a polite dose of my own medicine 2014.09.10

i’m obsessive about a few things, one of them is how dishes are loaded in to a dishwasher.

on many occasions i have re-arranged all or most of the dishes in the dishwasher before i start adding to it.

at the end of a dinner party over the weekend i was loading the dish washer and a friend was talking with me. after putting a bowl in, he bent down and moved it back a space so there was more distance between the bowl i just put in and another already there.

at the next break in the conversation i commented about him rearranging my dishes and he said “i figured that was what you intended to do” insinuating his arrangement of the dishes was superior.

he was correct and i was happy to be slightly less obsessive about something than someone else for a change…

i say reward that behavior 2014.09.09

in the latest round of standardized tests instead of instructional improvement our state is conducting “beginning-of-grade” reading tests. in the form letter we got announcing these tests was the following:

by state rule, students are not allowed to possess cell phones or other personal electronic devices during testing. if a student is found with one of these devices, s/he will retake the test on another day. in addition, a student suspected of cheating will have the device confiscated until an investigation is conducted. please reinforce this rule with your child.

i could be wrong, but an enterprising third grader who is savvy enough to cheat on a reading test with an electronic device sounds like they deserve an award of some kind, not a punishment…

i’m the best 2014.09.08

last friday we took all the kids from our bus stop on a walk to school.

on the way there, a first grader said “i’m the best at geography”

i’ve heard lots of kids declare “i’m the best…” at something so i asked “what are the names of the continents”

he answered “south america, north america, australia, europe, asia, africa. i even know where guyana is”

“where is it?”

“in south america”

“how about nigeria?”

“africa”

“and ukraine?”

“europe. i even know countries in the middle east”

“what are two countries in the middle east?”

“iraq and saudi arabia”

“ok, you win! you are indeed the best at geography”

back next week… 2014.09.02

after the long weekend and hosting company from out of town, plus a day trip later this week i’m swamped – so i’m taking the week off and will be back next week…

your speed 2014.08.29

natalie was out for an admittedly slow ride when she came up on a local elementary school.

they had one of those electric traffic calming signs that post “your speed” as you go by.

after a few cars passed by, all registering appropriate speeds natalie came to the sign and it read “your speed 0″

its no fun being taunted by technology.

one less tie 2014.08.28

the toothpaste i bought in peru that provided máxima protección anticaries has run out…

i should have bought a few more tubes because brushing my teeth was providing a fond reminder of our trip.

today’s used car salesmen 2014.08.27

i’m not a fan of cell phones for many reasons and if my job didn’t provide one, i wouldn’t have one.

my wife has always had the kind you get in a box at the grocery store and you buy the minutes as you go, but after returning from peru she liked the small form factor of the phone she had there and the ones at the grocery store weren’t quite as small.

so she took it to mobile phone store in hopes of buying a sim card she could install and use the phone she liked but of course that won’t work as the phone is locked. not locked in any way that is good for us, but locked in a way that prohibits you from changing phone companies. and of course all the mobile providers have agreed to not unlock any other phone companies phones and one more reason to hate cell phones companies is added to my list.

so we had to venture in to a mobile store to browse the selection of phones and attempt to find a small, dumb phone comparable to the product my wife obtained in a third world country.

what a terrifying place. first off it looks like a used car sales office with little tables and booths designed for trapping hapless, unaware customers for much longer than they ever planned to stay. then the smarmy upsell begins. you don’t want the $16 dumb phone when you could have this $400 smart phone.

we were lucky to be on the dumb phone purchase plan, because the family next to us went smart phone and then the real pressure begins. like the extended warranty plan at the auto mall, these folks want to sell a digital insurance policy. integrate your phone with your car and door locks; your security cameras; every other phone you own. the world this sales guy painted had burglars, rapist and monsters hiding behind every hedge. he even talked about his frightened, older mother who just didn’t feel safe coming home without all protection.

but i’m pretty sure anyone stupid enough to be paying all the cell, data and service integration monthly fees has very little left over that would interest a thief…

the longest mile 2014.08.26

since we’ve gotten back to the states, we have been taking a morning and evening walk around a one mile circle in our neighborhood.

tonight that one mile circle took two hours to complete. an uneventful walk takes 15 minutes. tonight the weather was cooler than it has been in the past few weeks, folks have all returned from summer vacations and all the kids had first day of school stories.

it was the liveliest one mile, two hour walk i have ever taken.

when i’m 18… 2014.08.25

we went to a local triple-a baseball game this weekend and a friend of ours went to get a beer.

at the counter her eight year old asked if she also could have a beer and of course the mother said no.

not one for taking no right away she asked again and even asked the bartender. after a few more nos the eight year old finally decided her current attempt at acquiring a beer had failed, but not one for being discouraged said to the bartender “see you when i’m 18!”

not-so-scary old man 2014.08.22

a six year neighbor girl was at our house yesterday with half the block. the kids are all reveling in the last few days of summer break.

natalie had set out a bunch of bowls and plates of snacks and i was standing near the counter where they sat when the girl slowly, cautiously approached. she had the mixed look of being shy and polite as she came nearer the food and i said her “don’t worry, i won’t bite”

right as she got to counter i raised my hands like a bear and growled at her. she startled a bit and then smiled and took some apple slices.

as she walked away looking back at me i said to her “sorry to scare you”

and without missing a step she responded “you didn’t scare me. you only surprised me”

good old days 2014.08.20

after moving from place to place a number of times i have started to notice that the fond memories of a place are usually stronger than the actual experiences of the place.

when we first got to peru i was missing the foods i was familiar with back home. when we got back home i re-discovered the food here doesn’t taste real. everything seems synthetic and lacks the robustness of the fresh foods we were enjoying in peru.

i say re-discovered because we had the same experience when we returned from new zealand.

i bet in a few more weeks i’ll even forget the dogs and trash that most irritated me there. ok, maybe nostalgia isn’t that powerful…

ear rings 2014.08.18

logan got her ears pierced this weekend.

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