When Appliances Hang Me Out to Dry

And now it’s the dryer!

Today it was the Lowe’s truck backing in with the new dryer. Before that it was the new water softener. Then it was the furnace (cringe). And in successive order: garage door motor, shingles for the roof, newer to us car, then another new to us car, refrigerator (shudder, shudder), computer, cell phone…  And all this is in the last year alone!

Okay, at some level this has to stop, right?  When our dryer started it’s slow, agonizing, screeching pain of death, it didn’t even phase me anymore. I think after having to get the entire roof replaced after our incredible Indiana storm where the world looked like there had been a blizzard of ice with drifts and everything, I became just plain traumatized and emotiona-less.

I will save you all the gory details of the poor, dying dryer. But I couldn’t even feel any sympathy. It gave it’s all working without complaint (mostly) for it’s three to five daily loads. My husband and I went to Lowe’s and as it was pre-pre-black Friday, they were out of many dryers. So I told the kind man that was straining to see any remorse or panic on my end, that I knew what I wanted. It was simple, really. I wanted a dryer, it had to be in stock, American made, would dry my clothes without screaming at me, and had a no-wrinkle cycle. No, I didn’t want the washing machine (seriously, I should have just showed him our house costs in the last year). I never understood why you have to buy a washer and dryer at the same time. All the poor man could get out before my husband calmed him down was that if you want a steam option, the accessories only worked with the compatible dryer ( and believe it or not, they are never compatible with other washer/dryer pairs). It took him showing us a few models that would not be available for two weeks (seriously, this guy had issues) before he finally got it. Soon it was paid for, delivered, and the old one unceremoniously dispatched.

I think my family is in appliance trauma, too. It wasn’t too many years ago that we had to replace our vaccuum sweeper with a new one. Our kids literally fell into heaps of grief (cue Job’s ash pile). We had to get a new van and they fell to pieces. When the new dryer came in this morning, my homeschooling daughter didn’t even stir from her class to go and at least look at the new dryer.

Happily, my tale ends with a few thoughts. They are in random and chaotic order, I don’t know why. But here it goes:

  • appliances come and appliances go
  • never name your appliance (sending “Fred” to the great junkyard in the sky makes it just that much harder)
  • it’s the glass half full or half empty; I get all new appliances, won’t need any of the already replace ones again for a while OR whoa, this is costing a lot of money
  • when people at Lowe’s and general contractors know you by name, it’s time to pray for a financial miracle
  • when you are having a wonderful conversation with your spouse, don’t mention the stove…
  • there is a difference in buying the smaller items (ie. bathroom fans) and getting them installed
  • Pray that your son franchises a Lowe’s
  • get a second job

A Fun New Job and This Time I Get Paid

I earned my bachelor’s of education degree back in 1991 and worked for a couple years before our first child was born. I taught and I was paid. That is a crazy weird concept to me now after spending the last 23 years birthing, raising and educating our four amazing children for absolutely no money; and certainly that is how it should be.

Many of you know that I have one child left in my homeschool, and she really doesn’t need me much for her classes. I work with her for a couple of hours a day and greatly enjoy her education and her well thought through ideas on many topics.

Homeschooling parents make huge monetary and physical sacrifices to educate their children. The moms are not only the homemaker and teacher, but also the dollar stretcher. It is amazing how hard the moms work to do a lot for very little. They are also on the go 24/7; with a few hours of unconsciousness here and there.

This has definitely been where our household has been. I have looked for at home work that didn’t involve trying to sell products to my already cash strapped homeschooling friends. Somehow nothing ever seemed to work.

In the last three weeks God completely dropped an amazing job in my lap. I now teach young children in China (ages five to ten) English as a second language. It is through VIPKID who has cutting edge educational technology that allows us to teach through the VIPKID website. So very early this morning I was able to meet students in China right before their bedtime and make learning English fun and exciting. Best of all, I LOVE it. (Oh, and I get paid!). If you have a 4 year college degree and have spent at least one year teaching children and are interested in making some money, just let me know.

This morning I met Kevin from Shanghai and had fun conversations about China, America, meadows, lions and badminton. He also taught our pomeranian, Ivanna, how to say “hello” in Chinese. It turns out she is a quick study. I hope Kevin comes back so we can discuss what the stars on his flag represent…

I know that my blog, “God is Good”, covers many different topics, so now I am adding one more. Life is like that you know. One minute you are teaching algebra to your 14 year old, then teaching “savannah” to a ten year old in Shanghai, then writing poetry about abuse and life, throwing dishes into the dishwasher quickly, and then running to the post office to drop off Amazon book rentals for your college child who just realized today is the last day to return the book and they will be at school and work all day…  And in the midst of all of this wonderful chaos, I know that God is good through it all.

 

 

A Tactical Homeschooling Error

Now that I have time to look back and evaluate my homeschooling strategy a little, I see a big mistake in my strategy: my kids are using what they learned against me!

My very godly goal was to equip them in all areas (academics, running a house and a budget, clearance shopping, etc.) so that when they graduate from my homeschool, they will be ready to walk into anything God has for them. I went into this whole-heatedly.

Most of my strategies were good ideas, some not so good, and some were downright failures. Here are some of my good ideas :

  • academic strength
  • learning proper socialization
  • creative classes to reflect each child’s interests
  • problem solving skills
  • hard work ethic
  • strong civics understanding
  • strong self identity
  • a heart after God

Okay, I feel a bit better after coming up with that list. Now my “not so good” list:

  • breeding animals in the home (pomeranians started sex-ed at a way to young age for my comfort), (butterflies, tiny silks with worms hanging off of them in the hair of my children at the dinner table)
  • homeschooling in the summer (good idea, bad implementation)
  • teaching the kids to drive by myself (okay, with a little soul searching on this one, I am moving it to the “stupidity” column)

Enough with that, I am getting a little depressed. Let’s go to the “failure” list:

  • using Abeka math for three classes in highschool even when I knew it wasn’t working for us (oh the hours I wasted trying to figure out their way of doing things when I could have just taught my kids the way I knew how to do them)
  • logic fallacies course

Those are just enough to give you the idea of where I am on this. So now onto my greatest strategy error:

Teaching my children how to back up an argument and pointing out the logical fallacies in another person’s argument.

And this is why: My kids can argue me in circles until I don’t know what hit me. Seriously. I also prepared my kids to be independent after graduating from school, and they are way too independent. Plus they are now smarter than me and have a higher vocabulary than I have.

It is just embarrassing when I have to  look up the definitions of words my daughter uses in her writing assignments. It’s humbling when the kids can run the house smoothly when you are out of town for an extended time.

If I had to do it all over again, I have to question what I would do differently. So with great reflection, here they are:

  • waited to buy the first butterfly caccoon until later in the summer when it would be warm enough to let them free
  • not buy the tadpole as it turned into a frog that we couldn’t let loose in a pond and had to buy a friend for
  • not give scissors to a toddler to practice cutting paper while I was homeschooling the other kids, resulting in a beautiful new groove on the edge of the table (who knew safety scissors could actually do that!)
  • taught each subject to suit all levels of kids instead of each child having their own and unique curriculum
  • not study logic fallacies and debate (talk about a student soaking in a subject, biiig mistake

 

I have one child left to homeschool, and she is so smart and independent that she really doesn’t need me much. Mostly she needs me to read to her and discuss ideas. So I am basically out of a job. My older kids have a good head on their shoulders and work hard, and have better ideas about life advice than I normally have. Now they are giving me advice! Argh! But it’s too late. I guess I will have to wait and give fair warning to my kids when they start homeschooling. Of course, they probably will already know that…

 

 

 

 

 

I Want to Know

We see God through the glass darkly, so let’s clean the glass…

By Lisa M. Meister

There is so much
I want to know
About my Lord
Each truth to sow

In my life
The vision clear
Open ears
So I can hear

I want it all
I’d prefer it now
I mean, why wait
Just show me how

Windex in hand
Some elbow grease
Undarkens the glass
All truth release

How much better
To follow you
When I know
All that you do

With it clear
Your face to see
What can it harm
Closer to you be

But as wise
As I think I am
I bow to you
Your greater plan

And at each kernel
Of truth I find
I marvel at it
It sparks my mind

I take it in
And try to see
To change my life
According-ly

To be better now
Than before
To celebrate
Of you adore

And to think
Of all I’d miss
If I already knew
All of this

So I come
Before you now
And concede
To your way I’ll bow

Tell me what
You’d have me know
Our relationship
Will strongly grow

Until I stand
Some glorious day
Face to face
With you I’ll stay