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Michael Picarella: July’s household news briefs

Picarella Family Report

Posted: July 24, 2009 10:13 p.m.
Updated: July 25, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Picnic ants terrify son
A picnic with my family on the 4th of July turned into a feast for a family of ants. My 5-year-old son said he was badly injured.

“Those ants ate my feet and my legs and my belly and my hair,” he said. “And my ears and my back and pretty much everything else.”

The kid was rushed to the bathroom where Mommy opened up the medicine cabinet and administered operation: Band-Aid resuscitation. “There were no physical injuries,” Mommy said, “other than he just felt hurt without the Band-Aids.”

Meanwhile, the ants crawled over nearly every inch of the picnic and were moving in on the Boston cream pie. I hosed the army of ants off the plastic-ware and safely moved our stuff back into the house, where the 5-year-old was threatening never to leave his ant-free room again.

“The only time ants are dangerous,” I told my son in my here-I-come-to-save-the-day way, “is when they’re exposed to radioactive rays and they grow to the size of a building and eat people for lunch.” Apparently, I made matters worse.
Acupuncturist finds problem
My wife, who’s grappled with severe anxiety for many years, heard that acupuncture is a good stress reliever, and so she decided earlier this month, while on vacation, to give it a shot. She said she learned a great deal about her body. “My stress is related to liver issues and digestion issues,” she reported when she got back from her one-hour visit. “Wow,” I said, “what did this guy do to figure that out?”

My wife had seen several doctors in the past and underwent numerous tests—blood tests, heart tests, exhaustive and invasive tests, therapy ... No doctor or specialist could find a problem or a solution. “So what did this acupuncturist do to figure this out?” I asked.

“He looked at my tongue,” she said.

We’re eating cereal three times a day
Cereal box contests reportedly pay off, and last month my family began a steady diet of cereal for breakfast, lunch and dinner, playing all the contests on the boxes so that maybe we could win our summer vacation. My wife and I were skeptical about the contests at first. “One day,” I told sources, “while eating a bowl of Wheaties, staring at the contest on the box, I asked my wife, ‘Does anyone really win these contests?’ My wife said she didn’t know anyone who’d ever won anything from a cereal box contest. I didn’t know anyone either. So, throughout the month of July, we decided to find out for sure.” My wife and I surveyed family and friends to see if they or anyone they knew had ever won anything from a cereal box contest.

We also surveyed strangers, took out ads in various newspapers calling for past winners, and we even contacted some cereal companies. “Aside from some specifics about past winners that the cereal companies provided us,” I said, “we really had no solid proof. We needed a more credible source.” So I checked the Internet. I can now say for certain, cereal box contests are for real.

Healthy meals help you grow
About eight months ago, my 5-year-old son took up healthy eating. My wife and I had told him that if he ate healthy, he’d grow up big and strong. “He ate broccoli, peas, green beans no problem,” my wife said in a recent statement. “And he rarely drank soda or ate too many sweets—he was determined to grow up big and strong.” Yesterday, my wife and I were introduced to a friend’s newborn baby, and we couldn’t help but reminisce. “Remember when ours was that small?” my wife said to me. “Yeah,” I responded.

“I wish he wouldn’t grow.” So our son announced, “If you don’t want me to grow anymore, then just give me sweets.”

And that was the end of healthy eating.

Michael Picarella is a Valencia resident and a proud husband and father. His column reflects his own opinion, not necessarily that of The Signal. To contact Picarella or to read more stories, go to



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