Friday, September 28, 2007

Money Matters

Okay, so last week I blogged about Son #1 finding a $10 bill not once, but twice. He was able to reunite the first ten bucks with its rightful owner. No real chance of that with the second bill he found.

At his request I emailed his teacher to see if he received his $10 back from the other kid (click here if your memory needs refreshing). He replied that he had.

Son #1 and I will research a couple of local charities and I'll let him choose which one he wants to donate the money to, I'll match his contribution, and we'll hand-deliver it so he can see them in action.

A few days ago, I go to McDonald's drive-thru and order an unsweetened ice tea. As I pull out of the parking lot and stop at the red light, I started putting my change away. That's when I realized the McD's employee gave me a dollar too much change. Yes, I went back and returned it, but just in case this is karma's way of telling me it wants us to have more money, I'm going to buy a powerball ticket (kidding).

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Life Expectancy

A friend sent me a link to this via email. It's one of those online life expectancy calculators. You answer a bunch of questions and it tells you how old you "really" are and how old you can expect to live.

Of course, it's a bunch of hooey. No one on this earth knows for sure when our time is up. But it was good for a giggle.

Here's the site:

And here's what it said about me:

Biological Age: 42

Real Age: 25.8

Average Life Expectancy: 75

My Life Expectancy: 90.2

It's been a long time since I was mistaken for 25 years old (probably about 20 years, actually). I must admit it was flattering even if it was by a computer program.

Then it goes on to tell me that my life expectancy is 18,000 more days. And to think I wasted this one grocery shopping!

Again, this link is meant for fun only.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


For some reason, Son #3 (he's 5) has never seemed satisfied with his name. I think it's a perfectly nice name (or I wouldn't have selected it) and it's one that has options (nicknames).

Nevertheless, he'll periodically come up with alternatives. At various times, he's requested that we call him....

1) Obi Wan Kenobi (kinda catchy, but doesn't go with our last name)
2) Chester (um, no)
3) Michael (okay, not bad since he dropped the "Jackson")

Now he wants to be called:

Ovento Burrito

what the heck????

Sunday, September 23, 2007


That's a quote from Son #1 tonight. I teach his 7th grade CCD class (religion class). After class ended, we were waiting outside in the square (1) to make sure all of my students had been picked up by their parents, and (2) for Son #2 and my nephew to meet us so we could ride home together.

Son #1 was perched on the railings to the steps when he happened to glance down on the ground and find -- a ten dollar bill. Actually, it's *another* $10 bill if you've been following my previous two posts. His first words were, "What should I do, Mom? Turn it in to the office? Donate it?"

Since the likelihood of finding its owner is very slim, I told him I'd email the CCD coordinator letting her know we found some cash in case anyone mentioned to her that they've lost it. If we don't hear anything within a few weeks, then we'll have a decision to make. Do we consider it his lucky day? If he spends it at the upcoming church fair, will that count as a donation? Do we donate it to our church's "poor box" (benefitting the St. Vincent de Paul Society)? If so, how much? Is this karma's way of rewarding him for being so honest and generous earlier this week?

Or is it a test of some sort? Ironically, today's gospel reading and homily were about the parable of the steward who cheated his employer of money.

Luke 16:10-13

Jesus said to his disciples: “The person who is trustworthy in very small mattersis also trustworthy in great ones; and the person who is dishonest in very small matters is also dishonest in great ones. If, therefore, you are not trustworthy with dishonest wealth, who will trust you with true wealth? If you are not trustworthy with what belongs to another,who will give you what is yours? No servant can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and mammon.”

A man who is trustworthy in the little things will be trustworthy in the big things.


But, really, what are the odds? Finding not one, but two $10 bills in a single week?

Incidentally, I think he's leaning towards donating all of it to charity. But he did muse, "I wonder if Mr. R (his teacher) ever got his $10 back from A. (the kid who initially claimed the first $10 as his own)?"

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Honesty is its Own Reward

This is an update to my previous post. Son #1's teacher did indeed receive my email and got the three boys together to sort it all out. Here's the official story: A (the boy who claimed the money) is in the English as a Second Language program. When Son #1 asked A, "Did you lose this money?" A said he thought Son #1 was offering him the money (as in, do you want this money?). So naturally he said yes.

The teacher gave H (who actually lost the money) $10 from his own wallet. A now sees the misunderstanding and was to bring the money to the teacher today. The teacher sent Son #1 home with my money - I didn't have the heart to make Son #1 drain his piggy bank. He also emailed me a nice note about how impressed he was with Son #1's integrity.

So now I hope everyone is happy. Except perhap A who must have thought he was attending the friendliest school ever.

All's well that ends well.

[I let Son #1 keep the $10.]

Monday, September 17, 2007

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Son #1 didn't have a wonderful day in school today. It started off well enough, but in 3rd Period Social Studies, he found a $10 bill on the floor between his seat and the one next to him. Son #1 is not the type to quietly pocket the money for himself. He asked the boy in the seat next to him - I'll call him A - if the money belonged to him and A said that it did. Son #1 did his good deed for the day, right?

Not quite. Later in the day, at lunch time, a boy in the same Social Studies class - I'll call this one H - asked Son #1 whether he found money. Why he waited so long to ask, I do not know. H sits in the seat directly in front of Son #1, so it very well may have been H's money and not A's.

Son #1 felt so badly that he was duped into giving the money to the wrong kid that he promised to bring ten dollars of his own money to school tomorrow and give it to H. That's the price of an innocent mistake in the 7th grade, apparently.

Here's the worst part: I feel compelled to give my son lessons on how to be cynical. For example, next time one finds money, one should conceal it in one's hand before asking, "Did you lose any money?" If the person says yes, then one should say, "Can you tell me how much? In what denomination?" If the person says "a 5 dollar bill" and you're holding a ten, then you know they're yanking your chain.

I'll admit that I'm much more suspicious than Son#1, which is why in general he views the world as a much better place than I do. How do I know the money was A's? How do I know it belongs to H?

For the record I considered sending a check, with a detailed note, so the parent would have to read the note and cash the check. A minor inconvenience for the boy, unfortunately, but hey, a bigger inconvenience for me. However, I decided against that because I don't whether the check would go the "right" person (i.e. was H the one who really lost the money) and I didn't want my bank account info out there, you know what I mean? (See? I really am a cynic at times.)

I ultimately emailed the teacher enlisting his help (I haven't heard back yet). Here's what I said (of course I used the real names):

Mr. [Teacher's Name],

I'm wondering whether you might be able to help Son #1 with a situation. Son #1 is in your 3rd period. He spotted a $10 bill on the floor in your classroom, in between his chair and A's. He knew it wasn't his (and it's not in nature to pocket the cash without attempting to find its owner) so he naturally asked A if it belonged to him. A said "yes" so Son #1 gave him the money.

At lunch, H asked Son #1 whether he found money. (H sits in front of Son #1). Son #1 replied that he had, but that A claimed the money as his own. Understand that Son #1 is a very generous-hearted individual and felt terribly that H was out of his $10 so Son #1 offered to give H his own money.

Son #1 and I discussed that perhaps a better tactic would have been to turn the money in to you and let you deal with it.

Obviously, Son #1 is very upset about the whole ordeal - probably more upset that he was lied to than he is over paying $10. Personally, I don't feel Son #1 should owe anyone money. It was, after all, an innocent mistake on his part. However, he is - as he put it - "a man of his word" and doesn't feel that H should be out of the money, either.

Before any more cash changes hands, would you please discuss the matter with the parties involved and see if in fact the money was H's (and if so, whether A will do the right thing)?

I'm sending Son #1 to school with a copy of this email and an envelope containing $10 with instructions to give to you. If the child who is missing the money cannot get it back from the person who has it, please send the envelope home with him.

I'm open to suggestions if you have any.

Thank you in advance,

I'm curious - how would you have handled it? Dear Hubby doesn't think Son #1 owes anyone money, and I agree, but I get "But I promised" from Son #1.

Who knew that raising an ethical child would cost me $10. ;-) (The money I'm sending is my own, not his.)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

A Great Quote

"For those who know me, no explanation is necessary;
for those who don't, none is possible."
  • It's been attributed to a couple of people, but I've seen it attributed most frequently to Yogi Berra. Frankly, it sums up how I'm feeling these days. ;-)

  • There's not a lot to report here. Kids are doing well in school although Son #3 complains every morning that he wants to stay home. He's in kindergarten, people! And he's only been at it for three weeks. He's simply not a morning person. I keep trying to adjust his bedtime so that he'll wake in a better mood, but really. It's not practical to put him to bed at 5 p.m. Ha ha!

  • We're finally getting some much needed rain, courtesy of Tropical Storm (briefly Hurricane) Humberto. I'm going to keep this short so I can dash off and check your blogs.

  • (For some reason, when I preview, there aren't any breaks between my paragraphs, despite my using the "hard return". I ended up using bullets just to get the space. Anyone have any ideas?)

Friday, September 07, 2007

Eyes Wide Open

No longer squinting through 5-year old glasses (two prescriptions ago). Today I made my third visit in just under two weeks to the optometrist. Both corneas are looking much, much better, he said. No more sign of dry eyes.

He gave me a sample pair of different contact lenses, Accuvue Oasys, made especially for folks with drier eyes, which I am now wearing and loving. The astigmatism in my right eye has gotten worse over the past couple of years, but it's doesn't seems to noticeably impact my vision unless I close one eye and look out the other. And, let's face it, why would I do that?

In order to correct the astigmatism, I'd need to switch to toric contact lenses, but those aren't recommended for dry eyes so the barely perceptible lack of 'crispness' in the vision in my right eye is a minor detail.

I also ordered a new pair of glasses with my updated prescription which I hope to only rarely wear. I go back in two weeks for a follow up. If the dry eye condition doesn't return, we'll place the order for my new contacts.

In the grand scheme of things, glasses versus contacts is not such a big drama...but I'm just not a glasses kind of gal.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Moving Forward...

I hope everyone had a nice Labor Day. My father-in-law barbecued, so that kept us entertained most of the day.

Not much is new here. My followup appointment yesterday with my optometrist was encouraging. As you may recall, I went last week for an eye exam and he said my corneas looked very "rough" - usually a sign of very dry eyes. That was news to me, but I followed his directions and used the better over-the-counter eye drops made for severe dry eyes (Systane, TheraTears) and wore glasses only. He said my right eye is almost completely healed and my left looks much better. He says to continue with the glasses/eye drops for a few more days and go back on Friday. Although he didn't come right out and say it, I'm cautiously optimistic that I may be able to return to wearing contact lenses (although hopefully a different brand). I don't do well with glasses.

I received my blood test results in the mail this afternoon. The doctor who performed my physical last week said she'd call if there was anything suspicious; otherwise, she'd send a letter. My total cholesterol is up a bit. It's still the high end of normal though. I've not been exercising like I should, but I do eat a low fat diet (thanks to Weight Watchers). The Prevacid seems to be working on my acid reflux. She gave me an 8 week supply of samples. If it's cleared up by then, then I don't need to go back for another year ... unless I get sick, of course.

I'm gearing up to teach 7th grade CCD (Catholic Religion Class) this year. I teach Son #1's class. We start this Sunday evening.

Son #3 has had an interesting year with the school bus. He started kindergarten on Aug. 20th. We learned four days prior to the start of the school year that Mr. Doug will no longer be the bus driver on this route since he'll now be driving for a different school/age group. Mr. Doug was Son #1's bus driver when we moved to this area in 2001. He drove Son #1 from 1st through 3rd grades, then Son #2 from kindergarten through 3rd grade. (Our elementary school only goes up to 3rd grade. Middle School is 4th - 6th grades.) We'd exchange pleasantries.

He was around when I would waddle to the bus stop when I was pregnant with Son #3, and then got to know Son #3 when we'd go together to meet his big brothers at the bus stop. Son #3 was very much looking forward to riding Mr. Doug's bus. But nope. Instead he got a different bus driver who didn't seem to have great control over the kids on her bus (she'd have to get out of her seat after every stop to get everyone situated). Son #3 said she "yelled a lot."

Last week, we receive a note that they'll be another bus serving our neighborhood instead, effective Tuesday. Well, yesterday - Day #1 for the new (our 3rd) bus - did not get off to a great start. The driver was trying to maneuver a turn and accidentally scratched a parked vehicle. Our neighborhood streets are narrow with ditches on the sides of many roads so I can see where it could be difficult. This occurred at the bus stop two blocks from ours so we got to watch and wait...and wait... Finally my neighbor had enough and decided to drive her kids to school. She had an extra booster seat in her van so Son #3 rode with her (he's friends with her kids).

To the bus driver's credit, she stayed on the bus with the kids and called the authorities, the school board's hot line, etc. per protocol. She did manage to get the kids home in the afternoon despite the pouring rain. Son #3 says she yells, too. One of my concerns is that although the bus is called "206" and has a sign taped to the window to that effect, the bus itself is painted with a different number.

This morning, things went better if you can call it that. I was appalled when the bus pulled up to our stop that there were at least 4 kindergartners (I can tell by the mandatory kindergarten tote bags) STANDING in the aisle by the first row of seats, right behind the driver. Standing. The bus was no where filled to capacity so Son #3 and the kids at his stop had to squeeze past the standing kids to get an available seat. I asked the bus driver why there were kids standing and she said she was "going to assign seats." Fine. But that still didn't answer my question. Did I mention that - not be an age-ist - that she's about 25 years old? If that. How much experience driving a bus - loaded with 5 to 8 year olds - can she have?

The answer? None, apparently. But she did have 7 weeks of training, the assistant principal explained to my neighbor when she called the school to express her concern.

I'm thinking that Son #3 is going to become a car rider. Oy vey!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Rest In Peace, Precious Angel

Our beautiful, beloved retired greyhound, Echo (racing name: Echol's Guard), died today at the much-too-young age of 5 1/5. We're not sure what happened. He went out in the yard to do his business and stretch his legs. He had fresh full bowl of water. He tried to dig a hole under the gate but didn't make much progress. Greyhounds are very susceptible to extreme temperatures, which is why they must be an indoor dog and only allowed outside for short periods (as Echo was). It wasn't as hot as it had been recently. I don't know if perhaps the physical exertion of digging was too much, or something else was wrong. He's now buried in the backyard under the tree. We're heartbroken.

To read more about Echo, click here.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Today is my mother's birthday. I tried calling earlier (she lives a thousand miles away) and she wasn't home. Not surprising. I'm sure she was out having fun. Hope you had a great day, Mom!