1/21/17 driving lessons…

Beth and I went driving last weekend. She needed to learn to drive backwards. A friend of mine said that they had taken their kids to an empty parking lot and had them drive in backwards figure eights for two hours. It sounded like a good idea to me. So…Beth and I stopped at a McDonald’s and got a Coke and went to a parking lot. There is a vacant parking lot by us that doesn’t have the parking spaces drawn on it any more but it is still in good shape and it only has one light which is by the curb on one end, not in the middle of the lot. We got there and Beth asked what the driving directions were today. I said she needed to do backward figure eights for two hours. She said OK and started. First she drove making the figure eight really short. I asked her to use more of the parking lot. She made bigger ones. Then she stopped and did the figure eights going the other direction. After about twenty minutes she asked if we were done. I said no. She needed to do this for a full two hours. I said she still seemed shaky and unsure how the car would react when she made different turns. So many times when the girls are driving and they try to back out of a parking space they can’t figure out which way to turn the wheel to get the car to go the way that they want. We were now out of Coke and she was not ready for another hour and forty minutes off backing up, so I suggested that we go back to McDonald’s and get another Coke and come back to the parking lot. After we got the Coke we went back to the parking lot and she asked how much time she had left. I said an hour and forty minutes, I think she was hoping that the driving time to McDonald’s would count towards the backing up time. We do need to do the whole two hours. So she started driving. Beth did figure out how to do small enough circles that it turned my stomach. She didn’t do that all of the time, just when she could catch me off guard, then she would look at me out of he corner of her eye to see if I would react. She made big figure eights, and small ones and many too close to the light pole, just to watch me squirm. In the end she said that this had been a good idea. She felt a lot more confident. She was driving better too. We had spent so much time having her learn to drive forward it was good to have some time learning to back up.


1/20/17 hats and cats…

Maggie and I went to Menard’s and tried on hats. She also wanted batteries and she had a toy for the cats. It shines a laser light in different directions for the cats to chase. We found the batteries  We went to Meijer and looked for hats there. Maggie also had some of her own money and wanted to look at movies. These are Maggie’s greatest loves, the cats and movies. We found a hat for her and one for William. We went to the movie area and she found a movie. I think it was an Avenger movie.


1/4/17 ACT admission ticket…

The ACT web site has been down for at least a week. Beth is taking her ACT test this Saturday and we still need to print her admission ticket. I disconnected my printer from my computer a while ago by mistake and can’t get it reconnected so I have been going to the library every day to print the page. I have gone into total panic. If we can’t print this she can’t test. I should have gone to the library the day she signed up, but I didn’t. Today the web site came up, I was so excited.


1/3/17 volunteering and friends…

Maggie is volunteering with one of her classes clearing burdock in a local neighborhood. They go every other Sunday for a few hours and get extra credit points for going. The burdock was brought to the neighborhood as an ornamental plant and took over the neighborhood. They have been clearing a field. Maggie is another one of my quiet kids. I am hoping that she will make a friend when she volunteers. She says that they cut the burdock down separately and don’t have conversations while they are there. When I drop her off at the school to go, we get there early and she does go over and talk to the other students that are waiting. It is OK with me if she and William are quieter ones, but they will miss a lot of life if they don’t ever talk to anyone. I had asked Maggie to join a club this semester. College isn’t just about the classes but about making a friend and about going to the games or a play or out for pizza or to a party or to something. She said that this semester she couldn’t join a club because she has too many classes.


1/2/17 cats and volunteering…

We have three cats now. They didn’t really fight much when we brought the third one in. Our first cat is the most insecure. She needs to be told often that she is loved and needed. And she needs held. When the second cat came to us she was glad to have a friend that wanted to run around and play. Our first cat is a lady and doesn’t want to run around and wrestle that much. Our new cat is a riot. She likes to chase her tail, which is just short enough that she can see it wiggling, but she has a rough time catching it. She will chase it no matter where she is sitting. She was on the back of the couch the other day and began chasing her tail. She kept falling off of the couch, but that didn’t bother her. She just got back on the back of the couch and started chasing again.
William has asked if he could quit going to volunteering. He is now working and asked on the first volunteering day after he started working if he could stay home. I said that he needed to give back to the community and volunteering for an hour once a week shouldn’t make him too tired. He did go with us and he helped serve. When it came time to clean up, wiping off the tables and sweeping the floors, he stood along the side and watched. The next week he went with us like nothing had happened and helped to clean up without any problems. He must be getting used to work
William is very quiet when he is not at home. He doesn’t go out with friends, and he is happy like this. But it isn’t healthy to never go out and never talk to anyone. When we are at volunteering he will sometimes talk to the other volunteers and it gets him out of the house. The group of volunteers is mostly the same nice people each week, and the place where we volunteer isn’t large. William has been able to get used to them and he feels comfortable. If I let him use working as an excuse to stay home, he has lost all of his contact with the outside world. Or to look at it another way, he is around twenty-five years old. How long can I tell him what to do? For right now, we are all going to volunteering.


1/1/17 Lego League…

Happy New Year!!!

Beth is in charge of the Lego League contest that is coming to her school in about two weeks. She needs to get volunteers to be judges and to be general help. This group is made up of mostly students from their school. They also need about eight boxes of little Lego creatures put together. The creatures may be chickens, houses, dinosaurs etc. They are made from the smallest Lego pieces. They are put on the table and the teams that are competing bring remote control Lego robots that must pick up or scoot these Lego creatures to a certain point or drop them in a certain basket. These Lego creatures are put together by student volunteers after school.
Beth was involved in this her Freshman year and spent hours after school putting these Lego things together. She found out tonight that not enough are assembled and she needs volunteers to help her to get them done. They will also have students outside riding around in the go carts that the school builds and takes to parades, if the weather is nice. I think about eight grade schools compete in this contest. Beth does like to be in charge, but it is a lot of work getting everything coordinated for the contest and taking care of her classwork too.


12/31/16 senior project…

Beth is a senior in high school. Her senior project is going well. They are designing and building a cage to go around a robot that the school has just bought. The original designing was easy, but the teachers keep coming back with design changes. They changed the thickness of the metal that they were making it out of. The students needed to redraw the cage. The teachers changed the size of the cage, it needed to be redrawn, they wanted feet under the corners, another redraw. They have redrawn it about seven times. The teachers then asked for a table to be drawn and built. They can put the table in the cage and put the things that the robot is picking up on it. So they drew the table. They are all done with the design changes and the teachers are happy and have signed off on the designing stage. Beth’s team figured out what material needed to be bought to make the cage and the table and gave a list to the teachers who will send the list out for quotes at different places. Now the team is trying to find things to do while they wait for their material to come in. All of the changes help the students to see what real life will be like. These changes confused the students at first. Usually in class the teacher asks for a report or a project and never changes it. This assignment is closer to what the real world will be like.


12/30/16 work and scheduling classes…

William has been at work for a while. He seems happy. He isn’t tired from all of the physical labor that he has to do all day.
Maggie is still in college. This is her first semester as only a college student. I am hoping that she does well. She does like school, but she has not scheduled classes for next semester and it worries me. If she would schedule her classes then she could be sure that she was able to get into the classes that she needs and also I would known how much I owed the school. They started scheduling last month and Maggie just isn’t ready to schedule. Maggie does things when she is ready to do them. I have decided to quit asking her about scheduling the classes. Talking about it is just frustrating both of us. After this semester, Maggie will be a Junior.
She has made a friend in one of her classes. The girl is exactly like Beth and has the same name as me. Maggie says that it is easy to be her friend because she is so much like Beth. Her friend was going home to die her hair yesterday. Maggie already knew the right questions to ask her about dying her hair because Beth dyes her hair.


12/9/16 paperwork, peanut butter and clickers…

William didn’t fill out the paperwork from his interview last night. William was going to look it over and sign all of it today. He read half of the employee manual but didn’t fill out any of the forms. There is a tax form and an attendance form. And others. I think that he is panicking. He has been home for a long time. I told him tonight that they want the forms in tomorrow so he must complete them tonight. He came downstairs about a half hour later asking what would happen after the forms were turned in. I said that they would call him and give him a start date and a rate of pay. He didn’t look like he felt any better. So a little while later I went upstairs and asked him if after his first full day of work could we stop at Arbie’s on the way home and get him the sandwich that he likes and the fries and pop too. He looked like this was a good idea. Once he gets in and sees all of the guys his own age and all of the tools and all of the machines, I think that he will love it..
Beth called home after school today. She stays late for a club and they used to bring in pizza for the kids but they stopped last week. She came home last week saying that she was going to take a snack next week, which is now this week. She forgot the snack and called home to see if I would bring her and her friend something. I went over with peanut butter sandwiches.There are not many foods that Beth will eat.
Last night Maggie and I went and got her a new clicker for school. Instead of the students raising their hands when the teacher asks a question, they click their answer. Then everyone can get credit. Maggie’s clicker had died. When she got home, Maggie needed to go into the computer and link the new clicker to her name.


12/8/16 interviews, school and projects…

William had an interview today at the place where he is going to work. He had already interviewed at the temporary agency, but not at the company that he was going to work at. I have started hyperventilating again. He was ready when I got home to pick him up and take him to the interview. I asked at the door before we left if he had had state ID and the other papers that he needed. He had forgotten them so he went back inside to find them. When William came back out of the house, I asked to see the papers again. He had all of his paperwork. I have learned from many years of having older kids that I need to see the things that they need to bring before we leave the house. We have gotten to so many places and not had the correct items or papers. When William came out of the interview he didn’t look happy or sad, but he did have a three ring binder and papers. He said that there were papers to fill out and the binder had the employee handbook. William said that it had gone well and they would need to look at his scores on the test to see what position they would offer him. I think that he was pleased. He asked if we could have a party this weekend to celebrate. We will get pizzas and maybe library movies. The kids should pick out the movies, they don’t like my choices any more.
Maggie is not doing well in most of her classes. I looked at the grades on the computer. She didn’t realize that she was doing poorly in all of her classes. We made a list of things that she needs to do to get her grades up. She needs to let all of her teachers know that she sees that there is a problem, so that they see that she cares. Maggie needs to find out where she can get tutoring for each class. She also needs to talk to a counselor about scheduling next semester. Maggie has about a month to pull this together. I’m really worried. All of her dreams revolve around things she needs a degree to do.
Beth has been working on her senior project with her team. They are designing a cage for a new robot that the school is getting. They almost have all of the drawings done and are ready to start buying the material. They are using 80, 20 pipe. I am not sure what that is. It comes in half inch thick and one inch thick. They had gotten the OK to build it out of half inch pipe. Today the teacher decided that they needed to use one inch pipe. Beth said that they will need to throw out all of their drawings and start over. I said they should print them and show the teacher the steps that they took to get the job done. The teacher wants finished drawings by Friday.
Beth has printed off her first resume that she had made before she had a job. I said that she should keep it and make a second one that included the place that she worked last summer. The name of her boss, phone numbers, start and stop dates and responsibilities. She may need all of this information some day. If she keeps each one it may have some information on it that a new condensed one won’t have. We will start one for William and Maggie when they start working.