Don’t set the backyard on fire.

I’ll tell you one thing about my sister-in-law: she’s efficient.

This weekend, she’s hosting a “birthday/anniversary/baptism” party, and in between all that planning and preparing, she’s also working on a sentimental Pinterest project for her son. Specifically, she’s collecting “advice, wishes and blessings” and using them to create “an art piece.”

That all sounds fantastic, but I have to point something out: that work of art already exists. It’s called this blog and I’ve been doing it for a year.

But I assume that Advice I Needed must have somehow slipped her busy mind. So I did the only reasonable thing and spent the first 15 minutes of my Monday printing out every single blog entry and putting it in a three-ring binder. I plan to slide it across her kitchen table with a single finger and say, “This should cover it.”

If I have time, I might do some highlighting on my train ride to Philadelphia. After all, even I will admit that some entries are more useful than others. Certainly the post about not putting a cat in a gift bag is a top choice for children. As is the one about why it’s OK to eat bread.

When he’s older, I think my super-simple dating advice will come in handy. As will my step-by-step instructions on how to not kill a houseplant – especially since his father takes a much more elaborate approach that involves all sorts of unnecessary frills like a watering can and gloves.

Perhaps I’ll add a new piece just to top things off – something light-hearted, but personal. Something like, “Don’t set the backyard on fire.”

True story. My brother did that as a teenager so I think it’s worth telling my nephew very specifically: Burning gypsy moth cocoons – or anything really – can get out of hand.

I wasn’t there for this particular fire, but I heard that several emergency vehicles responded, even though my brother insisted that none of them were necessary. I have my doubts – and that’s another piece of advice for the art piece: Always let the firetrucks do their thing.

It’s a good story – one that gets better near the end when I return home and ask why everything smelled like a Western Whopper.

In any case, I think my nephew would have a couple of takeaways with that story: Be careful around open flames. Don’t harass wildlife. Some things should be left to the professionals – all of which have been covered extensively in this blog already.

In a way, I feel sorry for the other people trying to make it into my nephew’s art piece. Because I have it all under control. Sort of like a small backyard fire – no outside help needed here.

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