Archive for July 2009

Lemonade Stand

Sam has been asking me since before last Winter if he could have a lemonade stand. I took the day off today because we were originally planning to go and pick blackberries; however, the blackberry farm said the berries wouldn’t be ready until next week. A hot summer day with nothing else to do? That is the perfect time for a lemonade stand.

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Sam’s Lemonade Stand

Nancy made the lemonade. Anne baked some chocolate chip cookies and helped them do the sign. After a quick trip to Sam’s club to get some plastic cups we were ready. I loaded up the wagon with the goods while Emily, Caroline, Sam, Diana and the neighbor girl all headed out to find the perfect spot for the stand – right on the front sidewalk. I told them they wouldn’t get any traffic on our sleepy street and that it was better to set up on a busier street. We headed out to the busy street behind our house that marks the entrance to the subdivision.

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Waiting for customers

I helped them get the table and sign set up and instructed them on how to make change and to make sure they used a napkin when they gave people a cookie and then I set off for home with a warning not to eat and drink up all of their merchandise. When I set off, panic set in:

Kids: “Dad, where are you going?”
Me: “Home”

“But we need someone to help us!”
“I’m not in the lemonade business – you guys wanted to be in the lemonade business. You can do it.”

“But dad, nobody will stop on this street. This is embarrassing
“Of course nobody will stop when you’re standing in front of the sign. You’ve got to stand behind your sign and wave at cars and then they’ll stop”

The kids weren’t very convinced that I had selected a good spot and weren’t too sure they wanted to be in the lemonade business but I left them there and went home to fetch Nancy and the camera. I was gone only about 5 minutes and when I came back they said “Dad! We got a customer” The neighbor lady whose lawn they were utilizing had been their first customer so they didn’t feel too bad about the spot anymore.

Nancy started buying a lemonade and I started to take pictures when the best customer of the day pulled up: a big FedEx truck! The kids’ eyes were wide as plates and their jaws dropped open. They couldn’t believe that a FedEx truck had stopped for lemonade. The driver ordered “two lemonades and a cookie”. The kids just kind of stood there with their eyes bulging out so Nancy had to coach them a bit on getting the driver his order. Lemonade was 25 cents and cookies were 50 cents. That meant a whole dollar from one customer! The driver gave them two dollars and said the second one was a tip.

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Thanks Mr. FedEx guy! You made their day

After the FedEx guy the kids were convinced that I had chosen a good spot. After about a half hour the first casualty was Diana. She was hot and didn’t want to sell lemonade anymore. She wanted to play with her friends. A half hour later Buddy was the second casualty. He said the girls were being mean to him (they probably were) and that he didn’t want to sell lemonade anymore and wanted to play with his friends. I told him that it was his lemonade stand so if he didn’t want to do it anymore I would come and take it down. He said the girls still wanted to keep selling lemonade so I decided to let them keep going. I left them out there another two hours before I decided to go check on them. When I got there, they were drinking up the last of the lemonade and all the chocolate cookies had vanished. They all had big chocolaty grins and sunburns on their faces.

We took the stand down, packed up everything, and hauled it back home in the wagon. I counted up the money they had earned and was surprised to discover that they had made 11 dollars. Not bad for three hours worth of lemonade and cookie selling. The only problem was that the 11 dollars didn’t seem nearly as big an amount when it was split 6 ways (Anne got a share for making the cookies and doing the poster). Overall it was a fun activity. They kids had a good time and Nancy got a couple of hours to herself. Maybe next summer we’ll do another one.

Anonymity Wasn’t All That Great

The nicknames are gone. They just sounded dumb and they were too hard to maintain. It was also impossible to prevent commenters from using our real names. I am making one concession to anonymity though: I have removed all instances of our last name from the blog.

Stitches

The part of raising a family I don’t really enjoy dealing with is that of injuries. This past weekend we had another trip to the instacare to fix another injury. It was Luppin’s turn to get some stitches.

While I was mowing the back lawn Luppin and Samuel were in the front yard playing around. I was about a third of the way done with the lawn when Texas comes up to me and tells me that Luppin is really hurt. Usually when someone is hurt I am not to worried, but when they are really hurt I come running. It turns out Luppin fell down on the front steps on her chin. There was a pretty big and deep gash and I knew that a bandage was not going to be enough. I even saw the fatty tissue under the skin. So I took Emily with me to put pressure on the wound and we went to see the doctor. Luppin was really good and stayed really still while they shot her with numbing medicine and then stitched her up. She got six stitches in all, one underneath the skin to close up the underlying tissue and five on the top to close up the skin. Now we will go back on Saturday to get the stitches taken out.

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BYUFan’s Guide to Reserving a Good Parade Spot

It’s been a few years since we’ve been to the 4th of July parade in Provo. If you’ve been to one of these parades you’ve been to them all so there isn’t really any need to keep going each year. Of course, we’ve been enough times in the past that we’re considered the “experts” on the logistics of this parade in the family. This year, Aunt Melissa was in town and her boys had never been to a parade so we were happy to go with them.

Waiting for more candy

Waiting for more candy

The key to enjoying the parade is to get a shady and grassy spot on Center street. Unfortunately, those spots are in high demand so some expert strategy is required in order to secure a spot. Provo City ordinances, specifically title 9.14.220 of the municipal code, prevent anyone from putting their blankets and stuff down before 5:00 a.m. on Center street and the Provo Police typically enforce the ordinance. Thus, there always is a mad rush at 5:00 a.m. as people throw down their blankets and chairs, rope off spots, and generally act like buffoons as they try to reserve space in the prime locations. If you don’t live in Provo and don’t want to get up really early to catch a prime spot, there are still a few tricks you can use to get yourself a nice shady location. The first trick is to realize that people always grab way more space than they need. They’ll set out a huge tarp for only 5 or 6 people. They also put a foot of space between their blanket/tarp and the next guy’s blanket/tarp. The gaps and spaces between tarps are prime real estate for late comers. You also need to remember that all the kids go running up to the curb as soon as the parade starts passing by so that they can get candy. The kids never actually end up sitting still on the tarps/blankets/chairs which contributes even more to wasted space. Finally, remember that possession is nine tenths of the law and if someone doesn’t physically hold their space down it is prone to usurpation from squatters. Usurpation is also perfectly legal because, as the parade website says “Please note that in order to reserve a spot on the parade route at least one person must be present. Any items left unattended may be moved.”

If you’re a squatter like me, you need to get there early enough so that it’s not jammed packed but late enough so that the original land rush has settled down and the hard-cores have tired of holding down their spot and have set off to collect their families or get something to eat. Between 6:30 and 7:00 a.m. is about right. You walk along the sidewalk looking for gaps between the existing arrangement of blankets/chairs/tarps then you swoop in and do a little rearranging. A little tugging here, a little adjustment there, and viola! – you’ve converted that unused space into a perfect little area for your own blankets and chairs. Avoid doing weak junk like folding their blankets in half or removing their blanket altogether (even though it’s perfectly legal). You’re not decreasing the amount of overall space they’ve claimed – you’re simply making the most efficient use of the total available space by rearranging such that small gaps become big gaps.

Enjoying the parade

Enjoying the parade

Of course, squatters are prone to protestations from the few hardy souls that have stuck around since 5:30 to hold down their blankets. The staker-outers mostly just sit there and glare at you but the bold ones may cry, “Hey, those are someone’s blankets!”. You need to be tough and say, “Well, I’m only scooting them over so I can use this extra space over here” or, simply, “Well, they’re not here”. You also need to periodically loudly say “People ALWAYS reserve way more space than they need!”. That generally shuts up the most vocal sentries. The most important key, of course, is DON’T BUDGE from your space. You have to put your chairs down and sit in them and don’t leave. Otherwise, you will get squatted upon yourselves or you will get moved aside by the original homesteaders when they return to reclaim their land.

The return of the original homesteaders is where your resolve will be tested the most. They will say “Hey, that was our spot!” or “We reserved that location!” Good responses are “what spot?” “where?”. They will say, “There, where our blanket is”. You can then respond “Your blanket is still there”. Remember – don’t move. Don’t stand up. Just STAY SEATED. They will think you are a mean jerk but that’s OK because you think they are greedy land-grabbers reserving way more than they need. Eventually, the homesteader’s full party will arrive and they will realize, “Oh, we didn’t really need 30 chairs for only 20 people” and they will start to fold up some of their blankets and such. At the same time, the super-late crowd will begin to arrive and ask things like “Is it OK if we just squeeze our blankets in here?” This is your chance to really sink the knife into the homesteader’s greedy heart. Your response should be, “Sure! No problem! There’s always room for more. After all, people ALWAYS reserve WAY MORE space than they need”. This response accomplishes several things: You gain allies among the super-late crowd, you look like a nice generous congenial person, and you make the original homesteader look like a dork for reserving WAY MORE space than he needed. Now, you can enjoy the parade from your nice shady spot!

Thanks to Melissa and Kyle for helping me successfully squat on some shady ground at this year’s parade. Thanks to Grandma Connie for the treats. I’m glad we went but I certainly have no desire to go again next year.

Anne’s Birthday

After my kids turn twelve then they do not get anymore friend birthday parties. When you have five kids it just gets too expensive. This year Anne turned twelve and had her last friend party. This year she wanted to have a swim party. It almost didn’t happen because the weather was not cooperating. Luckily the weather cleared in time for her party and she and her friends were able to go to the community pool and go swimming. Then they came back to the house and played some games, ate pizza, ate cake and ice cream, opened presents, and had a good time. I think Anne had fun and it was nice to be able to meet her friends from school(her party was on the last day of school).

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