Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Making Money in the New Economy

Ways to make some extra cash while riding out these tough times:

1. Start a bank but refuse to lend money to anyone. I already do this at home and it's a pretty good business model. When my kids reach for my wallet I just say, "Sorry, the bank is closed for the day." I can't say my profits are that great, but no losses either.

2. Get together with three or four other families and move in together. Share the rent, grocery bill, utilities, lice and pneumonia.

3. Become a TV evangelist. Sort of a dying breed, but hey, you've always done your own thing.

4. 2 words - Potato Farm. If you grew just one really huge potato with 100 eyes, you could then plant the eyes and grow 100 new potatoes. Where else can you get that kind of return? On a related note, does anyone else think it's kind of spooky that potatoes have eyes?

5. Become president of the Human Fund. (That was for you, Connie, as a thank you for being one of my five loyal readers)

6. Turn this blog posting into a spiral bound mini-book and sell it on Craigslist.

7. Go door to door and....oh, wait, there's nobody living in any of those houses anymore.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

My Funny Valentine ('s Day)

Ever watch Jon & Kate Plus 8 on TV? Well, if not, it's a reality show that follows a couple who have a set of twins about 5 or 6 years old, and a set of sextuplets who are maybe 3. This is how they celebrated Valentine's Day:

Jon and Kate bought each other lovely, thoughtful gifts. They were beautifully wrapped. Kate took the extra time to cut out and paste little hearts all over her present to Jon.

Kate made heart shaped pancakes for breakfast. Then she made heart shaped sandwiches for lunch. I can't remember what she made for dinner, but I'm guessing it was spaghetti with all the little noodles tied together to make hearts.

The kids all had little backpacks on their chairs when they came down for breakfast. The bags (red and white, of course) were filled with V-Day goodies.

Jon and Kate put together a little treasure hunt for the children. They wrote and hid clues all over the house, with the treasure being this huge (and beautifully wrapped) box full of dollar store toys for them to choose from.

It was a wonderful day for them. Our clan also celebrated Valentine's Day. Here is what we did:

We waited for TLC to get home from his scout campout and then left immediately for his basketball game, where he was given a personal foul for smelling like smoke/day old clothes/dutch oven cobbler.

From there we went to Lynnie's basketball game, where she would have loved to get a foul, but she's still learning that you only stick to your "man" like glue when you're on DEFENSE!

Mom realized she forgot to give AJ any breakfast and that might account for her crankiness at said basketball games, so we all went home for some festive peanut butter sandwiches, not cut into hearts, but made with almost no complaining by mom.

Mom took D-Dawg to buy some running shorts for track. These shorts had to be a particular shade of maroon. VERY particular. In a fit of rage, Mom cut the shorts D-Dawg was wearing into little heart shaped scraps while he was in the changing room.

Mom went to a baptism, where she thought about the shorts incident with regret. Dad forced the kids to do chores while she was gone.

Mom picked up Mexican food, our Valentine's Day tradition, took it home, and served it on a table that she decorated with a little red votive candle left by a concerned visiting teacher, who noted Mom's lack of holiday decorating back at Thanksgiving.

Dad and Mom gave everyone a chocolate bar that said I Love You on it and we all made s'mores in the fireplace, which I've heard can be toxic and maybe even deadly.

I'm really glad no TV crews were following us.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Dreaded Moment

It comes without fail every weekday, and sometimes on weekends too. The dreaded moment. "Mom, I need help with my math."

I have a little routine I use to deal with this alarming situation. Whenever someone asks me to help with their math, I immediately break into a mournful rendition of "Greensleeves". I don't actually know any of the words to Greensleeves except for, well, greensleeves. So my version goes like this:

"Greensleeves was all she wore,
From head to toe, it was quite a bore."

Although well-rhymed and most likely publishable, I sing this song for one reason and one reason only: to try to distract my hapless child from his appointed task. I'm always hoping he'll get that vacant look in his eyes and suddenly say, "I forgot what I came in here for."

Yes, it's true. I would rather have my children turn in blank math pages than have to reveal to them what a hopeless math-o-phobe I am. It's not even so much about doing the math, it's about remembering math that I learned several to many years ago. I can never remember the difference between Least Common Multiple and Greatest Common Factor, among other things. So in order to help, I either need to read the whole chapter in the math book first, look it up online, or call the homework helpline.

One time I tried the homework helpline. It went a little something like this:

Me: When I multiply fractions, do I multiply straight across or cross across?

Helpful Homework Person (HHP): Huh?

Me: I need to multiply 1 and 7/8 by 2 and 3/4. I'm just wondering if I should add the fractions to themselves first and then multiply in a diagonal way...

HHP: You mean cross multiply?

Me: Ummm....yes?

HHP: Okay, to cross multiply you simply multiply the top of the first fraction with the bottom of the second fraction, and vice versa.

Me: Right. That much I know. But is that what I'm supposed to do here? I'm just not sure if I use the multiplying when I'm adding or if I should skip the adding and go straight to the multiplying across or if I should multiply straight and then add and simplify.

HHP: Could I speak to your child?

Child: Hello?

HHP: I've been on the phone with your mom for the last ten minutes and I still haven't figured out what the question is. Can you help me with that?

Child: That's okay, I figured it out while you guys were on the phone.

The next day I got a letter from the Homework Helpline directing me to call the new Remedial Homework Helpline at 1-800-IMSTUPD next time I had a question. Unfortunately, I'm very good at English and so I was quickly able to decipher that phone number as a cleverly disguised insult. (It's short for I'm Stupid. Don't worry if you didn't get it, a lot of people don't.)

I'll never sink to that level though. I won't call the Remedial Homework Helpline as long as I've got ten good fingers to count on. And the internet.