Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Who Knows What's Best for a Child

I have been embroiled in a battle over a child's schooling.  And it is not even my own kid.

Not quite sure how I got into this position, but I can confidently say, the child had nothing to do with it.  I think it started when Hubby said to me, as I was reading my Thermostat post to him,  "you have too much time on your hands."

My neighbor, who has no teenagers,  is hosting a foreign exchange student.  I call him the Italian Rastafarian.  Cute as a button.  Since he goes to Grace's, our DD's school, we have given him some rides and generally provided some help where we could.   Another neighbor, who is on the school's Music Board with me, also took an exchange student, the Dutchman.   It turns out that parents of kids in the music program are pretty big in the exchange student world and I know four of the families with kids.  Given how few families of any kids from DD's school I knew a year ago, this is quite the coincidence.

So when my neighbor called with the news that she took in a 2nd exchange student, a boy,  on an emergency basis and that he needed a new home and would I make a few calls to my friends who also have boys and see if there might be any interest, I said sure.   She also added, he goes to a not so great school and it would be wonderful to get him transferred into our neighborhood school.

So I began.  First I learned his exchange agency had placed him originally in a home that turned out to have "problems".  Not the kid's fault.    Should the agency have rooted this out before even making the placement?    I think so.    Then I learned that I didn't know enough families with boys.   I got a few responses.  One even passed the note on to someone else with experience with taking an exchange student, but my vast network did not materialize anyone.

Now I was invested.  After consulting with Hubby and DD, I offered my home, with the idea that I would be able to switch him to the neighborhood school.   That was my condition.  Hubby says I sounded like I was asking for a puppy.    "Can I have him pleeeeeze?" The agency made a quick call to the school district, asking if a transfer was possible, and was told yes.

So the Exchange Student with No Home, was brought into the loop, told about my wonderful family but also told he would have be switching schools.  He smiled.  He'd think about it.   Could he meet us?  What is the school like?  He would miss playing soccer for his team and leaving his woodworking class.   He's not sure.   So we decided that he would meet us and I would take him to see the school.  I begin making calls to the school's Soccer Coach and Athletic Director.

Oooops.  Turns out, the Exchange powers that be had not been consulted by the mere lowly staff member making the calls locally.  Sorry, Charlie.  You cannot move the child to a new school.  Has to stay there.  I make a few investigative calls and learn it is best not to move Exchange Student with No Home until the end of the quarter anyway.    How about we agree to that?  He can finish up Soccer and Woodworking, get his credits and then make a move?   Nope.

I stood firm.  If you want my home, you've got to give us the option to move him.  I'm willing to let the Exchange Student with No Home, a voice in the final decision, but at least give us the option.   Nope.

So now what do we do?  Tell the ESwNH, "Oops, never mind.  We don't want you anymore."  I woke up early this morning, and thought, I can't do that.   So I was apparently standing firmly on jello.  I wrote a note this morning saying, I give.   Is it right for the kid?  I don't know, but at least now he only has to decide do I want to live with you or not.  I'll try not to take it too personally if he doesn't.

I hope he's been house trained.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Thermostat Hanky Panky

Attention Readers!  I have just learned that my home does not have five thermostats.  It has seven.    The sixth thermostat was discovered in the 3rd floor bathroom.  It operates the radiator that hangs on the wall and holds towels.  I missed this one because Hubby generally keeps this one off.  The main 3rd floor thermostat tends to keep the bathroom warm enough.     I occasionally turn it up because I like a warm towel.  Since he seldom hangs his towels up, he wouldn't know what he is missing.

The seventh thermostat is in the kitchen, tucked away in a corner.  It operates the radiators in the kitchen which were put in new when we remodeled.    At least that's the official story.

I'm thinking a little thermostat hanky panky may have been going on between those two heat meters in the back room.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Thank Goodness for History Books

Time magazine ran a feature on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorists attacks.    Grace, my Darling Daughter, noted it sitting on the kitchen table and commented something along the lines of "Mom, there are kids that don't have any memory of this day.  They weren't even born yet.  That seems so strange."  My response, "Yes.  It's like Pearl Harbor to my generation."  

She's becoming cognizant that there are generations following us who will know nothing of what we experienced growing up.

The other day we were talking about movies.  I mentioned to her that she should go see The Help (and/or read the book), which I can attest was a very fine book/movie.   The conversation led to her observing that she forgot I was alive and kicking during the civil rights era.   This led to me saying, "Yes, I am old."  

But it also gave me a chance to talk a little about that time, to tell her about some of the things I was involved in with regard to civil rights.  I was still pretty young during the height of the riots, but could talk about my adventures working behind the scene at an NAACP telethon or posing as an interested home buyer to determine if discrimination was going on,  about busing.    Had I thought I could sustain her attention longer, I would have also sung, "I Am Woman, Watch Me Roar."   But I moved on and drew the comparison to what she sees/hears about efforts on behalf of GLBT.  She totally gets that.

I'm left thinking that history books are a good thing because I could just try and fill my DD's head with all kinds of info about things she never experienced but there just isn't going to be room.  The world is busy filling her head with tomorrow's history.  

Sadly, much of it sounds the same.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Boomer Enters Thermostat Battle

Hubby just left yesterday on his annual trip to the Boundary Waters.  If you have been a long time follower of my blog, you know that these trips are generally preceded by careful lawn watering instructions.  This year, since he left with predictions of cold weather on the way, I also got instructions on how to operate the thermostats to generate heat.  

You are probably wondering how a highly educated boomer such as myself needs such remedial lessons. Well, it is not that I am slow.  It is because Hubby has set up a system of heating/cooling controls that make no sense to the normal  homo sapien.  By the way, did you know that was Latin for "wise man or knowing man"?  Just an interesting tidbit I picked up from a google wander.  Wonder what Latin for "wise  or knowing woman would be?  I digress....

We have five different thermostats in our house.  Two are even in the same room.  All of them work.  All of them do something.  It is always confusing to me, however,  what something each of them do.  I grew up in a house with one thermostat.  When I was young we didn't have air conditioning so that thermostat was all about turning on the furnace.  It seems to me that you should need only one thermostat.  Turn it to the temperature you want and magic takes care of the rest.  Apparently not.

Here is what I have learned.

One thermostat should be voted off the wall.
Three thermostats are on the ground level.  They are all heat providers.  Two  are in the back room and operate a) in-floor heat and b) baseboard heaters.  Despite the presence of these two powerful devices, the room is still cold whenever it reaches below zero.

How to overcome a hold?
The third is in the dining room.  It makes heat appear on the rest of the first floor and 2nd floor.  It is one of those programmable thingies that is never programmed to a heat level I consider comfortable.  Hence I just keep hitting the "warmer" button hoping that it over-rules the programmed settings.
Apparently we like it warmer upstairs.

The third level also has a thermostat because....well, I don't know why.  It just does.   I generally leave it alone, because at my age I am seldom  cold at night.

The critical AC OFF button.
Finally, there's the all-powerful 2nd floor thermostat.  It is the one and only thermostat to operate the air-conditioning.  I learned this when I tried in vain to cool the house down using one of the other four thermostats.  Here's the key lesson I was given.   If I want to turn on the heat, I must first turn off the air conditioning.  Otherwise we will have the battle of the thermostats.

A house with "hot flashes".  Seems appropriate.