Monday, April 19, 2010

Government Logic

Having done family research for many years, I of course have used the United States census reports. While the census records can contain errors—misspelled names, incorrect birthdates, or incorrect places of birth—I have found they are invaluable records. A census report was the place I learned that my great-great grandfather was a blacksmith. I have also seen the heart break of high infant mortality rates.

My “free” U.S. Census t-shirt

So when the census report is sent to our home I do not have to be prodded to complete it and return it in a timely fashion. I didn’t like the television ads that had run since February telling us to look for the census reports. So I was a bit annoyed when I received a postcard in the mail stating that I should get my census report the following week. After receiving and sending the report back within two days I was further annoyed to get another postcard reminding me that if I had not returned it, please do so. They should have already received the census back a week before they sent me the letter. Then, while on a visit to the library, I was greeted by a nice young lady who asked if I had returned my census. When I explained I had, she gave me my choice of a t-shirt, hat or pennant. Then while Rich and I were eating lunch last Friday I our doorbell rang. You guessed it, someone coming around asking if we had filled out the census yet.

The money that our government has thrown around on this census is appalling. I saw that the man responsible stated that in the long run this would save money, since they would have to spend less on census takers going door to door (hmm, they still came to my door). I was most appalled when I looked into the tag of my free (haha) t-shirt and found that it was made in ... Nicaragua! Now I’m sure the logic would be that it was less expense to have them made in Nicaragua, but how about you figure in the expense of extending unemployement benefits for American who desperately want a job. The person who made the decision to purchase these t-shirts should be fired!!!

Where my U.S. Census t-shirt was made

Has our government so low an opinion of the American worker that it doesn’'t believe we could do the job as well?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Teen For Hire

Have you ever wanted to check out cars without the "help" of a car salesperson? I can help you achieve this goal. Hire me and I will talk and annoy your salesperson allowing you time to shop for your dream car. Reasonable rates and guaranteed to work.
—Call David at 1-800-CALL-DAVID

This is just what happened to Rich and David on Saturday. I went to the local library in order to attend a genealogy class leaving my men with several hours to do some male bonding. They spent some of their time checking out the new Camaros at a local car dealership. Rich got a big kick out of the salesperson who eagerly came out to make a sale, retreated back to the showroom door, then went inside the showroom, scurried to the other side of the Corvette on the showroom floor, and ended up hiding behind his cubicle.

Rich was taking pictures of the Camaro while David was asking the salesman lots (and lots) of questions. The man finally went into the office and pretended to make a phone call as David followed him. While David peppered him with questions the man began to cower at his desk. Rich got a big kick out of this!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Looking Forward

Since my last post I have kept very busy. In February we had so much snowfall that by the time we could venture out to restock food supplies we were also preparing for another storm. I loved the beauty of the pristine falling snow but since I am not a cold weather gal it was from the inside looking out. Everyone was home and we had a great time watching DVDs together. However, it does increase the work load, such as recleaning the entry and downstairs hall floors daily. I love the hardwood floors but the snow made a mess of them. Lots of food fests while watching the movies created more cooking and cleaning up. However, I was able to work on the photo albums that I had fallen way behind on since our move.

Once school got back in session I was back to a full round of IEPs and meetings. Schools begin preparing the next years IEPs in February and March. With David in high school this increases the amount of information and goals that must be met and reviewed.

I really appreciate the school system here and the head of special education. In spite of budget constraints and concerns they have continued the services that David needs. David came home all excited since the school rings were being displayed. He has already picked his out. We went over the packet of ordering information to decide on the ring that would suit him best. I was surprised since I was in high school we didn't oreder our class rings until we were sophmores. It was only after all the paperwork was gone over that I asked David when the order had to be placed. His answer was "I can't order until next year." It had never occured to him that I would not know he couldn't get it yet.

We knew the day was approaching when Rich would have to go into the office more often. After working from home four days a week for the past couple of years we had fallen into a rhythm that worked well for us. In the middle of February he was told everyone in his department would need to be in the office every day. To our knowledge there had been no abuses of the work-from-home privilege, but the new boss claimed that the job could not be done outside the office. With only one car this would create some issues.

We are fortunate that there is a little transit bus that picks up around the corner from our house and it goes to the shopping center where our bank is located, the grocery store and even the bottom of the hill at David's school. It only costs 50 cents each time you get on, so its not expensive. The problem is that it stops only every hour at each stop. It also was extremely cold in February and you couldn't get a whole lot of groceries. But I am very thankful for it. Doing the majority of the grocery shopping on Saturday was not ideal since it was more crowded and took time from the family. We also found Rich driving into the city would cost us quite a bit, the parking alone cost $155.00 a month. So we did some research and found a great solution. There is a commuter bus that picks up within two miles of our home and drops off one block from Rich's office. The cost would be considerably less than what it would cost for him to drive in each day.

Grandma and Mom

The downside is that I now get up at 4:00am and deliver him to the lot by 4:25am and David and I must pick him up in the evening. David needs to get up at 6:30, so I really don't sleep after the drop off. Rich calls us when they are about 10 minutes out so we aren't waiting at the lot for the bus to come in. The downside is that it is harder to work around the meals. I want the food to be hot and fresh, but am never sure what traffic will hold and what time we will eat. Also Rich had been supervising David in the past so I could cook in peace, so David must now either help with the dinner preparations or sit at the table reading. After making some adjustments in what I make and when I pop it in the oven I think I have worked out the kinks.

Last month saw the visit of my mom and my 89-year-old grandmother. My aunt and uncle had decided to move to South Carolina from New York and would need a few weeks to complete the process of moving and getting my grandmother placed in the nursing home near them. So my mother was caring for my grandma during this time. It was wonderful to see her and see that after living in the northeast all her life she was looking forward to moving to the south.

David and Tyler
We also had one of our college friends and his roommate stay with us. They wanted to see Alice in Wonderland in 3D IMAX and we were delighted to open our home to them. The only tickets we could get were at 11:45pm opening night. It was a fun time and an extremely long day—up at 4:00 that morning and up until 3:00 the next morning when we finally rolled into bed. Rich and I are so used to being up early we still woke up at 6:30 in the morning.

When we moved late last summer we stored quite a bit on the back screened-in porch. By the time winter weather came I had unpacked all the inside boxes and more than half of the boxes stored on the porch. However, when the low temperatures came I abandoned the unpacking. Last week the weather turned warm and I have begun my unpacking again. Last weekend I was able to move the remaining boxes enough for us to enjoy eating our meals on the table out there. It has been wonderful and we have eaten most meals this last week out there. I am even setting up plastic containers to hold disposible plates and utensils along with condiments to keep them handy for our meals. Once the boxes are removed I hope to set up a wicker loveseat, table and chair for a place of retreat.

Rich hiding an Easter egg in a tree

Last weekend we also helped our new church with an Easter Egg Hunt they hold each year for the community. It is run by Christine, who did a fantastic job. She plans activities along with the egg hunt. There were prizes and even a meal at the end of the event. Following the event we walked around the town and took pictures. We even stopped on the way home for soft serve ice cream, which we ate before going home to barbecue steaks, hot dogs and tilapia. The perfect end to a perfect day!

Daffodils near our church