Friday, February 20, 2009

Turning Coins Into Millions

One day this week I grabbed a small handful of cash that was in the area under my dashboard in the car. There was a little over $1. I ended up buying a Mega-Millions lottery ticket with the numbers 7-21-32-50-52. I thought it would be really cool to win on a ticket bought with change!

The drawing was tonight and the winning numbers are 21-28-41-45-55. There's no prize for matching one number.

I guess I'll go back to rolling pennies and taking them to the bank. That's always a sure winner.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


If you follow my running blog, I don't know why since I haven't run in months. But you would be aware that 3 weeks ago while playing basketball, I hurt my arm which ended up being broken. Surprisingly though, the doctor who saw me decided not to give me a cast.

I did have to keep my arm in a sling and refrain from driving or typing with that arm. I also was limited in that I was not to lift more than 1 lb. I could, however, take the sling off to shower.

Well, my follow up appointment was yesterday and I am now free from the sling. I can wear my coat properly for the first time in 3 weeks! My (left) arm doesn't quite straighten out all the way, but it is pretty close. I also am allowed to pick up "whatever I'm comfortable lifting".

My follow up is in 3 more weeks.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Elyria Parks & Recreation Shutdown

Earlier this week, I responded to an ad in the newspaper seeking a soccer instructor for ages 4-7 for Elyria's late winter soccer program. As a coach with 7 years experience and my NSCAA State & Advanced Regional diplomas, I got an application and sent it in.

Before I even had a chance to follow up, I read this article covering Thursday night's city council meeting, which stated that "every part-time Parks staff member would be laid off — a total of 250 employees — for a total savings of about $500,000."

I realized that this probably meant the instructors, so I called the department and my fears were confirmed. The program was going to be cancelled, and the entire department was pretty much being shut down.

This is very discouraging, as my kids have been involved in many different sports through the parks and recreation department over the years, including basketball, volleyball, swimming, and tee-ball.

I asked my contact at the department why this was happening, because it seems to me that if the soccer program had 30 kids paying $30 each, the $900 collected would more than pay for the instructor and the utility bills for the recreation center. He replied that it had to do with "union rules."

Sure enough, there was another article in today's paper, describing that the city could not cut union jobs or union pay, unless all part-timers were let go first: "The union contracts require part-timers to be cut first, which means the Parks and Recreation Department, which relies most heavily on its part-time staff, would be unable to open a single recreation center or operate any of its hugely popular sports programs. "

The most frustrating thing, again, is that many of these parks and recreation department programs would seem to pay for themselves. But by not hiring any skilled part-time instructors or referees to help run the programs, they cannot occur.

Can the union workers run the same programs with the same success? Possibly, but I'm guessing it won't happen because they don't have the specific knowledge or skills to run the sports programs.

It seems like the union jobs are being protected, at the cost of shutting down the parks and recreatioin department, which provides very important positive activities for the children of our community.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Linkedin & Facebook

Here is a great article from the Washington Post on the value of social networking sites.

Sunday Sledding

Sunday after church I took a vanload of kids (including babysittee Delaney) to the Oberlin Reservoir for sledding. I had never been there but another family had suggested it and I drove past it on accident on Saturday.

I think it is my new favorite sledding location. It's less than a 15 minute drive, and the hill is big enough to be fun but not so big that it takes too long to hike back up. And the hill is wide (the entire length of the bank of the reservoir) so there are plenty of good tracks to sled down.

Someone had left a big hunk of cardboard, and Rachel was the first to try what I called an "old fashioned sled." She enjoyed it but said it was too bumpy. George really enjoyed it and called it his "paper sled."

As a bonus, we saw some people ice-fishing out on the reservoir itself.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

To Your Good Health

The Family of 9 has managed to stay remarkably healthy this winter. Surprising considering the huge germ pool in our house (children in our home attend 7 separate schools, plus church activities with total different groups of kids.) In my perusal of the web I found an article citing the top 10 places germs hideout. I pass this info on in the interest of health.

10. Cutting Boards
9. Vacuums
8. Gear shifter
7. Elevator buttons
6. Yoga mats
5. Escalator hand rails
4. Water fountains
3. Keyboards
2. ATMs
1. Waiting rooms

One thing they don't mention is video game controllers. These things are G-R-O-S-S. I saw a boy who will remain nameless, reach in his pants and scratch and then go back to playing the game. YUCK.

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Value of a Good Duffel Bag

I read a book a while back called Life in the Blender. One of the tips the author talks about is the issue of the kids "stuff" going back and forth. Her family had a large duffel bag they kept by the front door. It was for the things that needed to go back to the other house, or for the things the children want with them at each house.

I tried this for a few weeks with a bin that things could be tossed into. It had a lid and I kept it on the porch. This way it was the last thing the kids saw before they left and they could scoop out their possessions and be on their way. This seemed helpful but died a quick death when bio mom claimed "spiders are on the rise and I don't want spiders on their stuff."

My daughter has a friend who has to move back and forth each week. One week at mom's then one week at dad's. I asked her how she managed her things. Her solution is a super big suitcase. She keeps everything in there. All her clothes, toiletries, and personal items. She claims this is working great but I think it's sad she has to live out of a suitcase.

So, stepson got a duffel for a Christmas present and I noticed he had it packed to go back to mom's house. I'm not sure what was in it but I think it's great that he's finding a solution that works for him.