Friday, September 30, 2011

My Smart Alec Son

My son can be a smart alec.  If you have spent at least 10 minutes with him, you know this for a fact.  Most of the time, he's really funny when he's a smart alec.  The other small percentage of the time he's "not so funny".

Yesterday, he was a funny smart my expense....and yes, I laughed.  We were driving in Franklin, TN and I have not driven downtown on Columbia Avenue in years.  There was a HUGE new building on this road and I was trying to figure out what it was.  Benjamin looked at me and said, "Mom, that is the police department." and pointed out the HUGE lamps out front that said "POLICE".  I had been looking at the building itself while trying to drive and completely missed the obvious.  We continued down this road, stopping at all the red lights, and each building we passed or stopped at, he would say, "and there is the bank...and there is the church....and that is a gas station."

I have to admit it was pretty funny hearing him tease me.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Annual School Fundraisers - UGH!

I've been thinking about our annual school fundraisers.  Yes, my son is selling cookie dough and coupon books.  While I think it is important for kids to learn that it takes money to run the school programs, it's very difficult for me, my family, and my friends to support each other's schools.  I mean, how many candy bars, coupon books, and popcorn tins does a family need?  And not ALL the money we pay for these items goes to the school - only a percentage of the sales is directed into the school. 

At Benjamin's last school, they requested a donation from each child and/or family - not mandatory, mind you.  They suggested $65 payable to the school's PTO to be used for various needs at the school.  While it was so easy just to write the check each year, I realize not all families can spare $65...or even spare $5!  Additionally, just having the parents write a check doesn't really teach the students about supporting their school.  Oh, the school also had a fundraiser where families would donate items or services and ask area businesses to do the same.  Then they would have an auction and dinner in the spring.  Yes, this is another expensive way to raise funds, but the money did go directly to the school because all items were donated. 

So I have been thinking about all these school fundraisers and how we could possibly approach this differently.  I recall as a teenager, there was a "slave day" at the church, where families would be able to take home a teenager to do chores around the house and yard.  They would pay money to the youth group instead of paying the student for his or her time...hence the term "slave day".  With most kids at a school living in nearby neighborhoods, this probably wouldn't work too well.  And again, many families just don't have the money to donate to schools. 

Another thought I had was to have a child sign up for a chore at the school and have a specific Saturday in the fall and spring set aside for things like cleaning the desks, cleaning up the school grounds, washing windows, working in the flower beds, etc.  Parents, neighbors, grandparents, etc. could "sponsor" a child for the time or chore they completed.  This way, the student builds pride in his school and works to get the money sponsored for their chores.  Students would solicit money from parents, grandparents, neighbors, businesses, etc. for either the number of hours they put in or the number of chores they did or something like that.  There could be a prize for the student who rasied the most money, one for the student who put in the most hours or completed the most chores, but these prizes should be limited to something small to eliminate spending a lot of the proceeds destined for the school on the student. 

Am I crazy?  Does anyone else feel this way about fundraising? 

Monday, September 12, 2011


Life is full of little treasures.  Most of the time, they appear when we least expect it.  A few years ago, Benjamin, Jim and I were on a hike near our house and found a Tennessee Box Turtle shell.  It was in perfect condition and we still have it at our house.
A couple of Saturdays ago, I went on a walk around the block.  As I was nearing the end of the sidewalk, I just happened to look down and see something at the edge of the sidewalk next to the grass.  It was a 5 dollar bill.  At first, I thought it wasn't real, but when I examined it more closely, I saw it was a 1963 5 dollar bill in fantastic condition - as if it had never really been in circulation.  It's sitting in our firebox until we can determine if it's worth more than just $5 or maybe it's a good-luck charm and we should go buy a lottery ticket with it.  ;)
Last week, Jim went to a garage sale and got some really cool treasures.  He got 10 books, a pencil holder, a lava lamp and a waffle iron.  This was no ordinary waffle iron, though.  It was an old one, but in really great condition.  The cord is wrapped in cloth, but not frayed.  He cleaned it up and looked up the serial number online and found it was made in the early 1950's!  It works great too!  He paid $5 for it and found a place online selling similar ones for $50 - $150!!!  I think we'll keep this one, though.  It makes fantastic waffles because it gets REALLY hot, so the outsides are really crispy and the insides are "just right"!  :) 
So be on the lookout for treasures in your life...they come along when you least expect it!

Friday, September 2, 2011


When I was in college, I had a Pontiac Sunbird.  We called it the Sunturd, but it was a pretty good first car.  I had some trouble with it right after I took it to college the first time, but after a few hundred dollars, it was working fine again.  A few years later, it started doing some really strange things.  First, every time I started the car, the windshield wipers would wipe the windshield 1 time.  And if I used them in the rain, I had to get them to a very specific point between off and on to turn them off.  If you actually put them in the OFF position, they would go REALLY fast...faster than the "fast" setting when they were on.  One day, I noticed to odomoter was going backwards very quickly.  When I stepped on the brake, just to slow down a bit, it stopped and began going forward at a normal pace.  I actually drove from Nashville to Memphis and back one time and ended up with 3 miles less on the odometer than when I started out.  Crazy car!  I learned how to change the oil and change a distributor cap on that car.  Dad labeled the spark plugs for me and showed me what to do so I would not screw up the engine.  I went to some auto store to get a "Cap and Rotor".  When I asked for a "cap and rotor", the guy looked at me like I had 3 heads...I actually had to say, (slowly) "Distributor Cap and Rotor" before he understood what I needed.  Maybe he was just surprised that a girl was asking for parts to fix her own car. 

My current car is a 2002 VW Passat.  I love this model of this car.  It's just the right size and has a lot of electronics in it.  However, the electronics are becoming an issue.  My sunroof can either open wide or tilt up.  Occasionally, it will tilt up on its own.  I'll be driving down the interstate and hear it open.  I have to turn the knob to open it, then close it to get it to close.  Yesterday, it was REALLY hot as I left work.  I got in the car and started my journey to pick up Benjamin.  I realized that the AC wasn't cooling.  I looked at the console and saw it said "-- C*" where it normally says the temp (105 F*).  UGH!  The electronics are starting to malfunction.  I drove to get Benjamin and turned the car off.  I waited about 10 seconds and turned the car back on - still no air.  I grabbed a pair of shorts and tank top I just happened to have in the car, preparing for a HOT ride home.  I changed clothes and B and I got into the car.  I told him to go ahead and take his shirt, shoes and socks off because it was going to get hot.  When I started the car, the AC kicked on!  WOO HOO!  We had a nice, comfortable, clothed ride home yesterday.  Hopefully, the electronics will calm down and I can keep this car for a bit longer.  It has just over 101,000 miles on it.  Just turned over 100,000 miles a week and 1/2 ago!  (Yeah, I drive a lot of miles every day)