I swore I would not get involved in son’s science fair project. Yet there I was, 6:30 in the morning, up to my elbows in yellow rubber gloves standing at the kitchen sink scraping shark meat away from shark skin. This was after last week’s trip to the craft store to buy clay for the model of the shark skin, blue paint to decorate the display board and the dried greens to hot glue on as seaweed. This was also after my seven phone calls and two trips to the super market to see if a New Hampshire grocery store could somehow get a piece of shark meat (with the skin still on) in the middle of March.
So much for not getting involved.
When Tucker learned that shark skin was used like sand paper by ancient cultures, his eyes got really big like they do when he’s excited, and I couldn’t help but getting excited, too. So I found shark meat. Then the only catch, getting the shark meat off the skin. “Pee?” I asked. “The shark meat has to soak in pee?” “You should call it urine, Mom,” my son said trying to sound more scientific.
So while my kids wiped sleep from their eyes, I scraped the previously soaked shark meat (which I’d washed several times in antibacterial soap), took off the rubber gloves to whisk eggs for French toast and endured the cat rubbing around my legs in response to the smell of the shark meat. At least I thought it was the smell of the shark, until I glanced over and saw his empty food bowl as well as the long, chunky poop lying on the floor right in front of his bowl. “It’s actually throw up, Mom,” Andie said upon closer examination. “And it has mouse guts in it,” Tucker added.
I slid the shark meat away from the stove to make a spot to set down the bread and egg mixture while I explained to Andie how to turn a plastic bag inside out, stick her hand in and pick up the throw up without ever letting it touch her hand. But Andie’s a gagger. “It’s warm,” she half gagged, half screamed, as she dropped the bag and ran into the bathroom where she dry heaved over the toilet bowl where the Tupperware bin and shark meat had not too long ago rested. “Oh for God’s sake,” I said, wiping away my tears of laughter, flipping the French toast, and picking up the bag to scoop up the mouse laced throw up. I was back at the stove while Tuck donned the rubber gloves and had a go at scraping the sharkskin. I moved the pan to a burner further from the sink when I noticed bits of shark meat flying in the general direction of the stove.
Andie was back from the bathroom. Tucker was peeling back the smelly yellow rubber gloves and I was putting French toast on the table. And then all at once, it hit me – the smell of the shark meat, the feel of the cat poop, the look of the gooey egg mixture. My stomach clenched, my throat tightened and… I gagged. Then I gagged again. The kids stared at me wide-eyed, wondering at the possibility of what might happen next.
But before we could find out, I pointed to their coats, headed for the back door and with my hand covering my mouth managed to mutter, “We’ll get breakfast on the way to school,” and wondered what adventures Friday morning could possibly bring.