Sunday, November 9, 2008

4th Grade Political Science

Well, the elections are finally over. And even those who weren't satisfied with the result have to admit, at least all the ads have stopped and we can get on with life. However, because it was such an important week in our nations history, Nicole decided to teach the students about how politics really works. This week, Nicole started a new program with her students. Similar to a politician the students receive rewards (poker chips=$$$) for things that most would consider 'responsible behavior' or 'common-decency.' The chips are handed out for such things as turning in assignments, listening in class, or helping another student. Chips are then redeemed at the end of the week in the class store. Items in the store range anywhere from candy to Hotwheels cars to slightly larger toys. Some call it 'a behavior plan' some call it 'bribery,' but regardless, it works and everyone is happier.

In other news, I got a new wrench set this week. And not just any wrench set, a ratcheting wrench set. Built like regular box end wrenches with a ratcheting end, they are magical little devices that allow you to perform work in very small areas where space is very limited. Lucky for me I had just such a job. Of late, our car developed a small whine, which turned into a squeal, which turned into the blood-curdling death cry of a rabbit as it is skinned alive loud enough to wake up everyone in a three block radius as we leave each morning at 7 am--certainly loud enough that we couldn't carry on a conversation while it was happening. It turns out that the culprit was the serpentine belt on the alternator. On a Japeneese car (we drive a Mazda) changing the belt is a simple process of loosening four bolts that are conveniently located at the bottom of the engine between the firewall and the block and easily loosened by the same types of people who can fold their entire body into a piece of carry-on luggage. Enter the magic wrenches. We were able to complete the whole operation last night in a little over an hour using only two wrenches and less than a dozen cuss words. Using standard wrenches that had to be repositioned every eighth of a turn, we easily would still be there right now. For those reading this that are not interested in tools or auto repair, thank you for allowing me this indulgence as I glory in the best purchase of the week (and I had a lot of good ones this week.) Also, it will make a great gift for your husband or auto mechanic at X-mas.

Also this week, I went on my first scout camping trip as a leader. I will admit that at first I wasn't too excited about going. It has been raining here essentially non-stop for the last two weeks. All I could see was myself being wet and cold for two days. I imagine that these same thoughts often crossed the minds of the leaders I had as a youth which make me even more grateful for their sacrifices. However, I went and it actually turned out well. My scout did great; it was his first camping trip. (As a note 'scout' is intentionally not plural as I only have one.) Being that he had never been before we spent our time going over good Boy Scout classics such as building a fire that will light with only one match, how not to remove your fingers while using a pocket knife and what to do if you do, setting up tents, and knot-tying. We were quite successful. He had a good time, and best of all, the sun was out and Friday night was warm. Additionally I got to spend some time with the one of the other scout masters who is becoming a really good friend of mine.

I know I've said it before, but Virginia is really beautiful. The countriside here is absolutely gorgeous. I got up early before the boys were up on Sat. morning and went for a little walk down a small road near our campsite. Here are a some pictures. Also included are some photos that Nicole and I took this evening when we drove out to walk along one of the piers.

The James River

Nicole and I at the Pier

The James River Bridge

Sunrise at the campout

Fall on the camping trip


Jessica said...

1. It's bribery. So? I fully support you, Nicole. Kids need bribery. (And so do their parents/teachers.)

See here:

2. My husband has one of those fancy wrench set things too!!! --But it sits under our bed. I've seen him use it mayyyybe once. Way to use yours.

Wart said...

My wife's husband... me... uses this type of box wrench every day while he's bringing bacon at the bike shop

where btw we are waiting to know what to ship!!

Bradwich said...

Matthew, thank you for blogging. It's probably the next best thing to having you by my side. Seriously.

Wiberg 5 said...

Your one scout is braver than Dustin's 4. They keep bailing on his campouts (but, I think he may secretly be ok with it because, come on, who wants to camp in the snow really?). And beautiful pictures.