Welcome to Monday’s list of burning questions.

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1.  Why can’t I figure out the actual trash schedule?

We got a notice that trash day was switching from Friday to Tuesday – fine, I can roll with that, it’s why I set alarms on my calendar.  So if we put the can at the curb on Monday night then it should get picked up the next morning, right?  Apparently not.  I must have missed the super secret schedule detailing which holidays would be considered trash holidays and which would be business as usual because for the life of me I can’t seem to get that right.  And if you think this doesn’t matter then you’ve never had something scary/moldy/unidentified lurking in your trash can.

2.  What on earth is in this paint?  (Or isn’t, as the case may be.)

I enjoyed the company of house painters for a week in December.  The kids got to choose the colors for their rooms but, more importantly, the painters erased all evidence of smudgy handprints from our walls.  Lord willing, both the kids and dogs have matured enough to keep from dirtying the whole place up again (fingers crossed).  I didn’t realize how good I had it, though, until I stepped into a neighbor’s home later that month and was nearly knocked off my feet by the fumes.  What sort of magical paint did they put on our walls so it doesn’t smell like a chemical factory explosion?

3.  No one else sees impending disaster?  Really?!

Two twelve-year-old boys, one stunt scooter, and a trampoline.  Who on earth thinks anything good can come of this?!  I’ll tell you who.  Two twelve-year-old boys.  Sheesh.

4.  What exactly would happen to me if I marched myself right into that cafeteria and gave the class bully what-for?

I mean really, what’s the worst that could happen?  If I keep my hands firmly in my pockets, use my stern mama voice, and refrain from notable profanity…a visit to the principal’s office?  I can do that.  An order to keep my distance from said child?  That probably wouldn’t be a problem; one reaming out is typically all it takes.  Let’s be honest – I have a lot more latitude than my daughter does, and I’m not constrained by the teacher/student dynamic.  I would never have said this in my twenties but I’ve come to believe that sometimes a kid just needs their ass handed to them so we can all move forward together.

5.  Probably another science class fact I would have picked up had I paid attention, but how does that whole migration thing work?

Not the pattern itself, I get that.  But how does a bird know which way to fly?  How far to go?  When it’s time to come back?  Does one ever just say screw this and hang behind?  I mean, that flight time’s gotta be exhausting, and not all birds migrate anyway…

6.  What DNA trait in children makes them take something, consume two or three bites or sips, then abandon it?

Seriously, kids have little to no remorse about doing this, even other people’s children who are at my house.  Maybe I’m remembering some sanitized version of my childhood, but I can’t think of a situation in which I would have taken a drink from someone’s fridge then left it sitting ¾ full in the garage.  Or taken an extra slice of pizza, ate the tip, then decided I was too full after all.  Now here I am, stuck between a rock and a hard place – throw money in the trash without complaint, or risk fostering food issues by focusing on it?  I can’t win this one.

7.  What do you suppose a kid’s looking to hear when they ask if you believe in aliens?

Mine have asked this question within the last year, and I have to say they both looked a bit unsettled with my answer.  It seems that “sure, maybe – not in an Independence Day invasion sort of way, but I think it’s a bit presumptuous to believe that we’re the only life forms in this entire universe” wasn’t quite what they wanted to hear.  I’m not sure if they wanted assurance that creepy creatures wouldn’t be attacking their hometown or simply needed me to give them a solid yes or no.  Either way, they looked a bit dissatisfied with my alien theory.

8.  Why does everyone have a story about shoving something up their nose when they’re a kid?

What is it about this particular orifice that’s so appealing?

9.  Who the hell came up with this “Would you rather” game?

I was sitting in the family room recently while T-man was FaceTiming a friend.  Let’s put aside for a moment all the ways video calls can lead to trouble with tweens and focus on the conversation’s content.  I was periodically monitoring them (read: muting the tv and eavesdropping supervising the call) when I heard T-man ask her this question: “Would you rather be hung or shot?”  I’m sorry, what?!  It seems this game is all the rage among youngsters these days.

10.  Is it every generation’s calling to hate their parents’ music?

I thought we’d escaped this one.  The kids listen to a wide range of music in both of our cars though they each have their own preferences, but I didn’t think anything rose to the level of hatred.  That was until we were in the kitchen one morning last week and I was playing Jason Mraz.  His music tends to be upbeat and energizing, but it’s not the mindless pop that makes me switch channels so often.  We’d been listening for about five minutes when T-man asked me how I could listen to “that music.”  I asked him what kind of music he meant, and he said – wait for it – “boring.”  Gee, son, tell me how you really feel.