Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Rock N Roll

There's an obnoxious squeaking in my ears.

Two weeks ago we celebrated Brother's ninth Birthday. A couple of days before the party a friend calls me on her way home from birthday present shopping.

"Okay," she says. "First of all, tell me thank you."

"Thank you?" I'm nervous.

"I found the coolest present for Brother with lots and lots of tiny pieces," she gushes. My knuckles tighten on the phone. "But I knew you would kill me if I got it, so I got something else." Ah, good friend. It's always great to have a sympathizer. She went on to tell me that she got him something equally cool and how excited she was for him to open it and that I would, of course, love it, too.

In that case, I thought, it must be a magic wand. After all, what could be cooler than that?

Party day came and Brother got some pretty cool stuff. None cooler, however, than the present from the afore-mentioned friend. It was a rock tumbler!!

What the heck is a rock tumbler, you ask?

It is - and I quote - "A high-tech tumbler that transforms rough rocks and minerals into smooth, shiny gemstones."

Well, I guess if I, uh...I mean, Brother, can't have a magic wand, a rock tumbler is the next best thing. It comes with beautiful agates and semi-precious stones in the rough and jewelry findings to make your own jewelry.

Oh, yeah. What nine-year-old boy doesn't dream about this day?

I couldn't wait to get started tumbling. I mean...Brother couldn't wait. The first thing we do is read the instructions. We learn the first step takes 2 to 4 days. Then the second step takes 3 to 7 days. The third step another 3 days, at least. And the final step a minimum of 4 days. We can expect to have polished, beautiful gemstones in a mere 2 to 4 weeks.

So, it's a process. We can handle that, right?

Then we move on down to the Helpful Hints section and find that tumbling rocks is noisy. Again, I don't think too much about it. I figure I can plug it into the laundry room with a towel underneath to absorb some sound and we will hardly notice. A little noise is a small price to pay for such a rich educational experience.

So, a little noise for a couple of weeks. I'm game.

However, while I expected some noise to be generated from rocks rolling around against each other inside a plastic barrel, I wasn't quite prepared for the noise emanating from the machine itself.

Here. Take a listen. Be sure and turn the volume up so you can enjoy it as much as I do.

The towel on top has a dual function.
1.) To muffle the sound.
2.) The darned thing won't go without pressure on the lid.

And we get to hear this for 2 to 4 weeks.

But hey, no little pieces!