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Wednesday Writes

A thunderstorm is rolling in – which is nice. Today was awfully hot and humid – in other words, a typical Iowa day in August!

I’ve gotten quite a bit done on my paper today for my class. I’ve been pretty concerned and stressed because everything – the paper and my power point is due the week we are going to be on vacation. And then I discovered we also have a final exam due that week! I emailed my professor explaining I would be out of town and she said she can either send the exam early or extend the deadline (I hope she goes for the latter!) so that’s a relief. So, I’m feeling a little better now than I was this morning when I woke up and still didn’t have anything done.

We ended up not having class Monday night. We were all there waiting and waiting and the professor never came. We finally got an email saying it was cancelled because our professor’s town had a city-wide internet outage – modern day college issues, apparently! As tiring as those classes are, I was kind of disappointed because I learn so much from them and it’s just not the same going through the power point presentation without her explanations and the class discussions.

I also have to squeeze in writing David’s educational plan, another grocery store trip, a weekend camping trip, a meeting with Ben’s new boss, and another 2nd grade moms picnic (ok, I don’t have to do that, but those are kind of fun), and order my books for the next term before we leave on our trip!

Oh, boy…here comes the rain. Maybe I ought to shut down the computer.

And, like that – the rain is over and the sun is out again!

I took the kids school shopping last week. And by school shopping I mean that I only shop for school supplies. I have never understood the whole buying clothes in August thing. It’s going to be warm until late September, at least. The kids will still be wearing their summer stuff. Sometime in there I will try on their clothes for winter and I’ll start buying what they need. But it sure doesn’t need to happen right now. But I spent about $170 just on school supplies for three kids. I was feeling pretty sick about that until I remembered what I used to spend on homeschooling materials. Then I felt better!

Oh, and speaking of shopping: Yesterday, I tried out the new Walmart pick up service. I LOVE it! A couple of weeks ago I was in the Ankeny store and I saw a little flyer adverting this new service. So, I went home and checked it out on-line. The service was available at my regular Walmart, I found. It seemed fairly straight-forward to me. You order and pay for your groceries on the website, pick a time to pick them up, and show up at the appointed time when they bring your groceries to you.

It worked like a charm. They even gave me an app I could use for check-in (or you can call when you’re there). You pull around the side of the building where they have bright orange lines painted on the concrete. Pretty soon, a worker comes out with a flat cart loaded with plastic bins. I put my own bags in my van because I had a lot to fit in a small space but they would have done that for me, too. They have you inspect the fruit and meat and they explain any substitutions to you. I was told that they are always in the customer’s favor. For example, I ordered a 36 oz pkg of fig newtons. Well, they were out of that size. So, instead, they gave me 3 14 oz packages of the same cookie. Also, when I ordered Walmart was offering a $10 off promo code for first time users. AND, I was able to plug the receipt code into my savings catcher on my phone so I still get that benefit.

I still went to Aldi’s because they’re almost always going to be cheaper than Walmart. But after this many years of shopping the two stores I know what I’m going to end up buying where. So, that’s how I was able to place my Walmart order earlier. I still had to go into the Walmart store after I did my pick up because you can’t use coupons with the ordering so I saved my coupon items to buy the traditional way. And I also needed some things that were not in the grocery department. But – my life just became a whole lot easier (at least in the area of procuring food for the family) with this new service!
Oh, what else is new? Ellie decided to spray the new sunscreen in her mouth one day last week – no real explanation. There never is. Apparently, it wasn’t toxic.

Lizzie was very upset with Ellie one night when she discovered that her brand new (for play) eyeliner had been entirely used up. So, I dealt with it. I couldn’t get Ellie to admit that she had done anything wrong (but she rarely does), so I told her she was banned from the play make-up until she gets “older.” Lizzie asked me, “Do you really mean until she’s older or just until you forget?” Ouch! That girl knows me too well and is entirely too smart for my good! As it turned out, Sam then entered the room and confessed that he was the one who had used the eyeliner (to draw a barbed wire “tattoo” around both of his upper arms). He said he thought it was some sort of “special crayon.” Save me from my children…He said he could hear me talking to Ellie and figured out what had happened. He said, “I was scared to tell you but I knew it was the right thing to do!” At least he’s turning out ok! The self-satisfied, triumphant look in Ellie’s eyes that she flashed me when Sam came in the room with his tale was something of a “Told YOU!/Hah – it wasn’t me!” look.
The other day Sam commented, “I don’t know why we even need to learn cursive. The only thing you use it for is signing autographs.” Which, of course, he will be doing a lot of.
One day last week our group of 2nd grade moms met again for a lunch in the park. Since it was so hot we decided to also go swimming at the Pville pool. I’ve never done that, although the kids have taken their lessons there. There’s nothing special to the pool – a shallowish end and a deep end and single diving board. The changing rooms are pitiful and falling apart. I definitely wouldn’t choose to go there! But everyone said, “It’ll be fun” and so, in the interest of forming relationships and because all the pool outings I promised the kids this summer haven’t exactly happened, we went.

And it was the most fun I’ve had at the pool since I was kid, I think! The pool is very relaxed. They let the kids use the diving board if they can pass this little test. Sam was too shy to ask the lifeguard to administer the test for him, so I walked with him over to her and, as it turned out, the lifeguard was his swimming instructor from earlier this summer. She told me that Sam was the strongest swimmer in the class and if I was good with him using the diving board, then she wouldn’t bother with the test. The moms all got in the water and chatted – and included me, which felt really nice. The kids were excited because the pool was filled with classmates. Apparently, people just drop their kids off there on summer days. There aren’t all these rules like at bigger pools. They let the kids take floaties in the water and they even have a bucket full of pool toys and goggles kids are welcome to use. I had several great conversations with different women that day. One came up to me and introduced herself. It turns out her grandparents go to our church. She had worked as an aide for another student in Sam’s class last year, so she knew Sam. She's a strong Christian and we had this awesome conversation. Now we’re FB friends. Oh, and her baby girl is named “Eleanor” – and they call her “Ellie”!

I was shocked and totally floored, though, by a revelation I discovered through a couple of these conversations. Ok, so Ben had a one on one at school until his sophomore year. After that, he just had an aide for some things like lunch or job experiences. Totally reasonable. I found out that some of the kids, at least in the elementary (I don’t know about the higher levels) qualify for one-on-ones strictly because of their bad behavior. They have no mental or physical disabilities. They’re just BAD. That really kind of upsets me. Those are tax dollars paying those aide’s salaries. It’s sending a message to the child that they are incapable of choosing good behavior. It is equating a true disability with a child who has never been disciplined. Who decided this was an acceptable solution? And from what I hear, these aides basically have their hands tied and aren’t allowed to do so much as escort the little miscreants to a time-out area, away from the attention they so desperately crave in the classroom. Ugh. What a screwed up day and age we live in.

But it does make me kind of glad I’m going for my degree so I can just be a substitute teacher, rather than working as an associate like I had thought to do at one time. I would burn out or get fired really quickly if I had to assist a student whose only need was a few spankings.
I was listening to the radio today and the announcer said something about “Mother Earth.” Lizzie asked about that and I explained what was meant. “Well,” she said, in her decisive way, “They really ought to call it ‘God-Earth’!”

Will finished up his summer classes a couple of weeks ago and he’s been hard at work on the house ever since. We are seriously getting to the end here! In the last week he glued panel board over the cracking lath and plaster walls in the girls’ bedroom. He put a suspended ceiling in the laundry room. He stained and installed two doors around the furnace area. He put up a sliding door in the pantry area of the basement and best of all, installed some deep shelves down there for me. Now I have room for all my food – no more chips and cookies in a pile on the floor by the freezers! Oh, and he ripped out the nasty old carpet that Paul had put in the mudroom and landing at the top of the basement stairs. We couldn’t believe how much dirt was underneath that carpet. No wonder half of us can never breathe! He put down a whitish linoleum and it looks so much nicer now. Now he’s planning to start building his hunting cabinet for his hunting gear. This is his project and someday when he has his own house it will move with him. For now he’s going to keep it in the basement.

I told him he needs to have a talk with Sam. Today Sam came to me and said, “I heard that Hilary Clinton wants to take away the guns. I don’t like her, but I kind of think that’s a good idea because if there aren’t any more guns then there won’t be any more shootings.” We had a quick talk right then and there about the hearts of evil doers and government control and the second amendment. But, I imagine Will will have a few more things to say to instruct his brother. It’s scary to think of what our kids are absorbing from the media when they don’t have adults to correct what it is they are being fed.

Well, that’s it for now. Hopefully, 24 hours from now I will be smiling because my paper on Tom Sawyer is finished – at least the writing portion of it. I’ll spend another day next week polishing it up, preparing the bibliography, and getting it into the right format for submission.

I’m going to hit the shower and then crawl into my bed with a piece of my fudgy ice cream pie I made today. All summer long they’ve been airing “Family Ties” on one of the retro channels and I’ve been really enjoying those episodes. When I was a teenager watching it in the 80s my favorite characters were Alex and Mallory, the teenagers. But now, as an adult, I find that I appreciate the parents more. Must be an age thing. The bad thing is that the shows air until midnight, which is really too late for me to be up.

Especially when your 7 year old bounces into your bedroom promptly at 7am and chirrups, “Guess what, Mom? I woke up at 3 am and Will let me get up 6. Are you going to get my breakfast now?”

Yeah, midnight is really too late for this old mother of really, really young children…


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