Yesterday I was considering doing some research about how to make a Mars Curiosity model for my Teachers Write Monday assignment. The assignment, by Sarah Albee, was to do nonfiction research, particularly to talk to an expert. However, I am spending my writing time this summer working on a children’s fiction story. Plus, since I’m hanging out at home with my husband after his eye surgery, he became my “expert.”
My Mr. Fix-it husband would know what kind of motor I needed and how to make the Mars model. I wanted it to be made of cardboard for a shout out of sorts to making, to Caine Monroe, Nirvan Mullick, and the subsequent Cardboard Challenge and Imagination Foundation.
Keith suggested I would need a base to hold the motor. He said you’d want to make a base out of plastic or something.
I argued. “It doesn’t have to be perfect. I’m not really making it. No one who reads it is going to know if it’s really feasible,” I said.
He acted like he didn’t hear me.
He found a rubber band car on YouTube. After watching the first minute, he said, “OK, here’s what Bailey needs to do. Make the base with straws and toothpicks, like in the video. You can use the bottle caps for wheels. This will be strong enough to hold the motor from the broken RC car he’s going to find abandoned at the thrift shop.”
“OK, maybe,” I said when I woke up this morning.
It was also after the part last night, when I snatched my Chromebook from him and gave the I-said-I’m-not-really-going-to-make-it-!-don’t-you-get-that-? speech.
So here’s a short scene from my story after my “expert” interview:
“Hey, Bailey, look what I found at work today!” Dad came bolting into the kitchen through the back door, the wooden-framed screen door bouncing behind him. Bailey was sitting at the round yellow Formica table–what Bailey used to call “our sunshine table”–munching Oreos dipped in milk. “Some gals ordered smoothies for lunch and they came with these jumbo straws. Perfect, right?” He held up two shiny straws, one peachy cream color and one lavender.
“Perfect?” Bailey said. “Dad, the Curiosity is like white, gray and black. How can these be perfect?”
“Oh, but look how strong they are. You can’t even bend ‘em. They must be close to a half inch in diameter. And heck, we can spray paint them black.”
“Black would be good. Won’t we need more?”
“I asked the women to save more for us. They said they order a few times a week. I had never even noticed them until I saw them in the garbage today. You know, after we watched that YouTube video yesterday.”
“Yeah, I didn’t think that was going to work,” Bailey was still suspicious about it.
“Let’s give ‘er a try after supper. What do you think? And, hey, why are you eating Oreos now?”