Monday, June 18, 2007

Industrious Young Men

The garage sale was a success! And we were able to shut down at 1:00 pm, an hour earlier than my 2pm deadline. We sold all of our "big ticket items" (jogging stroller, bike trailer to haul toddlers around, and indoor tunnel and fort set.) Everybody in the family earned forty bucks. After we closed up, we loaded up the truck and took the leftovers to the Good Will drive-thru -- very easy and painless
R and T did a great job at their lemonade, water, and cookie stand. They sold about 20 bottles of water and three pitchers of lemonade. M took the opportunity to teach the boys about business -- how important location is (they were right at the end of the driveway); the key to timing (selling cold drinks on a hot day); and marketing (the sign has their products -- water on one side and lemonade on the other with prices). He also taught them about the cost of doing business. The boys had to pay for the ice and bottled water out of their sales. They didn't mind this at all, since they were solidly in the black. I think that they made about thirteen dollars just from the refreshments that they sold.
They sold a few cookies, but not much. As T said, "people don't like to eat cookies when it's hot." The boys waved to all of the cars going by, and after one stopped and "ordered" one water from the car window, R declared "we have drive thru too." R was the hawker, yelling "get your water and lemonade Heee-ear" to each car that drove by and each person that walked by. M and I were amazed that anybody could pass up these adorable boys! But some just drove on by. There were plenty of folks that made up for those drive-bys -- like the man who declared that the lemonade "was better than any he's had before" as he paid for a second cup. And there was the lady that asked how much the lemonade was, after hearing that it was fifty cents apiece (prices went up from twenty-five cents at about 11:00) she said to the boys "here's a dollar; buy yourselves each a glass of lemonade." T excitedly ran up to me and said, "can we really buy ourselves a glass, mom?" He was thrilled. About three people overpaid by fifty cents and told the boys to keep the change -- which the boys loved.
All in all, it was a successful day.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Getting Rich on a Garage Sale

Our neighborhood has an annual garage sale. We haven't participated it in the two summers that we've lived here, much to the boys' chagrin. Last year I promised them that we'd participate this year. For the past two weeks we've been scouring through toys, books, clothes, and odds 'n ends to find things to sell. All of the Rescue Heroes are going (sad, I know) because R's been tired of them for two years and T never got into them. That means that we're selling three command centers, five vehicles and about 30 action figures themselves. We have a lot more toys to sell besides those. The whole idea of garage sale pricing is lost on the boys -- they want to sell things for their brand-new retail value. We've gotten it down though, and price stickers are on -- action figures for twenty five cents, vehicles for one dollar, and command centers for five dollars -- we are priced to sell! It's supposed to be 93 degrees tomorrow and I want to be cleaned out by noon -- or two at the latest. In addition to all the stuff we're selling, T is running (with R's help) a lemonade and cookie stand. I had to talk him down from the one-dollar-a-cup price he was going for (we're down to a quarter a cup) and he's pretty excited.

For those who can't comment:
You need to open a Google account, just like how you opened a Blogger account two years ago. Blogger has sold to Google and they require you to get a Google email. Don't worry, you never have to use it and it's free. You just have to spend the two minutes to set it up and you're good to go. I miss hearing your comments :>

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Deal

R was waiting with his dad and T for me to finish shopping for some shoes a few weeks ago. They wandered into a video game store, where R played "the most awesome game ever!" He asked if he could use his own money to buy the game. After all, he told us, he had eight five dollars in his piggy bank. (I know, it's hard to believe that all of that birthday, Christmas, and other random holiday dollars add up to so much.)

M and I talked about it and decided that he could use half of his own money and he could earn the other half by helping out around the house. He was a tad bit disappointed at first, but then quickly warmed up to the idea. We also told him that in order to earn any money, he had to do the assigned job with a great attitude. He enthusiastically said, "sure, no problem!"

I must say that the next day was a blast -- he'd do anything that we said, and with a happy attitude. His video game will cost $30, so he needed to earn fifteen bucks. That first weekend, he earned three dollars and was thrilled -- "only twelve dollars more to go." He's been helping to clean out the toys in the basement to get ready for the neighborhood garage sale this weekend, he's cleaned the bathrooms, mopped the kitchen floor, vacumed a few times, weeded the garden. We don't tell him how much a job is worth, but award him what we think is appropriate based on the difficulty of the job, his attitude, and how good of a job he does. He doesn't always get paid: for example, today he was supposed to pick up sticks in the back yard before M mowed the lawn. It's a tough job because there are hundreds of sticks after the wind storm we had over the weekend. He didn't even get half of them picked up before he gave up and "got distracted, dad." So, he didn't get the money. What's great is that he understands that. I asked him how his day was and he said that it was good. "I earned two more dollars for cleaning the two bathrooms, folding the towels and putting them away, and helping dad move the furniture back in the living room. But, I didn't get anything for picking up the sticks because I didn't do a good enough job."

He's now only "a buck and a half" away from his goal. He thinks he can get there by this weekend. I think he can too.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Kayaks, Sailboats, and A Thunderstorm

Yesterday we decided to go to "the club" on the lake for an afternoon of fun. I packed up a picnic lunch (ham sandwiches, Cheez-It Twisterz, pears, and Rice Krispies Treats) and we headed off. It was a really hot day for this time of year (87 degrees) and we were looking forward to spending the afternoon on and in the water.

In the car on the way, R was telling us about a friend who has four video game systems, which R though was really cool and was a bit envious of. M talked to him about how that friend of his doesn't get to spend any time with his parents and they don't go on the adventures like we do. He explained that having things isn't as important as spending time as a family.

As we were driving, the sun started to disappear behind a variety of puffy white clouds. Then the clouds got greyer and greyer. Just as we pulled onto the street that the club is on, a HUGE THUNDERSTORM burst -- with rain pounding down on the windshield, thunder cracking and lightning lighting up the very dark sky. M and I looked at each other and started laughing "nice day for the beach" we said to each other.

We arrived at the club as the rain pounded even harder. So, M pulled the truck up to the lake and we had a "car picnic" in the truck while watching the storm on the lake. We prayed that the storm would pass so we could at least unload the kayak and put in on the stand (where it will stay for the season.) Luckily, the storm did pass and we were able to get out and about. R started riding his bike and T chased him around, stomping in puddles. M and I got the kayak up and M began putzing with the sailboat, fixing something or other. I grabbed a dry chair, put on sunscreen and sat on the beach for a bit (it was now completely sunny where we were.) However, we could still hear thunder all around us, so we didn't take the sailboat out.

After awhile, we didn't hear the thunder anymore, so I took the kayak out for a spin. After falling off four times while trying to get on (and being oh-so-dainty in the process!) I was on and went for a half-hour paddle -- nice! When I came back, M had the sailboat all rigged and the whole family went for a sail. It was a lovely time and everybody had fun and got a chance at the helm.

Just as we were cruising back into the dock, the skies got dark again and thunder started clapping. We got the boys ashore, while M and I docked the boat. Well, we actually didn't dock the boat as easily as we should have. I guess with the stress of trying to race the storm, we couldn't get our act together in rolling up the mainsail, so M tried to stand on our boat lift (something he's never tried before because he feared it wouldn't hold him) and we heard a SNAP and the boat and lift dropped about two feet. Uh Oh. By now, it was pouring rain and we couldn't get the boat tied up safely. M sent me to the truck to look for pliers. I didn't find any, but I did find some wire cutters and cable ties (I figured that you could fix anything with cable ties or duct tape.) M was able to use two cable ties to fix the situation and we got the boat safely secured. We were so relieved! And ready for a drink!

We went to the local restaurant, had a margarita, ate dinner, and were good to go. What a fun family adventure we had (that I'm sure beats any video game)!