Saturday, May 31, 2008

Controversy and Conflict

This week was a busy week for Controversy and Conflict.

Let's begin with Case #1.

I'm not completely convinced that Discrimination was at work here.. in fact, I'm pretty sure it wasn't! But some passionate (read hot headed) homeschoolers cried Discrimination over a a Subway Sandwich Contest. Here's the deal in a nutshell... Subway and Scholastic teamed up to hold a contest, wherein kids from Kindergarten through 6th grade would write a little story based on writing prompts. The Grand Prize was $5,000 in athletic equipment to go to the winners school. Simple enough. Now here comes the problem. The rules state that the contest was open to every child in public, private or parochial school... and then it drops the bomb. It says in no uncertain terms that NO HOMESCHOOLS WILL BE ACCEPTED.


I personally don't feel that Subway or Scholastic were trying to discriminate against us. I feel that they just had a really poor copywriter, along with a less than stellar editor who didn't catch this mistake.. umm, er, mistakes if you count the misspellings. The marketing director probably should take their share of the blame for not doing a little research before hand... but all in all, I think they got together and wanted to give some playground equipment to a school. Instead of simply specifying that the Grand Prize must go to a school to be enjoyed by many children, the covered that base by saying No Homeschools! And the rest is some really ugly history.

I'm sure that Subway recieved from very civil, informative letters from homeschoolers stating that we are sure this was not meant to be a slight on the homeschool community and that there were many ways in which the grand prize could be awarded to a homeschooler's support group, community center or homeschool athletic association, etc.... I am equally sure that Subway also recieved many more shrill letters demanding that homeschoolers be included, and informing them that they were obnoxious twits who don't have a heart, can't spell, and that their $5 foot long commercials are stupid, and that Quiznos employees could beat Subway employees in an arm wrestling contest any day of the week. They might have even told the Subway franchise owners that they all had BO and bits of spinach in their teeth. Whatever they wrote, my feeling is that they did not represent homeschoolers well.

So then, stage two of this controversy erupted. Homeschooler against Homeschooler. Denim jumpers being torn, Saxon Math books slammed against heads, Cuisinare Rods thrown through the air willy nilly... Ok, not really, we are a BIT more civilized that that... (but not much). Some homeschoolers thought it more than suspious that Subway, Scholastic and SATAN all begin with the same letter, while others, thought that this was an innocent mistake that needs to be addressed but in a respectful way, while still others simply thought everyone else needed to get a life.

Where do I fit in? Well, let's put it this way. I have no qualms eating at Subway because I don't think they meant to offend us in anyway. But on the other hand, I don't exactly think we should sit around and do nothing. Educating Subway and thus the world (because we all know what kind of impact Subway has, huh?) that homeschoolers are here and growing in numbers and should be included in their demographics is not a bad thing.

A friend wrote on her blog that this was basically a bunch of silliness to her, since she was homeschooled in the "dark ages" when they weren't allowed into any contests at all. She went on to state that their are more important battles to fight, (for instance, actual kids being taken away from actual parents because they actually homeschooled.) I see her point. I really do, but I also see that these tiny battles with Subway and those that have gone before with companies like Staples, where homeschoolers can now get teacher's discounts, are what really brought us out of those Dark Ages.

To ignore a slight starts us on a slippery slope, BUT, we have to be smart and not paranoid. We need to not be so offended all the time. AND let me just add this... to those who were offended and raised the huge stink, IF Subway opens up the contest to include you, you better enter! Nothing angered me more when my boys were little and still getting used to that whole sharing thing, than when one would fight the other over a toy, and then when they got it, they DIDN'T PLAY WITH IT!!!! They just simply didn't want their brother to have it. That's when I implemented the rule that if you were so upset that your brother is playing with a toy that you want, that you are willing to throw a fit that neighbors a mile away can hear, then obviously that toy means more to you than it possibly could to anyone else in the world, so you may have the toy BUT, you can only play with it for the rest of the day and nothing else, for you obviously love it so. Fights over toys became a thing of the past...

OK, now on to Case #2

This one is bit different from Case #1 in that this makes me angry! Or outraged. Maybe incensed is the word. Spitting mad!... You know, I'm not sure a word exists to describe my reaction to the events that transpired in this next story.

It's probably best that you read the news account yourself, if you haven't already. I'll wait.

So, do you have a word for how mad you are? I am at once, both heart broken for the boy and outraged with the teacher, that words escape me.

Sure, this story hits closer to home because Asperger's has touched my family. But even if we take that element of the story out, this teachers conduct was still completely and utterly WRONG! And not just for the child that was voted out of his class, but for the children that were asked to do the voting.

That teacher (which is far too honorable a title for her) taught the children in her class that day that bullying was acceptable. That looking down on others who are different is acceptable. That pointing out flaws instead of finding good is acceptable. That humiliation is a fun game and acceptable. To turn on your friends to follow the crowd is acceptable.

I can't even imagine how I would feel if my child was the one voted out of the class, but if my child was encouraged to vote in this scenario I would be livid. These are not the values I want my children to learn. I understand the vote was 14-2. To the two students who refused to bow to peer pressure and do what was right, and to their parents... I applaud you. To the other fourteen... well, you never should have been put in this situation, that most adults aren't even mature enough to handle. I can only pray that this school system makes sure this woman is not ever allowed to influence young minds with her poisonous toxin again!

So, it's clear how I feel about that one, isn't it. I have homeschooled my son who is mildy affected with Asperger's with great success. Homeschooling has allowed me to teach to his strengths. I have been able to point out all that is right with him and talk about all the special gifts and talents that God put in him. In most traditional school settings, kids like him would constantly be reminded that there is something WRONG.. a learning DISABILITY. This is not how I think of my child and he has proved that there IS NOTHING WRONG, and that he has NO DISABILITY.

So my advice to this mother is homeschool if you can. Give your child the one on one that he craves. Point out all that is good within him and he will begin to believe it again. Sure, you may not be able to enter a Subway Essay Contest, but in the long run, how much will that matter.

Sunday, May 25, 2008


We have been working on becoming the proud owners of a mortgage... and when you are self employed it is always daunting... but the bank has said we should have our official approval sometime next week.

Now, the question is, do we use this loan to purchase a house or fill up the gas tank....

Friday, May 23, 2008

In Which I Completely Freak Out the Shower Guy

Those that know me in real life know that there is probably not anyone more easy going than I. My blog theme isn't just pretty visuals. I really do always look on the bright side, always make lemonade out of lemons, and always find the silver lining... but sometimes... Sometimes I can be pushed so far, and coupled with stress and pressure, I can blow up.. and in the blowing up, innocent bystanders are caught in my vortex of billowing steam and high pitched shrills that make no sense as I am too angry to form a complete sensical thought.

Curious? OK, the backstory is as follows. Jim, my very industrial hubby, has been working very hard fanning the flames of all the fires he has his hands in. He is my modern day rennaissance man who is a computer geek and bounty hunter all wrapped up in one handsome package. Throw in an amazing musical talent and you can see why I love him so... So in between apprehending felons, and ridding computers of viruses, he made a rather large sale. One individual wants to buy about 70 laptops in one transaction. Way Cool... Did I mention my musical-techi-bondsman is also quite the salesman as well...

Anyway, the buyer was limited on his paying options. He needed to use a credit card. We take credit cards but only through that highly reputable sight on these internets called PayPal. For some reason he didn't want to go through PayPal. Note that last statement is dripping in sarcasm, as in, for some reason he didn't want his toes to be chewed off by rabid badgers. We understand. We have had our moments with PayPal which is another blog altogether. The fact that we still use them is testament to the fact that lemmings are cute and cuddly animals and we all should be one.

So I, in an effort to meet my biblical calling as a help meet to my musical-techi-sales/bondsman hubby began my journey of dragging our computer recycling business into the age of credit card sales sans PayPal. My first stop seemed logical enough. I visited a website called There, it came to me in the form of a bright red flashing advertising banner. There is an alternative to PayPal where the fees are much lower and quality is much higher. At least that is what this bright banner would lead me to believe. So I clicked on the banner and entered the world of merchant accounts for home businesses. I filled out the confusing application to the best of my ability and waited. The site said I would be able to accept credit cards in 24 hours. I'm going to attempt to make my terribly tragic and long tale a little shorter by skipping to the part 72 hours later, where they tell me that I can finally take credit card orders, just not for the amount of the particular sale for which I opened the FREAKING MERCHANT ACCOUNT IN THE FIRST PLACE. Sorry.. in between the 24 hours and the 72 hours, many phone calls happened that proved that this company and our company would never be the best of friends.. and yet I sojourned on... Confident in the end that all would be ironed out.

It all ended with a phone call to the risk management office of the aforementioned company who advised me not to process this sale (because of the high dollar amount) and if I did they would keep the money, and if I didn't allow them to keep the money, then they would reverse the sale. He went on to tell me that it would be 6 months before they could revisit us and see if we could accept a credit card sale in this amount. He suggested, as if it were the simplest thing on earth, and as if we hadn't tried this already, that we simply accept another form of payment. I wanted to scream into the phone that if another form of payment were an option I WOULDN'T BE TALKING TO HIM OR HIS COMPANY IN THE FIRST PLACE! Instead, I'm pretty sure I screamed the word, " AAAARHGH" and said something authoratative and business sounding, like "YOU"VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME" It went downhill from there. Remembering my bubbly personality I made sure to scream to him that I was not angry at him, but at the events that were transpiring. I'm not sure that made him feel any better as it was his ears that were being damaged.

Anyway, I finally hang up the phone, still trembling with adrenaline to find the man who had arrived a few minutes earlier to install the soap dish in our new shower, sheepishly trying to sneak out of the house. I had completely forgotten he was there and I tried to apologize for my outburst and convince him that I never ever act like that. He might have believed me.. but I don't know. He never did turn his back to me, scared perhaps that in my condition I might plunge a knife into any available back. Instead, he quickly crept backwards down the front steps and climbed into his car locking every door and honking for attention from passerbys.

I'm sure I could have handled this entire situation in a much more lady like manner... but then, I wouldn't have had anything to blog about, would I?

Friday, May 16, 2008

Flashback Friday

We were 16 years younger.... newly married and loving life. Happy Anniversary, sweetie! These have been the greatest 16 years ever!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Tag, I'm It

Comfy Denim suprised me by sneaking out from behind the laundry pile where she has been playing with her new puppy AND SHE TAGGED ME. And she didn't just tag me. She CHALLENGED me. She wrote, and I quote,

"I hereby - officially tag: -... Melanie at Countin' it all Joy (because she'd be good at this)."

So now, in addition to the pressure of having to write a new blog post, it has been announced to all the blogosphere that it WILL be good. Have you ever gone to see a movie that a friend, reviewer, the world, etc.. has gushed over and yet for you it was just so-so. (I recently had this experience with the Oscar nominated, Juno. Sorry, it simply wasn't as good to me as the rest of the population of the free world seemed to indicate.) Perhaps the movie wasn't as bad as you think, but with all the build up, it had no place else to go but down... Some things just can't live up to the hype. And so here I am, trying to compose a blog, staring down a big ol' speed bump of hype.

BUT, in keeping with the theme of my blog, you know, countin' it all joy and all... how COOL is it that Comfy Denim thinks I'd be good at this writing exercise...

Oh, right, there is an actual writing exercise in her tag...

First the rules...
  • 1. Write your own six-word memoir.
  • 2. Post it on your blog and include a visual illustration if you want.
  • 3. Link it to the person who tagged you and to the place of origin.
  • 4. Tag five more bloggers, with links.
  • 5. Leave them a comment and invite them to play.

Now, here goes... I have some options.


childhood happiness, teenage melodrama, grownup joy

or Spirtual

no matter what, God hugs me

or this one, inspired by Comfy Denim

because she'd be good at this

And now for the tags... Let me see...

I tag Kahri and I also give her an extension since she is traveling today.

I tag NeeCee, who deserves an extension as well since she's been sick.

And since Comfy broke the rules and only tagged two instead of five, I'm going to follow in her footsteps and do the same. And let that be the object lesson you walk away with today... People watch you when you break the rules and then they feel like they can do the same... what's the world coming to! (wink)