Cell Phone Contracts. Do This for Your Child.


The Evil Spawn doesn’t have a phone.               Cell Phone Contracts for Your Child.

She has two parents who work, eat, and sleep technology but she doesn’t have a phone.

Why?

One, she doesn’t have a job.  So how would she pay for it?

Two, she is twelve going on thirteen going on forty, but up to this point her parents (mainly mom… and mom is always right) don’t think she is emotionally ready for a phone.

Sure, she would know the technology portion forwards and backwards, but we weren’t sure if she was ready with the emotional responsibility that comes with putting a computer in her pocket.

There are mean people everywhere, but owning a phone just gives them more access to our kid.

It’s a big world out there and we weren’t sure if she was ready to carry it around in her back pocket.

Lastly, our daughter goes from home to school.  School to home.  There are phones available everywhere she is located.

I’m not one of the parents who believe my child will always be safe and never in danger just because she has a phone.

Do phones help with safety?  Maybe. 

But mostly they are status symbols that occassionaly make the child’s and parent’s lives a little less hectic.

In 2014, cell phones (and all technology) is wonderful.  I wouldn’t want to be without it.

But I also don’t want my daughter growing up in a world in which that’s all she knows.

One day she will have a phone.  Probably a very nice phone.

And we will pay for it.  She can pay us back once that job I spend every day dreaming about comes her way.

And when she gets this phone, it will come with rules.

My money.  My rules.

I will start with these 18 from Janell Burley Hofmann.  She’s a genius.  And a good mom.

An open letter to her son Gregory on her blog:

"Merry Christmas!  You are now the proud owner of an iPhone.  Hot Damn!  You are a good and responsible 13 year old  boy and you deserve this gift.  But with the acceptance of this present comes rules and regulations.  Please read through the following contract.  I hope you understand it is my job to raise you into a well rounded, healthy young man that can function in the world and coexist with technology, not be ruled by it.  Failure to comply with the following list will result in termination of your iPhone ownership.

I love you madly and look forward to sharing several million text messages with you in the days to come.

1.  It is my phone.  I bought it.  I pay for it.  I am loaning it to you.  Aren’t I the greatest?

2.  I will always know the password.

3.  If it rings, answer it.  It is a phone.  Say hello, use your manners.  Do not ever ignore a phone call if the screen reads "Mom" or "Dad".  Not ever.

4.  Hand the phone to one of your parents promptly at 7:30 pm every school night and every weekend night at 9:00 pm.  It will be shut off for the night and not turned on again at 7:30 am.  If you would not make a call to someone’s land line, wherein their parents may answer first, then do not call or text.  Listen to those instincts and respect other families like we would like to be respected.

5.  It does not go to school with you.  Have a conversation with the people you text in person.  It’s a life skill.  *Half days, field trips and after school activities will require special consideration.

6.  If it falls into the toilet, smashes on the ground, or vanishes in thin air, you are responsible for the replacement costs or repairs.  Mow a lawn, baby sit, stash some birthday money.  It will happen, you should be prepared.

7.  Do not use technology to lie, fool, or deceive another human being.  Do not involve yourself in conversations that are hurtful to others.  Be a good friend first or stay the hell out of the crossfire.

8.  Do not text, email, or say anything through this device you would not say in person.

9.  Do not text, email, or say anything to someone that you would not say out loud with their parents in the room.  Censor yourself.

10.  No porn.  Search the web for information you would openly share with me.  If you have a question about anything, ask a person – preferably me or your father.

11.  Turn it off, silence it, put it away in public.  Especially in a restaurant, at the movies, or while speaking with another human being.  You are not a rude person; do not allow the iPhone to change that.

12.  Do not send or receive pictures of your private parts or anyone else’s private parts.  Don’t laugh.  Someday you will be tempted to do this despite your high intelligence.  It is risky and could ruin your teenage/college/adult life.  It is always a bad idea.  Cyberspace is vast and more powerful than you.  And it is hard to make anything of this magnitude disappear – including a bad reputation.

13.  Don’t take a zillion pictures and videos.  There is no need to document everything.  Live your experiences.  They will be stored in your memory for eternity.

14.  Leave your phone home sometimes and feel safe and secure in that decision.  It is not alive or an extension of you.  Learn to live without it.  Be bigger and more powerful than FOMO – fear of missing out.

15.  Download music that is new or classic or different than the millions of your peers that listen to the same exact stuff.  Your generation has access to music like never before in history.  Take advantage of that gift.  Expand your horizons.

16.  Play a game with words or puzzles or brain teasers every now and then.

17.  Keep your eyes up.  See the world happening around you.  Stare out a window.  Listen to the birds.  Take a walk.  Talk to a stranger.  Wonder without Googling.

18.  You will mess up.  I will take away your phone.  We will sit down and talk about it.  We will start over again.  You and I, we are always learning.  I am on your team.  We are in this together.  It is my hope that you can agree to these terms.  Most of the lessons listed here do not apply to the iPhone, but to life.  You are growing up in a fast and ever changing world.  It is exciting and enticing.  Keep it simple every chance you get.  Trust your powerful mind and giant heart above any machine.  I hope you enjoy your awesome new iPhone.  Merry Christmas!

xoxoxoxo
Mom"

 


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Midwest Education Technology Conference.


I had the chance to present with my wife, Shannon at the 2014 Midwest Education Technology Conference.METC 2014.

This is what I learned (not shared… learned).

METC is without question, one of the best (if not the best) conferences in the country.

The good people who run it are the most helpful and organized I’ve had the pleasure of working with.

Sure, every hotel conference looks the same.  Of course, except for the carpet.

And the lobbies.  And the lights.  Actually, they all look alike.

But METC is different.

It’s worth your time and money.

If you are in the Midwest, please consider adding their February date to your schedule.

The other thing I learned is my wife is good.

Very good.

But I already knew that, so maybe this doesn’t count as learning something new.

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What Kind of Crazed Spouse Tells Her Husband He Needs to Blog More?


Seriously?Blog More?

I mow.

I wash the towels and sheets.

I stay out of the kitchen and play Twitter until dinner is ready.

I am so doing my part.

And this is the thanks I get.

What?

I can live with ~ get a real job, pick your underwear up out of the yard, or take Buddy the Dog for a walk so he’s less fat.

But, blog more?

Who does she think she is?

My boss?

I don’t think so.

But just in case she is my boss.

Here’s a blog.

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QR Code Birthday Cake.


The Evil Spawn just turned 12.Happy Birthday Ashton.

She’s a nerd and I use this term with respect.

She’s a great nerd (she prefers geek).

For her birthday, she wanted a QR code cake and a QR coded scavenger hunt that led her and her friends all over town.

They went to all of her old haunts.  From her first babysitter to the dentist’s office where she lost her first tooth. 

The clues led them to the grocery store where they had to figure out how much money we have spent on Buddy the Dog’s food in the last four years.

They even visited their 2nd grade teacher where they had to recall the order of the planets from their very first big school project and recite them to her in order (funny what they forget).

They had a blast even though they have evidently forgotten everything they learned in 2nd grade.

It’s good to have a school technology coordinator as a mom.

Go ahead, scan the cake with your reader.  It works.

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Where Have I Been?


I can tell you this, I haven’t been blogging.Buddy the Dog.

Why?

I was hacked.  Not mad, hacked.

As in my blog was hacked (I think you probably get it by now).

Fixing something like this took me longer than I imagined.

So, since January 21, I haven’t written a thing.  Other than about a bazillion Twitter tweets.

And I launched my own website at www.michaelsmithsupt.com.

And lucky for me, school seems to keep me busy.

The break from blogging was good.  I must admit, not having to come up with the next topic has been kind of nice.

Although, I have felt a little guitly.  I never wanted to become the person who just stops blogging without an explanation.

So during my time off I’ve tried to stay productive.  I’ve updated the cartoon on the blog (actually, I have people for this). 

The Evil Spawn and Buddy the Dog continue to grow up right before my eyes.

Weirdly, my wife and I never age.  Not sure how that works, but I know if you pay your cartoon guy enough everything seems to fall into place.

So I’m back.  Hopefully, with interesting stories about my school year, family, and soon the highlights of my trip to Washington D.C. (Thank you Discovery Education).

I do appreciate all of the people who continued to check in and read the blog even without anything new.

I question your taste in blogs, but I do thank you.

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The $425 Million Powerball is All Mine.


Don’t waste your money on buying a ticket.Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner.

I’m winning.

Actually, the woman who I’m relegated to by marriage is winning.  All of "our" money goes in "her" account.

But don’t feel badly for me.  I have total access to "our" money.

Just as long as I don’t spend any of it.  In her defense, she doesn’t spend any of it either.

This explains the bumper sticker on her car "She Who Dies With the Most Wins!".

We decided to buy a Powerball ticket last night.  By we, I mean she said "Stop here, so "we" can buy a Powerball ticket."  I think it’s cute she includes me.

After we purchased the winning ticket (we didn’t win), the woman I’m related to by marriage and chauffeur around so she can gamble "our" money away ($20 for losing tickets) asked what "we" would do with the money when we won (again… for clarification… we are giant losers… so far).

She wants 2 vacation houses.  One on a beach.  One in the woods.

I think a lake house would be the answer, but it’s not "my" money now is it (again, we lost).

The Evil Spawn wants iEverything.  And $1,000,000 in Fun Money.

Seems excessive, but then again I’ve never had $425 million (and never will… even if "we" win) so who am I to judge.

If she is going to be spoiled, might as well go big.

Me, I want nothing.  But a nap.

My concern is if (when) "we" win, how much am I going to have to spend on security?

I have zero interest in getting kidnapped by members of the Mexican Drug Cartel.  I’m not sure why I’m afraid of them, but it just seems like the logical thing to be frightened by.

Actually, "we" decided after the vacation homes and iJunk to take the rest of the money and spend the rest of our lives (length will depend on Cartel) giving it away.

Our foundation will be called "Buddy’s Gift" after Buddy the Dog – the Patriarch of Our Family.

So don’t bother buying a Powerball ticket this week because "we" are winning.

And "we" have big plans to give away the money.

Actually, go ahead and buy a ticket.

It will just make "our" winning amount that much larger.

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Leave My Time Alone.


It happens twice a year.Why Can't They Just Leave It Alone?

I’m not sure why, but my neverending confidence in the government tells me they must have a good reason to totally uproot my schedule.

The time change means I wake up 4 hours early to bright sunshine pouring down on me like asteriods in a meteor shower (since I wasn’t a science teacher I have no idea what I’m talking about).

Then I’m completely confused if I’m hungry or not.

So instead of eating breakfast, I reset all the clocks in the house.  I thought we had three clocks.

Turns out we have 117.

Then I need to reset the clocks in our cars.  I would love an answer to why we have two clocks within 1 inch of each other in our Ford Taurus (no charge for the free plug).

Then, I’m off to change the batteries in our smoke detectors.

Why?

Because the battery companies had a meeting and decided to tell us if we don’t change the batteries when the time changes we will ALL DIE!

They are smart.  Not as smart as the hot dog bun people who continue to sell us 8 buns for 10 hotdogs.

Actually, this isn’t true.

They sell us 16 buns for 10 hotdogs.

I can’t hate them.  Only admire.

After more time changing chores, I spend roughly the one hour I’ve gained trying to figure out why Buddy the Dog is hungry at 2 in the afternoon.

Then it occurs to me.  His stomach doesn’t change times.

For a dog who doesn’t wear a watch, he sure knows when it’s time to eat.

After all of this, I’m overrun with depression when I realize it now gets dark at 4:30 in the afternoon.

Suddenly, the school day is like working the overnight shift.  Arrive in the dark and come home in the dark.

Thankfully, there is something good that comes out of the time change.

I can spend the next week totally annoying my wife by saying what time it is and also what time it "really" is.

Thank you government.

This should keep me amused until at least Thanksgiving.

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Buddy the Dog Eats Better Than You.


The woman whom I’m related to by marriage just made vegetarian treats for Buddy the Dog. They Do Look Tasty.

I was given strict orders to take them out of the oven in 15 minutes.

And then wait another 15 minutes to give him one, so he doesn’t burn his mouth.

The world is ending. Save yourself.

You can find more sad and pathetic facts about me on my Facebook page.

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Bad Grade. Bad Dad. Bad Deal.


Here is the deal.Bad Grade.  Bad Dad.

Raising a teenager (preteen… criminal… whatever) is a lot of work.

Being employed in the same school building as the above mentioned teenager/nut job is fun.

And a complete total nightmare.

Here’s why.

Our school district has a new student managment system. This allows parents to track their children’s grades on a daily basis.

Or in my case, a fourteen times a day basis.

Our school district also employs the Tech Queen of our house as the official technology grunt (if you are a technology grunt you will know exactly what I mean… and you should stop reading this blog and get back to the list of 1,014 things you need to get done by tomorrow that should have been done three months ago).

This week all of this nearly collided in a confusing ordeal I like to call "I’m Going to Her Classroom and Punch Her in the Throat!".

Now, I know violence is never the answer.

But to review, she’s a teenager.  Or at least is headed down that awful path.

My troubles (and hers) started when the Tech Grunt was sitting at her desk surrounded by roughly 14 people with questions and 6 computers.

Basically, her area of the school looks exactly like the control room at NASA.

If they had more computers.

Turns out she was having trouble with the new student management program, so much to my surprise big changes were on the way.

Meanwhile, in the actual control center of the school district (my office… which isn’t really in control of anything, but I like to think we are) I was checking the Evil Spawn’s grades.

When I logged on I immediately saw she had flunked a test.

Much to her surprise, the superintendent was about to storm into her classroom and read her the riot act as she sat quietly at her desk reading a book and dreaming of a day when the annoying superintendent would no longer be working in the same building in which she attends school.

I really do know my behavior isn’t approriate, but come on… an F on a test?

We can’t have this.

At least we can’t if she’s going to continue to live in my house and eat all of my food and enjoy the 5,000 TV stations I provide for her.

Plus, she can’t get into vet school and support her elderly parents if she can’t pass 6th Grade Literature.

As fate would have it, she didn’t really flunk this test (but there will be others… and mark my word I will be there to haunt her).

The Tech Grunt had gone in and manually added this "test" grade because she was working on the new system and needed a guninnea pig student with a bad grade.  Notice how I misunderstood the word "test".

So to review, the grade (test…fake…whatever) was added, I was angry (and clueless), the Evil Spawn was in danger of not living to enjoy pepperoni pizza at lunch (which isn’t bad by the way), and the Tech Grunt was disgusted by my anger directed towards what up to this point has been a very nice little girl.

I may need a new job.

Or counseling.

Or at least a heads up on what are real bad grades and fakes ones.

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Let Me Tell You a Little Story About the Grossest Hotel Room Ever.


Actually, it’s not a story about a seedy hotel, but that doesn’t matter.Much Cleaner.  I Mean Much Cleaner.

You are here for the gross part and I’m not about to disappoint.

Let me start at the beginning.

The Evil Spawn was wrapping up her summer season of softball, so we had one final trip. 

I say summer season, because next year starts in about 8 minutes because June 2013 is just around the corner and we’ve got to get these girls practicing (sarcasm alert!).

Since we had this one last tournament and we were tired of living in No Tell Motels, we had the ingenious idea to rent a house.

It would be fun.

It would be close to Lake Michigan.

The whole family together.

It would be like a vacation, except for the fact that 14 hours a day we would be sitting in lawn chairs at some faceless softball field in 197 degree heat.

Actually, it’s fun.  Except for the part where your underwear starts sweating.  I hate that.

One would think a person’s underwear would dry out in extreme heat, but it’s just the opposite.

But, I digress.  We rent this house and it seems like a great idea.

I probably wouldn’t have done this 10 years ago, but now with the interweb it’s just so simple.

Pictures online.  Reviews by other God fearing kind-hearted folks.

What could possibly go wrong?

Turns out a lot.

The pictures didn’t exactly reflect the level of disgusting that wrapped itself around the house like a thick winter coat on a chubby 4-year old.

Turns out people who rent their homes for money don’t use the word "filthy" or the phrase "should be condemened" when they are trying to make a buck.

I should have realized we had a problem when cockroaches met us at the front door.  And they were on their way out.

The look on my wife’s face as she was sentenced… I mean walked in to this rental property was disturbing.  She looked like a teenage girl in a horror movie when the phone rings and the call is coming from inside the house.

She was scared.  And rightfully so.

The highlights were as follows:  old food in the refrigerator, a mysterious hair attached to the TV remote, enough trash hidden under the raised cabinets to start your own dump, and a cat in the corner of the bedroom.

Actually, it wasn’t a cat.

It was a dust bunny in the shape of a 47 pound cat.  I swear it growled at me when I reached down to pet it.

I was afraid to turn on the lights.  Not because I didn’t want to see more dirt, but because I was frightened to touch the light switch.  There was a layer of something on it that reminded me of a petri dish.

I could go on and on, but it gives me the willies and I feel like I need to save part of this story for my therapist.

And as a favor to all of my loyal readers, I’m not even going to tell you my theory on the mystery hair.

My wife tried in vain to find a hotel room for us to stay in, but they were all booked.  Turns out Priceline and William Shatner couldn’t save me on this night.

So I went with Plan B.

I slept in my clothes.

I did survive the night, but then I had to use the restroom and shower.

Honestly, in my 44 years on this Earth, I don’t recall feeling dirtier after a shower than before.  And I grew up in an era where you showered after high school PE.

Something positive did come out of this experience (besides the partial refund).

I have a whole new respect for my wife’s fear of portapotties (she can’t be the only one who would rather explode than take one step into these plastic boxes of infection).

Actually, now that I think about it, I would have been better off sleeping in a portapotty.

As an added bonus it was our wedding anniversary.

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While this site operates with the knowledge and awareness of the Tuscola CUSD #301 School Board, Tuscola, Illinois, the content and opinions posted here may or may not represent their views personally or collectively, nor does it attempt to represent the official viewpoint of Tuscola CUSD #301 administrators or employees.