.