project blackens warm fuzzies

Warm fuzzies filled me as I watched my daughter work with her father. Dressed in one of his work uniforms, honey-blonde hair tied back, her head bent with his over the machine they had built. The machine made carbon black pellets for the science fair project.
Early the next morning, my husband said they needed something sturdy to use when drying the carbon black.
I mumbled, “Try those steel cookie sheets my mom gave us.”
That night I was informed my suggestion meant I had agreed to having the first part of the science fair project done at home. I lost my warm, fuzzy feeling and my side of the subsequent discussion. I declared, “OK, but I am not helping clean up afterward.”
Friday night, they stripped the kitchen of everything on the counters before covering them with paper. Saturday morning my daughter taped down a path of newspaper from the garage door across the dining room and over the door knobs and covered the edge of the door. I made a path of protective paper across the carpet to the front door and down the hall to the bathroom.
We thought we were ready. It took only eight hours to realize we needed 10 times as much paper and tape to be as ready as we should have been.
About 10 a.m. she began mixing water and carbon black. The mixture had to tumble in the homemade mixer for 20 minutes to form pellets. The pellets then dried in the oven for 20 minutes.
At noon, my daughter passed me on her way to the oven carrying yet another tray of carbon black. I looked her carbon smudged face, black hands and dusty clothes and asked how much longer they had.
“About four or five hours.”
I fixed everyone lunch and settled down to do some paper work that I had put off for weeks.
At 4 p.m. I reached for a clean sheet of paper and left a black smudge on the paper.
I looked at my hands. They were gray with carbon black. A I washed them, I looked in the bathroom mirror. I had become a coal miner wearing a white cotton shirt dusted in black.
I went back to my stacks of paperwork. Too late, I realized that a fine layer of carbon black adhered to each exposed page.
At 5 p.m. my black-haired daughter collapsed on the floor to wait for the last batch of pellets to dry in the oven.
I gathered up my carbon black, dusted papers; wiped down the computer and waked out. When I washed my hair, the water turned black.
I had not agreed to clean up their mess. I let them scrub down the kitchen floor, counters, doors and dining room floor.
Hubby collapsed into bed around midnight after taking two baths.
About the time we rid the house of the last of the carbon black fallout, she won a ribbon at the local science fair. Listening to them talk bout her project that night, the warm fuzzies returned and stayed – until I heard “more tests before the regional science fair.”
Anyone have an oven space to help a budding scientist?