Friday, February 8, 2013

My Bro Joe

I come from a family of ten; eight kids, two parents and more pets throughout the years than I can count or even remember.  These pets include but are not limited to a cat named Heidi (who it turned out was a male cat, even though the vet swore he was a she), an exploding hamster, a tragically fated chick that thought I was its mother (until our dog got a hankering for chicken wings and ate it),  a guinea pig that was best friends with the transgender cat, a shopping dog (for real she would slip her collar and go wandering around all the shops downtown.  The shop owners more than once brought her back to us once she maxed out the credit card;)....the list goes on and on.  Yeah, we had a really full and crazy life.

I am the oldest of all the siblings, this of course meant I had all kinds of fun bossing the rest of the underlings (ummm I mean sweet, wonderful siblings of mine) around.  I was the twisted sister who wrote and directed plays.  My brothers and sisters were the unwilling stars of said productions.  They were masterpieces, I'm sure you'll be hearing of one on Broadway soon (didn't I mention I made them all sing too?;)  My idea of a good time, was pretending to be their teacher and forcing them to do actual school work. I had tons of fun and they were better educated for my effort (patting myself on the back).  Then, there was the time my sister, Jennifer, cracked her head open on our door jam while dancing.  My siblings love to tell how I "comforted" them by reading them everything Encyclopedia Britannica had to say about head injuries.  What can I say, I was just awesome that way.
My parents were more than a bit crunchy when I was little.  They made their own tofu, we did the all natural thing way before it was popular, we were home schooled for a while and my mom birthed the first five of us at home ( yeah majorly granola, loveyoumeanit Mom and Dad).  I especially remember the birth of my brother Joe because I was there for it.  
Joe was a beautiful baby, with great big brown eyes and straight, blond hair.  From birth on, Joe had all the ladies wrapped around his little finger;)  Joe is the fourth child in our little family of eight but he is the oldest boy.  That's right, my parents were smart and had all three girls straight off the bat.  Joe made an excellent living doll for us;)  However, Joe wasn't having any of that! He put in an order for some more brothers,ASAP! And boy did he get his wish, four more boys, one by one, entered our world (and I wouldn't trade a single one of them).  
Joe, like the rest of us, is all grown up now.  He has grown into a man of character, faith and integrity   He married his high school sweetheart, Stephanie, who is the perfect wife for him.  I love her to death :)  They have three beautiful babies of their own: Elijah, Abigail and Asher.  Today my brother Joe is graduating from the MD State Police Academy.  I am so very proud of him for his accomplishment but I am more proud of him and Stephanie for their journey to get here.  It wasn't easy and they both made big sacrifices, and that is only the part that I know.  I am sure there is more that I don't know about.  Yet, they held on to the dream, their faith and each other and made it through. 
I can't be there in person to hug them and wish them the very best in this next phase of their lives, so I am doing the next best thing. Congratulations Joe and Stephanie!!!  

Friday, February 1, 2013

My Fundraising Policy

  I feel it coming in my bones, the same way arthritic joints feel the coming of a storm, and I start to prepare myself.  Once it hits, it hits hard and hangs around for almost a month.  But I am strong, it has not defeated me yet.  I anchor fast my checkbook, tether my debit card to my wallet and wait.  Then it hits with a fury, five boys come barreling into the house waving big packets, feverishly talking over each other, their  darting eyes glassy ,as if they have been drugged. It is here, Fundraiser Season.

I refuse to participate in school /extra curricular fundraisers.   I know this makes me a terrible, uninvolved parent but as a good friend of mine says, sorry I have a policy on this.  Today I will give you the top five reasons that I will not sell crap or solicit pledges or jump through flaming hoops.

1) I have five children.  That means all my friends and relatives are getting hit up not once, not twice, not three or four times, but FIVE times.  This crosses the line from manipulative fundraising to racketeering.  I'm not willing to risk a conviction under RICO.

2) After every fundraiser pep rally, I have to deprogram my children, like they were in a cult.  They come home looking like they are on crack, raving about the free TV, or new bike, or million dollars they are going to "win" if they only sell $12,000 dollars worth of crap or get 150 pledges or jump rope 6,500 times.  After all, these are totally achievable goals for your average eight year old.  Ri-ight.

3) I did not send my children to school to be turned into Flim-Flam-Men.  I will support my boys in whatever legit career they so choose.  Hitting up friends and relatives for money are the skills needed to be jobless and living in mom's basement, playing video games, at 25 years old.  Since I don't have a basement, my boys are in need of a different skills set.

4) I will not be manipulated or guilt-ed into anything.  These fundraising programs work by manipulating children with unachievable prizes and loud rhetoric and/or guilting parents into spending time and money they don't necessarily have.   Let's be honest here, it isn't the kids that are doing most of the "work" involved in raising this support.  They can't sell at school and it is dangerous for them to go door to door.  This is just a way to rope mom or dad into becoming a biannual sales rep without having to pay them.

5) I do believe in supporting things that I feel are important.  If you want my support just ask me and
I will write you a check.  This saves us all a whole lot of frustration.

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Kristine Meier-Skiff. Powered by Blogger.