The Life and Grades of a Fifth Grader

At the beginning of this school year, I made an agreement with CootieBoy that if he made the honor roll every quarter at school this year that I’d let him get an X-box next summer. He has been working so hard these past nine weeks and his final grades were given out this weekend.

His first quarter grades were: 98 (Science), 98 (Social Studies), 94 (ELA) and…84 (Math).

That 84 in Math is one single point away from being a B.

What’s tricky is that out of 23 individual grades received in that subject during the quarter, his average is actually 87.5%, which is a B. But the teacher weights different projects in that subject.

But that’s not all – a few weeks ago the teacher sent out an email stating that she was changing the way she teaches math because so many kids were struggling (which was true – The Boy got two 60s in a row just before she made the switch). Had she done this a week earlier, I’ve no doubt his official grade would be a B because he would have not gotten the two 60s. Since she made the switch he has gotten 100s on every single math project. And, as I said, even with the two 60s if you don’t weight the projects differently, his average is 87.5%.

Another sticky wicket is that if you average his four individual grades for Math, ELA, Science and Social Studies, he has a 93.5% average – which is a high B (94 is an A). But the school doesn’t do it that way – they expect an A or B in each class to make the honor roll.

One more thing I’ll add – CootieBoy is definitely a rewards-based kid. If he thinks he can earn something awesome in return for extreme effort, he’ll do it. But the minute he realizes he has no chance? All bets are off and he won’t put in ANY effort. I pity the future employer that doesn’t reward his endless overtime with a pay raise, bonus or flex time. *lol*

So what would you do?

Would you:

A) put an asterisk by the first quarter and acknowledge that he WOULD have had a B if the teacher had changed her teaching method one week sooner?

B) accept his math average as an unweighted average of all his grades – making his grade an 87.5% instead of the 84% reflected on his report card?

C) wait until the end of the year and see if his end grades for the YEAR are As and Bs?

D) say he can’t earn the reward at all since he got an 84 in math this quarter?

I honestly don’t know what to do. I want to keep him motivated – he’s been doing so well – but I truly never thought he would get a C this year because of the work he’s doing. And not only doing it, but doing it on his own – his teacher gives very little homework, but what homework he gets he does in a timely manner and without protest (a pleasant change from prior years).

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Making the Case Against Facebook

Anyone who knows me knows that I enjoy using Facebook. In fact, when I joined Facebook in 2008, my Cootiehog level of participation took a huge hit and I went from posting every day (sometimes multiple times a day), to once a week, to once a month, to a few times a year. Readership and commenting plunged from a peak of nearly 1,000 unique readers to a few dozen. But Facebook was quick, easy, and
(eventually) on my phone. It was so much easier to post a quick quip than spend time coming up with a worthy post to put on the blog. I kept the blog because I had a few long-distance friends who were NOT on Facebook and were still interested in keeping up with our goings-on (hi, KF and MBM!).

But I’ve noticed in the past year or so that my Facebook feed has gone from being about my friends to more about the products my friends are selling. No longer do I see pictures of people on their vacations with family – now I see before and after pics, or receive countless invites to candle parties, nail sticker parties, cooking utensil parties, jewelry parties, makeup parties, skincare parties, healthy living parties – you name it, I get it.

I decline every single one. Because if I go to one just to be polite, I’ll feel like I have to go to them all. I’m not that polite. I don’t have time to be that polite. If I was that polite I’d be going to 15-20 parties a month and feeling guilty when I don’t spend money after listening to the spiel about why this! product! rocks! I’m not exaggerating – I have THAT many friends doing MLM sales.

And listen, I don’t begrudge these women their home-based income earning (it’s all women – not a single male in the bunch). I have one friend who is so successful that she quit her full-time job because she makes more hosting 6-7 parties on the weekends than she did working as a paralegal in DC. She is a rock star for her MLM company and was eventually elected to the Board of Directors because she is so good at it. I get it – there is money to be had. I’ve seen the company cars that have been earned, and the all-expense paid trip rewards. I know MLM selling can work.

I’m just not interested in reading about it.

Last night I whipped out my phone to catch up on the day’s Facebook posts, only to have post after post be about products, not pals. I put my phone away. But then I brought it back out and posted that as much as I loved my friends, I was going to have to hide the posts of ones who insisted on using their personal FB pages to hock their wares. And I’m obviously not alone in that feeling – within a couple hours of my post I had many friends (non-MLM) who “liked” my status.

In my mind, MLM marketing should be done on FB pages, not personal posts. I have one friend who created a FB page for her MLM business a few months ago. She invited me to join the page – I elected not to. After a few weeks of promoting the page in her regular feed, and building up the readership there, she finally stopped posting about the biz on her regular FB profile. She exclusively uses her FB product page to exalt her product and the results of using said product. Her posts went back to being about her life as a singleton, her job, her cat, her vacations, her life. Maybe once a month she’ll post a link to her product page and let people know about it. Once a month is much more preferable to 3-4x a day. And it was a blessing because I felt like I didn’t have to skip all her posts anymore.

It’s bad enough that Facebook is forcing advertising down my throat every time I click into the site. I don’t want my friends doing it too.

In response to my post last night about hiding the friends who were wasting valuable FB wall space on MLM, one of my friends responded that she posted about her product all the time because she was really invested in it and that it WAS a major part of her life. She said people were probably sick of reading about her kids or her running regimen. She also apologized for offending me.

It’s not that I’m offended by the posts – the posts aren’t offensive. They are just excessively present because *everyone* is doing it. I responded that I LIKED reading about her kids and her running regimen. And I do.

I like reading about kids being late for school, a new restaurant being visited, a longstanding football rivalry, the latest book that you read, the college class you are taking, that movie you want to go check out, your hatred of the gym but the importance of going, the new Bible study your small group is starting, your feelings on the latest episode of “Walking Dead,” your desire for political ads to go away, your excitement over good concert tickets, the toils and tribulations of potty-training, excitement over lower gas prices, your excessive overtime that you wish you would end, your lunch, your frustration with (or love of) Common Core curriculum, your upcoming vacation, your advice on how to handle a teenage girl who isn’t responsible enough to have a phone, the silly thing your dog did yesterday, your marathon training, the prank you played on your sister, your opinion on whether WNC or ENC BBQ is better, how hopeful you are about your latest job interview, your lament over Christmas ads before Halloween, the new house you bought, cars running out of gas, your desire to retire to some tropical beach, your favorite memory from high school, how much you love the new [insert singer’s name here] song, the time you were climbing a fence and got stuck at the top, how much you saved at the store this week playing the grocery game, excitement about the mission trip you are going on, how you miss your husband who is traveling for the next few days, about your new baby (be it human, feline or canine), your beach pics, your mountain pics, your food pics, your hanging-at-the-bar pics, your cat pics, your poolside pics, your selfies, your beer pint pics, your home reno pics, your kid pics, your vacation to Europe pics , your TBT pics, your
look-at-this-new-kind-of-Oreo pics.

Those are the things that made me enjoy Facebook when I joined in 2008, and the same things I enjoy reading in 2014. So keep posting those things. I’ll read every single post and enjoy every minute or it.


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Miscellaneous New Stuff

KF and MBM, have you enjoyed reading the new stuff? Sometimes I think you may be the only two regular readers I have left. *lol* From the heights of being featured on CNN (in 2004) to the depths of mainly being the blog that tells you how to fix your Samsung phone if you can’t log in anymore (my most popular post of 2014 because apparently it’s a huge issue).

Okay, so what else can I share?

We’re in the process of having our TV room carpet replaced with hardwoods. Well, by the time this post goes live it’ll be done. Right now it looks like this:


We had a lot of work done this summer in addition to the landscaping work. We kept having wasps and yellowjackets getting in the house for the past couple years – there was a hole in one of the window sashs in our TV room. So we had that completely replaced, and also had some exterior wood rot taken care of. We finally got the popcorn ceiling removed in our master bedroom and bath. Last year the popcorn started coming down in the bathroom where our shower was. We determined that the bathroom fan was a joke and not positioned in the right spot. So we got a new fan and had it installed directly over the shower rather than by the entry door to the bathroom. We also had some popcorn coming down in the bedroom near one of the ceiling vents. So we had it all taken down. Man, was it dusty. Our poor housecleaner – she was miserable the next time she came to clean. It was a hot mess up there. But I tell you – it looks GREAT. Now we need to save up to have the REST of the popcorn removed in the house. I just don’t know if I’m ready for that kind of mess any time soon.

We also had ceiling fan/lights installed in the kids’ rooms. Since we moved in they’ve only had light via a plugged in lamp. Their rooms were always dark as a result. Not anymore! Now they have nice bright light AND the ability to get some air movement in their rooms. It has been a nice change. I’d love to eventually do the same in the guest room someday, but since we rarely have guests, it’s not a priority.

In other news, since it’s October Denis and I are in the midst of figuring out our menu for our annual White Elephant party. We won’t be doing an all-new menu like we did last year. We’ll be revisiting some old recipes as well as introducing some new ones. As always, we’re looking forward to the party.

Work is going well. I’ve pretty much thrown off my “Administrative Assistant” title at this point. Sure, I may schedule meetings every now and again, but for the most part I strictly do data analysis. Most of my work is done in Excel instead of Word or Powerpoint. I don’t mind – I like trying to figure out formulas and building big spreadsheets that all work together and provide a snapshot of current outcomes. Yes, my name is Jaynee and I’m a huge nerd.

Denis’s knee is pretty much back to normal. He finished up PT a couple months ago and now he and I both go to the gym almost every night when our schedule allows. I had started a self-challenge to go every day for 100 days. But then I tweaked my knee when doing lower body weights, and it put my out of commission for 2-3 days. So now I just go as much as I can, doing an hour on the treadmill or 20 minutes treadmill and 40 minutes of weights/abs. I was telling CootieGirl the other day that when she turned 13 I’ll upgrade my membership so she can go with me whenever she wants. At first she said no way, but then she sounded a tiny bit intrigued. So we’ll see (she doesn’t turn 13 for another 18 months, so she has time to decide if she’ll take me up on the offer). I go often enough that one of the girls at the front counter knows my name and calls out to me when I come in or leave, almost like Norm on “Cheers.” That’s kind of nice – knowing that I go to the gym often enough that they recognize me as a regular. I’d rather be recognized there than at the local QT picking up a daily slushee.

TV-wise, what am I watching? I like “blackish” a lot. I also have been watching “Forever” – although I don’t know how long it’ll last. “Gotham” is pretty good. It’s weird watching “Gracepoint” when I loved “Broadchurch” on BBC America. But I’ll watch David Tennant in anything, so I’m enjoying it. When I go to the gym I watch “Supernatural” on Netflix streaming on my phone. How have I never watched this show?!?! And it’s been on for 10 years and I never really watched it! Now I love it. I’ve just started Season 2. I’m so happy that I have another 8 seasons after this one to keep me going at the gym. I can typically watch one episode and part of another during my hour on the treadmill. I do an hour on the treadmill 3-4 times a week, which means I can watch 4-5 episodes a week. And I have NINE seasons to watch. It’s not quite binge-watching, but I find I look forward to my workout because I know I’ll get to watch another episode.

Okay, so I think that’s it for now. Look at that – I’ve posted every other day since October 10! Not bad! Today the family is heading to Statesville, NC to the hot air balloon festival. Next Saturday we’re going to a BBQ festival in Lexington, NC. Other upcoming events for us include:

  • CG and I participating in The Color Run – one of those 5Ks where they throw paint on you at the end.
  • CG and I going to see “Mythbusters” live.
  • Both kids and I going to see the “So You Think You Can Dance” tour.
  • Both kids and I going to see “Newsies” when it comes into town.
  • So clearly we have a lot going on – hopefully I’ll remember to come on here and post pictures and updates and all sorts of good stuff. Because that’s how KF and MBM keep informed on the Cootie goings-on (they don’t use Facebook).

    Oh, and here are the floors once we moved the furniture back in:

    No more gross carpet!  Lovely bamboo floors!  Yay!

    No more gross carpet! Lovely bamboo floors! Yay!

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    Schoolin’ and Such

    As for the kids, they are doing well. CootieGirl is in middle school this year and while I had a major panic attack at the idea of it being a whole new ballgame, it appears that I had nothing to worry about. She misses having her best friend around (the girl is a year younger), but has adjusted very well. Not only that, but she is doing well academically, too. Many long-time readers know that CootieGirl has struggled with school – specifically her reading abilities. She does not have dyslexia or anything, but learned how to read in kindergarten strictly using sight words, and it ended up removing her ability to learn phonetics. She would see a word that started with “th” and just start guessing. That? Those? This? There? On and on – never sounding out the word phonetically at all. As a result she struggled in her early years of school.

    I’m happy to report that this year she is a solid A/B student – even her Bs hover near A most of the time. She is fortunate that she has teachers who don’t believe on bogging down kids with tons of homework, and so she has become very responsible about completing it on her own without my having to nag her. She has made a few new friends (the middle school combined a few elementary schools so new!people!) and doesn’t dread going to school. It’s a happy change.

    She did recently get into trouble at school and end up having to participate in in-school suspension. I was really surprised when she showed me the slip of paper I had to sign to prove that I knew about it. She was really distressed and after a lengthy conversation (it took me a while to get down to the brass tacks of what actually happened versus what she thought I wanted to hear), I determined this was (hopefully) an anomaly and something that (hopefully) will not happen again. She understands that if she does something like it again she will suffer OUT of school suspension which is a much bigger deal not only at school but at home. I assured her that if she gets out of school suspension she will not leave her room other than for bathroom breaks and meals. No tv, no electronics, no computer, no radio in her room. Just herself and books. That’s it. But I’m reasonably confident this was a one-time only deal, because she’s a good kid. She just didn’t choose to use common sense last week when she got in trouble.

    Sometimes she likes to work on her computer will sitting in Chilly's crate.  I've no idea why.

    Sometimes she likes to work on her computer will sitting in Chilly’s crate. I’ve no idea why.

    As for CootieBoy, he remains in the gift/talented program and is also an A/B student. However, he HATES school. I’ve had to bribe him to not be lazy. I’ve told him that if he can make the A/B honor every quarter of the school year, I’ll let him get an Xbox next summer. That is high reward for him, and so he’s really doing his best to get good grades. He has occasional mishaps – a rare 60% on math classwork – but make up for it when the quiz or test comes along. He is struggling with division this year, but apparently the whole class is because the teacher recently sent an email to all the parents to say she is going to change up how she teaches for the next few weeks and see if things improve for the class.

    He does really well on project work and has gotten As on all of those. He has also recently gotten back into reading. Oh, he still loves playing Minecraft, but I recently challenged him to read a book I picked out for him (The Maze Runner) and he not only read it in less than a week, but he has started reading book 2 in the trilogy. YAY for him picking up a book that does not have cartoon drawings of some kind on every page! I’ve already bought him the next book I want him to read – a Rick Riordan book that I know he’ll enjoy just as much.

    CootieBoy enjoying some froyo while watching people play cornhole.

    CootieBoy enjoying some froyo while watching people play cornhole.

    All in all, they are doing great. They still get in fights (CootieGirl’s hormones enable her to flip on a dime at any time) but when they get along, it’s GREAT.

    Party in CootieBoy's room - from left to right: CB, a stuffed animal that looks like a dog, CootieGirl, Chilly, and Dobby.

    Party in CootieBoy’s room – from left to right: CB, a stuffed animal that looks like a dog, CootieGirl, Chilly, and Dobby.

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    The New Cootie Backyard

    When last I spoke of it, we were fully into the Summer of Landscaping. I’m happy to report that we are almost done completely with that project.

    We ended up NOT doing a screened in patio – we got several quotes and none of them were within the price range we were willing to spend, so we opted just to extend the existing patio slab to go from 14×17 to 22×17. This way we’d have plenty of room for furniture, a firepit, the grill and the smoker.

    I only have a few pictures – but they definitely show the improvement.

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    Not picture are a butterfly bush and two blueberry bushes that have been planted near the shed. I had them in containers originally, but took advantage of the landscapers and had them relocated into the ground. They were due to move up to bigger containers before becoming rootbound. I hope they like their new location and flourish over the next couple of years.

    The new grass is spotty on the slope because watering it causes the seed to go down the hill. We now have a lot of grass now growing under our shed as a result. *rolls eyes* We’ve decided to wait until the spring and put down sod in the patches where the seed just gets washed away. Either way what we have now is an improvement over what we had before.

    This past weekend Denis and I worked a bit more in the yard – we cut back some more branches that were close to the house, mowed the new grass, some other stuff. And once we were done I took the covers off a couple pieces of the lawn furniture where CootieGirl and I sat for a bit chatting and enjoying the cool weather. It was EXACTLY what I hoped for when we began the project.

    Did we come under budget? Nope. And we’ll spend a bit more in November when I have the landscaper come back to plant the 10 Mountain Laurels that will go along the back fence to create a privacy hedge. But it was absolutely worth every single penny spent. Our yard has gone from being a dingy overgrown mess to something that I can absolutely keep up and maintain. And enjoy for years to come.

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