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More About Money

xdqntr_dz9cAs you may already know, I’m a Powerball success story. I’m also the mother of a high school student with not only the aspirations, but the ability, to attend a “good” college. Unfortunately my lottery winnings are hardly substantial enough to foot the bill for his upcoming college education, so I’m researching alternate sources of funding.

I’ve begun by focusing on one particular book. I came upon it quite accidentally, there in the row of SAT prep books, smaller than the giant workbooks, but still a commanding presence on the shelf. It’s a guide to college scholarships. It has a fancy title, and a whole lot of tips and advice. I’ve been working my way through this book, and taking the author’s information to heart. After all, he went to Harvard practically for free, he must know something.

I’ve also recently finished reading Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover. The good news is, I’m well on my way with his baby steps. He explains them in a nutshell here. After reading this book, I’m more determined than ever to seek out sources of college funding other than loans. The two books together, along with the power of the internet, have led me down a path where I can guide my son to apply for certain scholarship opportunities. I do the “heavy lifting” of tracking down scholarships for which he qualifies, then I create a word document with everything he needs to know about the scholarship. For example, many of them require essays. stack-of-sat-booksI copy in the prompt, along with the specific directions and deadlines, then highlight the due date and word counts. My son takes it from there. At least in theory. So far he hasn’t written any, but in fairness this system just started, and he has school and tennis team and the SAT to think about too.

I’m hopeful that with a structured approach, and a year and a half in which to do it, he can attain a fair number of scholarships, as well as secure a spot at a fine college or university with a program of study that he finds engaging. At the moment he wants to study chemical engineering. He chose this field when he was ten, and he’s researched what it takes to become one. I think he’d be good at it. I’m not sure where this particular interest developed, but I’m glad it did. “My son the engineer,” has a nice ring to it, and it’s a field where he can be intellectually challenged and make a positive impact, not to mention make a decent living.

I don’t want to get ahead of myself, though. My son the high school student still has a way to go, and it’s up to me to help him get there. Although facing this next chapter of his life is bittersweet for me, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.


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Ham and the Art of Parenting

Two days ago in the grocery store, teenage son says, “Oh Mommy, can we get a ham?” Yes, he calls me Mommy. Deal with it. “We have ham in the fridge,” I reply, quite sensibly. “No, not ham, A ham. For the pot luck at school on Friday.”

Oh. A ham. Great. He goes to a school where a lot of the kids are on free and reduced lunch. They will bring items to the potluck, but they won’t bring a ham. ham with danielsI know these kids. They are great kids. I want to feed them, and I have the means to provide a ham. “Fine,” I tell him, “but you have to deal with it.”

I don’t have the first clue about what to do with a ham. I grew up in a semi-kosher household and we never had a ham. I have never purchased a ham. I do buy deli ham, though, and bacon has been in my house on more than one occasion, but a ham? Never.

Now it’s Thursday night, and he reminds me of the ham. “When are we going to cook the ham?” he asks. I’m planning on walking out the door in five minutes to go to a class. My finace, who advised him on the finer points of ham cooking, is out cold feeling ill. Um, we?

So the quandry is, do I go to class (it’s the last meeting, and certainly not for a grade or anything, just for fun) and worry all evening about the ham and the possibility of him burning down the house, or at least drying out the ham, or do I stay home and google ham and it’s preparation? Oh this parenting thing, it just never gets old. Next year I hope he signs up for paper plates.