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I’ve come up with a new way to stop Ron and the boys from taking my stuff; I’m now the proud owner of a pink umbrella, pink camera and a hammer covered in pink butterflies on.

By the time school started, the boys had taken over my laptop and spent hours on it playing computer games. Ron jumped at the chance to visit the Bass-Fishing Homepage any time one of the boys got up for a bathroom break.

It had become such a frustrating issue that I devoted a column to the topic of my stolen laptop and the four thieves who took it. Peace was finally restored when I found a computer man who made house calls.

He managed to do what the rest of us could not. The computer man got the rebuilt laptop Ron had purchased in June up and running.

Still, the boys complained that the mouse didn’t work as good as the mouse on my computer, so they took it, too.

I had my laptop back but no mouse, which was okay with me because the built-in mouse is all I need anyway.

However, my next laptop will be pink, if I can find one.

The only thing that guarantees something in this house will be mine and mine alone is if that thing is deem too “girlie” for the boys or their father use.

Even then, if it is something as tempting as my brand-new butterfly- covered hammer, the boys will play with it until I take it away and hide it.

Ron hasn’t seen my new hammer yet because it’s too cool to risk showing it to him. When I showed it to the boys and allowed Ronnie to take it apart, their eyes filled with envy. The hammer is small enough to fit perfectly in my hand and has secret screwdrivers hidden inside. The top half of it is white with red and pink butterflies on it to prevent any real man or real man-wannabe to steal it for use outside the home. Since inside the home is exactly where I plan to use my new hammer, it must remain in hiding to avoid being captured by “them.”

When Ronnie realized my hammer came equipped with its own “nesting screwdriver set,” he couldn’t take it apart fast enough. Jimmy and Tommy stood by and watched in awe.

Unscrew the butterfly-covered half of the hammer and you’ll find a medium-sized standard screwdriver, a small Phillips-head screwdriver, an even smaller standard sized one and a teeny, tiny standard one.

For something I ordered through a PTA fundraising event so Tommy would qualify for a two-dollar prize, the hammer has exceeded all my expectations and made me, the coolest mom on earth in my sons’ eyes. The boys and their father have kept a safe distance from my new pink camera and would rather get soaking wet than touch the hot pink umbrella.

It took me long enough, but I think my new way of thinking is going to work. The only way for me to maintain ownership of something in this house is to make sure it is too feminine for the guys who outnumber me four to one.

Now I just need to come up with a way to make my chocolate chip cookies lose their appeal in the eyes of Glory. That’s gonna take a while.

A mother of three boys, Pam Zich has moved eight times in 16 years of marriage to her Marine Corps husband. They have been stationed in various locations, including Okinawa, California, Texas and their current home in Springfield, Va. E-mail her at homefront@stripes.osd.mil or find the Zichs online at www.lifeonthehomefront.com.


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