Tuesday, August 11, 2009


So the kids are on week two of school. Paige is unable to change her schedule to get drivers education rather than this business math course. She's disappointed because the business math class is a complete joke- she'll learn more about financial stuff from listening to us talk, than in this class. My kids already have a very firm understanding that you don't buy what you can't afford. From a very young age she has been told that she can go anywhere she wants to go for college because she's paying for it. Funny to hear a 5 year old say how she'll have to get a job when she gets older so she can pay for college. She will hopefully become a governor's scholar (a friend just informed her yesterday that girls get accepted much more than boys- that he knew of girls with ACT scores of 26 getting it) which will pay for in state tuition. It may sound "mean" of parents who can afford to pay for college but my hubby paid his own way and feels like it made him appreciate his education more. She's considering pharmacy because it's something you can pretty much count on having a job and often times the schedule is quite flexible.
I had to fill out questions about my opinions on finances for this business math class. One was "Biggest financial regret?" How do you have regrets when you've paid for everything, including your home? I am sure my hubby would have regrets-- buying such a big house, but I like the house, neighborhood, etc so do I regret not having more money in the savings instead? No.

Ed had his first lesson with a new teacher last week and I could tell by his face when he came out of the room that he wasn't gelling with this guy. Ed was disappointed about how easy the lesson was and how he wasn't challenged. I was concerned that the instructor didn't say anything to me about how the lesson went- especially since it was the first lesson. So Thursday at Ben's guitar lessons I mentioned to Eric that things didn't go so well. He gave me the number to this guy Dave, with the understanding that Dave doesn't do lessons but MAY consider teaching Ed. Friday night, while we were at the concert in the park, Ed tells us how he told the guy "If you hold the strings down more you'll have less fret buzz." I was rather disturbed by this on two levels. One being that if my 11 year old knows this- the instructor should be "better than that." I know his old instructor was too good of a player to have Ed "schooling him" on technique. Second is that Ed obviously doesn't think this guy is much of a player-- so Ed will have a hard time learning much since Ed doesn't respect his abilities.
Friday I called Dave about possibly teaching Ed. I befriended him on Facebook so he could see Ed in action (videos posted there.) Yesterday Dave called to tell me he is "coming out of retirement" for Ed. Dave said that Ed's attitude (head nod) at the end of his bass solo in the latest talent show convinced him. I think that Ed will truly enjoy learning from Dave- and maybe Dave will gain something too- passing on the love of bass to another. Dave was burnt out on lessons- teacher beginners must be grueling--- I could barely take listening my own kids when they were beginning readers. Multiply that feeling and it would quickly turn one off of lessons. Dave also said he hated being "one stop" among many because kids these days are in so many activities. So most of them didn't have time to practice and weren't really wanting to learn-- it was just another activity that the parents felt they needed to do. Eric has also complained of this- he's actually told parents that they need to figure out priorities because with so many activities, guitar lessons are a waste of time. How funny that a guitar instructors are "firing" the students because parents are too clueless to just involve kids in the things the kids really want to do. I assured Dave that for Ed bass is THE thing. Ed wants this- not me. I have never had to tell him to practice and he's 100% self-motivated. My only part in it is getting him to and from the lessons.
I am rather excited to give my two weeks' notice to the instructor from last week. I had my reservations about the place to begin with. It's obvious they are out to make money- not really teach kids music- because the rules are such that they always get paid but you don't always get your lesson. If you can't make a lesson- too bad- they will not reschedule or "make up" a lesson. If the instructor doesn't show, you get a substitute... a subpar lesson that you will pay full price for. You pay for the entire month and no weeks off. And there is a two weeks' notice thing too-- heck, employment is less restrictive schedule than taking music lessons at this place. On top of that, when I inquired about lessons, I wasn't be told the truth. I specifically asked about whether this guy was capable of teaching a kid that wants to learn to play bass parts like Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers. I was assured this was THE guy for that- then in the lesson when Ed asked about RHCP the guy knew "a little." Top that with the schooling Ed gave him and it makes me wonder what I was "sold."
Ed seems to like his teachers and classes at school thus far. Mostly I think he's just happy that Romano, his best bud, is in the same class. I like Romano and his parents/upbringing. Plus they live right in the neighborhood. Ed really missed him while he was in Brazil all summer.

Ben is rather quiet about school. He always has done well but he's just not that concerned with classes and school. He is taking advanced reading and math classes. He said that when he was in the advanced math class, this kid he knew was like "You're in advanced math?" Ben's like "Yeah, what you think I'm an idiot?" I think because Ben is rather quiet and doesn't flaunt his abilities he may not seem like "a smart guy." Ironically he's probably got the highest IQ out of my kids- his math scores on standardized tests especially, with so little effort. He's enjoying getting his guitar lessons and honestly I was pleased that this week he got homework to write his own solo. I really like his teacher (who is also a science teacher in another school district)-- he knows how to challenge Ben. I find that his lessons often run long because they are just jamming together.

Paige had a party Saturday to celebrate her 16th birthday. She invited some friends over to play video games and eat pizza. It was kind of funny because she had more boys than girls- (2 besides herself to 5 guys.) Invited 3 girls and 7 guys. Hubby and the boys went bowling but most of them had arrived before Paul left- so he had to embarrass Paige in front of them. As he was leaving he says "You all stay out of my liquor" as he walks out. Apparently Ed found this hilarious. Of course while kids were showing up, Paul was wondering what he could to and Ed said "You can go upstairs and make Paige uncomfortable" so when Paul made this comment, Ed's wish was fulfilled.
Paige was a little wigged out that her one friend that was bringing the video games hadn't shown up yet- "nothing to do." I mentioned how we have a pool table and maybe that would be fun until he showed. The guys were definitely into playing pool and it ended up being the main entertainment. Paige seemed a little surprised but really, what better activity than playing pool in a social setting like that? One person is taking a shot, the rest are talking and joking around-- it's perfect.
When they were eating pizza one of the guys put on a CD by a band called Switchfoot. Then asked me "Isn't this much better than the music Paige usually listens to?" I had to reply no and explain that Paige tends to listen to music we like- we are the odd parents that actually listen to harder stuff and what our kids listen to is because of OUR influence. Once Paul and the boys got home, it was funny because each one came in going "What is that playing?" with obvious distaste on their faces. One of the guys said something about Iron Maiden as Paul was going out on the deck and Paul was ready to get in a fight-- he thought the kid was mocking him or Maiden. Paige had to explain that the kid truly loves Iron Maiden and wasn't mocking anyone.
The only bad thing was that someone (or more) touched the boys' guitars and amps. Ed was downright furious. Ben was more angry that Paige wasn't paying attention to her guests and letting them touch things they shouldn't have. Ed was mad that he had to fix all his settings on the amp and stuff. I guess no one better mess with Ed's stuff!

Yesterday I pickled hot pepper I found at the farmers' market. Paul better appreciate them is all I can say! That's a lot of work.

Last night Paige and I went to cross country practice. I ran while there-- it is much harder to run at that place-- grass and unsure footing... tires me out quickly.
Today is my "day off" no real plans all day.
Tomorrow is bass lesson.
Thursday is guitar lesson.
Friday we may go see Ed's soon to be bass teacher play downtown. I am finding out that we have a rather rich music scene locally. Concert in the park every Friday night in the summer. (Actually two bands play-- one at one park 6:30-9 pm/one at another park 7:30-10pm) Also many bands play outside downtown businesses, weather permitting.
I think Paul has to return to Chicago early this weekend too... I hate when he leaves on Sunday-- I can handle workweek absence but even a few hours on the weekend is so much tougher.

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