Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Who is this boy and what happened to MY child?

Tonight Thomas and I went to Subway for dinner because Bob wouldn't be home for dinner. Any excuse for me to eat out and I'll take it.

So we're in line, waiting our turn and because there was nothing else to do, I watched the two guys working behind the counter. One I knew, and he's very friendly. There was a new guy and he was, um, well, not very enthusiastic about his job. Yeah, that's how I'll say it.

So it comes our turn and Thomas orders his sandwich. He asks for extra cheese. The guy making his sandwich takes two chunks of cheese and slaps them down on his sandwich. Normally, with that extra cheese bit, they peel them all apart so that you can distinctly see four pieces of cheese. This guy was just, well, not enthusiastic enough to do that. Well, apparently that made Thomas angry.

What happened next blew me away. Thomas said, in a very MEAN and NASTY voice: "I SAID EXTRA CHEESE." It was so rude. I stood there with my chin frozen to my chest. The guy behind the counter actually stepped back and gave Thomas the look of death. He then said in a nasty voice: 'THERE ISSS EXTRA CHEESE."

This was one of those moments that I was so stunned that I was speechless. I ordered my sandwich, paid and went to get my drink. We were taking the food home instead of eating there, so while I was at the pop dispenser, I told Thomas that we were not leaving this store until he apologized to the guy behind the counter.

Now Thomas is a very shy young man. Doing something like that is a huge deal to him. He started shaking and begged me to not have to do it. I stood my ground. There were so many people that we got in line again. The nice guy asked us if there was a problem and I told him "No, my son just needs to speak to that gentleman over there." We moved down the line and Thomas did it.

In a very nervous voice Thomas said, "I'm very sorry, I didn't mean to be rude." The guy stepped back again. A very big smile came over his face. He said, "Thank you, that's okay, don't worry about it." He stood there with huge eyes smiling at my son. Then he looked at me, I just smiled and nodded and he nodded back.

When we got into the car I told Thomas I was very proud of him, that it takes a big person to apologize and admit when they are wrong. I also told him that he just cannot treat people the way he did when he's upset. Thomas was just upset. I told him that he was rightfully upset, as the guy was a jerk. I'd been watching him and he was slamming things around. He had no pride in his work whatsoever. He had better places to be than behind the counter of Subway. BUT...that didn't matter.

What bugged me was the way Thomas approached the situation. He did stand up for himself, which was good. However, it was so powerfully rude that I just couldn't believe Thomas could do that. So on the way home we talked through ways that he could have been assertive without being rude. You know, a
you-can-catch-more-flies-with-honey kind of thing.

So why would I share such a thing on the internet? Because in the blogging world, we always seem to share the great things our kids do. We share the funny and crazy things our kids do. But kids are human and they make mistakes. While I want this to be a positive blog, I also want to be honest that life isn't always peachy, there are a few bumps in the road.

Thomas is a great kid. I don't know where that came from, but hopefully we've nipped it in the bud. I'm very proud of him, no matter what, and love him to pieces.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

What a Dope I Am

I had on my calendar this morning: field trip, 10 am. We were going to the local bakery four a tour with the local homeschool group.

Thomas and I showed up at 9:50, and because it's snowing so heavily, we decided to wait in the car and enjoy the snow show. Not a single family showed up. At ten after, we decided to just head home. I thought perhaps the trip was canceled due to snow.

I am just thankful that I didn't go in. I could have gone in and asked if it had been cancelled, but knowing my experience with the group and that they show up at the very last minute, I knew no one was in there. I didn't recognize any cars.

Well, what a dope I am. We were 10 minutes and one WEEK early.

Good grief.

Back to Titanic. We checked out about half the library's books on Titanic. Thomas read two of the books last night, watched volume one of a four-volume Titanic documentary, and has been working on his lapbook. He just loves Titanic. We're going to snuggle up and watch volume 2 this morning -- instead of touring a bakery.

He has his ceramics class this afternoon, and he is going to get a dinner plate and paint the Titanic on it.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Surprise, Surprise, Surprise

In my morning routine of checking email, blogs, and all that important online stuff, I discovered something. Someone must think I'm funny. Someone nominated me for the Homeschool Blog Awards in the Funniest category.

I was completely blown away. Thank you to whoever nominated my blog. It made my day. Then I started thinking -- maybe it was a joke nomination. You know, like back in high school when the jerks would nominate the ugly girl as a joke for homecoming queen? Maybe the joke was on me. Maybe I got nominated because I'm so stupid that people laugh at me. Ha-ha.

Nah, I know that some people out there (besides Bob, Thomas and me) actually like my blog. ;-)

So then I was faced with the decision of what to do about this nomination. See, I'm always on the outside circle of homeschoolers. I never quite fit in. My cousin calls me a nonconforming nonconformist, a label that I actually like. I am not "the average" homeschooler. So I decided to not mention it on the blog.

Obviously I changed my mind.

I voted this morning. I actually spent quite a bit of time actually checking out nominated blogs. I only voted for one blog that I had never read before. Some categories I left open. The rest I voted for MY blogging buddies. I was thrilled to see your names on the list as well! I even discovered some of the bloggers I like were on group blogs! I'm living under a rock, because I didn't know.

After I voted, I thought about it all day. I obviously had nothing better to do. Well, we were studying Titanic, and that subject is really kind of depressing to me, so this was a nice diversion.

I came to the conclusion that yes, I would share the nomination on the blog. The face of homeschooling is changing. All homeschoolers are not made the same. Some of us are very unique and don't fit the mold, and our voices need to be heard. We do count. So that's why I decided to mention it.
So let your voices be heard. Go vote for your favorite homeschool blogs.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Titanic Stuff

April 15 marks the 95th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. Thomas loves all things Titanic, so we are doing a unit study on the Titanic this week.

I was up late last night due to insomnia (as usual) and decided to poke around Titanic websites. Bob was up late because he injured his leg and he was icing it. (Yeah, right, any excuse to play Runescape, eh?)

I found a statistic that just blew me away. The price of a 1st class parlor suite on the Titanic was $4,350. The price of a 1st class berth was $150. A second-class ticket was about $60 and a third-class ticket, or steerage, was $35-40.

So I'm reading statistics to Bob who isn't remotely interested, but because our computers are in the same room, he was forced to listen to me. I wondered out loud what that $4,000 ticket in 1912 would cost today. Bob told me to google and find my answer. (I know he was thinking, "Just leave me alone.") So I did.

I found a great website that I can plug in my date and dollar amount to find out what it's worth today -- well, 2006. I about fell out of my chair with the results.

1st Class Titanic Parlor Suite 1912 - $4,350. Today that ticket would cost: $93,293.62.

Holy cow, holy cow, holy cow. I just cannot fathom having that much money!

1st Class Titanic Berth 1912 - $150 today would be $3217.02. Okay, that is definitely more doable, but honestly, out of my price range. lol

2nd Class Titanic Ticket 1912 - $60 today would cost $1286.81.

3rd Class Titanic Ticket 1912 - $35 today would cost $750.64.

Guess who would be buying the steerage ticket? No wonder I have a fear of large bodies of water.

After Bob and I discussed this, I was reminded of a strange Amtrak experience I once had. Thomas and I rode Amtrak to Denver to visit my dad on Easter years ago. Because we were going to be on the train less than 12 hours, I bought coach tickets. Thomas was four at the time. It was his first-ever train trip.

We boarded that train around eight in the evening, and Thomas stayed awake all night long. He has always been a train buff, and that first train ride was a fantastic experience. He was wired. Thomas finally fell asleep at 4 am. He woke me up at 6 am with "Let's eat in the dining car, mom." We went downstairs to the restrooms, washed our faces, brushed our hair and teeth, did some other things, and then went to the dining car for breakfast.

When you ride Amtrak and eat in the dining car, you must share a table with other parties. The porter seats you -- you have no choice. So we were the first in there and were seated at a table. Five minutes later, a couple joined us. They were well dressed. In fact, I'll even say their attire was completely inappropriate for train travel. He was in an expensive suit and she was wearing a beautiful dress with high heels. High heels -- on a train. Walking can be difficult on a train at times, one jerk and you lose your balance. Not too smart to wear high heels.

They sit down and we make our introductions. Thomas orders biscuits and gravy, surprise, surprise. I sip my coffee and secretly wish I were home alone in my quiet kitchen because I am so not a morning person. The woman really liked to talk, which was nice because I only had to smile and nod occasionally. He was a sheriff in New Jersey. I learned their whole life history. (And I still remember it.)

Then she asked me a question. "What was your room like?" Before I could answer, she was complaining that the shower was over the toilet in her room. I laughed inside at that because I've showered over a toilet in a train a few times in my life. She finally asked me again about my room. I smiled and said we were traveling coach this trip. She gave me a look that I will never forget. It was as if I suddenly stunk to high heaven. And then THE question.

"How are your accommodations in coach?"

Now, this is one of those instances where you just cannot get the gist of a question in print. She asked me in that same snooty way that the first-class passengers talked down to poor Jack Dawson in the Titanic movie. Very pointed, each syllable spoken slowly as if the words inflicted pain or disgust as she spoke them. It was all I could do to keep from busting out laughing. Thomas was oblivious, staring out the window. I told her they were wonderful, thank you.

That is one of the very few times I have experienced being looked down upon due to class. Maybe the only time. I have to say, I think it was one of the most hilarious things I've ever experienced. When we arrived in Denver, I got another laugh out of "my couple." They rode the luggage cart instead of walking along the platform to get into the depot. They looked SO silly.

The funniest thing about that whole experience, and how it is actually related to the topic of Titanic, is what Thomas said after the fact. Thomas has always appeared like he wasn't paying attention, doing his own thing, and in his own world. He's usually listening, though. He heard every single word that woman spoke. And this was his comment: Mom, that woman reminded me of Rose's mom in Titanic.


$93,000 -- I can think of better things to do with $93,000. I think the grass is actually greener on my side.

I must admit, though, that the next time we rode Amtrak to dad's house, we rode first class in what is called a roomette. That was a, well, substandard version of first-class accommodations on Amtrak. No bathroom, but we had beds. In my mind, I was prepared to be meet that woman again, I was ready to say that our room was wonderful. Thankfully, we dined with a woman who was pleasant and down to earth and didn't give a hoot where our accommodations were on the train. And that's the way it should be.