February 25, 2011

Poor Aunt Kellie

With children in different sports, it's not always easy to make sure everyone gets to where they're supposed to be. You know that saying "it takes a village to raise a child"?  Well, sometimes it takes a village to get a child to wrestling practice, especially when his parents are busy watching his brother's basketball games.


We've had to ask favors of friends and family alike during the wrestling/basketball season.  This particular night is was Aunt Kellie to the rescue.  She volunteered to pick Gage up from school and take him home with her.  He was excited because he'd get to play with his cousins before practice, something he's certain doesn't happen with near enough frequency.

When she got to the school to pick him up she noticed something was missing, though.  His wrestling bag.  "It's at home," he told her in a rather matter-of-fact voice, as he wriggled into the backseat of her suburban with his four cousins.

Knowing he'd need his shoes and head gear at practice, she drove out of her way to run him back home. He ran in and grabbed his bag from the back of the kitchen chair and, a few minutes later, they were on their way to her house.

Fast forward a couple of hours. Suburban full of kids.  Half-way to the school.  A look in the rear-view mirror.

Gage was still wearing his school clothes.  He had on jeans.  A big no-no in the wrestling room as zippers and buttons can put holes into the very expensive and difficult to repair mats.  "Gage, why are you still wearing your jeans?  You need to put on your sweats or shorts, whatever you're going to wrestle in."

"I didn't bring anything else to wrestle in."

"But I took you home so you could get your wrestling stuff."

I can imagine the look he gave her.  The shrug of the shoulders.  The grin.

I can also imagine the frustration and exasperation she must have been feeling by this point. There's no way she had the time to take him home yet again, not when she still needed to stop at the local Subway to pick up a fundraiser for the wrestling club.

Luckily, she's a quick thinker.  "Mike, give your cousin your sweatpants."

Seconds later, Gage was in possession of his cousin's sweatpants.  They were a bit small, but they worked.

I'm not sure where the shorts came from that Mikey wore that night, but I imagine he had them on underneath his sweats.  Or, perhaps they were in the back of the suburban.  Either way, I'm grateful. Grateful to Mikey for his willingness to share and grateful that my sister-in-law found the humor in the situation.

Kids.

February 24, 2011

Rinse & Repeat

Last night - or was it the night before - my husband commented on my frequent blog absences.  I wasn't aware that he read the blog, but the comment got me thinking.  Why are my blog absences becoming more and more frequent?  Have I run out of interesting things to say?  Did I ever have anything interesting to say in the first place?

Or is it because I feel like I'd simply be posting the same thing over and over again.

  • Went to work today.
  • Picked up child from practice and/or watched child's game
  • Ate dinner
  • Watched tv
  • Helped children with homework (if they remembered to bring it home)
  • Did some homework of my own
  • Threw in a load of laundry and/or did dishes
  • Read a bit before bed

Rinse and repeat.

And that's kind of boring, isn't it?

February 4, 2011

Kindle, e-books, and this consumer.

So, I got a Kindle for Christmas. It's been a little over a month now, so I've had plenty of time to form an opinion. Mind you, this is the opinion of one consumer.

Not a hopeful writer. A consumer.

I feel the need to clarify that up front.

Although I am confident that there will always be room in my life - if not on my bookshelves - for paperback novels, I must admit I am a fan of the e-book. Oh, I was resistant at first. As much as I love technology, I am a little bit in love with the feel of a book in my hand. The glossy cover, the smell of the pages - old or new - and the weight of the words on my fingers and palms will always hold a little bit of magic for me.

Yet, as some of my friends began venturing out into the e-publishing world, I found myself frustrated by the limitations of their chosen venue. Sure, I could read the stories on my computer, but sometimes that's just not convenient or comfy. Reading in bed at night, it's easy enough to lay aside the novel on the little bedside table and turn off my reading light. With the computer, I've got to get out of bed, unplug the cord, wrap it up, put the computer in its case, and then, and only then, was I able to crawl back under my warm blankets.

What a pain.

This didn't stop me from purchasing a few e-books, though. The problem was that I didn't read very many of them. Or, if I did, it wasn't in a very timely manner. I'd start. Stop. Start again. Stop. Start. Stop. Start.

You get the idea.

It was frustrating. And I wanted to read those stories, really I did.

Thus, I began dropping (not-so-subtle) hints to my hubby. I wanted an e-book reader. Since I'm an Amazon regular, I figured their product was the most logical for me to covet.

Hubby got the picture and I got a Kindle.

I also got a $25 gift card to go with it.

Now, here's the interesting part. Or, at least, I think it's the interesting part. Even though I had "free money" to spend on my e-book library, I had a hard time using it. Not because the selection on Amazon is any way insufficient. Please. There are so many options! So many books available that it's almost impossible not to find something that looks intriguing, promising, or compelling.

No, the problem was the cost. How in the world could they - they being the publisher - expect me to drop that much money on an electronic file? While I fully respect that people need to get paid for their hard work and I want my favorite authors to continue publishing their stories, I'm not an idiot. Paying $8-15 for a paperback book was hard enough, but I understood that it cost money to produce the product. Paper, ink, glue, etc. Throw in a little bit for the publisher and the author (their agent's cut is in there somewhere as well), and I could reconcile the cost.

Now they're trying to tell me the paper, ink, and glue costs nothing in the production process? That the same book I can buy in paperback for $7.99 is also available as an e-book for $7.99? That the electronic version that is easy and oh-so-cost-affordable to reproduce is just as expensive to produce as its printed self?

Um. Hello. Not buying it.

I work in the world of technology. I create electronic documents on a regular basis. Once the document is prepared, reproduction is not an issue. It's also not costly.

Sure, they need to make a profit. I get that. So, cut the e-book costs in half, because then I'd be able to justify the price.

Instead, I'm looking for bargains. I'm trying self-pubs or promotional freebies. I'm downloading classics. When I do pay, I refuse to pay more than $5. If that $5 goes to a struggling self-pubbed author instead of to a major publishing house and a big name author, I'm okay with that.

Because the truth is, as a consumer, I know I can wait and pick up that book that's selling right now for $7-15 at a discounted price in a few months. Whether I pick it up at a garage sale, a library book sale, or in the bargain bins at the local bookstore, I'm still getting the same product.

So, publishers, if you want the sale and the profit that comes with it, wouldn't it be wiser to reduce the e-book price to something more palatable? Wouldn't you rather collect those few dollars than none at all?

February 3, 2011

Snowy Days at Home

If I had to guess, I'd say we got between 8-12 inches of snow from the big storm. Since the University and the boys' schools were closed, we didn't have to venture out onto slushy, snowy, and icy roads. Instead, we pulled on our snow boots and pants, found some hats and gloves in the hall closet, and did some shoveling.

Well, the boys and I shoveled.

As you can see, the hubby used his quad to plow the driveway and a dog run.

Before I rushed back into the house to warm my frozen cheeks, I tried to do a self-portrait with my favorite little dog. Of course, he refused to cooperate.