I adore former Daily Times Community Editor Lynnellen Winkler, I really do. But right now? I want to wring her neck.
My Sassy Saint and I recently went to a baseball game with Lynnellen - a baseball fan of such sincerity, not only was she on hand for Roberto Clemente's 3,000 hit, but Sauerkraut Sal attended her wedding - and Sass was trying to hold a conversation in Norwegian with her.
Suffice it to say, Lynnellen doesn't speak Norwegian.
I explained Sass' preoccupation with all things Norwegian. And that's when Lynnellen gave Sass an idea. A horrible, awful, no-good idea. An idea that made me want to ring her neck.
"Why don't you study abroad for a semester?" she asked.
Now, Lynnellen has literally traveled the world. The newsroom even has a drinking game for when she starts a story with "when I lived ... " So, to Lynnellen, the idea of flitting off to Norway for a semester is no big deal.
Sass' eyes went wide, and I could see the idea was gaining traction with her.
"No," I said. "You are not going 4,000 miles away for college. It would break Momma's heart."
She subsided, and I thought the issue was resolved.
"Momma, do you know what the tuition for international students is at the University of Oslo?"
"The cost of tuition at Oslo is not an issue, since you aren't going to Oslo. Did you miss the part where it is 4,000 miles away?"
"It's just under $1,000 American. The Norwegians believe higher education should be affordable."
"And how much will the plane tickets and room and board cost?"
"Probably less than tuition to a university here."
She had me on that. American universities, if you don't want everyone running off to Scandinavia to get an education, you need to get your houses in order.
"I thought you wanted to go to Carnegie Mellon? I can be there in 45 minutes. Thirty if it's an emergency."
"Oslo is very safe. I can get you the crime statistics. Did you know Norway only has a 22 percent recidivism rate among its prisoners?"
"If you go to Oslo, I won't see you for months and months at a time. I'll probably die."
"We can email, text and Skype."
"I don't even know what Skype is! You're not going to Norway."
She wandered off, but, by the glint in her eye, I knew we weren't done yet. She was merely staging a strategic retreat to regroup. I knew I had to be on my toes.
Yesterday evening, she wandered downstairs. "I'm making a list of colleges and applying for scholarships," she announced.
Instead of pointing out she hadn't started her freshman year yet and had plenty of time to choose a college, I asked, "any American colleges?"
"I'm thinking about going to the University of Pennsylvania." She smirked. "In Philadelphia."
"Don't do that to your mother," the Long Suffering Husband said.
"It has a top-rated school of psychology," Sass said. "It's rated seventh in the country. Carnegie Mellon is only 23rd."
"No. I won't have my child exposed to Flyers fans."
"Flyers fans are everywhere," she huffed. "It's Pennsylvania, and they're a Pennsylvania team."
"No, they are not. Only in Philadelphia. Everyone else is too sensible."
"It's true," the LSH said, trying not to laugh. "They make them turn around at Bellefonte."
"Philadelphia can't be all bad," Sass said. "They signed the Constitution there."
"Yeah, and look at how many times they had to amend it! That's Philadelphia's influence, right there."
The LSH wandered into the kitchen, but I heard him laughing. I blame this entire episode on Lynnellen, and, if my grandchildren turn out to be Flyers fans, there'll be hell to pay.
(Wallace-Minger, a resident of Weirton, is community editor of The Weirton Daily Times.)