Tag: holiday

Fighting For The Shore


Today I got to experience the unmitigated joy of filling out a direct deposit form.

It sounds sarcastic, right? Like who on earth enjoys paperwork? Yep, you guessed it, I do. Especially when it means I don’t have to worry about Mr. Brickie in all his, “I think I left my check in the glove compartment” glory.

The interesting thing about being a bricklayer is that he works with different companies. They all know the workers move around and the company he is with now is known for its extensive blacklist of people they refuse to rehire. It’s a feather in Mr. Brickie’s cap for sure that he is working with them again. It’s generally frowned upon once you are with one company to shift to another company unless there is a day with no work and then you’re a free agent all over again or you can wait for your current company to start again.

I feel this gives more job security than a normal one-employer scenario. If anyone is doing work there’s a chance for a bricklayer to be on the job. A lot of things go into that chance but Mr. Brickie has one thing that very few other people do … the ability to network like a madman. He’s really good at it.

His employer for the vast majority of last season didn’t do direct deposit. We had just switched over to Capital One 360 so this posed a bit of a problem.

Online Bank
+ No Direct Deposit
= Mobile Deposits

While I have never been so thankful for technology in my life, it still takes longer for the check to clear than if it was direct deposited. Plus there was the occasional, “Where did I put that check” delay that comes from having a slightly forgetful husband. No matter what, though, I have to say if it wasn’t for mobile deposit I would probably be one of those people rocking my check at the Currency Exhange rather than deal with one of the big banks around here. Capital One might be a huge company but they’re keeping the ING Direct vibe at the online 360 location and the customer service is easy to access and super nice, so….I stay with them.

Today was also wonderful because I was able to open the Google Drive spreadsheet an add 8 more hours of work to the apprentice tracking I have been doing since the first day he began work last year. Meticulous records seemed like a good idea since promotions are based on a combination of hours worked, training sessions attended, and union meetings attended. (Although we have seen promotions occur without the union meeting requirement so I guess that one is more of a suggestion.) As of today I can – with one click – tell you that he has to work 13 more days to get to that next level. (If he works every possible day that will be 7/17 at the very earliest due to weekends and the 4th of July being an official holiday.)

I cannot even tell you how excited I am. Honestly, I don’t think there are words for it.

We are finally back in the game and he’s got work and a company and possible overtime in the future and I’m just tickled pink to be able to save like you wouldn’t believe.

Even though there are things I absolutely have to deal with very soon like the car insurance we pay in full every six months, the insurance bill we may receive in August, saving for the lean times next winter, and saving up for Christmas as soon as possible so I don’t have to use credit cards like I did last year…we are going to be in a stronger position by the end of this year than we were last year. If we can continue this trend every year it will be a very, very nice life.

We are the tortoise, for sure.


How To Make Christmas Break Work (kid edition)

Tomorrow is going to be the last day of school for the kids until 2011.

I’ve amused myself for the last week by telling people I’m so over things and won’t even bother doing them until next year. From eating sushi to saying certain phrases I’ll just be all, “I’m over it. I’m taking the rest of the year off.” It’s not really laugh-out-loud funny, but it amuses me and I’ve heard a couple of my friends start saying it so it’s catchy.

Wow. I’m dreading two weeks with my kids out of school so much I’m avoiding talking about it on my own blog. Be that as it may I have been compiling a list of things I can do with my kids to keep them (and me) amused during holiday break.

  1. Art. From painting to crayons to markers to pencils to chalk, I’m going to have time set aside every day for art. A roll of butcher or easel paper is perfect to sprawl on the kitchen table and tape underneath, leaving my table free to be drawn on, without actually getting, you know, drawn on.
  2. Crafts. This one is tougher for me because it requires a lot more supervision than your standard coloring book and crayons. I’ve found that Elmer’s Glue will come off of anything and glitter will come out of nothing. So glue is “in” when it comes to craft supplies in my house and glitter is definitely an “out” – I have better things to do than find glitter in my youngest daughter’s junk when I change her diaper after the older two have had a full day of crafting. (True story, and the one that got glitter banned from my house.) But it’s pretty easy to take some cardboard and make a stand-up animal or really big paper doll that you can make clothing for from construction paper.
  3. Dance Time. I don’t know if other parents do this, but we occasionally set aside a half-hour to an hour to put on kid radio on the television and let the girls dance. We clear away the coffee table and push furniture to the outsides of the room to give them space. We’ve also done this with CDs when we didn’t have a television provider that had channels of music.
  4. Food Time. This is another high-supervision activity to avoid ants or other things-that-like-floor-food out of your home. But letting kids make their own lunch can be a time-consuming and fun activity. Start with crackers or bread. We use Brownberry 100% Whole Grain (look for the wholegrains.org label!) and cut it into pieces. Then the kids use kid-sized spoons to spread peanut butter or nutella or jelly or whatever from these little tasting bowls – also known as pinch bowls – we have. It keeps the peanut butter out of the jelly and also helps with portion control. Not portion control so they don’t get fat, but portion control because my kids will put eight pounds of jelly on something and then not be able to eat it because it’s too much sugary-goodness for them to handle. We also had them make cookies yesterday. A spritz cookie recipe is so easy to throw together and let the kids stir (or turn on the KitchenAid) that it’s crazy not to try it at least once a year.
  5. Cleaning. With star stickers or movies or a million other rewards, we find that cleaning isn’t something that’s too difficult to get our kids to do. Your mileage may vary. My kids get bummed out when they have to clean their own bedroom and playroom, but ask them to clean something in the living room, kitchen or the bathroom and they feel like big girls and love to help. So we save the bedroom and playroom for the “before bed tire you out with your whining and your boredom and when you’re done bed will look like party central” chores and save other-parts-of-the-house cleaning for during the day when we can make it fun for them.
  6. Outside. I hate the cold and am not the mom that is going to be all, “Hey kids, want to go sledding?” But I’ll happily spend an hour watching my kids play with snow in the front yard. My husband is out there with them, of course, but if I had a place to watch them in the backyard I’d have no problem letting them go out into my fenced backyard unattended to play in the snow. Just make sure to have your kids come inside every ten to fifteen minutes to check them for blue lips and chattering teeth. Have cocoa on hand for the chilly after-party!
  7. Write A Book. If your kids are just scribbling and have given up on coloring and just seem…bored…you can have them write a book. Little ones can write a picture book and you can write in captions. Bigger kids can illustrate and write their own book. A couple bucks, a three hole punch, and some yarn or ribbon can see your book laminated and bound, ready to be put away and remembered fondly when your kids are 30.
  8. Decorating. One of the things I want to do when none of my kids are destructive toddlers (only two more years to go!!) is give the girls a special “kid tree” they can decorate with all the homemade ornaments they bring home from school and they can make at home with yarn and construction paper and maybe a piece of cardboard to keep the construction paper hanging right. My tree is a work of art that I adore, and I am not going to sacrifice it to school ornaments and have it looking like nick-nack night at the preschool. I have no problem if you love your garage-sale looking tree and I get that it makes your heart swell – that’s fine – I’m just not that person. I am a director and I have a vision…for my tree. LOL
  9. Exercise. I don’t know about your kids, but mine will do some Leslie Sansone Walk Away the Pounds with me in a heartbeat. They’ll try to do more difficult exercises like Core Rhythms but they lose interest fast because they can’t keep up. If your kids are older set it up as a contest to see who can go longer. Who cares if you lose? You wore your kids out, and that’s always a bonus!
  10. Video or Board Games. As long as they’re part of a healthy school-vacation diet of activity, there is nothing wrong with adding in video game or board game love. It’s a tool in the toolbox and anyone who thinks they’re inherently evil probably misread the bible and thinks money is the root of all evil, too.  

I manage to interact with my kids while going to school, working from home, and sporadic blogging. I have all the faith in the world that you, too, can take a few of these suggestions and incorporate them into the next two weeks of long, long days.

p.s. If you’re a parent that cannot wait to spend two full weeks with your kids, I think you are a rock star.
p.p.s. Yeah, I totally used affiliate links for most of the products. I heart Amazon.