Wherein Murf Learns A Lesson (and allows me to share it...)

"We just wanted an hour without someone's eyes rolling, someone stomping their feet, someone asking 'why?' for the 50th time. An hour of just grownup time, even if it meant we'd spend it talking about the three creatures that had just about driven us over the edge for the third time that day.

"Then I remembered something my dad had done. I had to up the stakes a bit, given that kids roll their eyes at pennies these days, but I figured it was worth a shot. I dug into the change jar on the dresser, fished out exactly how many quarters I needed, and then called the kids into the bedroom.

"As I opened the window and pushed the screen out of the way, I told them that I had ten dollars in quarters. Then I tossed the entire handful out, scattering the coins across the lawn. When the youngest gasped, I turned to the little monsters and added that if they could find all ten dollars worth, I'd give each of them ten bucks, and then we'd go out for pizza for dinner, and they could play the video games there.

"Man, they scrambled. The wife and I sat down at the kitchen table with cold drinks and watched through the patio door. All three were on their hands and knees, although the 12 year old mostly sat there and directly his brother and sister to shiny spots he was sure he'd just noticed.

"Still, an hour and a half later they came back in, and the youngest had tears in his eyes. They only found nine dollars and seventy five cents. They dropped the coins onto the table. Oldest Boy had his tongue planted firmly in his cheek and I knew he was trying hard to not laugh, but he put a hand on his little brother's shoulder, jammed one into his pocket, and sighed YEAH DAD, we only found THIRTY NINE quarters.

"Now, I waited for the IT'S NOT FAIR crying to start, but the girl and the younger boy both started apologizing for losing one of Dad's quarters. Before the tears started--and before I could tell them that $9.75 was close enough--Almost A Teenager bent over, his hand coming out of his pocket, and he said to the younger boy. 'Look! It was stuck to the side of your shoe!' as he magically produced one last quarter.

"The younger two ran off to wash up, and the 12 year old--God help us, he's already almost 6 feet tall--watched them leave, then said, 'You know, Grandpa told me that he used to throw ninety nine pennies out the window and tell you not to come back inside until you found one hundred of them. And you fell for it every. single. time.'

"He hasn't threatened to let his siblings in on it, but I did notice the thirty bucks I intended to let them spend on video games inched up to over sixty. And he ate an entire medium pizza by himself. The little shit HAS something on me!"

Thumper hops, off, laughing at her old friend...

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