The Best Excuse Note Ever

Dear Mrs. Which,

There’s a really good explanation for why I don’t have my project, but although I’m pretty sure that you’re not going to believe me, I’m going to tell you anyway.  This isn’t another “dog ate my homework” excuse note, mainly because I don’t have a dog. However, my cat did, or at least part of it, and the neighbor kids ruined the rest of it.

Being the ditzy procrastinator of a high school student that I am, I put off doing my project until last Saturday, two days before the project was due. That was the first mistake I made, and although common, it affected me greatly and I promise to learn from it for next time. My science experiment was simple, so I thought it would be okay, even after the delay. I already had my Hypothesis and Experiment plan laid out, so I started the afternoon by gathering the ingredients.  I was comparing the timing of ice cubes melting with 5 different chemicals: margarita salt, Epsom salt, table salt, Driveway Heat, and corn starch.

The ingredients were laid out on the table when the insanity began with the arrival of the Locks. The eldest daughter, Kayla who is a grade younger than I am, came to help me with the experiment.  She was going to pour the chemicals over the ice cubes, and I was going to work the stopwatch and write down the times. We were in the kitchen getting the first tray of ice cubes, when my cat raced past with his leash trailing behind.  Somehow he had gotten free from my dad on their walk and raced up the stairs to the third floor where we were working, in what we thought was peace. Before we could make it to the table, the cat had jumped up and started to eat the margarita salt. Thankfully, he ate one of the least toxic chemicals to cats, but there wasn’t enough left for an accurate experiment by the time we made it to him.

“That’s okay; we still have four ingredients left and a weird story.” Kayla is so encouraging sometimes.

I grabbed the empty margarita salt container and went outside to throw it in the trashcan.  Little did I know going around the other way were Kayla’s four younger siblings, three of whom were being chased by the second eldest Lock girl.  Danny, the middle child, decided that it would be funny to ruin my experiment.  He made it through the door first, sprinted to the table, and ate the tablespoon of table salt.  When I made it back upstairs, there was an empty tablespoon, and Danny was begging for water.

By now, all five Lock children were crowded in the room.  Kayla scolded Daniel while Meg went down to get their mom.  I was holding Maddy, the youngest, in the third story room when we lost Nick and the cornstarch.  Like a trail of breadcrumbs, the powdery white trail out the door, all the way outside to the only staircase leading to the third story.  I found him throwing the remainder over the stair banister to make snow!  He didn’t know it was supposed to snow next week, the first week of October, and he wanted snow now.  Little Nick threw the wannabe snow on my dad who was raking the fallen leaves.

Mrs. Lock took both Danny and the bag of Epsom salt downstairs.  Apparently she thought it was the bag my mom was loaning her. She also asked Meg to make some iced tea.  The biggest water pitcher was in the third story cabinet so she decided to make the tea upstairs then bring it down. I was trying to figure out how to salvage the experiment so I didn’t notice that she used our trays of ice cubes for the iced tea.

It was too late. In the blink of an eye, five out of the six parts of my experiments were eaten, sprinkled, borrowed, and mixed. All I had left now was the Driveway Heat, and it says on the container that it can melt snow quickly, even with -20 outside! The only way now to salvage my project was to write a paper that would explain what was supposed to happen in the experiment.  That paper took a week of research, typing, and correcting hours to complete.  I’m sorry, but I lost that too.

The experiment was supposed to prove that the Driveway Heat was the quickest ice melter and that is why a lot of people in Alaska use it on their driveways.  Driveway Heat is Calcium Chloride.  Calcium (Ca – 20) is a naturally occurring mineral; however it can be dangerous when too much builds up in a living organism.  Chloride is one molecule of Chlorine (Cl – 17) which kills and disinfects.  Supposedly, it is said to have destroyed ecosystems when too much was released into nature.  Even some humans have a bad effect, my mom being a good example.  She turns a strawberry red with physical contact to Chlorine. When she ingests it, her reaction could be as little as a minimal wheeze and tongue swelling to major anaphylaxis, depending on the amount consumed.

At least that is what my three page paper was about.  Then our other neighbors came over for dinner and a shredding party.  I had left my laptop in its bag leaning up against a leg of the dining room table.  All six of us were sitting at our table that should really only accommodate four.  We had a pot of coffee on the table since all of us, except for the Eskers’ nine-year-old son, drink coffee.  Somehow the two of us ended up on the corner of the table my laptop was leaning against.  Somehow the pot of coffee ended up on the corner of the table. Somehow, Little Esker elbowed the coffee pot just right so that all of it poured over my laptop, completely short-circuiting it.

No fear!  I consoled the young boy.  Although I hadn’t actually written any backup CDs recently, I had printed most of my important papers so that I could manually red ink them.  Once dinner was done my mom and Mrs. Esker decided to have a shredding party that not only gets rid of papers but apparently it helps to release some stress.  While they started making that terrible “roarroarroar” noise that drives our cat and most kids up a wall, I ran downstairs to find my paper.  I searched and searched. There were papers on dragons, spies, and an obstacle course.  One was about the history of the element Neon (Ne – 10), and one was even in Spanish, but I couldn’t find one on the impact of Driveway Heat on nature.

“Roarroarroar!”  It clicked.  I sprinted upstairs.

“Stop that shredder!”  I yelled over the roar of my paper dying.  They were three quarters of the way through shredding the last page of my paper.  My conclusion paragraph was the only thing to be saved.

If only there was time Sunday to fix my experiment, to run out for supplies and do more research on my mom’s computer, but that too was against me.  My youth group had a Back to School concert for the students at the local high schools and college in between morning and night services.  Typically this would be something I could tell my youth leader that I hadn’t finished homework and I could leave.  If I were to do that, I would have failed my youth group and all the visiting students.  I was the only available A/V tech that wasn’t sick or out of town.  If I were to leave the sound and slides wouldn’t work.

And that is why I don’t have my project today.  Although I sure I’m still failing, I hope you enjoyed the true story.  I’ll go to my seat now.

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