Burning the midnight oil

As the schoolyear comes to a close, there are projects to submit and requirements to complete. For the past few weeks, my daughters have been staying up late at night to meet deadlines. The school’s science expo opens tomorrow today (it is after midnight of Tuesday, so it’s today). Alex and her groupmates finished their virgin coconut oil project early yesterday evening and all she had to think about after dinner was the script for the presentation and her geometry project.

The thing about Alex — and even Sam — is how they hate staying up late for school stuff UNLESS I stay up with them. That means keeping my eyes open when all I really want to do is crawl into bed. So, there I was sprawled on the sofa and bored to tears. Alex asked what I was doing there; Sam replied I was feeling a la Marilyn Monroe with my pose. I asked Alex repeatedly how much longer she would take. She said 30 minutes and offered to make me a cup of coffee, while Sam recited the things she still needed to do for the science expo opening. I told them I wasn’t going to stay up any longer unless they gave me something to do — meaning, they had to agree to let me take photos of them in action.

The geometry project was about optical illusions.

Alex finishing her geometry project

optical illusion

But that’s not the best part of the photo session. I managed to capture Sam in stages of frustration, desperation and victory.

Her group’s project for the science expo is…

science project

… a custom made T-shirt with heavily padded underarms for people who suffer from underarm wetness even after applying a ton of anti-perspirant. I am not kidding. I don’t know who cooked up this idea but I really find it soooooooo amusing. hehehe The idea is to sew on a patch filled with cotton that had been doused with baby powder onto the underside of the sleeves of the T-shirt. Sam got as far as cutting the cloth to make the patches and pouring powder on the cotton. Her problem started when she realized she couldn’t sew by hand and she started demanding where my Sewing Genie was.

The Sewing Genie, a small and portable sewing machine I bought from one of those TV shopping shows after we decided to sell my old Singer sewing machine, had been out of commission for a long time. Sam’s cat, Bebe, tripped over it, it landed on the concrete floor and it had been acting funny since. I stuffed it deep inside one of the kitchen cabinets after that and I really didn’t know in what condition it was. But, you know, desperate people do desperate things so Sam climbed up a chair and retrieved the long-forgotten Sewing Genie.

Sam and the Sewing Genie

She kept asking how to insert the thread into the needle but I couldn’t remember.

Sam and the Sewing Genie

She managed to find out…

Sam and the Sewing Genie

She tried the knob that makes the needle move up and down and was thrilled that the thing was actually still working.

Sam and the Sewing Genie

Sam and the Sewing Genie

Sam and the Sewing Genie

So, she arranged the patch and the T-shirt in place.

Sam and the Sewing Genie

Then realized she needed electricity to make the thing run. But I didn’t know where the adaptor was.

Sam and the Sewing Genie

So Sam operated the Sewing Genie manually by turning the knob with her hand.

Sam and the Sewing Genie

That was the point when I announced I was going back to my room to download the photos to my Mac.


A few minutes later, Sam followed. She insisted I take a photo of the proof of her success.

It’s 1.37 a.m. and the three of us are still awake. Someone’s bound to get hungry before long. I should start fixing some sandwiches.