My online journal.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

No-hassle cash rewards.

We're watching the AI results show as I type. Joel just promised he would watch the show every single week -- and vote -- if only Sanjaya can be kicked off.

I truly couldn't care less... American Idol, I'm just not that into you anymore. Oh! Did I tell you guys that in the beginning of the season I got an email from some crazy website that was looking for American Idol bloggers and because I was "someone who's blogged about AI in the past," would I like to join their blog ring, or whatever? It's just weird how easy it is to connect these days. Well anyway, I didn't join and I'm glad because AI has me soooo cold this year.

But I do want to say, for the record, that Melinda Doolittle is totally amazing and is light-years ahead of the rest of the pack.


That commercial just came on, for the Chrysler National Minivan Sale... where there's a lunchroom full of screaming kids and the principal/teacher walks by and flips down a DVD player out of the ceiling and all the kids shut up and just stare at the screen. Have you seen this commercial? Joel and I agreed the first time we saw it, there are SO MANY THINGS wrong with this commercial. Here are at least two:
1. Ohhh, don't have a DVD player in your minvan? Time to buy a new minivan! I may be only a former marketing, um, person, but this seems like faulty logic. Especially when portable DVD players are available for, like, a hondo at Target.

2. The kids are all unruly at school. Rather than disciplining them, or making school interesting, let's turn on the TV to get them to shut up! Now, don't get me wrong, when we make the 6-hour drive to Chicago, we turn on a movie only the last 2 hours, when the kids are getting super duper squirrelly. (We don't actually have a DVD player in the car; we have to MacGyver a laptop balanced on a cooler and bolstered by pillows and board-books and detached headrests.) I think that putting a movie on to keep the kids from whining is one of those things that comes, and ought to, with a healthy dose of guilt. A treat! That's what I'm trying to say. Watching a movie in the car ought to be a treat. Like, dessert. Omigosh! Yes! We were at the park this afternoon, waiting for Joel to get home from work, because I was taking the kids to the park anyway, and I went inside the house one more time just to throw out a baggie and grab my keys and when I got outside and closed the door, I realized I still had the baggie in my hand but no keys and, you guessed it, I actually threw my keys in the trash and kept the baggie... I am a doofus. Anyway! So we're at the park, right, and it's probably about 5:30. And the music truck* pulls up and every other kid at the playground (maybe 10 kids) runs over to the music truck and all their parents are buying them ice cream. And I try not to be judgmental, but seriously? OK I could go on for weeks but in our family we just don't go buy $2.50 ice creams 20 minutes before dinnertime simply because the music truck stops by the park.

So Lucy and Ed and I watch all the other kids run to the music truck. (At this point Joel shows up.) Lucy asks, "What's that?" And we say, of course, in unison, "It's the music truck!" And then this little 8-year-old girl whose mom I had been talking with and who had a brother about Lucy's age, named Eddie, ran over and said "My mom wanted to know if it would be okay if we bought this for your daughter" and tried handing me an ice cream and while I really appreciated the extremely generous gesture (Lucy was the only kid not getting ice cream), I was really surprised, I mean, really surprised, and semi-appalled, and I know I'm a nazi about having the kids eat healthy but I think dessert should be a treat, not an expectation and seriously we were just about to go home and have dinner and I do give the kids treats! I do!

Aiiieee! Antonio Banderas just made an appearance on AI. I love him.

Okay, I've got a hangnail and the Twins game is on the radio and the whole point of this entry was supposed to be to post about my run yesterday, in which I wore my new shoes for the first 12-minute mile and they felt absolutely fantastic and then I switched back to the old ones and ran the rest of the loop, completing a whole nother mile before having to walk again, which I did for about 2 minutes and then ran the rest of the way home. So that was good! I meant to run today but I got real, real tired after dinner so I'm going to go in the morning before my annual exam, and Q: how do you know you have absolutely no life? A: When you are actually looking forward to your annual exam because it means you get to get out of the house without the kids.


Lisa Anderson said...

Wow - Matt made the same comments when he saw that commercial. He said it totally turned him off from ever buying a Chrystler of any kind. At first I thought he was just being overly critical, so it is nice to see someone else feels the same way. That's a good marketing lesson for me.

Heather said...

How do you know that you have no life?

When you get a sinus infection and are actually a little excited to go see the doctor that you really dislike - because she's always running late and that means you get to read a magazine (even though it's 6 months old but that's okay because you haven't read a magazine in, like, 8 months) in the waiting room without your child.

How are ya?

Hey, I wondered, how much do people pay teenagers to baby-sit these days in the city? I was assuming $5 an hour for one kid, but is it more than that?

Anonymous said...

$5.00 an hour is an appalling amount to pay someone to watch your precious children. If you hired someone to mow the lawn they would make AT LEAST $20 - if not more.

A movie is $8, a movie rental $5, a gallon of gas $3, a car wash at least $10.00. Entrusting a person (teenager or adult) to watch your child should run you at least $10.00 an hour, though I would pay $15.

Calculate the rate based on your other expenses and what you are willing to pay for a night out. If the child is sleeping, you can discount the rate for those hours. If you hire the sitter at the last minute, or on a weekend, you should increase the rate.

Besides, the more you pay, the easier it will to get a sitter next time. Don’t cut costs on this one, your kids are worth it!

Heather said...

Woah there, Anonymous! I don't know if you meant to be so harsh, but I feel attacked. I think I need to tell you I definitely don't have to be reminded that my child is precious. I have hired a babysitter in my smaller home town for $5 an hour...just a few months ago. I guess I didn't consider that appalling and neither did she and she has babysat for us more than once. The sitter we have asked to watch our son in St Paul is also a high school girl I have known for 5 years. I was simply wondering what most people pay for a sitter in a bigger city as we have only had family babysit for us. If it is actually $15, I will have to find a different option as we cannot afford that. was a simple question but now I feel irritated. Maybe it's just me. Sorry this had to be on your blog, Meg, but I don't know who Anonymous is.

Meg said...

Dear Anonymous,
My blog is a warm, happy, safe, nurturing place where people are allowed to ask questions and comment without fear of being judged or attacked. If you were a regular visitor and/or commenter here, I suspect you would already know this. Please review some of the other comments to get a feel for what kind of tone and atmosphere we try to enjoy here.

If you could please identify yourself next time you comment, I bet your remarks would be more likely to be accepted. You are welcome to post as "anonymous" but please add a tag at the bottom, like I'm going to...

I felt attacked by Anonymous too. I'm sorry that had to happen here.

I have never paid anybody to babysit our kids... mostly because I don't know any *older* kids! So I don't really know. I know, when I babysat, like 100 years ago, I made like $2 an hour. But I didn't know that was lousy, because I was 13. :) Right now I personally get paid $10 per hour to watch Jayla. I feel that is more than fair (sometimes I feel like I am overpaid). But I'm only watching her 1.5 hours at a time -- if I were watching her for 8 hours, I would not expect $80... that would be way too much.

Hey! Anonymous! I just thought of something else!! When I was paying for day care for my kids, it was $125 per kid per week. THAT is much, much less than $5 per hour (they were there about 40 hours per week)... and the care provider was a licensed professional. So if that gives you an idea... there you go.

Meg said...

P.S. Anonymous, I don't know what kind of luxurious car washes you're getting, but there are many places around here where you can get a perfectly good car wash for $5. Put that in your theoretical pipe, and smoke it. :) :) :)

CarolSue said...

Hi, Anonymous...

In my world...
A movie is $5 (because we go to the bargain rate show.) A movie rental is $1 (because we rent from Red Box at McDonald's.) A gallon of gas cost us $2.65 a gallon this morning, not $3, and I can get my car washed for $6 at a gas station down the street... or do it myself for free.

I don't know what your monetary or family situation is... and I've only had the occasion to hire a babysitter once (who we definitely did NOT pay $15 an hour,) so I really am not trying to judge, but not many people I know can afford to pay $15 an hour for a babysitter, (and still afford to go out!)and not many babysitters I know - at least those of high school age, expect that much. Maybe your circumstances are different, and that's great. But please realize that not everyone may be in the same position that you are.

Heather - when we did hire my husband's teenage cousin to babysit for us last year, he said that he'd expect between $5 and $10 an hour, depending on the circumstances. Hope that helps!

Meg said...

ARGH! I never linked my asterisk!! NOTHING is more aggravating than an orphan asterisk.

*Music truck: if you do not know the "music truck" story and want me to tell it, you will have to ask me very nicely.

Lisa Anderson said...

There is a car wash in Mounds View that is only $0.50 on Tuesdays! Of course, you actually have to get out of the car and wash it yourself.

As for babysitters, Matt and I have only gone out 3 times since our son was born - and he is over a year old now. Seeing how much everyone is paying, no wonder we don't go out.

Heather said...

Thanks for having my back, fellow mommies. I talked to another friend and she pays her sitters between $5 and $8 an hour.

Hope you are all enjoying the amazing weather. We were out walking today and to celebrate the exercise I bought a brownie from the Lunds bakery. Sigh.

Meg, I started a blog on my myspace page but am thinking about switching to blogspot. I am enjoying the writing.

I am looking for some good, easy reading. Any suggestings? I've heard that Water for Elephants (?) is good.


Alison Strobel Morrow said...

Miss Meg, will you please please pretty please with sugar ontop tell us the story of the music truck? :)

And WHOA, holy confrontation, Batman! Check out the comment frezny. Oi.

I totally lol at your note about the annual exam. I look forward to mine because my doctor is the cooliest-wooliest woman in the entire world. Honestly, I think part of the reason I want to have another baby is to experience her in the delivery room. She's just da bomb.

AND I CAN'T BELIEVE SOMEONE TRIED TO BUY YOUR CHILD ICE CREAM! Even if I wasn't the sugar-and-dairy-Nazi that I am, I would never presume to do that to someone's kid unless I knew them and the family well enough to know that a) there were no dairy allergies (since it seems like half the kids out there have them) and b) the parents weren't opposed to sugar. I mean, I've no doubt she meant it as a friendly gesture, but sheesh, ask the mom first!

Our van has a DVD player, and every time we flip down that screen I am FLOODED with guilt. we use it far, far too much, especially given how young Abby is, but I think that's why we use it so much--she's so young, she can't enjoy the scenery or engage in license plate games or I Spy or read a book or color, etc etc etc. And when you know she's going to be quiet if you turn the thing on, it is WAY HARD not to. Though we've started to save it for longer trips and not use it for around-town driving. But seriously, once she can entertain herself better, it's being relegated to the Rare Treat category.


PS: We avoid paying babysitters altogether by doing date night swaps with other parents. :)

Anonymous said...

Well I have been paying babysitters for 11 years and now my own son is old enough to be a babysitter. I have never paid more than $5.00 an hour and I would not allow my son to accept more than that. I also don't pay people to mow my lawn, I do that myself. (Or my husband does!!Ha! Ha!)

Heather, I do not know you but I would not worry about anonymous, who ever that person is! I am sorry but babysitting is not brain surgery. You usually feed the kids, play with them for a while and put them to bed at a decent hour. Then you have a paid evening to yourself ~ parent free. HMMM... not too bad of an evening for an 11-15 year old if you ask me.

So Heather, take a night out with your husband and feel GOOD paying the babysitter a fair amount of $5.00 an hour.

Ok I will now step down from my soap box. Sorry Meg.

Molly Gorski

'ol neighborina nicole said...

Ok, why not jump on the bandwagon, right?

I pay our college-aged nanny $10/hr. for our twin two-year old sons. I don't pay her less when they sleep, and I don't pay her more when they are less than pleasant.

I think anywhere between $5 and $7 per hour per child is perfectly reasonable. Plus, we all value our children, and we wouldn't pick a baby-sitter we didn't know or couldn't trust. Paying a sitter more does not make him/her more capable.

For what it is worth, I think Anonymous is just trying to stir the pot -- all the moms that post here are rational, respectful and great parents!

Oh, and Meg, I totally agree about the ice cream/treats thing. I am not a stingy Mom when it comes to dessert, but I do expect my children to eat their dinners, first.

CreditBabysitter said...

Dear moms and dear Meg! I was so pleased to come across your blog. It is really warm, nice and pleasant for you are discussing such a pleasant topic as bringing up children in such a calm and respectful manner!