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Showing posts from August, 2007

Low Expectations

I should mention a double standard that I have noticed since I became a single Dad. People seem to expect a single Mom to have a career, make all kinds of crafts, make a 4 course meal from scratch every night, keep a spotless house, and attend all school functions looking like June Cleaver. By comparison, people seem to have very low expectations of a single father. If I show up at some event and the kid is still alive, dressed, and fairly clean, people go on and on about what a great job I am doing as a parent. I don't think that I have ever heard people raving over how well a single Mom is doing. Many people have commented that they can't believe that I am raising my son by myself and that they really respect me for it. Well, what else would I do? Turn him loose in the woods? If a woman has a baby it is expected that she will do everything, but it seems to be a sad commentary on society that if a man has a baby then people just can't believe it if he raises it. I'

Dependent Care Savings Account

My contracting company has a whole bunch of benefit options that we can pick. It's quite nice, really, and one of them is the Dependent Care Savings Account. An employee can have money withheld before taxes in order to pay for daycare. Neat. I am trying to get everything set up for before and after school care for Alex. That involves far too many forms (which they keep sending me even though I filled them out), immunization records, etc. Of course, they insist on being paid, so I emailed my boss and asked how I use this snazzy benefit that I signed up for when I completed the open enrollment process. Many, many emails were traded. Here is the synopsis: Me: I signed up for the Dependent Care Savings Account when I completed open enrollment for benefits . How do I set up the payments so my daycare can get paid? Boss: We don't have that benefit for contractors. Me: Umm , I signed up for it during open enrollment. Boss: I'll ask HR if we have that benefit . HR:

Daycare? What Daycare?

My son came home the other day and announced that the following Thursday and Friday the daycare would be closed so he would be going to work with me. Oh really? Did he have a note or paper from the daycare about this? Nope. They just told him. The next day I asked about it at the school. Yes, they would be closed. No, no notice was sent home. I said that I had to work, so what was their plan for the kids? Silence. I asked, since you are closing this facility, and it is a weekday, and people have to work, and I paid for the whole week, are the kids going to one of your other facilities? Ummm , no. You should call the supervisor. OK. I called the supervisor. Yes, they are closed Thursday, Friday and didn't you know - also the next Tuesday (Monday is Labor Day, so then, too). Didn't you know? Well, no, I didn't know. Well it was in the brochure. Perhaps this is karma because I had pointed out to her that she was not doing any lesson plans that were in the brochure. I checked a

Daycare Fun

One of the great joys of being a single parent is daycare. If we were all still living in caves then this would not be a problem because the clan would take care of it, but then again, the murder rate would be much higher because most of us can't really live in that close of a proximity to our families. This summer my son has been going to a Summer Enrichment Program. Sounds fancy, huh? According to the glossy brochure they were going to do education combined with outdoor fun. Sounds good. I noticed that the kids really were spending a lot of time at recess and I asked my son if they were doing any school work. He said no. He is in the gifted program at school, and he really likes school and doesn't think of some things as work, so I clarified. Had he done any Math? No. Science? No. Art? No. Turns out they do 30 minutes of silent reading each day. For the kids that can read, like my son, that is better than nothing, I suppose. It is not, however, what they advertised . I ask


Since I live by the airport and commute in to Redmond every day I get to experience some of the nation's worst traffic. If I travel on the shortest route possible my trip is 1 hour each way. Fortunately I found a couple of carpool buddies on the Rideshare Web site. They have showed me some longer, but quite a bit faster routes so my commutes are down to somewhere between 30 and 45 minutes on most days. One day recently, a Republican Congressman decided to have GW come to town for a bit of fund raising. The Senator wanted to keep the visit a bit low key since GW is not the most popular person right now. He could have had the dinner at a hotel near the airport - maybe even right across the street from the airport, but no. Not fancy enough of an address, I guess. He decided to have it in Bellevue . Better yet, the dinner would wrap up right during rush hour and the Secret Service would close 1 of only 2 of our major North/South freeways. Apparently the prez can't hang out for

Stop Letting Your Kids Drive, Please!

My son has been asking me to let him drive the car since he was at least 2 years old. I keep telling him no. He asks why and I just say that it's because he doesn't have a license. Periodically there is a news story that does not help me out and it happened again today. Some woman got sloshed and decided that she shouldn't drive. Her solution was to put her 5 year old behind the wheel. Some neighbor saw the car speed around the corner and then come to a dead stop in the middle of the street. When she asked if everything was  OK , and was that the woman's child driving, the woman said, "It's OK, he's a good driver." This is not helping, people. Of course she is off to jail, but my son stopped listening after the part where the woman said that her son was a good driver. So let's review. Designated driver: good. Five year old designated driver: bad.

Fleet Week

This year Alex and I had the opportunity to go down to see the Navy ships that were in town for Fleet Week. Going to see the Navy ships is always fun. There are lots of cool things to see, but one of the best kept secrets are the small ships. Everyone lines up to see the big ships, but you can go right to the front of the line to see the Canadian ships that were there, and the Coast Guard ships. The smaller ships are fun to see because the crew is very glad to see you, and nothing is really top secret so you get to see everything and go more places. The Canadian ships are kind of a riot. They brought three "coastal defense mine sweepers." Mine sweepers. In Canada. Yeah. Well, after they built them they quickly realized that they really don't have a mine problem in Canada and the ships became training ships for the Navy. If you have spent any time in Canada you know that Canadians, in general, are not nearly as stressed out as we Americans, and they tend to be very friendl

Car Show With Great-Grandpa

Last Friday I dropped my son off at his great-grandparents so I could go to new employee orientation for my new contract job at Microsoft. I used to own a car dealership and my son has inherited my car nut interests. This is a good thing because his great-grandpa is a serious car nut and collector of classic cars and paraphernalia . Alex is really the first grandchild to show any interest in cars, so he and great-grandpa get along great. Great-grandpa Bob is often doing something interesting like working on a car, or polishing a car, and Alex loves to help him. Not long ago they watched Alex for me while I was at an interview, and Bob had him out there cleaning his beautiful, red Thunderbird convertible. Since Alex spent a lot of time at the car lot around nice cars, he knows how to clean them, not fingerprint them up, and how to be really careful. Alex really, really likes convertibles and can really appreciate what a nice car that is, so after they were done he talked Bob into going

Bamboo and Elephants

I am not much of a gardener, and I have a somewhat Darwinistic viewpoint about my yard. If it can't live there without my assistance then I let nature select it out. Unfortunately, there are some plants that really should not be in my yard, but there they are and they are thriving. The previous owners of the house felt like it would be a good plan to plant bamboo in the front yard. They planted some by the street and some by the neighbor's yard, presumably as screens. I have been in the house for 6 years now and the bamboo that was just growing quietly and not bothering anyone has now reached 12 to 15 feet in height and started sending out shoots of new bamboo under the neighbor's fence, and also into the middle of my yard. Today it seemed like the time had come to begin the eradication of the front yard bamboo. Stop laughing. I know that bamboo is almost unkillable . After the apocalypse there will be cockroaches and bamboo. Well, I have to try, so my son Alex and I