I was a die-hard Girl Scout. Yes, I enjoyed the campouts, badge earning, and other activities — but my favorite time of year was selling Girl Scout cookies. I am extremely competitive, and each year I would challenge myself to do better than the prior year. No one put me up to it. My parents did not pressure me or push me to sell a specific number of boxes. They also did not reward me for my achievement. It was my own crazy self that worked my ass off to do more than I ever had.
One year, one of the prizes from the local community of Girl Scout troops was a 10-speed bike. I did not have a 10-speed and wanted one badly. I knew it would take a lot of babysitting and tips from my paper route to be able to purchase that bike, not to mention selling my parents on my spending my hard-earned money. The next best way to ensure I had that bike was to sell the number of boxes required to win the bike — and I did.
A different year there was a trip to an amusement park in Ohio. I had been a few times on school trips, and absolutely loved amusement parks, so of course it was on my list to win a trip. I had my goals in mind and I made sure I met them, however crazy I was to find ways to sell boxes. Since I lived on the edge of a University campus, I would go to fraternity houses, their student center, apartment complexes, and dorms, not to mention door-to-door in my entire neighborhood to sell as many boxes as possible. I learned a lot — specifically on how to cater my communication and language to the person on the other side of the door, or the one with cash in their hands. I learned how to warm up my audience, be cute when needed, or spout off the benefits of the different types of cookies – whatever I could do to make sure they walked away with boxes of cookies in their hands.
So when I found out that Girl Scout cookies have gone online, I had mixed feelings. Girl Scouts will now be able to take credit cards and transact business via an app online. They can have family and friends in other parts of the country place an order through their specific online webpage. Here is why I have mixed feelings — yes they learn business techniques for 2015, online sales, webpages, social media, and credit cards, but I feel a lot is lost. It feels much like what happens when parents sell for their kids at work, but their kids never have to do a thing. How is that good for the kid? My parents did not sell a box for me. I sold every single one.
With selling cookies now online, I fear that kids will no longer know how to make change, do math in their heads as buyers put them on the spot with questions, and my largest concern is that they have now taken the human side out of selling cookies. Maybe I am old school, but I feel that the learning experience has dwindled for these girls.
I remember her two bedroom, one bathroom apartment. Looking back I am horrified that she lived there. Old linoleum and cabinets, even older carpeting, and I will not even start on the yellow bathtub and red carpeting in the bathroom — who puts carpeting in a bathroom, let alone a rental apartment? She lived there for at least ten years if not longer. All of her furniture was given to her by family over the years, and she cherished every piece she owned. Right down to the costume jewelry she owned.
I can remember sitting at her dressing table (that was used as a desk and was never used as a dressing table). There were three drawers on each side, and a narrow, long drawer in the middle. She kept each necklace and bracelet and pair of earrings in their own separate box. You know, the kind that you purchased the jewelry in. She kept the cotton filler intact, and stored each piece in that box, which often told you where the purchase was made. I would often adventure to the table and want to try each piece on and play with alternating the fake pearls with the gaudy earrings. She did not have her ears pierced, they were all clip on earrings (and I thought they hurt horribly) but put them on anyways.
It was not that she hated my trying it all on, I think she just wanted to keep everything in its proper place and well I was a fast little one and she could not keep up. I sensed her hesitation and I also always felt like I should not even ask to try it on. It was all fake costume jewelry so what was her hesitation? Today, I am not a fan of costume jewelry. I prefer the one-of-a-kind version, where almost no one has that piece that I do. Maybe the few times I played with her costume jewelry got the desire for it out of my system.
Over the weekend, I finished reading: “What Comes Next and How to Like It: A Memoir” by Abigail Thomas. A memoir where the author is aging and she talks about her husbands, growing old, her kids, and grandkids. This portion made me think of my grandma, her apartment, costume jewelry, and how different she lived than I do today.
“Somehow it is more interesting to find something beat-up and handled than to get it new. My bureau drawers are stuffed with god knows what, and my daughters always go through them when they are here. It is a compulsion. My theory is that they are looking for the secret, the answer, the explanation for everything.” Page 72
Did those drawers hold any secrets or answers? Did I wonder if I would ever have such drawers and if I would allow my grandkids to unearth the treasures to see what they might hold in their eyes of wonder? Maybe.
My sister sent me a text message the other day about a mouse and mouse nest her husband found in the glove box of their car. Um yuck. I can understand why it might happen. They live in an urban area and park their car in a garage that can easily be rampant with mice, as theirs has easy access from outside. He told her he has had that happen before and that their mechanic indicated that the mouse is able to get into the glove compartment through the engine.
However they arrive my sister and I both share a similar exclamation that we NEVER want to be the ones to open the glove compartment and have a mouse stare back at you. Especially if you are driving down the road and reach over to grab something from the glove box (yes, safely…but admit it you have done it before). If I was driving, and open the glove box, and see little eyes staring at me, I might drive off the road. Yuck, yuck, yuck.
It reminded me of a memory from when I was a freshman in high school. My sister was away for her senior year at boarding school (and she might have been home on break, I do not remember). I do know I was a freshman based on the apartment we were living in – if you can call it that. At the time, my mom was recovering from months in the hospital, and then months in a nursing home. We were broke, and somehow she had found a way to go back to school. Due to her classes, we were eligible for a small apartment (600 square feet), that was government subsidized. While I have no reason to complain, it was drab, drab, drab. The walls were made of cinder blocks, and most of the windows were high up (since we were on the first level due to my mom’s wheelchair).
I digress. The real intent of this story is that one day when I was making dinner for my mom, I opened the broiler drawer at the bottom of the stove. (Now let me assure you, we rarely used the boiler aspect of the oven. As it was, it was not a full size stove/oven. As Chris can attest I have never been great at cooking so I can only imagine what I was making for my mom in the broiler.) Yikes. What I saw looking back at me was not at all what I expected. It was a hamster, wood shavings and all. I freaked out, shut the door, and to this day I cannot remember what we did. Did I call the management company? Did I call a neighbor that had more confidence with critters than I did at 15? I think I did call the neighbor that had a ferret (who also irked me).
My sister’s mouse reminded me of the hamster that had been living in our stove. We believe it might have been from a neighboring apartment and been living in the walls. It makes you think a bit more about those scratching sounds you might have heard in the walls the other night…
I recently heard about someone who was renting out their apartment via Airbnb, then I read this Fast Company article called: “This Website Snitches on Renters Who List Their Apartments on Airbnb.” It mentions the website that tracks it is called: Huntbnb. I am sure they are a viable company and many landlords connect with them to be sure their properties are not listed. At the time I thought it was odd that tenants would do such a thing. As a landlord myself, I would never want to find out that my tenants were renting out my condo for others to use. The article cites that in New York City, one-third of apartments are being rented in an illegal manner.
When you go through the vetting process to find renters, you want to find individuals that you can trust, that will take care of the property, and that will alert you when there are issues. If tenants are then turning around and renting the place that they have signed a lease for, in order to make money and have other individuals utilize the property then not only is it illegal, but it is a breach of trust. When a lease is signed it is intended that those on the lease will be the ones that are staying at the property.
I can imagine that legal property and lease documents will continue to be honed and revised because of individuals that are going against principle and legal means in order to make more money. There are so many involved legal issues and liabilities with having individuals stay in a property when no paperwork was transacted with the owner and those staying on the property. There could be issues with theft, damage, fire, etc. To me it has nothing to do with the tenants making money and everything to do with contracts/leases that are signed and the choice of who is staying on the property. There is a reason there is a vetting process for rentals. If a property is listed on Airbnb it should be there because it is truly owned and used as an Airbnb (or other type of rental) that is listed by the owners themselves.
If you are a landlord and are renting your property how do you feel about having your tenants rent out your property on Airbnb? If you are a tenant, would you “sublease” your place on Airbnb?
She was my mom’s roommate at a nursing home. I loathed visiting my mom. Old ladies that either barely fit into their wheelchairs, or exploded out of them would follow me down the hallway. They would slide along moving at a snail pace, sliding their feet along as their means to get from one place to the next. It was as though I had the scent of youth and when I would come in the door they know and follow. Some of them were completely normal, and some were not quite right.
There were days I would see a group of random old ladies in my mom’s room. One would be facing the corner talking to herself, another would be sitting there staring at my mom not talking, and another would have fallen asleep mid entrance to her room. I would look at my mom and she would roll her eyes. Our unspoken angst at the situation neither of us had any control over.
Back to the roommate. She would talk in her sleep, and talk while awake. She would say things like: “Take me home.” Or “Take me downstairs.” Mind you the nursing home was one level. At first it all made me laugh, and then it just made me sad. The roommate did not have daily visitors, and when I would try to talk to her it made her cranky, and she would talk even more, in lines of gibberish that made no sense. My mom was in a nursing home because the hospital no longer had space and she needed extra care. I often wonder what it was like for her to live among those that were her mother’s age and older. She had her meals with them, did physical therapy, and activities with them. Did it drive her crazy? It was as though I watched her age during her stay at that nursing home.
I do not know what happened to her roommate, but my mom got better enough for us to move into a small apartment and in-home nurses would come and help her each day (in addition to what my sister and I would do to care for her). Thank God. I am not sure how much longer I could have watched the gaggle of old ladies congregate in my mom’s room. I might start to speak in their language. “Take me to…”