Friday, November 30, 2012

In the spirit of giving, let's teach them to gamble!

So I'm at a bit of a loss as to what to buy the boy for Christmas.  He's almost 12, so his list is a bit pricey, and that's not happening this year with Hubster's job loss.  I was trolling evil Walmart's site for some inspiration, and I popped into the 12 and over area, realizing some things would be a bit too old for him, but he's 12 in April, so 12 and over seemed an appropriate place to be.

As I'm scrolling through electronics, bikes, Lego sets, I start noticing something disturbing.  I'd already passed many, but I started counting and came up with at least 13 entries for poker chips, full-table poker covers, Texas Hold 'Em sets, etc.  Now, I realize that this is the 12 and over area, but it was still in the "kids" advertised section.  That means I'm going to assume we're talking 12-17, heck, I'll even go 18.  With all the information about how gambling online has exponentially increased, and Dateline, 20/20, and every other news show out there talking about how hard core gambling has trickled into high schools, wrecking some serious havoc on kids, who in their flipping right mind is going to buy a full-table cover and say "here dear, I knew you wanted to really hone those dangerous habits while you're young"?!  I mean, it's not other kids going online to Walmart's "12 and over kids" area, is it?

I'll say, I've never been a gambler.  Never bought a scratch off until I was in my 30s, went to casinos only as entertainment in my late 20s when I was working nights and nothing else was open when I got off work, and to this day, even with the big jackpots, I've never bought a real lottery ticket, don't even know how.  The only poker I've ever played has been with a max loss of $10.  It's not something I've stayed away from purposefully.  It just doesn't interest me.  But I remember back in the dark ages when I was in college a couple guys who were pretty hard core into sports betting.  I think the only thing that probably saved them was that they could fund it with mom and dad's money.  Don't know if mom and dad ever came down like a ton of bricks on them, but I hope so, just like I would if Cubby or Brownie ever did heavy gambling.

This soft sell to a younger and younger crowd of very serious looking gambling accoutrements just seems like paving the way for some truly dangerous behavior later on.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Explosion watch update!

Oh, interNOODLES!  The stress has ratcheted up!

The Popcorn Kernel (don't judge, I don't come up with these things) has decreed the deadline for this extended sale has been, well, extended.  Now there are TEN boys eligible for this Ipad drawing.  BLAST!  His chances have gone down exponentially. 

Oh, and instead of being announced tomorrow, the grand announcement will now be delayed until NEXT Thursday.  GAAAAAHHHHHH!

I don't think the house can take the anticipation.  Will update later.

Monday, November 26, 2012

The boy's head WILL explode

The explosion will occur before Thursday evening.  He definitely won't make it. . .

Popcorn sales haven't been great for this boy scout family.  Weekends available to canvass the neighborhood had other things planned, and many family members have scouts of their own.  It's life in the big city.  To try to up his personal sales, Cubby has been doing "show and sells" where scouts stand outside store entrances and annoy, uh, I mean ENCOURAGE people to buy popcorn.  It's been ok, but he's not the salesman he used to be, tiring and boring easily.  His sister has helped to the point of almost doing more than he does.

Apparently, things are tough all over.  Council has seen sales dip, and has extended the dates for selling, including some extra show and sell times.  I encouraged him to do this, at my own peril, might I add, because a parent has to go along and keep the whining to a minimum.  Even though I wanted him to sell, because it meant more money for his scout account, which we can tap to pay for activities--something we need right now--there was also an additional incentive of an IPad being offered to those who sold at least $100.  I didn't know if that counted only for orders taken or show and sells too, so I kept my mouth shut about that little prize.

Come to find out, after the last show and sell date, Cubby and the Hubster dropped money and extra stock off only to find only ONE other scout had sold at least $100, and show and sell items DID count.  Cubby sold $115 of popcorn.  That means he has a 50/50 chance of winning this Ipad.  The name has already been chosen, and I don't know who it is.  The name will be announced at the Thursday meeting.  Hence, the danger of head explosion.  The good news is, this has led to some important life lessons:
  1. Be a good WINNER!  Hey, you win and you'll be thrilled, but someone will be the loser, and nothing is worse than a bad winner.  I know, the Hubster is a trash talking, in your face loser.  It annoys me.
  2. Be a good LOSER!  I had to remind Cubby that as excited as he is, the other kid is just as excited to win.  He did an awesome job too, and it's simply luck of the draw, so it's important to go up and offer congratulations.  Sobbing can be done in your own room at home.
  3. Putting extra efforts into things pays off!  It won't always be an Ipad, but generally, extra efforts yield good things, be it an extra point or two of credit, a nod of thanks from someone, or just the satisfaction of a job well done.
I'm not sure if I want him to win or lose, quite honestly, but win or lose, it'll all be over but the cryin' as a colleague says by Thursday!

Monday, November 19, 2012

That doesn't seem right

I get recipes shazammed to my inbox by a couple of sites, and I like many of them.  I rarely attempt them as they are, but they're a good basic starting point for coming up with ideas.  Sometimes the pictures accompanying the recipe make me drool all over my keyboard.  Some days, however, I'm thinking "THAT'S the one you went with?" while looking at the picture.  Today, Kraft's site sent a less than pleasant looking piece of chicken splayed out for the world to see.  Its title was "Tasty Bistro Chicken" written at the top.

Now, first, if you're putting the word "tasty" right in the title, I'm suspicious.  Why tell me it's tasty?  Wouldn't I know that if I tried it?  Are you trying to negate aforementioned not wholly pleasing picture?  I cry foul! Oh, I didn't even plan that.  Cry foul? Fowl? Get it?  Oh, I amuse myself.


What exactly is it about said piece of chicken and/or the recipe that makes it "bistro" if you will?  Aren't bistros places to eat and unwind?  Is the chicken made in some way that I will be immediately relaxed upon tasting it? If it's made in my home, it can't be made IN a bistro, so that's out.  Bistro is French, so is there something inherently French about the recipe?  Inquiring minds want to know.  If you've got any insight, bring it people!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

That's lunch??

Last week I went to my daughter's school and surprised her with a Subway sandwich for lunch.  I did this mainly out of guilt.  It was "education week" (what's the rest of the time they spend in school, I wondered, but I digress) and they had some special dealio that I couldn't attend due to a prior commitment I couldn't get out of.  Whining and crying commenced, and I ended up bringing lunch.

The girl doesn't eat much lunch at school.  She likes maybe five of the items they offer, and she's not a big milk drinker, so she rarely goes through the line.  That day, she was supposed to buy their "Thanksgiving special" lunch consisting of turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce.  A few exceedingly disturbing things occurred while I was there:

  1. I got a LOOK at this "Thanksgiving special" lunch.  To call it "special" is so over the top it's not even believable.  To call it something to be thankful for is even a stretch.  The stuffing was all pale, at the bottom of a large cup.  On top were exact cubes of turkey, think what chicken nuggets would look like if they were naked.  Mull on that for a bit.  Naked, perfectly cubed, looking obviously processed, turkey.  Covered in pale gravy.  I tell you, the only thing I'd ever seen before was the cranberry sauce.  Yeah, it was the from a can jellied kind.  Secretly, I have a bit of a yen for it every year.  I know it's bad, but leave the Martha Stewart stuff and give me that sugary jelly any time.
  2. A little girl across from me ate her lunch, every last bit.  She had cold cocktail weenies, pretzel sticks, and ketchup packets.  I'm hoping beyond all hope this was just the desperate day before grocery shopping gets done and there's nothing else in the house.  She was pretty adept at opening that ketchup, though.
  3. My girl was looked upon like a circus freak because she had spinach (and lots of it!) in her sandwich.  One girl said "I don't think I've ever SEEN spinach."  I'm hoping their moms, like me, have simply been lying and calling it lettuce.
Not sure when I'll be back, because it's definitely not an appetite-inducing place.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

I might fail junior high

Someone once told me in an offhand way I'm a born teacher. I took it as the greatest of compliments, but often I don't feel I'm a born teacher. I think I have a sense of showmanship that makes learning more palatable, and I appreciate how hard it is to learn things. Perhaps part of it too is I read people well, and I can tell when they're struggling. At the same time, I feel intense frustration with those who have all the tools but can't just get their crap together. I'm even more frustrated by those who are capable, more than capable, and just won't go even an extra inch, let alone a mile. Too often, I take those people home in my head, torturing myself with ways I could have done things differently, wondering if a flip comment I've made has devastated someone. I nurture those failures far more than I should, and I don't celebrate successes often enough.

I think it's because of all of this, God gave me the children I've got, and it's making me nuts.

My oldest is a very, very smart boy. He picks things up very quickly and can impart things to others just as quickly. He loves to soak up knowledge about all things. Unfortunately, he would lose limbs if they weren't attached to his body. I finally went to the second hand store and bought five hoodies at a much cheaper than retail cost. Two are still with us. The same attitude applies to his school work. He gets A's on all his tests. His grades are C's. Why? Homework disappears between home and school. I'd swear there's a black hole somewhere between.

I've tried everything I know and some things I didn't to get him on track. Planners, calendars, incentives, punishments, modeling behavior, writing lists, giving tips and tricks, none of it has worked. Daily it flummoxes me and frustrates me to the point I have to give myself a time out.

Luckily, most of his teachers see he's a good kid who is smart but just distracted by his internal dialogue. But his grades are still affected, and I'm still slowly going insane. Stay tuned for how it turns out. Expect much drama in weeks to come, as he's on entertainment bread and water. It's getting frayed on all ends.