Last week my daughter had to make a scale model of a castle for her history project. She wanted to be different. She didn't want to use cardboard or balsa wood. She wanted to use an unusual material. She asked her teacher if she could use rice krispies – but he said no. She asked me for ideas. I had to be careful. If I suggested the wrong material – I'd be the one making a scale model of a castle. We decided to go to Home Depot and look around for ideas. I found the perfect material – sponges. This was a brilliant idea. Soft, flexible, easy to cut and shape and no need for parental involvement (she's in 7th grade so she needs to do stuff on her own). I thought it was genius and I convinced my daughter to take my advice. We bought a bunch of those cheap rectangular shaped cellulose sponges and Marlo went to town. I asked her if she wanted to let them dry out first since they typically shrink after they are wet. We talked about it and she and I assumed that if you never wet them – they'd say fresh looking like they are when you first open the package.
After two days working on her project she was done – good thing since it was due the next day. The final step was painting the castle – which she did. She left to go to rehearsal for the play she is in and came home late at night. She finds me and asks me to look at her castle. Well between the wet paint and the drying in the open air for two days – the castle was all shriveled up and deformed – it even buckled the glued on cardboard platform. I started to laugh – I couldn't stop – the whole thing was just hilarious – come on a sponge castle. It was my mistake but Marlo was taking the heat. She got upset and started to cry – she became very articulate on why her castle sucked and how it would bring disgrace to her and her family. On top of that, the teacher made a comment in class that morning, "Well tomorrow should be very exciting, Marlo is bringing in a SPONGE CASTLE!" Which really isn't as bad as it sounds; Marlo has the highest grade in the class – and he is a great teacher – but she wanted to show everyone she wasn't crazy. I simply couldn't stop laughing – Marlo ran up to mom asking her opinion of the shriveled up castle. Mom said it was fine. By 1:00am Marlo finally calmed down and went to bed.
My laughter subsided and I started to feel bad – really bad. I was exhausted but I knew my fatherly duty – I had to fix the castle while she was asleep – ugggh (just what I was trying to avoid). I started work at 1:00am – by 1:10 I had the glue gun, cardboard, scissors, paintbrushes and the castle. I went to work and started to cut and glue and buttress up the curving sponges. I'd get one wall set and then the pressure of the curving sponges would force another to pop out. By 1:45am – I made little progress. I started to laugh again. What was I thinking – it was a sponge castle. I finally gave up.
In business, sometimes you just have a sponge castle – no matter how hard you try to make thing go your way – it's still a sponge.
Here are some pics of the final sponge:
P.S. She got an A – I'm sure for originality – but when she brought it home it went straight in the trash – at least she is laughing with me now.