Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sales are Through the Roof

This is the last week for the Girl Scout fall product sale. Violet's sales are once again amazing. So many parents don't have their girls participate in the sale because it is too similar to the schools' fall fund raisers. Just another example of the bully tactics used by the schools. We don't use the schools and yet I have a real estate tax bill that shows I support them. Boy howdy, do I support them. To the tune of a couple thousand dollars each and every year. Yet Girl Scouts charge a mere $12 per year, and only for those joining. I wonder who needs my magazine subscription dollars more?

Anyway, the fall sale is always her big selling time. Try as we might we just can't generate cookie sales. In a good year she'll sell around 150 boxes. To be part of the "good" sales and get invited to the cookie party and get the good prizes, girls have to sell 300 boxes. Some girls sell over 1,000 boxes. I don't know how they do it. We've tried the form in the office, door-to-door sales, family and friends. All she gets is a frozen butt from trudging through the ice and snow and a handful of orders.

Juliettes aren't allowed to do booth sales (the sales outside stores). For the first time this year troops will get to count those sales towards the girls' total sales. They can divide it up however the leader chooses, evenly or just to those girls who show up. I have a lot of mixed feelings about that. Since I don't have a troop I don't think I can question the girls getting the extra credit too much. They are working and selling, if they go.

I don't like that the incentive prizes will be delayed a month or two because of the booth sales. It is my current understanding that Juliettes will have to wait for booth sales to end before their incentives are even ordered. It is sounding like it will be May before they see their little stuffed animals and flimsy necklaces. I hope they at least get their GS Credits earlier. In our council (or at least I hope it is still the case after the completion of the merger) the independent girls get credits to be used for camp, programs, in the GS store for the equivalent of the troop proceeds for the cookies they sell. The problem is, the credits expire in mid-September. If they don't get them until May, that cuts back on their spending time considerably.

Oh well. Not like anyone can change Girl Scouts, Inc. They do what is best for their corporate positioning. The girls are a secondary consideration (actually probably a tertiary or whatever the equivalent word is for fourth or fifth).

But for now, Violet has met her personal goals, earned the big and little stuffed monkeys and will have a nice pile of credits to use in the store on fun little things. She also earned all the patches, so they will make a nice little picture. Thanks to all of you who helped out. Just one little e-mail address or snail mailing really does make a big difference! Thanks!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Goat Snot and Other Adventures

We had a busy weekend. We went to my in-laws house which is in the Wisconsin Dells area. The plan was to go up on Friday afternoon. But Mr. I. had a client who wanted him to come out on Friday afternoon. And Violet and were really busy anyway and didn't want to miss our regular open swim time. So we drove up Saturday morning.

We met them in Baraboo and then drove to a Big Cat Rescue organization. The not-for-profit has rescued over 20 lions, tigers and panthers from owners who didn't care for them, or could no longer keep them. It was really neat. We did the self-guided tour.

When we got to my in-laws house we walked into town, checked out the new resale shop, went to Ben Franklin and got ice cream at the local Quik Mart. Real tourist-y stuff, huh? We had a great time. The weather was unseasonably warm so we grilled out and had dinner on their back deck.

The next morning we went to visit a good friend of theirs, Harvey. He lives on an organic farm in a house he made himself of mud and other found materials. He lives close to the land, almost off the grid completely, and has really found the simple life. Well, as simple as it can get and still be raising 4 or 5 horses, 4 goats, 2 mules, a gaggle of chickens and a dog. He's busy. Really busy. Check out the link on his name. He published his journal as a book.

We've met him before and were looking forward to seeing him again and hanging out on the farm. It was a real treat this time because one of the goats had just had babies. When we got there he brought the goats and the kids up to graze on the grass and clover. No fences, no leashes, the goats just follow him when he opens up the barn doors. Violet and I and Harvey all plopped right down on the ground to play with the goats. The babies were just like little puppies, bouncing around and playing. Sadie the dog was immensely jealous of the babies and wanted her fair share of petting and scratching too.

The goats played, ate, got lots of scritching, and one sneezed all over me. A wet sneeze. With no warning. And guess what? When goat snot dries, it is a yellowish orange. I had goat snot all over me the rest of the day. I told the goat that next time I sneezed it was going to be on her. Unfortunately I didn't sneeze before we left the farm.

After the goats went back in the barn we built a fire and made hot dogs and s'mores that my mother-in-law had brought with. Well, after Violet and I poured hand sanitizer from the car all over us. I at least got the snot off my hands and arm. My father-in-law had brought Harvey a bottle of wine which he opened. That's day camping in my book. Sitting in Harvey's backyard, with a hotdog, a s'more and a glass of Cabernet. (The link is to the winery the wine was from. Mother-in-law's niece is married to one of the sons.)

We got back to the in-laws a couple of hours before we had to leave. I was dirty, sweaty, smelled like camp fire and had goat snot on me. I pulled out my shirt that I had worn on Saturday. It was dirty and smelly and dusty from hiking around in the heat and the sun. I decided that if I showered I'd be putting on dirty clothes anyway. So I didn't shower until we got home at 10:00 that night and had gotten Violet showered and ready for bed. When I did, my clothes walked from the bathroom to the laundry room on their own.

Recapping the lessons I learned over the weekend:

1. Big cats eat 15 pounds of meat a day, sleep 20 hours, and ticks don't land on them.
2. Big cats are just like little cats when they've been abused. Many at the sanctuary were afraid of men or shovels due to their past experiences.
3. Goat snot is yellow-orange.
4. It is just as important to keep an eye on the front of the goat as it is the back side when you are sitting in the clover playing with them. While they are likely to pee or poop suddenly, they are just as likely to sneeze or chew on your clothing. Never let your guard down around goats.
5. Baby goats are the cutest things! My mother-in-law was practically stuffing one in her purse to sneak home.
6. When I go to visit my in-laws, bring an extra change of clothes. Because if we go to Harvey's house I'm going to play with the goats, follow the chickens, stand in the campfire smoke and basically have a great time. But I'm going to want to shower and change when I return to civilization.

Hope you all had a great time and that you were able to wash the goat snot off you quicker than I was.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Better keep my day job

Tonight Mr. I. had a chamber of commerce meeting and dinner so Violet and I were on our own to eat. We decided to make omelets. Mr. I doesn't care for eggs. It is one of his many weird eating things. It is best not to try to understand him.

Violet learned to make omelets in one of her summer culinary classes. We made turkey bacon to go with them, and had onion, green pepper, ham and cheese to go in them. Following Chef's recipe Violet made a beautiful omelet:

This was it on the plate:

It was actually the second omelet we made. I tried to help with the first one. If you look at the photo of my omelet, you'll see why Violet wanted to do the second one herself:

Not quite as beautiful, huh? But it tasted fantastic! So I definitely won't be hired by a diner anytime soon, although Violet just might be. And if you ever spend the night at our house, ask Violet to make you an omelet in the morning, not me.