Betty Ford Called

“I called the Betty Ford Clinic! They still have an opening.” Heh, heh, heh. My husband is so pleased with himself and his humor.

“Yeah, honey … you’re terribly funny. I’ve always loved that joke.”

One of my husband’s favorite chuckles is to poke fun at my addiction. No, I don’t have an alcohol or drug problem (caffeine notwithstanding). I don’t gamble or display typical compulsive behaviors. I am, by all generally accepted measures of mental health, a reliably stable person. Still, I do have a problem.

I collect books.

That sounds rather harmless, don’t you think? When I say it that way, it sounds like a quaint hobby. She collects tea doilies. He collects antique glassware. Carol? Oh, she collects books. Yet, such a sweet pronouncement doesn’t really do justice to the questionable intensity of activity that actually accompanies her “collecting.” To make matters worse, now that she homeschools (I prefer to speak ill of myself only in third person), it almost puts a noble face on her addiction. Well … don’t home schoolers always need more books? Are there ever enough books when one homeschools? Why can’t we put shelves up in front of that exit door?

Over my years of homeschooling and speaking, I’ve walked the aisles of many a vendor hall. In the beginning it was a painful experience. I saw so many wonderful books and materials that I wanted … I longed for … books that I was certain would radically revolutionize our schooling until my children were such prodigies they would make appearances on Jay Leno to amaze America with the wonders of home schooling. Now, after so many years, after so many vendor halls, after so many used curriculum sales, local library sales, and garages sales … now I walk those same halls, looking like a lost bag lady, scanning the many books being offered and muttering under my breath …

“Got it. Got it. Already got it. Got that too. Whoops. Got two of those (big sigh).”

I am, after many long years, finally feeling a slowing in the drive to find, obtain, and hold books. In fact, as I wander the aisles now, my mind travels in a different direction. Now that I’ve seen every book ever written for home schoolers (really; I’m pretty sure about this), I can indeed make the profound announcement that there are some books you will simply never find in a home school vendor hall. Isn’t that amazing? Even with all the thousands of offerings, I have come to the conclusion that, though we are a diverse group of folks with a multiplicity of needs, wants, and characteristics, there are still some books you will never see in our halls. In just such a spirit, I offer some possible titles:

  • Creating Great Tattoos Using Things You’ve Probably Got Around the House!
  • 22 Ways to Encourage Social Workers to Come Over for Tea
  • NEA’s Book of “Why YOU Should Homeschool”
  • Keeping Your Hired Domestic Staff Motivated and Happy
  • Harry Potter … A Unit Study for the Whole Year
  • Getting Expelled From Your Support Group … and Other Ways to Liven Up Meetings
  • Dr. Seuss’s Version of the 10 Commandments (I DO NOT want my neighbor’s cow. I DO NOT want it then or now.)

There are Absolutely NO Absolutes … Post-Modernism Truths … er … um … Suggestions … Thoughts … Well, You Know

I can safely proclaim that you’ll not be seeing these titles (although I secretly think the Dr. Seuss book has great merit and potential). Nonetheless, my mind continues to wander … and wonder. What other books might we be missing and not know it? Are there books that we actually could use that have not made an appearance? I pondered this a bit and sent off to my publisher a list of possible titles that could, indeed, come in handy for a home schooler but are as yet an untapped market:

  • Making Usable Furniture from Unused Curriculum
  • Minivan and Paper Mache: How Will You Find Your Van in a Conference Parking Lot?
  • Coonskin Caps From Road Kill — A Thrifty Mom’s Story
  • Some of My Best Friends Use Public Schools – The New Face of Tolerance
  • Keeping the Hearts of the Children Who Will One Day Choose Your Nursing Home
  • Pot Holders, Pup Tents, and Other Great Uses for Those Old Denim Jumpers
  • Local Support Groups Launch New Twelve-Step Recovery Program
  • “He’s One Stone Short of a Temple” … and other Ancient Hebrew Jokes
  • Our Weapon of Choice: The Glue Gun
  • “I’ve Been Called for Jury Duty”: 55 Great Ideas for Getting Dad to Teach Today
  • I Have ONLY Three Children! … and Other Embarrassing Home School Confessions
  • How to Win the National Spelling Bee, Geography Bee, and Quilting Bee in Five Easy Lessons!
  • Creating a Walk-Through Digestive Tract (and Other Science-Alive Moments)
  • “I Wasn’t Sleeping! I was Meditating on our Family’s Mission Statement”: Quick and Believable Responses When Caught Dozing
  • Classical–Shmassical: Whatever Happened To Recess?
  • Dust Bunny/Cheerios Sculptures: Creative Ways to Get YOUR Kids to Tidy Up
  • “I Just Can’t Get That Tomato Out of My Head!” One Mom’s Courageous Battle with Veggie Tales Abuse
  • Boundaries and the Deadbolt Solution: Finally Going to the Bathroom Alone

So far, I haven’t heard from my publisher. I can only assume that he’s shopping these titles around with marketing executives. The possibilities are just staggering. The spin offs are endless. The energy is infectious! Then again, perhaps it’s time to feed that other addiction and get my morning cup of coffee.