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Homecoming 2016 – 1 of 2

While I was gone last week, Jason went to his first of two Homecoming dances this year. He actually decided to ask a girl from another school! He asked her friend to get her to Serrano’s so he could surprise her. Knowing Sarah loves The Office and Dwight in particular, he got a little creative :-)

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I love that he drew a beet – hee hee!

They certainly looked cute together! I have to add that I love that she wore a dress she already had instead of buying another.

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Jason was happy as a clam to go to her homecoming dance as well, because his friend he’s had since he was 8 months old (yep, they went to daycare together!) goes to the same school and is part of the same squad :-)

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I love that Jason and Travis still hang out together and have so much fun together!

Of course the guys always have to get a guys being cool photo!

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I love this pic! Looks like they’re having so much fun!

Another of my favorite thing about Jason and his friends? They know what’s up. This is how every event should be – a group of friends getting together to have fun – and maybe a couple of them go as dates and having matching dress and bow tie 😉

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And when one of the squad owns a drone? Well then you get fun pictures of the entire group from above!

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Jason said they had a blast, which I don’t doubt for one minute. They started their day at noon with the guys playing football and the girls doing “whatever it is they did” as Jason put it. Then the guys got ready at Connor’s house. They met the girls at Fox Run Park at 4:00 for pictures. They had a potluck dinner at one of the squad members’ houses. Then they piled in 3 cars and headed to the dance, where they had 4 hours of awesome funness!

Ah – to be in high school again :-)

Looking forward to Homecoming 2 of 2 this weekend at Jason’s school! The bonus is, Sarah knows some of the kids in his squad because she played soccer with them when she was younger – so yay!

Fair Game

My baby is 16 . . . and a junior in high school . . . and ready to get cracking with the rest of his life :-)

A few weeks ago, we filled out his profile for college fairs. It’s pretty cool – you get your own personal barcode that the school scan at these fairs so you don’t have to fill out a card for everyone. They  just get the info. based on your profile and you can spend your time chatting with the folks rather than filling out a card.

On his profile, this is what he put for major areas of study, in order . . .

  1. Pre-med
  2. Biomedical Science
  3. Environmental Science

Last night, we went to the Southern Colorado Out-of-state College Fair. He talked to lots of people and got lots of information about lots of schools.

He was very impressed and surprised by University of Iowa and their Biomedical Science program and the school and their med school, etc. I was impressed, too!

Then I had to leave and take Keira to swim practice. Jason stayed for another hour checking out other schools and chatting with admissions counselors. He texted me when he left, all excited. He found a school he absolutely loved and talked to the lady for like 15 minutes and he can’t wait to tell me all about it when I get home.

I was SOOOOOO excited for him!

And then I cried alone in the car – my baby!!!

Then we talked when I got home.

University of Washington in Seattle. U-Dub (can we eat B-Dub at U-Dub???).

He was totally into their Environmental Science program. Couldn’t stop talking about it. All the details. Showed me all the literature. Told me the lady gave him her card and was excited about how she said she’d only given out a few that evening to people who really seemed interested.

So maybe a trip to Seattle is in order for a college visit – I could totally go for that :-)

***I wanted to live in Seattle. We ended up in Colorado Springs, and love it. But I could totally visit him in Seattle 😉 My college roommates also live there with their family. Double bonus!

Anyhoo – this was just one fair of many.

But can I say HOW FRIGGIN’ PROUD I am of my shy guy for putting himself out there and having an open mind? It’s quite a thing to stand there and listen to your kid talk to people about wanting to be a Neurologist some day . . . or an Environmental Scientist.

Who knows – I may have a doctor or I may have a tree hugger 😉 Can’t wait to see what the next few years bring!

The Parenting Struggle Is Real

REALLY real.

It’s long – so please stick with it. I think it’s so important and worth the time (not to read my ramblings, but at least to watch the video).

You may or may not know that last May, one of Jason’s friends committed suicide. Took her dad’s gun, loaded it, went to her room, shot herself. Her mom came home and found her.

This is sooooooo definitely not something a 14 year old (or ‘any’ year old) should have to deal with. The squad had a memorial for her at one of the kids’ houses – cookies, balloons, stories. MacKenzie’s family attended.

A lot has happened in a year. Within the school district (the majority of kids come from well-off middle-class families) in the past year, there have been numerous suicide attempts and a number that have succeeded. It’s so sad. The administrators are wondering WTH is going on and WTH do we need to do to stop this culture of suicide?!

I have all kinds of opinions on what’s happening and why these kids with seemingly everything going for them and everything to live for are choosing to end their own lives. If you want to know them, call me.

But for now, I’ll say that they took a step. A first responder in the area walked into the school after winter break, sat down in the Principal’s office and had a very frank conversation about what had  happened over break with a number of kids at our school alone. He said they needed to get real and find a way to get through to these kids.

So they had an assembly. Unfortunately, the assembly was on the 1 year “anniversary” of MacKenzie’s death. Not intentional, and possibly something they should have changed, but they decided to leave it as it was scheduled and made it very clear to all the kids that this was not some kind of memorial or celebration or anything like that for this one child.

None of the kids wanted to be there, but they all went. I chatted with Jason afterward about it. He said it was horrible and awesome. He said they finally treated the kids like adults. Finally told them how it really is. He said he thought they made a huge impact and finally got through to the kids – at least a large portion of them. I asked if he thought it would make a difference. He said absolutely.

The thing that hit home the most? MacKenzie’s dad stood up there in front of 1000 high schoolers and told them what happened that terrible morning – in detail. Then he went on about how he had hoped to come there that day and provide all of the kids with a message of hope . . . but ended up saying (yelling if you ask Jason) that he was still too angry with his daughter to forgive her or give those kids a message of hope – because for those left behind, there is no hope of ever getting that loved one back.

The biggest impression on Jason was watching his friend’s dad go from sad, to smiling at memories of his daughter, to yelling because he was so angry.

What I took from Jason was that NONE of those kids had ever before thought about what happens to those they leave behind. It’s like they think they just get over it and move on.

The first responder also spoke, as did a counselor from the area. Not a school counselor, but a local counselor who himself had tried, and failed, to kill himself when he was 13.

The evening after the assembly, they had a meeting for the parents. The same people spoke and basically told the parents what they had told their kids that day.

Here’s a link to it – it’s worth watching if you have the time.

 

It is almost 2 hours long. If you don’t have the time, please just watch the first part where MacKenzie’s father speaks (starts at ~5 minutes). And have a box of Kleenex ready. The honesty and detail . . . I can’t imagine.

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Fast forward to Monday of last week. We get an email from school on Monday afternoon telling us that a Freshman has committed suicide. She stole her dad’s gun, ran away, and someone found her body Monday morning. Of course the kids were hearing about this through the grapevine all morning.

Another friend of Jason’s (not a squad friend, but a friend nonetheless). WTF IS GOING ON?!?! I thought you said the assembly had an impact? Would change things!

He asked the same question, without the curse words. Then he tells me how he figured it was coming because everyone was texting everyone Sunday night asking if anyone knew where Riley was, etc. etc. etc. Um Dude?! This is not stuff you keep to yourself. You do NOT go through these things by yourself. When you start getting messages like this, you TELL US! We may not be able to help Riley, but at least we can be there FOR YOU as much as possible.

Then he says “She’s literally THE last person you would’ve ever thought would do this.”

I said “Dude, that’s what scares the SHIT out of me!”

He just said “I know. It sucks.”

A horrible couple days at school. Nobody wanted to do anything, especially not study and prepare for finals.

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Fast forward a whopping 2 days to Thursday of last week. Another email with the title “Sad News.” My heart sinks as I read about another freshman, this time a boy, who killed himself Wednesday night. His 15th birthday. He killed himself after the family birthday party. Suddenly that post that all the kids saw on Instragram about his birthday had a new meaning. School said they were making a general announcement at 1:15 to the kids about Kai. Anyone who needed to come pick up their kids early was welcome to do so.

I texted Jason and asked if I needed to come get him. No.

Do you know this boy? No answer (crap!).

Do you need to skip baseball practice tonight? No.

I pull up to school and the high schoolers are outside in a giant circle holding hands crying, praying, grieving, just being together. It was like one of those dance circles where someone goes in the middle and dances, then someone else does. Except this time, they were going into the middle of the circle to say anything they had to say about what was going on, how they felt, etc.

OMG this is not something high schoolers – or ANYONE – should have to be doing ever . . . not to mention a week before school is out. Where is the happy? The year book signing? The fun and games? The making summer plans?

Turns out Jason knew this boy, but was not a “friend.”

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What the hell do we-they-them do with the last week of school? Finals? So many kids are REALLY grieving and receiving counseling.

And who wants to go to school each day not knowing what kind of horrible news you might hear that day? It’s definitely something they’re looking forward to each morning.

I just want them out of school. Done for the summer. They all need a break from “it.”

The school did not cancel finals, as they shouldn’t have.

BUT, each department got together to see how to best handle the current situation, and each teacher sent out an email to the parents of his or her students.

Turns out, most of the teachers are NOT cancelling finals. They expect the kids to be there for finals; however, the final cannot make their grade go down – it can only make it go up. If your child just cannot properly prepare (those closest to the kids are having a really hard time) then the parents can email the teacher and they can talk. If the kids are not in class taking their final, they need to be in the counselor’s office getting help during that time.

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I get it. They’re trying to help the kids and relieve the stress. And relieve stress it did – Jason’s stress level decreased 10-fold! I still made him take all of his finals – AND STUDY for them. But knowing you weren’t going to ruin your grade was a huge stress relief. (I have opinions on THIS, too – just ask me what they are. I think it’s the ROOT of the problem.)

***My fear? This will end up being like some horrible horror movie where kids make a pact . . . and one of the group chooses to literally take the hit so the rest of the kids can get out of finals. The workings of the teenage mind . . . they just don’t understand the FINALITY of it all . . . and that whatever they are feeling NOW will NOT go on forever. Ugh.

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So Jason comes home Tuesday. Asks if he can go hang out a friend’s house and have a campfire (this friend is not in the same school district and they were finished with school last week). We’re like “Um HAYEL no! It’s finals week and you have to study!” He then goes into which finals he has and how he doesn’t have any studying to do for the very next day (no finals – they are just final projects for those classes and he’s already done) and and and.

We struggle with a decision and talk and hem and haw until Friend is at the door to pick him up.

We ultimately decide to let him go, but make it clear it will not be a late night. I will pick him up at 9:00.

He’s been working hard in school.

He’s been working through all of the “stuff” that’s going on.

But in the end, quite frankly, he just needed to spend time with friends. Friends that AREN’T from his school. Friends with something else to talk about. Friends with regular teenage stuff to talk about. Friends who are already enjoying summer and aren’t stressed out. Friends who just want to hang out and have a campfire.

Friends who just want to be teenagers.

Those hours did WONDERS for him. He loved every minute of it. When he got in the car he said “That was the best night in a long time. We just hung out and had fun and talked and laughed. I think I found my people.”

He’s known these people for a long time (he went to daycare with T – they’ve literally been friends Jason’s entire life). It was just the therapy he needed.

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So now what?

Who knows. I just know he’s looking forward to a summer of baseball with his friends, a week-long sailing trip around the Florida Keys with his Scout troop, and just existing and having a good time.

That’s all we want for him, too.

He Found His “Thing”

I’ve mentioned before that Jason had an epiphany last year – his Freshman year – that he wanted to do something in Science. He just didn’t know what. He had the opportunity to take Principles of Biomedical Science in school (really? Definitely not an opportunity I had!). He LOVED it.

This year, he took Biomedical Science, Biology, and Forensic Science.

OMG does he absolutely LOVE Forensics! Loved it enough that he joined HOSA – it’s basically club for high school students who want to work in the medical field – Future Health Professionals.

His favorite unit in Forensics so far? The brain. L.O.V.E.D. the unit on brains. Promptly decided he wants to be a neurologist. What?!

Some things he’s said to me and Dan this year that make me wonder “Who IS this kid? And where did he come from?!”

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“Mom – can you remind me to get online at midnight Sunday so I can sign up for the trip to the morgue that’s in May? Only a certain number of kids get to go and I want to make sure I get on the list.”

Um – Yes? He’s ecstatic – he got registered and will be taking a trip to the morgue May 13th – from 6-9 p.m. Our doctor friend told him to take the mintiest thing he could find and hold it up to his nose the entire time!

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“Hey Mom – are we doing anything from 3-4 on the 5th?”

No – why?

“Well – I signed up to listen to a speaker who’s coming to school. She’s a transplant doctor. She’s going to bring real human organs and everything! I mean, they’re in that preservative stuff, but she said she’s got a couple livers and one of them even has cancer that we get to see!”

The excitement in his voice . . . wow. And Dan is just like, Dude – seriously? That sounds HORRIBLE!

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“Um Mom? Now listen before you say no. But can you get me out of school next Friday?”

Why???

“Cuz my friend Jack’s Mom works for the CU health department and there’s this giant new medical campus at the University of Colorado and she was invited to go on this tour of it and listen to doctors talk and they get to see all the stuff they can do there and did you know doctors from CU performed one of the first transplants ever? And well, she can’t go but she asked if her son Jack could go because he loves medical stuff and wants to be a doctor and they said sure. They also told her to have him invite up to 5 friends because they want as many people there as they can. So anyway, it’s from 8-2:30 next Friday in Denver. And if I get all my school work done ahead of time and get all my other stuff done can you PLEASE take me out of school so I can go?”

Seriously – who in their right MIND would say no to their 15 year old wanting to take a tour of a brand new medical campus??? I can bet you a million dollars he’ll learn more on that tour than he ever would attending school on a Friday during the last month of school.

So I will be transporting Jason, Jack, and Caroline up to Denver next Friday morning so they can get on the charter bus with the other tour attendees and spend the day at the Medical campus.

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The kid came home from school a couple weeks ago excited beyond belief. For Forensics, they have to do a report and presentation on a job in the field of Forensic Science. They didn’t get to choose – they had to draw a card out of a hat.

He drew “Aviation Accident Investigator” – nope – not kidding!

He was telling Dan about it with the biggest grin on his face. Then Dan said “You know, Dude . . . one of my friends up in Denver is an aviation accident investigator. He’s been doing it for years. Want me to see if you can interview him?”

Coolest. Dad. EVER!

So last night, Jason spent an hour on the phone with a real live Aviation Accident Investigator who has spent the past 15 years of his life being the first on scene to aviation accidents involving death (yuck!) and reviewing photos and conducting pilot interviews for non-deadly accidents.

Jason had the BIGGEST smile on his face when he came out of his room.

Told us all about it and got his laptop so he could create the Google Docs PowerPoint shell because today was a work day in class for the projects.

In the car this morning on the way to school . . .

“Ya – I kinda was pretty pumped about my Forensics project and, well, I finished it last night. So now I’m not sure what I’ll do in class all day.”

Then . . .

“Why can’t we just take the classes we like? Like science. Why do I have to take British Literature and French and all that stuff, too?”

Well Dude – that’s what college is for :-)

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Can I say how HAPPY I am that he’s found something he’s so in love with? Could it all change? Maybe. But for now, he’s loving it and has a path to start on.

Proud Mama!

It’s Not Brain Surgery

Oh wait! It IS brain surgery!

Dude absolutely LOVED his Principles of Bio-medical Science class as a freshman last year. I remember him coming home a month or so into the school year saying “I don’t know what I want to do, but I want to do something in science. It’s so awesome!”

What?! First time since he announced he wanted to be a garbage truck driver that he’s had any clue what he might want to do when he grows up. He knew a lot of things he DIDN’T want to do, but never what he might want to do.

This year, he is taking Forensic Science (yep – just like the show – DNA samples, trips to the morgue, gory videos, class trips to true crime scenes in town, visits from the Coroner), Bio-medical Science, and Biology.

He. Loves. It!

Loves it so much, in fact, that he joined a school club. All on his own. Never mentioned it, just texted after school one day that he’d be late because he was at a club meeting.

“What did he join?” you ask.

HOSA-Future Health Professionals of America (formerly Health Occupational Students of America).

Go here to check out their web site and see what they’re all about. Crazy!?!

They meet at 7:00 a.m. the 3rd Tuesday of every month before school.

He is so excited about it and just loves it.

So excited, in fact, that his request for our evening after Sunday football was to watch a show at 7:00 p.m.

“What show did he want to watch?” you ask.

THIS show – “Brain Surgery Live” on National Geographic channel.

Yep – we all watched a live brain surgery for 2 hours on TV . . . AND LOVED IT!

It was so cool! A patient with severe tremors from Parkinson’s disease was having brain surgery to insert electrical thingies into two specific spots in his brain – one on the right, one on the left. Then they can “turn on” the electrical impulses and stimulate the brain to control the tremors.

The show was the last 2 hours of a 6-hour surgery. At the end of the two hours when everything was in place, the patient held up his hand and it was shaking terribly like in home videos. The doc turned on the electrodes and the shaking STOPPED immediately. Patient cried! Then doc turned off the electrodes and the debilitating tremors returned almost immediately.

Crazy! And so cool.

Dude has found something he’s totally interested in and totally loves in the medical field that does not involve blood, guts, and gore.

I’m so happy for him that he’s found this . . . and so happy that our PUBLIC high school offers these classes for the kids. It’s something I just never would’ve been exposed to in high school.

What’s That Face For?

If I had a nickle for every time I heard “What’s that face for?” followed with this expression . . .

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. . . I’d be rich. Oh. My. Gawd. The boy’s got some ‘tude lately!

Anyhoo, we took first day of school photos . . . actually second day of school photos because I forgot on the first day. I know, crazy, right?! Me! Forgetting a photo!!! But here they are in all their glory. They’re out to discover!!! Oh wait – maybe that was Scuttles. At any rate, they’re off to school for yet another year :-)

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A couple things about this picture.

1. He looks like he’s just been caught doing something rather than putting up 10 fingers for 10th grade.

B. Princess is very worried about next year’s photo since Dude only has 10 fingers. How will he ever show that he’s going into 11th grade? She’s decided that she will hold up an extra finger for him. Then she got all worried about the NEXT year because she’d be in 9th grade and he’d be in 12th grade and that’s 21 fingers which is one more finger than the two of the have together.

Maybe she’ll learn something this year to help her with that problem.

The struggle is real.

The Future of My Calendar

Being married to a pilot for the past 17 years, I’ve spent a fair amount of my time playing the role of the single working parent. I’d like to say that this reality has forged my need to have my calendar on-hand and updated at all times – but those who know me well know that I’ve always been this way. Very type A. When, why, where, for how long? I need to know!

But in all seriousness, I need to have a good updated calendar to make sure we can get where we need to be. Sometimes it’s just me and I’m outnumbered. When Hubby’s home, we can divide and conquer (which has been SO nice since he quit his job in December to work for our company!) My kids do a lot of stuff, but when there’s too much, they have to choose. Hubby and I do a lot of stuff, but when there’s too much, we have to choose. But we still keep a pretty busy calendar.

It’s April and I was chatting about next fall with someone. I flipped through my trusty calendar on my phone to see what day the kids started school and – IT WASN’T IN THERE! The HORROR!

So I promptly went to the district web site and downloaded the 2013-14 adopted calendar so I could update MY calendar. This is stuff I need to know!

I now know that my kids start school August 19th and are supposed to get out on June 4th – weather days will decide for sure. (FYI – they get a whole 13 school days off for winter break next year – 13 SCHOOL DAYS – plus weekends!)

I was on a roll! I loved having my calendar updated!

So I went crazy and printed the adopted calendar for the 2014-15 school year.

I entered all the important dates in my calendar (my kids’ last day of school is June 3, 2015 just in case you were wondering).

Then I had an ah ha moment. I had to redo my calendar for that year. And then I almost cried.

I had used the elementary and middle school calendars to update my calendar.

My kids will be in middle school and high school that year.

I decided to delete everything I’d entered for 2014-15 . . . because middle school and high school? Really? I choose to believe that will not happen so soon.

I Overruled His Decision

Dude brought home his class sign up sheet for 7th grade. He chose French, but he did not sign up for Band. I disliked that decision. Yes, I told him he HAD to try 6th grade band. He didn’t want to. So I let him not choose it. Then he ended up wanting to, so he changed his class schedule and played the trumpet this year.

He likes it. He’s good at it. He’s been taking lessons. He still wants to be the Bugler for his Boy Scout troop.

He does not like his band teacher; therefore he does not want to be in band next year, although he says wants to continue to play the trumpet – just not in band.

Hubby asked Dude if he didn’t sign up for band, then there was a different fun teacher next year, would he be disappointed? Dude said yes.

Hubby asked Dude if he signed up for band, would he be disappointed to not get the other discovery classes that band takes the place of? Dude said no, not really. They’re choir, art, and drama.

He had no other good reason for not wanting to do band than he doesn’t like the teacher. She’s boring. They don’t play any fun music. They have those annoying practice records to keep and hand in.

Next year, they get to play fun music because the kids know how to play. They also play as a whole band, not just parts of a band while they learn. And, if they take private lessons, no practice records.

Without a good reason, I highly recommended he choose to stick with band next year.

He did not want to.

I was disappointed.

There may have been sighs and frowns – on both our parts.

Dude may have huffed and puffed, said “Fine!”, walked to his room, and checked the box for band.

I usually let them make decisions on things that I don’t consider earth-shattering; however, for some reason, this time I didn’t.

I didn’t think that not liking the teacher was a good reason to quit doing something he likes. You’re not going to like every boss or coworker you encounter. You gotta figure out how to get past it and enjoy yourself anyway.

Late = Zero

I’m annoyed. I love Dude and Princess’s school – it’s a great school. They’re learning, they’re having fun, they’re making friends, and they don’t feel threatened. One thing I can’t stand, however, is that there is rarely any consequence to being late – whether it’s your self that is late or your homework that is late.

I grew up in an environment where if you’re not early, you’re late. And I still, for the most part, live by that. My kiddos are quite often the first ones anywhere, and if they’re even a minute late, they hate it (which I like – late is not an option and should be avoided at all costs).

This “lesson” I’ve been teaching the kiddos is being ruined at school. I’m referring to homework. Princess’s teacher is awesome – if your work is late, you get docked points and you most likely get to sit inside at recess and finish unfinished work or sit out for a while during recess if your work was just turned in late. I like those lessons.

But I wish they’d take the lesson a little further. Turning in your work late should equal a zero. Ya ya ya, I know – people get sick, but there are processes in place for that. For every day you’re sick, you have 2 days to complete and hand in the work. That’s acceptable to me.

What is NOT acceptable to me is when my wonderful awesome Dude does his homework and “forgets” to turn it in. This has happened more often lately. To me, that’s just stupid. If you put forth the effort to do the work, then think to turn it in! If you can’t turn it in because 1) you “forgot” or 2) you can’t find it in your mess of a backpack or 3) you swear you turned it in because you remember handing it to the teacher but lo and behold a week later I get an email saying you have a missing assignment and could you please turn it in and you find it in your mess of a backpack . . . then you should get a zero. No credit for late work – period. But no, the teachers have not docked him ANYTHING for turning his work in late – not even some percentage of points! What the hell kind of lesson is that? Certainly not the lesson we’re teaching at home.

And yesterday, his band practice sheet was due. I don’t babysit him about his homework . . . it’s his stuff and his time and his grades and his consequences. He gets all A’s – always. But yesterday, he hadn’t completed his band practice sheet for January. Since the beginning of the school year, they’ve gotten a band practice sheet for the month. They have to set practice goals, record their actual time, and write a short paragraph on a question the teacher has on the sheet for each week. Then the student needs to sign it and the parents need to sign it for each week. Last Friday was a snow day. No school. I asked him if he had any homework to finish before we left to go snowboarding for the weekend. Of course he said No and we moved along.

Monday at the bus stop I ask about his band practice sheet because I didn’t remember signing it. He got this look like “OMG I can’t believe it’s due today blah blah blah excuse excuse excuse.” I told him he was grounded after school until he got all of his school stuff in order and could prove he wasn’t “holding” completed homework in his backpack. I also may have mentioned that getting anything other than an A in band when your grade is entirely dependant on handing in a practice sheet would be completely unacceptable.

He comes home and says “Well, I got lucky today! Mrs. Music Teacher said our sheets weren’t due until Wednesday since we didn’t have school last Friday.”

Um, what? So basically what she said was that since they weren’t in class last Friday for her to remind them to fill out their sheets and bring them back on Monday, she was giving them another class day. Another class day because they are incapable of reading the due date on the top of the sheet? Another class day because 6 months of completing the same monthly practice record with a due date of the first class period of the next month isn’t enough time for them to figure it out?

What (pause for dramatic effect) EVER!

You’re still grounded!!!

I know it’s easier for the teachers to not dock points, because then they have to deal with the parents of those perfect kids who just couldn’t get their work done on time because of whatever it was that was more important than SCHOOL work. It’s easier to give the points than try to convince the parents that their kid turning their work in late shouldn’t be acceptable.

We’ll all have a boss we don’t like at some point. We’ll all have work deadlines that are difficult to meet at some point. We’ll all have a busy personal life that makes focusing on work difficult at some point. But ya know what? Get used to it! That’s life. Learn NOW how to deal with it, before you don’t show up for work on time because you were just too tired, or before you lose your job because you didn’t meet your deadline because you had too much going on, or before you quit your job because there is one person there that doesn’t cater to your every desire and you can’t figure out how to get past it.

Late work at school should equal zero points.

Off my soap box.

COGS

Sooooo, way back in January of 1995, I was in the middle of my 3rd year of college. I’d opted not to play softball for a 3rd season . . . I REALLY wanted to graduate and be finished in 4 years. I was majoring in Accounting. I have no clue what ever possessed me to do that! The first test of the semester was on Cost of Goods Sold. I spent many nights in my fleece pajama pants and slippers studying for this friggin’ test. I just didn’t get it. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I HATED that test. Great teacher, but hated the class and that test in particular. I hated it so much, in fact, that figuring out the COGS changed my life. I went home that day after the test, decided I did NOT want to be an accountant, and set out to find my new major.

It’s weird how when you decide to do something, everything seems to fall in place. In one week, I ran into so many random people that I just happened to need to talk to about what I needed to do next. I ran into an English professor (literally, ran into him while riding my bike on campus). We chatted – about writing and editing, which I was good at. He took me to his office and gave me the name and number of a girl in one of his classes – same age as me, but an English major. Turns out, it was a classmate of mine from high school! Later that day, I ran into another high school classmate I hadn’t seen in years. We started chatting, and he mentioned the same girl, totally out of the blue! Total sign! So I  called her. We chatted about her major – English with emphasis in Technical Writing. Sounded right up my alley!

I was so excited that the next day I made an appointment with my counselor and told him I was changing my major from Accounting to English/Technical Writing. He highly suggested I not do that because it would put back my graduation at least a year since I was already half way through my junior year. I didn’t care. That was how much I hated accounting at the moment. We looked at my transcript and it turned out I liked English so much that I had taken enough electives and was very close to being able to have that as a second major anyway! So he said OK. Then he asked what my minor would be. I said “Um, accounting since I’ve already completed all the requirements for that.” He said that wasn’t possible because accounting was not an approved minor for english majors. Um, WHAT?!

I said I thought that was stupid and convinced him that it was a great minor for an English major . . . who wanted to finish in 4 years and not stick around any longer than she had to. Turned out I had to convince the English professor that it was acceptable. After a few days of chatting and convincing and presenting arguments to the English dude, he agreed and sent his blessing to the head of the English department – who said no. So I went to Mr. Head of the English department and had to convince all over again. It worked.

Three weeks after COGS made me hate accounting, I was an English major with an Accounting minor. My accounting professor, my counselor, and my English professor thought I was crazy and wouldn’t get a job with that accounting minor. My English professor even said so . . . “You will have a hard time getting a writing job with an accounting minor. It has nothing to do with writing.”

Turns out, he was wrong. My first job out of college after Hubby and I moved to Colorado? Writing user guides for accounting software :-) A big fat I Told You So came out of my mouth!

After many years enjoying my job writing user guides and online help for accounting software, I am now self-employed, working with Hubby for our two businesses. And precisely 17 years after COGS made me hate accounting and change my life, guess what I got to do last week . . .

Taxes. For our company. Which sells books and posters. Which are inventory. Which means I had to reconcile the COGS. I may or may not have been wearing fleece pajama pants and slippers at the time.