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Help Me Internet, You’re Our Only Hope

American Seating Envoy DeskAn American Seating Envoy school desk sits in our dining room. Our children used to study here. As an authentic school desk, it had seen its fair amount of usage. Years of students leaning on the desk stressed the weld and bent the support. As Cathy refinished the wood and re-painted the metal, I searched for someone to straighten or replace the support and spot weld the broken joint. A friend stepped up, and offered to handle it for me. American Seating Co. Envoy desk from Grand Rapids, MichiganAnd then I never saw the desktop again…

His job changed. He quit coming to the coffee house where we shared more conversations. Then he quit answering my calls and text messages. 17I suspect that the desktop is history. So I turn to you, the people of the Internet!

Can you help me find a replacement desktop for an American Seating Co. Envoy desk from Grand Rapids, Michigan. I do not know the year of manufacture. The only identifying mark beside the manufacturer stamp is the number 17 stamped on the back. Do you know this desk? Do you have a resource to help me replace the top? Thank you Internet!

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They grow up so quickly

My youngest has been to kindergarten 2 days this year. They were short days with only the teacher and 2 other students to acclimate Evan to the environment and the routine. On those days, I drove him to school and Cathy picked him up.

Today, Evan went to school full time. He is very excited and insisted on riding the bus with his sister. He was first in line and I missed the picture because I was introducing Evan to the bus driver. Amy, 8 years old, is proud to be taking care of him, holding her head high as she shows him the ropes. This is her realm and she will be his guide. His same aged friend also rode the bus so I know I’m not alone in putting my baby in a big orange box and entrusting his safety to someone I don’t know. We do have a great bus driver! I’m excited for Evan. It’s cool to see him growing up. I just wish it happened a little slower.

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Random searches of students passes unanimously

The Knox County School Board voted unanimously to approve random searching of students. The next steps are to have the Law Department issue a legal memorandum then to have a final reading of the policy on November 2nd.

A commenter with good common sense from Volunteer TV’s comments regarding the Knox County School Board wanting to implement random searches in the school (emphasis added):

Posted by: Keri Location: Knoxville on Oct 1, 2008 at 09:46 AM
Are we, as members of a free democracy-protected by a Constitution, going to allow the constitutional rights of our children to be trampled upon? I am as concerned as most citizens about the safety of our children at school, but I am more concerned about the intimidation and conditioning of our children to accept infringements on their rights as American citizens. If we accept policies that not only allow, but encourage the powers that be to randomly search our children, without cause or evidence of wrong doing, how much longer before these policies obscure the rights of every citizen? These children are the future policy makers and leaders of our country and they will lead us based on the manner in which they have been lead. It is time to send a message to our children and the policy makers of our community that we value our Constitutional rights and those who fought and died to secure those rights, far too much to allow anyone, for any reason to strip our children of their liberty. [Source,, Knox Co. School Board considering random search proposal, Keri]

Quit looking for quick fixes and think about the future. Please.

See also: teenagers are not criminals

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Rough start to 1st day of 5 kids 5 schools

Today we sent the 1st, 7th and 10th graders to school. Evan now has his grandmother’s defunct cell phone as a toy. It still has some juice so the screen lights up and the menus work. Last night when Cathy and I came to bed the crib was doing a flashy Close Encounters number. After silencing that visual alarm I set the phone by my bed. Well, apparently my mother-in-law gets up every day at 5am. At least, that’s when her cell phone alarm went off. I wanted to rise at 6 or 6:15. Never give yourself a choice! The secret to waking is picking a specific time and sticking to it. Also don’t do the easy the numbers; nothing that would be printed on a clock face. Wake at 6:01 not 6:00. Wake at 6:14 not 6:15 etc. I did wake at 6:00 without an alarm. And again at 6:07 when I stirred Cathy and decided today would be 6:15. I totally forgot the french toast and bacon I had wanted to prepare for their first day of school. At 6:54 Cathy kicked me out of bed and cursed me. We rushed Amy to readiness and at the last minute she decides on says she needs the restroom but could hold it until school. No way! We give her the time she needs and miss the bus by seconds. As we drive up the street, the bus is starting its turn onto Northshore Drive. Amy was not phased. She is simply jolly to be going to school.

Noah headed off in time very nonchalant. And Sarah is trying to carry far too much in one trip. Wet artwork, 3 flags, courier bag, and something else I cannot remember.

Good luck children! Have fun at school and learn much.

Oh, what of Tommy and Evan? They don’t start quite yet but to prepare Tommy for rising so early, he has to get himself up by 7am and be bathed and dressed else he loses computer privileges for the day. This morning he woke at 7am but his sister occupied the bathroom so he took advantage of the moment to sleep in his chair. Perhaps his time sound be earlier!

Update: Cathy points out that today went rather swimmingly despite the missed bus and I agree. "Rough" is relative.

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School Starts Tomorrow – Say What?!

It is 9:45pm and tomorrow 3 of the 5 children begin school. The other two follow shortly. I just realized we don’t know when their buses arrive or if any changes have been made to the bus stop locations this year! The Knox County bus search shows nothing for our children! To complicate matters, Knox County blundered and approved the ill conceived rezoning and since Sarah opted to stay at Bearden High School rather than rezone to West High School, she is responsible for her own transportation. Getting the high schoolers to understand the concept of carpool has been down right painful. Next year they will probably be driving themselves and that scares me!

Wish us luck! We’ve begun 200 days of 5 children in 5 schools!

Related: 2008-09 Knox County School Calendar.

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Tonight’s Stalls

Tonight we began enforcing school time bedtimes to get everyone acclimated to the changes coming next week. Tommy has a "get up" time rather than a bedtime; he’s really on his own. Sarah will probably sneak Breaking Dawn in bed. Noah pulled a complete evasion by shooting off to a friend’s house for a sleep over. Amy fought hers hard jumping from bed to bed, having tantrums, refusals, screaming, and tearing up her sisters room decor. Evan pulled the "I gotta poop" stall and enhanced it with the "I need a bandaid" the moment he hit the crib. He turned on alligator tears for added affect but only scored about a 60 second delay with that one as opposed to a 20 minute delay from potential poo.

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C|Net doesn’t like my comments

C|Net posted a story called N.Y. court upholds school cell phone ban and I replied with this comment:

I find it disheartening that for reasons which sound fearful and lacking of understanding “…contending the mobile gadgets can promote cheating and harassment…” that schools fail to teach a tool which will be integral to our children’s success in life once they leave school. Schools should be teaching our children how to use the tools on the cell phones including productivity management (calendar apps, todos, alerts), etiquette (better to learn it in school than on their first job!), emailing, sms, Internet searching from the phone, social networking (that’s how contracts and sales will be landed, jobs offered, and an edge above the rest secured), and so on.

Address issues of “cheating and harassment” on an individual basis and let’s not limit our children’s education based on speculation!

I have more here including a video where teaching cellphones in school proved to be successful:

Now, I had some difficulty submitting the comment so it may have appeared as though I tried to submit it three times. The comment is now gone. Instead blather like this is left:

It is so funny to hear people say that their little johnny is such a perfect child and that they have the right to reach him in the event of a comet hitting the earth. First of all, johnny is a little pervert cheater with no respect for his teacher or the classroom. Second of all, the parents are just as bad as their kid. Sick sick sick. They all need to be be put back on track and taught what is right and what is wrong. They can stomp their feet and throw a tantrum or they can pull their heads out of their butts and see the light. Boo hoo… Cry me a river. We never had cell phones when I was in school. Somehow I survived. Somehow may parents picked me up from football. Somehow they picked me up when I was sick at school. Somehow they were contacted when I threw spit balls. Kids and parents nowdays are screwed up big time.

I have read the C|NET terms of use and unless the relevant link to Reality Me can be construed as advertising then there was no justification for the comment deletion. If the link was a problem, remove the link! I have reposted the comment but if it disappears I simply won’t participate in C|Net discussions anymore.

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My son needs your comments. Please help him!

My oldest son is doing a class project in ecology. He is writing two posts a week and soliciting comments which he will compile or aggregate into his report. He cannot complete his project without comments. Please take a moment and read his posts. If you are so compelled, please comment on as many as you can. Thank you!

His posts to date:

Please make the comments on Tommy’s blog.

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We asked to be heard; tonight is our chance!

Do you care for the future of education in Knox County? We have asked that the citizens be heard in choices like rezonings and choosing a school superintendent. They are now willing to listen!

Knox County residents are invited this week to share their suggestions on what characteristics the school system’s new superintendent needs.

And the school board has been told to stay away.

[Source,, Residents’ input sought on superintendent]

I personally think the superintendent needs to come from outside of Knox County and maybe far from TN where local politics and good ol’ boy relations will not be an influence. I want someone making decisions that are right for our children and not because of politics or helping a buddy out.

Don’t forget to attend the superintendent search forums tonight (11/26) at either Austin East or Central High School auditoriums, beginning at 7:00 pm.

Additional forums will be held Tuesday, 11/27/07, at South Doyle and Bearden High School auditoriums, also at 7:00 pm.

[Source,, ]

This is very important! Make the time to voice your opinion please.

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Schools want emotionless zombies

First we ban tag because playing tag causes physical and emotional injury and now we are giving girls detention for hugging because it violates the school policy banning public displays of affection!

Megan’s mother, Melissa Coulter, said the embraces weren’t even real hugs — just an arm around the shoulder and slight squeeze.

District Superintendent Sam McGowen said that he thinks the penalty is fair…
[The student handbook] states: "Displays of affection should not occur on the school campus at any time. It is in poor taste, reflects poor judgment, and brings discredit to the school and to the persons involved."
[Source, MSNBC

What kind of poor, scarred adult wrote that handbook?! I want my children to hug! I want them to hug their friends. I want the elementary school teachers to hug my children when they fall down on the playground. Touch is important for emotional development.

An example of this can be seen in early childhood development of infants who respond and attach themselves to the adults who love and are responsible for them. In the magazine American Baby it states, “What’s usually the fastest way to soothe a crying baby? Snuggle together while gently stroking him. Your touch has an amazing power to communicate love” (Wu, 2004). [Source, Debbie Cluff, Emotional Development and the Self Esteem in Children]

Touch is one of the five love languages. We need to encourage touch for healthy people and a healthy society! We need to move beyond the sensationalism we hear and read in the news and quit assuming every adult is out to assault our children. Hug frequently!

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Quit Moving My Cheese!

I think my wife got into the Someone Moved My Cheese a little too much. I try to live my life as if I were blind. Blue socks are on the right hand side toward the back in the sock draw. The flashlight has a specific home and so forth. Things have their place. My wife thinks things should randomly move around the house!

I plan ahead for the children’s lunches. Everyday I have to have $8.75 cash on hand to make sure the children get to eat. So the day before I make sure I have 8 ones and then I get 75 cents from the coin jar. Today we are running late. One child is already in hysterics over missing the bus. The moved cheese? The coin jar is nowhere to be found.

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From the mouths of babes

Noah: "Health ended today."
Dad: "Oh? Did you have sex education?"
Noah: "Sorta."
Dad: "Did they talk to you about boy parts and girl parts?"
Noah: "They talked about boy parts. I missed the day they talked about girl parts."
Dad: "Sex education was only two days?!"