Socks and computer stuff (two great posts rolled into one!)

As I mentioned last week, socks get eaten here. It is also cold, not getting above 30 degrees all week. I decided to go sock hunting. We are fans of thick socks, which cost more.
A little online sleuthing netted me a deal! I perused the clearance bin and found 2 packs of heavy socks for $4.35 a pack, when we added in shipping. Happy me, I planned to get 20 packs, which would give each family member 8 pairs. I was pretty happy about this, and ran it past the Dude. He was a little weirded out at spending $85 on socks, but also saw the wisdom in bulk buying and the overall savings. We would spend all that and more if we bought them in the store.

I forgot about placing the order for a couple of days and then went back to visit. The sale price was due to two separate promotion codes, and one had expired. Sadness. I put the order in the cart anyway, to see what the total was. Well, now that one coupon code was gone, my order now hit the $75 total needed to trigger 30% off my entire purchase!The socks now went down to $65 total with shipping, or $1.66 per pair! Happy dance. Of course the boys then tell me that they don’t like the socks. But, there should be enough of the older socks around, now that 2 or 3 of us will be wearing the new socks. Did I mention that my entire family has the same shoe size range and socks are interchangeable here?

In other news, report cards are coming out soon, and some boys who will remain unnamed are sweating it out to get decent grades. These are really smart boys, but seem to have trouble with focusing. They (we) are all spending way too much time connected to little electronic screens as well. At 1 this morning, while sitting up with a boy who was cramming in an assignment before Monday, I came up with a list of new house rules. I would be a lot less frustrated about this if this assignment wasn’t assigned months ago. Or if during the many times over winter break I asked him about it, he would have gotten in touch with his teacher to find out exactly what he needed to do. Anyway, I a posting the list here in case anyone else is dealing with this and needs ideas. I will update to let you know how it is working.


C+ or below on a report card-lose recreational electronic time for 1 semester
C+ or below on Skyward Access*-lose recreational electronic time until grade improves
First thing on the computer-check Skyward Access and check library account
Note missing assignments, renew books, gather those that are due
Missing assignment-email or speak with teacher immediately to find out what it is and how to make it up
Finish homework, play instrument, do chore, then you can have computer time
2 hours on electronics per weekday-maximum
No electronics after 9 pm
On weekends-2 hours base time-want more time? Earn it with chore, playing outside(all boys), reading (Luigi), math practice(Magnus or Rin) or extra instrument time
*Skyward Access is the computerized gradebook the schools use now, parents and students can log on and access grades, missing assignments, lunch accounts, attendance. It is not perfect, but it helps a lot. 
Each family member signed it and it is now posted on the refrigerator. Also on there is a chore list broken down into short, medium, and long; a calendar for boys to check off when they have completed a chore for the day, and a list of “what to do when I am bored.”I will include that list in its own post. We had a long meeting this morning to discuss new expectations. We are setting up homework accounts on each computer. They must use that account while they are doing their homework, and it will have leechblock or Stay focused, depending on their browser. 
I am struggling to find this balance in my own life. We have not had a TV for years and years, because we found it too big a time waster. Once we got rid of it, there would be an adjustment period, and then it was okay. But the computer, you can’t just get rid of it. The boys do school assignments on them, they have creative activities, be it blogging, deviant art, making Minecraft mods. Luigi is currently teaching himself Java. Rin has mad programming skills, and wants to work in that field when he is grown up. I need it to do my school work, and to maintain this lovely blog. We bill pay on it. But it is so hard to place limits around it. Every quick check of email or facebook adds up. One article links to another, links to another. And then there are all those cats. And netflix! It becomes harder and harder to shut it down. 
And we don’t even have smart phones. I see how ubiquitous those become in people’s lives. I was standing and waiting for the bus the other day. It was cold and it was snowing. There were maybe 10 other people there, and we waited for 10-15 minutes. In that time, I saw two people pull out their phones to take pictures of themselves. One picture taker was with a friend and cold and bummed about standing there. A bus had come and they had hoped to get on it, but the bus was full and they had to wait longer. She was laughing and talking with her friend, but then she pulled out her phone and they both made sad faces for the picture she took. Even though she was laughing the whole time, right after she took the picture, she said, “I am really not having fun here.” I found this interesting-her performance for facebook altered her perception of her current state of mind. I am surely reading too much into it and I know it wasn’t that black and white for her, but I found it striking nonetheless. So, dear readers, I would love to hear about the parameters you have surrounding personal computers, tablets, and smartphones in your lives, for yourselves and your children. 

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