Monday, February 24, 2014

Life is Not about Pinterest: Six Weeks Pinterest-Free

Done. Finished. Complete.

I have refrained from pinning, re-pinning, or checking Pinterest for the past six weeks.

I committed to this "Pinterest Fast" when I realized all of the consequences of my Pinterest addiction:

1. Time sucker
2. Not productive
3. Causes disappointment
4. Feeds sarcasm

You can read the original post here.
Image found here
To my surprise, I flipped the page in my calendar today and it said "Pinterest" (which was my indicator that I'm allowed back on). I couldn't believe it! Has it been six weeks already?

To be honest, I went through some withdrawal at the beginning. I missed my dangerous and time-wasting hobby. But now, six weeks later, I don't really miss it at all. I'm not even sure I will return to Pinterest and I know I won't be visiting as often as I was before the fast (anywhere from 10-60 minutes/day)

Just goes to show, we think some things are so important and special and lovely. Until they are gone. Then we can take a step back, look at it objectively, and realize how ridiculous, wasteful, or even harmful it is.

Life just isn't all about the pins.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Common Courtesy, not Tolerance

Photo found here
Some people preach tolerance. Some people preach anti-tolerance. Personally, I'm not a huge advocate of the former. But I'm not promoting hate, either. 

I am, however, an advocate for common courtesy. 

After Twitter user @kristinf416 posted a photo of her child's "Kindergarten News" parent note, blogs and "the news" started getting feisty. You can read the note on her Twitter page, here on The Blaze, or on several other places on the internet. 

Let me begin by pointing out that there is no controversy here as some authors are suggesting. 

First of all, @kristinf416 has a whopping 18 followers (as of today). @kristinf416 is not trying to speak to a huge audience. 

Second, @kristinf416 never used the word tolerance in her post. @kristinf416 is not advocating for or against tolerance.

Finally, the policy on the teacher's note has been a policy for many years (if not decades) in most elementary classrooms across America. If you're going to bring a Valentine card, bring one for everyone. 

The fact that the teacher does not want names on the card is simple: it makes it quicker and easier to pass out the cards. Imagine 16 little bodies running around a room trying to match the right name to the right person's desk. They can hardly read, for goodness sake. Just leave the "To" section on the card blank.

There are a couple things I find pathetic about this letter, and it's not the letter. 

One is this: Haters of tolerance advocates who think the tolerance advocates are taking it too far need to stop proving to the tolerance advocates that non-tolerance-advocates are, indeed, haters. 

The other thing... okay, I'm just gonna say it.Teacher's should not have to send this letter out in the first place. The parent should already know how many children are in their child's classroom and the parent should teach their child that everyone gets a Valentine's Day card, even if we don't like little Johnny. 


It's common courtesy. 

But, but, but... life is hard! You don't always get treated fairly! Sometimes our feelings get hurt! Kids need to learn that!

Yes, it's true, sometimes feelings are hurt.

But it's also true that children have plenty of other opportunities to learn that. 

And they will learn that.

No need to learn it on Valentine's Day in front of the whole classroom. No need to have crocodile tears for the teacher to have to deal with when we're supposed to be having fun.

So don't worry, enemies of tolerance. They will learn, if they haven't already, that life isn't fair. 

And stop cheering, tolerance supporters. Giving a Valentine to every kid is just a little something called courtesy.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Why is My Dad Paying for This Dad's College Degree?

I'm currently attending a community college where tuition is only $1,000/semester plus up to about $250 for books. As a commuter living 10 miles from the school and commutes to school twice a week, I pay about $100 in gas per semester. I'm up to about $1,350 for each semester I attend full time.

That's not a lot. In fact, working my part-time job, I can make that money in four to six weeks.

Now, attending a community college is different. There are usually several adults in each of my classes who have either decided to go back to school or perhaps have never attended college. One such gentlemen who is in his late 20's is working on earning his Associate's degree and move on to another school to earn his Bachelor's in the next semester or so.

He has over 60 credits. And still hasn't graduated with an AA. That means that he did not follow a degree plan and took classes he did not need and/or changed majors once or twice.

He has a kid. There's nothing wrong with having a kid, but this person told me that he is not married (but lives with) the child's mother.

He's a waiter. He told me that he makes about $100 a shift but only works a couple times a week because he doesn't really enjoy it.

And he's getting government assistance.

He told me that he and his wife (who he is not married to but refers to as his wife) "figured out" that if he files as a single father, he basically gets to go to school for free.

Only, it's not free. It might be free to him, but it's not free for everyone.

In fact, I believe it's people like my dad who pay for that dad's college with a little something called taxes.

Look, I'm a middle-class kid, but my parent's are not sending me to an expensive school. I chose to attend a community college because it's affordable. My parents and I can pay for the tuition with cash. I am working a part time job to help pay for things like textbooks and gas. I also applied for and earned privately funded scholarships from different businessmen in town.

Meanwhile, my dad works away in order to pay not just for his kid's college education, but for this guy's college tuition too.

That's so not cool.

Who decided not to get a college degree right out of high school? When there was no kid involved? When there weren't so many financial obligations? Who decided not to get married but file separately from their child's mother in order to receive government assistance? Who is capable of making the money they need to pay for a semester's tuition in just 14 shifts?

Yup. My classmate.

But instead he's freeloading.

There are a lot of lessons to be learned here, but I think one of them is this: College is not a right. It's a privilege.

Going to college is not a right that everyone gets. Earning a college degree takes time, diligence, and (ahem) money. If you don't have those to give, you don't need to go to college. End of story.

There are ways to go to college on a budget:

  1. Take less classes per semester to spread out the cost -- that way you can work full time while in school
  2. Attend an inexpensive community college
  3. Earn scholarships (with your merit, not your "financial need")
  4. Shop around and look for the best education for your dollar
  5. Stick with one degree plan and only take classes you need. 
It's not everyone's destiny to end up in college. And it's certainly not everyone's right.

When will we get that in our heads? 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

No, Don't Delete Me!

Like most of America, I need to lose some weight. Just as importantly, I need to build some muscle mass so that I don't break my hip when I'm in my 80's. Action plan? Join a gym.

About a month ago when I decided to give this whole exercise thing a try, I looked into a chain of small gyms designed specifically for women. They are a national organization but each gym is individually owned and operated. That means that if I don't show up for a few days to workout, the owner will be giving me a call to check on me. Hopefully the accountability will keep me on track, right? 

My mom and I decided we'd be workout buddies and sign up together. When we visited the gym for our appointment, Pat, the owner, gave us the sales pitch. 

It was about two hours long. No lie. And it was kind of exhausting. A lot of the info I could have condensed into maybe 20 or 30 minutes. And not that it wasn't great information. It was just a lot of unnecessary information. I mean, we were just there to workout, and we didn't even get to do that on the first day. 

The next day we returned and Pat showed us how to use all of the equipment so that we could begin the program.

Overall, Pat spent about three hours working with the two of us. In addition, we came back two more times that week to try out the gym.

Then we found out there was the exact same gym, the exact same distance from our house, but in a more convenient location. My mom and I decided we'd try that one out instead and ended up signing up over there due to the convenience. 

That was about a week before I got the call. 

"Are you coming back?" Pat asked on the other end.

I explained that we appreciated all of her time, but decided to sign up at another location due to convenience (it's on my way to school) and that I was sorry my mom did not give her a call. 

"No, neither of you called me," Pat said.

"Oh, I'm sorry," I said. "Mom must have forgotten." (Realty was Mom got the flu that week and yes, Mom forgot to call.) 

"Did you tell them that you signed up for a free week with me?" she asked.

"Yes, and we told them how helpful you were in introducing us to the program."

"Are both of you going over there?" Pat asked with a forceful tone. 

"Yes, I believe so," I said. Umm, we're workout buddies -- a mother/daughter team -- why wouldn't we go to the same gym? 

There was about a four second pause. I didn't know what to say so I waited... 

"Well, I guess I'll delete you both out of my system," Pat said, sounding totally peeved.
Photo found here.
Oh, wait. Hold the phone. I wasn't going to sign up but, but, but... you are going to delete me from your system? Like, permanently

Okay, last time I checked, I was the customer. Is it my responsibility to call and let Pat know that we aren't coming back? Yes, Pat gave us several hours of her time. I get that. And I appreciate that. But guess what? That's the risk a person takes when running a business. Sometimes their time is wasted on a person that does not end up becoming a client. 

That happens all the time. And promising to delete me out of your system pretty much guarantees I will not be coming back to your business. Ever. 

And who knows? I might even blog about my experience for the internet to read about. Thanks, Pat.