Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Stay at home parents are trophy wives

Stay at home parents are trophy wives and/ or arm candy. While presumably if they went to work for minimum wage to take care of other people’s children at a day care center, even though their husband’s earnings would eat up that income pretty much entirely because of their household’s higher tax bracket, they’d be considered “real” contributors to their marriage.

I wonder if he could sell it at the Little Book House

All the kids in C’s class are doing reports on different countries. For their final project, they are making an alphabet book on their country, with each letter discussing a different topic. (A, for example, could be about animals, and they’d list some animals found in the country.)

Of course, instead of choosing Ireland or France like a normal child, he had to go with Afghanistan. Some of his topic selections? J is for jihad, O is for opium, Q is for al-Qaeda, V is for vengeance (post-9/11 bombings by the U.S.), Y is for yearning (for children to no longer be killed by land mines). I suspect this was not quite what his teacher had in mind. Now he is supposed to add illustrations- I can’t wait to see it when it’s done.

A few weeks ago he sent the President a letter asking him to pull out of Afghanistan. He included diagrams suggesting a withdrawal plan. I thought it was pretty awesome but realized that most parents probably don’t get sappy over their kid’s military strategies.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

On the incompetence of bureaucracies

HR e-mail: I noticed that for one holiday in January you charged .5 of a day, but for the other one you charged a whole day. I know you are at 50% FTE, but we don’t have any information on your work schedule and so we can’t determine if the way you have earned and used your holiday leave is correct. Could you please send in your schedule using the form found at (link to a form that’s not editable and so cannot be submitted online) as soon as possible? A fax or scanned copy is acceptable.
S: I’m sending in the form, but I have already done so twice. Just in case this one disappears also, I work full days on Mondays and Wednesdays and half days on Thursdays.
HR: You really sent the form twice!!?? That’s weird. I will print this e-mail so we have that at least…thanks for explaining your schedule.
S: Once when I started the job, once when I switched from a Friday to Thursday schedule last summer. Hopefully this time it will make it!
HR: Oh – that was a while ago…who knows where they ended up.

So what, they just randomly throw away forms that are more than, oh, six months old? I guess that might have been code for “someone who used to work here really sucked” but if so, don’t act all surprised about it going missing.

the problem with encouraging independence

So say you’re eight years old and you just heated up some peas and want to put some salt on them. But the saltshaker is sitting in the dish drainer, empty. You could ask for help, given that your mother is in the next room, but you don’t. Instead you find the big container of salt. You could pour a little bit out to sprinkle on your peas, but you’re feeling helpful and decide to refill the saltshaker. When you do, the salt doesn’t shake out. (You don’t know that this is because the saltshaker was wet and salt doesn’t like that so much.) You get a pencil and poke it in the holes of the saltshaker (breaking off the lead in two place) to no avail. This inexplicable failure doesn’t stop you. The logical next step- getting some Tupperware out of the cabinet, poking some holes in the bottom of it with scissors, and filling it with salt to replace that defective saltshaker. Mission accomplished.

environmental and financial win

New York state agencies no longer provide bottled water. I'm pretty happy about this (wrote about it last year) but am shaking my head at how complicated they're making it.

"Each executive agency will have to provide alternative sources, like fountains and dispensers for tap water." These already exist in every public building. They are called sinks.

"The order requires the state’s Office of General Services to monitor the compliance of agencies and to identify ways to make tap water available free..." Given the way bureacracies work, I suspect this will take up a lot of time and money when it shouldn't.

I also imagine it will take a lot of time before it changes anything here at SUNY, if it ever does.

Monday, May 04, 2009

of course we could have told a more interesting story

These accident-explanatory slings might have been useful when A broke her arm, but I'm not sure whether an illustration of a child tripping over nothing and falling on the grass would have kept people from asking questions anyway.