Patrick's Rants


Lessons in Economics

Filed under: It's a dad thing,Money — site admin @ 7:25 am

The other night my wife received a text message from Verizon that told her that one of our phones had gone over its allotted minutes for the month. If I recall it was the day before Thanksgiving. Of course it was my daughter’s phone (the phone we allow her to use, not that she purchased it). My first reaction was to snatch the phone away from her, which I did. Of course I over reacted and the correct thing to do is to lock the phone down during the peak hours – which one can do with Verizon. So the phone is locked down until the first day of the next billing cycle December 7.

A few weeks ago, S asked if I would help her with her Economics class coming up next semester and I told her I would. And now she has learned the first lesson, scarcity of resources.


Illiterate, Ignorant, Inconsiderate, or Just Plain Stupid?

Filed under: It's a dad thing — site admin @ 8:56 pm

At the local mall there is a play area that is designed for kids shorter than somewhere around 3 feet which makes them something like four and under. It’s designed to be a toddler play area and there is a sign showing height requirements. Most of the time there are kids running around from 6 months to about four years or so.

But there are always a few who don’t really belong. They run over the top of the little kids with no regard for what they are doing or whose binky they step on. And usually their parents are hanging out watching them. I almost feel sorry for them. Their parents are teaching them that the rules don’t matter, to be inconsiderate as long as they themselves are having fun. They are teaching them to not get along in society and that ignorance – the worst possible meaning of the word – is bliss.

So is it illiteracy, ignorance, inconsideration, or just plain stupidity that you want me to think when you let your oversized child run roughshod over the toddlers in the toddler play area?


Dads Don’t Know How to Match

Filed under: It's a dad thing — site admin @ 6:40 pm

It has been confirmed through completely independent and unrelated “experiments”. Dads somehow can’t get their daughters to match… or comb their hair… but our daughters love us anyway 🙂


Marker Poisoning

Filed under: It's a dad thing,It's funny — site admin @ 7:50 pm

My 14 year old daughter has decided to start writing on herself with magic marker – it’s a kid thing. Supposedly it was supposed to be an emoticon type “grinning pirate”. It looked more like she wrote “X F C” so I asked her if Colonol Sanders was tagging on her. After a little discussion I told her that she should wash it off so she didn’t get uromysotisis – which is a very serious condition. And that’s all I told her, that it’s a very serious condition. She scrubbed at the arm for a while and showed me the almost clean spot… thank’s Jerry, I owe ya one!


Keep Your Babies Outside

Filed under: It's a dad thing — site admin @ 7:49 am

My daughter walks into the classroom at day care after having just been on the playground. She’s holding her hand over her pocket, gently cupping it. She tells her teacher that he has her babies in there. Thinking that there might be one of those little dolls that these kids have these days the teacher asks to have a look. My daughter pulls her hand back to reveal the wiggle of red worms to her teacher – who promptly asks her to leave those babies outside.


But, It’s Not Fair

Filed under: It's a dad thing — site admin @ 9:18 am

It’s been one of those weeks in our house. On Wednesday my step-daughter went to the pool with her cousin. Around 5:40 or so my brother called to see if the kids were still here. Hmm… my nephew was, but not my niece or step-daughter. He said they called him around 4:00 when the pool closes to say they were looking for their bag with house keys, etc. in it, but hadn’t heard from them since. The girls are 10 and 11. Now, normally I hate that the 10 year old’s dad gave her and her 9 year old brother a cell phone, but it does come in handy from time to time. This time, it was sitting on the counter. No help.

Dinner was cooking on the stove as I called my wife. She hadn’t heard from them either since before they went to the pool. My brother hopped into his car to look for them. My wife drove around the neighborhood on her way home. I jumped on my bicycle since the girls were on their bikes and I could ride down the alleys like they could. We spent around an hour looking for the kids. I finally figured out how to use my stupid phone for voice commands with all the calling back and forth between the three of us.


Do you roll from the bottom or squeeze the middle?

Filed under: It's a dad thing,It's funny — site admin @ 5:25 am

My wife and youngest daughter were walking through Walmart getting the essentials that we need regularly: soap, shampoo, etc. When my daughter asked my wife what else we needed my wife told her toothpaste. My daughter’s response was, “don’t get one of the squeezed up ones.”


Helicopter Parents

Filed under: It's a dad thing — site admin @ 5:23 am

Last night on Boston Legal a character played by Michael J. Fox used the term “helicopter parents” to describe some parents on the show. This was the second time I had heard the term. The first time I heard the term it was at my daughter’s open house at school. The teacher said they didn’t want “helicopter parents” at the school. I mistakenly thought they meant parents who, like helicopters swoop in, drop off the kids and leave.

Noooo. They meant parents who “hover”.

As a matter of fact the school doesn’t want parents involved at all. I know, I tried to get an “appointment” with her teachers. An appointment! I’m used to marching right into the school and sitting down with the principal, talking to the teachers in the hallway and even visiting the classroom from time to time. And to be told that the teachers are too “busy” to meet with me during lunch time or even between classes is something I’m not used to.

The other things that the teachers did that I’m not used to is giving weird extra credit. Her English teacher gave extra credit for bringing in boxes that they use to store the 3 ring binders that all the kids have. Her Science teacher gave extra credit for attending any school sponsored event including football games, he also gave extra credit for any event so long as the students participated, ie. my daughter’s weekend soccer games counted, so long as she played. The only thing that he required is that they write about the event. I can see English class giving credit for writing. I could see PE giving credit for sports events, I could even stretch that to watching said events. I could see Social Studies giving credit if they were to write about the social interactions of others… as a kind of study. I could even – perhaps especially – see some kind of Journalism class. But Science?

I went to a football game at NAU. It was fun. I saw my friends there. We ate popcorn and looked at the players.

Extra Credit!

I even went to talk to her counselor at the school. You see my daughter has had a bit of a rough year personally speaking, and I wanted her counselor to be aware of the issues. I was told by the counselor after a weekly grade check that maybe we should let my daughter slide this year and get her back on track the following year. This is six weeks into the school year. Let’s just give up, tell her we’re sorry life is so rough and let her just fail. Maybe next year will be better. Yeah… and as Garth would say, “…and monkeys might fly out my butt!” I’m just not one of those people who says it’s OK to give up just because life has been a little rough. Besides we are all defined by everything in our lives and to allow someone to be defined by a very small portion of their life – when it can be worked through – isn’t fair to that person (something I told my little brother more than once – but that’s another story).

It was my daughter’s choice to go to Mount Elden Middle School, despite my reservations on a number of levels. I told her that she could keep going to the school, if she maintained certain grades. I told her this before school ever started.

We had looked a program that was at Flagstaff Middle School called TELC – Technology Enhanced Learning Center (everyone calls it NASA due to major funding by NASA). I was very impressed with the program. They want to teach children how to learn. And they do so by placing real world expectations on the children. Sometimes that means turning in an assignment late, sometimes it means redoing it and sometimes it means staying after to work on assignments. The teachers are available by phone until around 9pm, but they don’t take lame excuses about the kids not understanding the work – if the child understands the material in class they are nudged back to that knowledge and get right back to work – I know my kids (all of them) can really drag out an, “I don’t understand”. The teachers are extremely supportive of parents. The school in general seems a more parent friendly place. I am able to stop in whenever I like and I have the numbers to her primary – or “core” teachers. I can even call straight to the “pod” or the central phone for the classroom area. Her teachers even seek me out to talk to me about how she’s doing, sometimes two to three times per week.

I have talked to other parents about MEMS, and the responses are similar. Parents whose choice would be different if they could do it over. Parents who have moved their kids – just like I did – because they weren’t happy with their treatment there. And one – he happens to be a County Detective – who tells me that he just walks right in and talks to the teachers. Who’s going to stop a detective?

Any teacher that uses the phrase “helicopter parents” should take a better look in the mirror. It’s not just the parents who have “issues”. After all, unless they are crazy, there’s probably a reason that they are so interested in what their kids do.


That’s what I like to hear

Filed under: General,It's a dad thing — site admin @ 6:48 pm

Recently we celebrated Matt Lauer’s birthday at Olive Garden. There was an elderly couple sitting at the next table, finishing their meal.
When they were done and got up to leave the stopped by our table, told us how well behaved our kids were and they thought we were doing a good job raising them.
Kids will surprise you sometimes. 🙂


How do you get your kids out of the shower fast?

Filed under: General,It's a dad thing — site admin @ 6:35 pm

My kids take long showers. They would take even longer showers if I hadn’t taken steps to curb their shower abuse.

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