Category Archives: Aaron

Eight Things I’m Looking Forward to (Dreading) in August

Linking up with Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop this Thursday because by then I’ll be an empty-nester! Even the dogs are stressed.

— 1 —

My baby boy moves into his Freshman dorm this week. I’ve spent the past year building a Pinterest board to make his transition to college perfect. Bluebirds should fly through his window to light on his arms and bunnies should gather at his feet as he recites the Periodic Table.  He’s not on Pinterest, and is not interested in 95% of my college-related suggestions. In fact, he taunts me, as if since he’s eighteen and a high-school graduate he can do anything he wants to.

— 2 —

SO not gonna happen. We’d hoped to get a suite-style room (two guys to a room, four guys share/CLEAN the bathroom in between. Instead, he’s got a large communal bathroom. That’s what I had as a Freshman too. I can’t imagine the filth four male Freshman could inflict on one bathroom.  The cleaning crew probably wears Haz-Mat suits. But he gets AC (thank God). Is it really global warming or are we just wimps? There were only TWO dorms on campus that had AC my Freshman year, and they were at the far end of campus and so tall everyone had to factor in elevator-wait time to get to class.

— 3 —

He has a class schedule, but has yet to show it to me. I love scheduling classes. I carried 18-21 credit hours a semester without ever missing Peak Tanning Hours on at least Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. For four years. One would think this Freshman (who already knows he has to go to Drop/Add because of his AP test scores) would ask his mother’s advice. But alas, no. With his work study job I’ll just have to ask when he’s available for dinner.

— 4 —

Ah, dinner. As in dates. I sincerely hope those are forthcoming. He’s been much more a “hang out with friends” sort of person during high school, which is great. His friends are a very diverse group, and there have been many overnight events at my house. My dogs are EXCELLENT chaperones if Michael and I are asleep. If there is so much as a lingering hug in this house a large snout separates them. Seriously.

— 5 —

My house is a wreck and I can’t find anything. . . except John’s dorm stuff. I’ve made lists, checked sales, ordered online, ordered and picked up in-store, and even ordered from overseas when I couldn’t find just the right thing. John says he knows what he’s taking, but in less than 72 hours he’ll be moved in. How ready can he really be?

— 6 —

I was a little hurt when he said he didn’t want me to put anything away, or even make his bed for him. Aaron, his older brother, let me do all that. But John’s more like me. This is his first place (no roommate yet) and he wants to make it completely his own. I DO understand that. So perhaps I’ll make some breakfast muffins and meet his dorm neighbors and their families.

— 7 —

He can’t have “air-breathing pets”, so I was thinking about a Beta fish with one of those plants in the top of the bowl/vase you see at doctors’ offices. I’ve never really done the fish thing, and I’m not great with houseplants. Anyone have experience in this area?

— 8 —

Once he’s moved in I will have to put all the details out of my mind. He’ll be the one getting emails from teachers, he’ll be the one making sure he eats healthy and gets enough sleep. I’m going to write, tidy up the house, and let everyone know how awesome the newest Nerium products are. And yes, I will demand responses to my texts within a reasonable amount of time of I’ll have a seat under a tree near his dorm and read a book.

Back to School is my Crack

7qt_lyceum_v2

— 1 —

The trip to North Carolina was much easier than I thought, but I overestimated the ease of my recovery. It was just delayed. I still ended up flat-out miserable and stuck in bed for about a day and a half. So still no plans to visit Austin 🙁

— 2 —

Counting the days until college move-in day for John. This is the latest in his stack of supplies:

Pretty cool, right? I was planning on just the clear ones, but it’s the only decor he’s seemed excited about, so I’ll let him take it up with his roommate.

— 3 —

There have been way too many out-of-pocket expenses for a student who supposedly had a “full ride” scholarship. And way too many things that John should be taking care of that Michael or I have been doing at the last minute to meet deadlines. Procrastination makes me a nervous wreck, so he’d better pull it together since we won’t be getting email updates like in high school.

— 4 —

Michael started Nerium‘s new Youth Factor superfood and antioxident boost powder. I eat a healthy diet, but Michael’s never met a veggie he liked. Within FORTY-EIGHT HOURS he felt a difference, which is an incredible result for my favorite pessimist. He’ll be on this long-term, because with no signs of excess vitamins or minerals coloring his urine he’s absorbing all of this!

— 5 —

I know I’m way behind the times, but I’m addicted to having Pandora playing while I’m doing mindless activity (sorting email, checking FB, etc). I’ve been on a Stevie Nicks kick lately, and it’s been very calming.

— 6 —

John teases me that “Back to School is my crack” and he’s like 99% right. Especially for college. Here’s John’s first aid kit.

I made a similar one for Aaron his Freshman year and as far as I know it lasted until graduation.

— 7 —

I do understand that part of my love of assembling Back to School supplies is that I’m a #boymom and pretty much as long as nothing is pink, teal, fluffy, sparkly, or has kittens on it they don’t care.

For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain’t The Lyceum!

Save

High School Marching Band – the Ugly

Summer is over and band practice starts today for high schools in our state.  Nine in the morning until nine at night, sectionals on the weekends. My husband loved being part of Marching Band. He was a drummer. I have absolutely no musical ability, and am so thankful both our boys inherited Michael’s percussion skills. Our eldest played all four years of high school and three years of college. Our youngest played three years of high school, and has declined to even try out for college because of his negative experiences in high school.
This post doesn’t reflect any of his experiences while in marching band, or any of mine. It’s simply an email I sent, trying to prepare for my son’s graduation. I’ve copied and pasted the emails in their entirety (except for names), so scroll to the bottom and read up. If you are a new Band Parent know that I think this particular high school band is the exception, not the rule. Band kids are awesome, and many remain life-long friends. They learn the value of hard work and being part of a team, how to prioritize, and the importance of physical and mental well-being.
Sadly, they will also learn that just because someone passed a background check they may scream “YOU ARE LOSERS!” at them on a bus from midnight until three in the morning because the band took second place. They will learn that even if they are the best (insert instrument) player and are expected to be that section’s leader they might have to let someone else play the “lead” part in their section because they or their parents complained about the instrument being too heavy. YOU will learn that unless you are part of a certain “inner group” you will not be allowed to help with anything involving the band. I offered to do do a fund-raiser and was turned down flat. I volunteered to help with supper and was told I hadn’t prepared the grapes properly. I offered my nursing skills and was told that if I couldn’t stay for sixteen hours (I’m disabled) I wasn’t worth it. It can be great, it can be horrific – go into it with an open mind!
A—-,
I’m glad to hear the band has changed their position on that issue. It takes one thing off the long list of worries I have about making J—‘s senior year as pleasant as possible within our limited means.
I am well aware of how band funding works, as I was very active in my eldest son’s high school marching band (B—— High School – class of 2—). In fact, I was amazed at how many graduating seniors never paid a cent throughout their four years, even though their annual dues ($600) were only a fraction of E——‘s.
I’m actually glad you voiced your “rhetorical” question, especially since it’s something you have found frustrating. The short answer is HOPE. My husband and I spoke with Mr. A—– (the band director) privately months before J— tried out for the marching band, making it clear we were navigating unknown waters financially and my attorney could not even estimate how or when a settlement would be reached. Mr. A—– assured us it would all work out, and that he would never turn away a student who truly wanted to be part of the band because of financial issues. Whether or not he was legally obligated did not come up.
Hopefully my situation is never one you will find yourself in, but when the primary breadwinner in a family becomes disabled suddenly and unexpectedly short-term disability lasts an average of six months. Long-term disability lasts a maximum of two years due to federal law. Employers are only required to offer benefits such as health insurance for three months. So when a surgery with an expected recovery period of 6 weeks turned into a permanent disability we quickly found ourselves going through our “cushion” in savings, emptying my retirement plan after 20 years of full-time employment, declaring bankruptcy, and being about a week away from homelessness before we were able to get government assistance. J——– County has an exceptionally long wait for disability hearings. Two years ago I was told I could expect a hearing within 12-18 months. I still do not have a hearing scheduled.
Lest you think that we (or any other parents on your “past due” list) are frittering away money on other things rather than paying the band dues we have incurred you can sleep well knowing we have not taken a vacation (even a long weekend) since 2007. We have not gone out to dinner, a movie, or any event as a family in five years. We have food to eat because of government assistance. The only expenses we incur are those we must to keep a roof over our heads, heat in our house, and running water. We have bought NO Christmas gifts this year because we simply can’t afford them. I have yet to break that news to my children. And when we declared bankruptcy we specifically excluded past due band fees because that was something we found so important that we planned to pay that back immediately upon receipt of my back-due disability benefits. Before fixing the plumbing issue that allows raw sewage to occasionally back up into our basement, before making car repairs to make my husband’s 7-day work week (which he’s done for 5 years) safer. THAT is how important we consider paying those band fees.
I still HOPE that we will be able to pay those fees before graduation. And J— has applied to and been accepted by the college of his choice. No, I can’t pay his tuition. And I sincerely hope that if your children wanted to attend college and you couldn’t afford tuition at one of the least-expensive universities in the state that you would not suggest they “find a cheaper or free alternative” to a college education.
I hope voicing your frustration helped. I’m sure these feelings have made holding the position of treasurer very difficult for you. And no, after all I’ve been through it would take a LOT more than a passive-aggressive email to make me “feel bad”.
Sincerely, A—- B——
—– Original Message —–
From: A—- B—
To: A—- B——
Sent: Friday, December 16, 2016 10:43 AM
Subject: Re: ongoing financial crisis – address after Christmas break

A—-,

I have good news that will ease your mind regarding the band dues. Though we assess each student’s family their equal share of the cost to operate the band in the form of band dues, we no longer ask the school to hold up a student’s ability to walk in graduation. No need to look for another person to wear J—‘s cap and gown from our perspective.
It is our hope that each family will recognize that the costs to operate the band organizations are not free and that participation in those organizations will evoke a sense of moral obligation for financial support from each family participating, equally and fairly. Unfortunately, the school does not fund extracurricular activities at any level so we are fully reliant on fundraising and parent band dues. These organizations do not operate in a for-profit environment, so every penny received will be spent. If the organization takes in more than needed to operate, the band dues are decreased the next year. Conversely, if we do not take in enough (e.g. when families do not contribute their portion) or costs are greater than anticipated, we have to raise band dues the next year. We cannot hold any volunteer or family legally responsible for not paying their band dues, nor can we exclude individuals from participating.
I would like to state a rhetorical question and please do not feel a need to reply (I’m just thinking out loud.) In general, why would someone continue to allow their student to participate in extracurricular activities where participants are asked to pay their portion of the costs to operate that activity, when they know that they can’t pay their portion? I understand things happen that are outside of our control and every person’s situation is different. However, this notion is very frustrating to someone like me because, in essence, I am paying for my student to be in that activity and I am also paying a portion of the costs for folks that are unable or unwilling to pay their portion. If I knew that I couldn’t pay for an activity, I would tell my kids to find another activity that is either cheaper or free. I’m not stating this to try to make anyone feel bad; I’m just voicing my frustration.

 

A—- B—, Treasurer
Treasurer@——-.org
— Band Parents’ Association
PO Box —–
L———, KY 40—
On Thu, Dec 15, 2016 at 6:11 PM, A—- B——

<a—-@————-.com> wrote:

 

J— B—— was part of the Eastern marching band during his freshman, sophomore, and junior years. He was not able to be involved this year, his senior year, because of a need to apply those thirty-six (average) practice and performance hours per week during the Fall semester to academics in order to prepare for college.
We were able to pay almost all of his fees his freshman year because I was still receiving 50% of my regular pay via disability insurance. I am the primary breadwinner in our family, and have been disabled since my third and fourth spinal surgeries in the Spring of 2011. My disability insurance paid 50% for two years (2013), which is all the federal government requires any disability policy to pay. I have not yet been judged “disabled” by the federal government or begun receiving disability payments. The wait time in J——– County is extremely long.
Since then our family’s financial situation has only worsened. We cashed in all our retirement funds for living expenses and sold anything of any value that we owned. We declared bankruptcy. We were so close to foreclosure and homelessness that a date had been set for the public auction of our home before we were able to find government assistance. Even though my husband has been working 6-7 days per week (no vacation since 2007) we are still living at the poverty level. Our adjusted gross income for 2015 was -$6,000. We are dependent on SNAP (food stamps) and J— is on the free lunch program at school, which Ms. W—- can verify for you after Christmas break if you need further confirmation of our financial and family situation.
I know that E—— High School will not allow any graduating senior to “walk” with their class to receive their diploma unless all school fees are paid. Since today I had to make the decision whether to buy my children Christmas gifts or pay the LG&E bill (it’s 19 degrees – I paid for heat) I would appreciate it if you would give consideration to forgiving our debt to the band as an act of charity. Charity for a young man who has spent his entire high school career trying to be of service to others while dealing with extreme stress at home, my suicide attempt, my husband’s insane work schedule, and his only brother moving across the country.
I understand if the Board votes not to forgive the money we owe for J—‘s participation in band – I TRULY understand. But if that is the case I need to prepare J— in advance for not being allowed to attend his high school graduation.
Sincerely, A—- B——
P.S. Mrs. W—-, I have ordered a cap and gown. If John isn’t allowed to walk can I ask you to give it to someone about 5’11” who can make use of it? Thank you in advance!

Save

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...