Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Canada and the Cost of Education...

Tomorrow the kid has orientation at the High School he will be attending in less than a week. (God, how time flies.) He will get his semester schedule and have time to locate his classrooms so that the first day will be a little less stressful. It would be nice if they could figure out a way to make it less stressful for the parents.

They have informed us that we may purchase text books, gym uniforms, a lock, safety goggles etc. and pay lab fees for the year on this day. But it is strictly cash only. From what I have heard from other parents this will amount to approximately $200.00. God help parents will more than one child. This doesn't include the binders, pens, paper, calculator etc. he will require or the new sneakers and clothes he will need. (He seems to be growing every five minutes. Thirteen and already close to five foot astounds me.)

How do some families manage with these cost? I guess we are fortunate to be able to pay them without too much thought or financial discomfort but I'm sure that this isn't the case with a lot of local families. I don't remember it being anywhere near this expensive when I attended. (Alright, twenty years ago, IS a long time...but still!)

My coworker has a child going into Grade Four and she was saying that the school now sends home a list of the items that each child will require. The list was extensive and included things like "their own box of Kleenex"?!. I kid you not. It cost her almost $75.00 for school supplies for Grade Four!

Where have all our tax dollars gone? Public education is suppose to be accessible for all. But it seems that even that has started to become difficult for lower income families. It seems to me that the education of our children should be a bigger priority. The only way that schools are managing on their current budgets is by passing along costs to families and then making up the difference by fund raising.

All of the schools are on the fund raising band wagon. It seems that every week papers come home trying to get your child to sell some thing. I resent having the schools push my child into becoming a salesman and harassing our extended family and friends for money because you can be damn certain that I won't allow him to go door to door canvassing. It's just not safe to do so anymore. So you hit your family up for the cash by selling chocolate bars, cookie dough, calendars, raffle tickets and magazines and then they in turn do the same to you for their children. So at the end of the day...the parents are still paying these fees.

It concerns me that this is what we have become. But then again...maybe I shouldn't be so surprised. I work in a non-profit in the social services sector and we have been "doing more with less" for years. We are chronically short of cash and these are some of the most vulnerable individuals in society.

So I guess my question remains; Where have all the tax dollars gone and what is more important than education and supports for the disabled? Don't get me started on health care or the elderly...that's a subject for a rant on a different day.

I guess I'm just a little disappointed and disillusioned with my school board, province and country at the moment.

Canada,a great place to live...if you can afford to.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Home Again, Home Again...Where did I put that Axe?

Well, we have arrived home safe and sound after two weeks camping. (One week without children...lovely.) The weather was wonderful, scenery was beautiful and after the first two or three days all of the stress simply left me.

Unfortunately, upon returning home I have now decided to commit fratricide. My contractor, who also happens to be said brother, was suppose to start my renovation while we were away. They had two weeks to rip out a wall and carpeting etc. and we wouldn't be there to complain about the mess. Guess what? He hasn't been yet. I am so angry that I could spit bullets.

He is curiously absent, has not returned phone calls and once I cornered our mother I found out that he is currently "back at the hunting camp four wheeling" with my other brother. Still don't know why he's MIA but there are at least a dozen people now who don't want to be anywhere in the general vicinity when I do manage to catch up with him.

This reno was suppose to start in May, then June, then July, then right after he got back from vacation the second week in August. It should have been finished by the end of August. Now I have doubts that it will be finished by Thanksgiving. I have 18 people coming for thanksgiving dinner...guess I'll just send them all to my brothers house. Now isn't that a great idea!

Note to not renovate. If you don't like where you live...move.

I need a martini or better yet, a pitcher of martinis!!!

Some how I don't think it will help but I'm sure that my brother will need a few after I get through with him.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Out of my Mind...

Who the hell, in their right mind, decides to go on vacation for two weeks, camping, while contractors rip their house apart?

Me, I guess...and actually,I am having serious doubts about my sanity. I have been packing and purging my house and taking the kid to camp every day. Euge started his new job this week and proceeded to put in fifty-eight hours in five days. He's also working from four in the afternoon until four in the I haven't actually seen him awake since Monday.

Work has been a bear. Just trying to get everything done so that you can go on vacation is incredibly stressful. And don't even talk to me about the pile of work that will greet me on my return. Why do we even bother with vacation when it requires so much prep work and then a mountain of stuff to catch up on when you get back?

Then again... the thought of sunshine, martinis, lazy mornings and birds chirping does sound inviting. I guess we need to drive ourselves to the edge of insanity so that we can manage to get a break to reconnect with our sanity. All I can say is that edge is getting way too close for comfort. I just hope that I can hold on until my vacation starts...or they may have to commit me for real.

Tata for now...I'll update you on the demolition and reconstruction of the majority of my house when I get back at the end of the month, hopefully with my sanity once again restored.