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Fin or Fine

Last year Walker had spelling test every week.  Throughout the entire year he only got two words wrong.  He was quite proud of his achievements and so were we. 

Walker is lucky enough to have a fabulous teacher again this year.  She is full of energy, smiles and laughter.  Walker came home the first day and said, “My class rocks”!  Having a sense of humor is par for the course of being a elementary teacher for this age group.

Walker is now having spelling test each and every week.  He was doing a fabulous job until the other week when he came home and said he got one work wrong.  I go though the list thinking it was one of the more difficult words.  To my bewilderment it was… get this… the work… “Fine”.

The conversation:

Me:  Walker… are you kidding me?  How could you get the easiest word on the list wrong.

Walker (profound answer): I don’t know.


I went to class last week to assist in the computer lab for Walker’s class.  I mentioned to the teacher that I couldn’t believe he got the easiest word on the list wrong.  So here was the conversation that I missed that occurred at school.

Teacher: Yes Walker?

Walker (pitiful puppy dog look in his eyes): Mrs. Venzie… I heard the word “Fin” not “Fine”?

Teacher (while keeping her laughter to a minimum) replied: Really Walker?  Well… I would believe that if everyone else in the class spelled it the same way.


I guess you can’t blame a kid for trying.  I think he gets an A for effort on that one don’t you?


A True Gentleman

As parents we are constantly questioning ourselves about how we are raising our children as we travel along the path of parenthood.   Every once in awhile we are lucky enough to receive a glimpse of the type adults they will become.   I have been told not only is Walker primarily a well behaved child but he is one of the most compassionate students this particular teacher has taught. 

He is now receiving phone calls from friends and some of them girls.  A neighbors daughter who happens to be in his class called and wanted a play date.  She came over and they played for several hours.  When it was time to go home I reminded Walker to escort her out.  He then proceeded (without any prompting) to walk her all the way home.  I did say to him when he returned that he didn’t have to do that and his reply was, “I know… I just wanted to walk her all the way home”.

It’s the small things that he has learned that will make a difference in the long run.  He put a smile on my face and I don’t even think he realizes how he did it.  Teaching our kids to make the right decisions for the right reasons is nothing easy.  Sometimes we have to let them make the mistakes so they learn for the next time.


School Begins

It has been a long time since I have written and so much has happened in the last few months.  It was a great summer for everyone.  It was sunshine almost everyday.  The kids attended camp with their school buddies and before they knew it summer math packets and reading assignments were due for the first day of school.  As we weren't finding out who they were getting for teachers until the end of the summer they waited with bated breath.

Everyday for a week the kids took turns running to the mailbox to find out who they were going to share their next school year with.  Finally the envelopes came and soon there was a flurry of parents on Facebook asking. "Who does your son/daughter have this year"?  Walker even got two calls from friends that day to find out.  We are truly blessed this year to have another great year of wonderful teachers.  Peyton has a teacher who has a great background in Special Education and is a new kindergarten teacher this year.  She is enthusiastic and excited to have her own classroom this year.  Walker was fortunate to be in the same class as many of his buddies.  The phrase "Team Venzie" was already coined throughout class and Facebook.  Although we would have been fortunate to have any of the 3rd grade teachers for Walker.  There was no way he would not have had a wonderful year.  He was lucky enough to have a great teacher last year which has helped him to start his education on the right foot.

Walker came home from his first day and exclaimed, "My class Rocks"!  He even said you were right Mrs. venzie is a great teacher.  Such statements definitely put a parents mind as ease.  Peyton has a great first few days as well.  Although he has had his first few nightmares and seems to want to cuddle more with mommy than usual.  I believe that starting kindergarten has been a little stressful for him since it isn't just playtime all the time.

I wish both of my children well in the coming year.  Lots of new things to learn and friends to make.


He was carrying a red umbrella...

We like to protect our children as much as possible and shield them from harm but sometimes the best way to do that is to let go... just a little.  Most of you that have read my blog in the past remember the horrific incident when Walker went missing from school when he was in kindergarten.  That particular story can be read here.  Though this is technically his second time walking home, it is the first time with permission.

Two years have passed since that time and Walker has grown not only physically but emotionally and it was decided that he be given a little more independence.  Some parents would cringe at the thought of their eight year old walking home from school by themselves.  Just to put it into perspective he doesn't have to cross the road and walks down about a quarter of a mile to the end of our street from the school.  I am not a big believer of shielding our children from absolutely everything.  They need to learn but best to learn important lessons in life from their own parents or guardians.

It was decided around Christmas that once Walker turned eight he would be given the opportunity to prove his responsibility and independence.  His eight birthday has come and gone so the other day we arranged for him to be able to walk home.  I told him it may be raining and he would still have to walk home because things aren't always sunny and perfect.  He said with a smile it was okay he would still like to walk home.  Prior to him leaving in the morning we had the discussion that he was not to stop and talk to his friends and that he needed to come straight home. 

Two -thirty came and I headed out the door to meet him on the corner across from the crossing guard.  Like clock-work he came strolling down the sidewalk in the pouring rain with his big red umbrella.  He saw me and he smiled from ear to ear.  You could tell by his smile and enthusiasm how excited and proud he was of his accomplishments.

He has proven to us he can be trusted and acts in a responsible manner.  This is just a baby step to bigger things to come for him as he grows into a young man.  I get excited and sad at the same time of the changes that will occur but overall I love every stage of each of my children's lives. 

Though they have a lot to learn in the years to come they have taught me much as well.   They have taught us to pick our battles as not every battle can be won.  Choose wisely as they have a memory that is long.  They will make mistakes along the way as we often do but reacting accordingly is imperative to future success and happiness.


It Was a Truly Lucky Day

So on Monday I turn on my computer to read my e-mails.  Being slightly weary of spam, viruses and other vicious things sent through e-mail I viewed this particular one cautiously.  It seemed legit but sent by mistake for sure.  I open with one eye open and check the return address.  It was someone that works at the BSO (Boston Symphony Orchestra).  Well some of you know that they are affiliated with Tanglewood in western Massachusetts.  It was a quick e-mail that was obviously not intended for me.  Like the good samaritan I sent her back a quick e-mail letting her know that I did not think I was the intended recipient to the correspondence
The e-mail conversation went as follows:
I received your e-mail below but not sure how you got it.  My name is Sarah Harrigan and I have purchased tickets for Tanglewood but have nothing to do with a business account.
so sorry!
If you hook my husband and I up with tickets to Carol King and James Taylor all will be forgiven.  Only kidding.  No problem.  Have a great day.
I can do that. 
Really?  I have been up to Tanglewood 5 times to see him and she is one of my favorites as well.  If you aren't kidding let me know what information you need from me.
O.K. I am not kidding but I only do this for special people.  Are you special?  Only kidding...  Now, of course, nothing will happen-you will have a blast and I will feel better knowing you are out there.  My cell is XXX-XXX-XXXX.  Hope this works for you.
First and foremost thank you from the bottom of my heart.  My husband would be more than happy to assist.  We live in XXXXXX Connecticut currently but we look forward to concerts at Tanglewood every summer.  Just to give you a little background this summer will be a little different for us as I was laid off from Travelers Insurance (after 15 years) last fall.  As we are trying to conserve money this was one of the things that we had decided to forego.  This will be a special treat for us that I cannot even put into words what a great opportunity this is.  Again, thank you so much as it means more to us than you know.  I am not only special but lucky.


You are special-this will be great!  I am sorry things are a little tough and that this will help.  Yes, get in touch a little before the concert.  It is funny-the circumstances with which we connected but so glad you are excited.  My pleasure.


So it is with great pleasure that Rich and I will be attending the James Taylor and Carol King this summer at Tanglewood.  So here is to finding another kindred spirit among us.


Free Home Metaphor

I received this e-mail from a friend on Facebook and thought it would enlighten many people to what is going on with the new Healthcare.  While many systems need perpetual revisions we still need to be careful of what we choose.  If it sounds too good to be true than well... it probably isn't true.  Where have we heard that one before?


 I was in my neighborhood restaurant this morning and was seated behind a group of jubilant individuals celebrating the successful passing of the recent health care bill. I could not finish my breakfast.

This is what ensued:
 They were a diverse group of several races and both sexes. I heard the young man exclaim, “Isn’t Obama like Jesus Christ? I mean, after all, he is healing the sick.” The young woman enthusiastically proclaimed, “Yeah, and he does it for free. I cannot believe anyone would think that a free market would work for health care. They are all crooks and thieves and don’t deserve all of that money.” Another said, ‘The stupid Republicans want us all to starve to death so they can inherit all of the power. Obama should be made a Saint for what he did for those of us less fortunate.” At this, I had had enough.

 I arose from my seat, mustering all the restraint I could find, and approached their table. “Please excuse me; may I impose upon you for one moment?” They smiled and welcomed me to the conversation. I stood at the end of their table, smiled as best I could and began an experiment.

 “I would like to give one of you my house. It will cost you no money and I will pay all of the expenses and taxes for as long as you live there. Anyone interested?” They looked at each other in astonishment. “Why would you do something like that?” asked a young man, “There isn’t anything for free in this world.” They began to laugh at me, as they did not realize this man had just made my point. “I am serious, I will give you my house for free, no money what so ever. Anyone interested?” In unison, a resounding “Hell Yeah” fills the room.

 “Since there are too many of you, I will have to make a choice as to who receives this money free bargain.” I noticed an elderly couple was paying attention to the spectacle unfolding before their eyes, the old man shaking his head in apparent disgust. “I tell you what; I will give it to the one of you most willing to obey my rules.” Again, they looked at one another, an expression of bewilderment on their faces. The perky young woman asked, “What are the rules?” I smiled and said, “I don’t know. I have not yet defined them. However, it is a free home that I offer you.” They giggled amongst themselves, the youngest of which said, “What an old coot. He must be crazy to give away his home. Go take your meds, old man.” I smiled and leaned into the table a bit further. “I am serious, this is a legitimate offer.” They gaped at me for a moment.

 “Hell, I’ll take it you old fool. Where are the keys?” boasted the youngest among them. “Then I presume you accept ALL of my terms then?” I asked. The elderly couple seemed amused and entertained as they watched from the privacy of their table. “Oh hell yeah! Where do I sign up?” I took a napkin and wrote, “I give this man my home, without the burden of financial obligation, so long as he accepts and abides by the terms that I shall set forth upon consummation of this transaction.” I signed it and handed it to the young man who eagerly scratched out his signature. “Where are the keys to my new house?” he asked in a mocking tone of voice. All eyes were upon us as I stepped back from the table, pulling the keys from pocket and dangling them before the excited new homeowner.

 “Now that we have entered into this binding contract, witnessed by all of your friends, I have decided upon the conditions you are obligated to adhere from this point forward. You may only live in the house for one hour a day. You will not use anything inside of the home. You will obey me without question or resistance. I expect complete loyalty and admiration for this gift I bestow upon you. You will accept my commands and wishes with enthusiasm, no matter the nature. Your morals and principles shall be as mine. You will vote as I do, think as I do and do it with blind faith. These are my terms. Here are your keys.” I reached the keys forward and the young man looked at me dumb founded.

 “Are you out of your freaking mind? Who would ever agree to those ridiculous terms?” the young man appeared irritated. “You did when you signed this contract before reading it, understanding it and with the full knowledge that I would provide my conditions only after you committed to the agreement.” Was all I said. The elderly man chuckled as his wife tried to restrain him. I was looking at a now silenced and bewildered group of people. “You can shove that stupid deal up you’re a** old man, I want no part of it” exclaimed the now infuriated young man. “You have committed to the contract, as witnessed by all of your friends; you cannot get out of the deal unless I agree to it. I do not intend to let you free now that I have you ensnared. I am the power you agreed to. I am the one you blindly and without thought chose to enslave yourself to. In short, I am your Master.” At this, the table of celebrating individuals became a unified group against the unfairness of the deal.

 After a few moments of unrepeatable comments and slurs, I revealed my true intent. “What I did to you is what this administration and congress did to you with the health care legislation. I easily suckered you in and then revealed the real cost of the bargain. Your folly was in the belief that you can have something you did not earn; that you are entitled to that which you did not earn; that you willingly allowed someone else to think for you. Your failure to research, study and inform yourself permitted reason to escape you. You have entered into a trap from which you cannot flee. Your only chance of freedom is if your new Master gives it unto you. A freedom that is given can also be taken away; therefore, it is not freedom.” With that, I tore up the napkin and placed it before the astonished young man. “This is the nature of your new health care legislation.”

 I turned away to leave these few in thought and contemplation and was surprised by applause. The elderly gentleman, who was clearly entertained, shook my hand enthusiastically and said, “Thank you Sir, these kids don’t understand Liberty these days.” He refused to allow me to pay my bill as he said, “You earned this one, it is an honor to pickup the tab.” I shook his hand in thanks, leaving the restaurant somewhat humbled, and sensing a glimmer of hope for my beloved country.
 Use reason,
 Clifford A Wright
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