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Archive for September, 2015

Paid off the car loan today

September 29th, 2015 at 08:10 pm

$5389.00 gone, but then, so are close to 24 months of payments and over $200 interest payments. I don't feel ecstatic, I don't feel anything, even though it was my decision. I got tired of the insulting "pay less per month on your car loan" (by extending the term and paying a higher APR) offers from lenders a credit bureau sold my spouse's info to.

I'm looking forward to affording cash payments for things like: a new mattress, new phone, yard cleanup. Looking forward to automating regular investments. I'll be giddy when the title is returned to us, weeks from now.

school rant

September 14th, 2015 at 08:11 pm

Language Arts I suspect is actually a Computer Tech course.

I secretly think that when teachers are keen on technology in the classroom, they count on families to supply their students with iPads, Chromebooks or tablets, even the families on free or reduced lunch assistance.

Although we are tech happy (four laptops, one Nook) and somewhat savvy, we are frugal. No "cell phones for everyone with apps galore." We are also privacy-minded. Or at least I am. We don't have Facebook accounts. So my kid had to create four accounts (Yahoo, Google, BlueStacks, Instagram) and download an Android emulator for his Language Arts class. He has no tablet, so we had to download an Android emulator so he could install a Google app, but for that he needed a Google account, and I don't want school stuff tied to his personal account,. No privacy with Windows 10, so we keep Windows 7. Naturally he and I ensured he used a pseudonym.

There was a Syllabus Quiz posted in Schoology.com on Sunday September 13 at 7:10 am but it expired at midnight, thirteen hours ago.
Our teachers are on strike, you see. They're locked out of their staff accounts, says the French teacher, but the Language Arts content was uploaded September 13, yesterday. And I'm the only parent subbed to my kid's teachers' blogs, and he's the only account subbed to the Instagram account created for his Language Arts class.

He (we) had better receive course credit for our efforts. He needs 40 books to read this year, five of them poetry. He's started with a Doc Savage pulp novel.

Not back to school but books are hit

September 10th, 2015 at 03:47 pm

The teachers are striking (and in some cases, unusually fetching har har).
Seriously, I am stumbling into "home schooling" which is little more than:

[*] lurking on teachers' websites, mostly from other school districts, and grabbing links to curriculum topics and exercises in PDF or .ODT or .DOCX form to copy onto the kid's USB drive;
[*] hounding him to read his calculator's manual and play with the features so he's comfortable when the school year starts for real;
[*] speaking to him in French, hoping it'll evolve into conversing with him;
[*] having him journal about and use ADHD coping strategies;
[*] getting books from the library relevant to curriculum topics;
[*] torrenting etextbooks;
[*] acquainting him with the power of apps like RedNotebook; cloud storage like OneDrive and GoogleDrive; mindmapping applications;
[*] screaming at him to get off the freaking game and YouTube websites and have one tab open to Khan Academy.
Today I'll buy him some workbooks and assemble some mechanical pencils so he can start Algebra, and borrow US History books from the library. We have James W. Loewen's Lies My Teacher Told Me (given to me by my m-i-l, a US teacher) of which the striking history teachers approve. It's more managing and babysitting. Pulling lesson plans every two hours out of my scatterbrain is nothing like teaching so I don't feel like I am scab labour. If anything I'm doing the teachers a big favour by reducing their workload (my kid has an Individual Education Plan and is on the "special" side, neurologically. He's developmentally lopsided at what seems to be a 60 degree angle: college-level reading and vocabulary and performance in oral examination, grade 3 sentence writing and information retention). I feel my contribution'll mean more to his teachers than Starbucks and Top Pot doughnuts contributions.

Magical Saturday

September 5th, 2015 at 09:32 pm

We, not the royal, martyred, sarcastic we but the family plural we, are cleaning. That is magic in itself. I couldn't find the $300 cheque made out to me until I opened a book called _Smart but Scattered_ and there it was, wedged between pages. You rest a spell and let that irony seep in. You see, when there's $300 to be found, I find also motivation to pick up every white piece of paper and determine if I need it or if it can go elsewhere. I also found $33 credit slip to one of my fave used bookstores. In a search for the cheque (I offered a "dessert place of your choice reward" to the finder) the spouse found instead a softcover overdue library book the tot could not bother to remove from an open sack a whole thirty inches away from his internet-obsessed carcass' six-hour parking spot for... twenty-five days. "No, I'm not an addict! Durrrrr. Oooh new gaming video on YouTube. "

We have already splurged on a Rug Doctor rental to clean a rug. A futon cover is in the wash, as we'd like to sell the futon and the coffee table and make a new, minimized household for ourselves.

I chose the old school fill in with pencil home account ledger instead of Mint.com, YNAB, GnuCash or KMyMoney. It won't keep track of my stocks and funds, but do I want to look at that stuff right now? My psyche is fragile.

I am down to below 152 lbs, just a little over 1.5 kg away from my goal weight.