Posts Tagged ‘money’

I know this might make us sound like kind of bad parents but we’ve learned that Big Brother is highly motivated by money. He loves it. Offer him a penny and he’ll fetch you a cold beverage. Offer him a nickel and he’ll sing a song…loudly, in public. Offer him a quarter and, as witnessed this weekend, he’ll wade out in bone-chillingly cold ocean water to retrieve Little Brother’s beloved rubber ball.  And, if said quarter is a commemorative state quarter?  Holy cow.  Oh, I shudder to think of what he’d do.

Big Brother also has a list of daily chores for which he receives stickers. At the end of the week, his allowance is based on how many stickers he’s accumulated.  And all this has been going on for quite a long time.  He does his chores (or some random challenge) collects his booty, and then hustles to his room to squirrel it away in his piggy bank.

Piggy’s gotten too fat a few times over the years forcing us to cash in some coins for bills to make more room.  We knew Big Brother had a decent collection going but had no idea, really, what the cumulative totals were.   All we knew was that Big Brother loved Piggy.  And all that Piggy represented.  For example, when I’m asked for the nine millionth time to take them out to lunch (or buy the new Bakugan or go to the car wash even though it’s raining outside), and I respond by saying, “No.  We aren’t made of money, you know?”, Big Brother remembers Piggy.  He contemplates, pausing for a moment, and then says “It’s ok, Mommy.  I’ll pay.”


So, you can imagine my surprise when he came to us and asked if he could open his own bank account.   We had no idea that our weekly trip to the bank was anything more to Big Brother than an opportunity to score lollipops.   He told us he wanted to save his money somewhere “super safe” and that he was really hopeful they might give him his very own “secret code” to get his money when he needed it.

Husband and I thought it was a great idea but weren’t so sure how to execute it with the gigantic corporate beast where we do our banking.  So, the next morning I called our local branch to make an appointment.  Unsure of the reaction I’d get (certainly, a five-year old and his piggy bank isn’t top on their list of clients), I was delighted when they walked me through how it would all work and made us an appointment.

Big Brother was thrilled.   And, quickly got to work shaking out the piggy.

So, I gathered up the money for him, we grabbed his social security card and off we went.    To do some banking.

Ready or not.  Here we come.

We sat right down with our representative who welcomed Big Brother, had him tell her his birthday and spell his name.  She asked him to provide his address and his signature.  He took it all very seriously.

You won’t get anymore shots of Big Brother from inside the bank, though.  See, turns out they have some crazy rules against taking pictures and had no qualms telling me to PUT THAT THING AWAY RIGHT NOW.

Sheesh.  How paranoid can you be.   Haha.

But, despite his crazy, camera-happy mother, they patiently got Big Brother all set up ($101!), gave him a little bank book with their sincere congratulations and sent a very proud little boy on his way.

So, thank you, to the staff of Giant Corporate Bank in Marblehead.  Thank you for acting like a small, local bank even though I know you are, in fact, a humongous financial monster.  Thank you for making last Friday a very special day for Big Brother.  He checks his account balance daily and feels like a very big kid.

Oh, and thank you, in advance, for not sending the police to my door because I posted a photo taken from inside your bank on my blog.  I photo-shopped the heck out of it to remove any possible issues.  Swear.

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When I was a little girl (an only child growing up in a small Vermont village), my parents seemed particularly concerned with not spoiling me.   They started out a newly-married couple without much more than their degrees (Tuck Business School and Wells College), entrepreneurial spirits and a love of the country life.  They weren’t handed anything from their own parents.   They worked very hard to build a catalog business together and saw it reach great heights of popularity during the mail order boom of the 80s.  Their business was launched in the basement of our house, then moved to bigger space in the neighboring one-light town, then they bought a big chunk of land, built their own warehouse and office space and grew right into that, too.   More warehouse space, more land, more employees, more money.   Eventually, my parents sold their home-grown business to a larger catalog conglomerate that was, at the time, very busy collecting other niche mail order companies (like Golf Day and Talbots).  This left them with no business but a whopping big warehouse that became home to Burton Snowboards.  Their story is a model of successful business building.  And, they did it side by side.   All day, every day — which I almost find even more impressive.

All the while, there was me.  A baby in a #10 box, a toddler with a mailing tube trumpet, a pre-schooler in packing peanuts, a kindergartener in customer service.  A middle schooler that thought…well, that thought she was pretty darn cool.  And, pretty sure that things were really going to start getting pretty cushy in the world in which I was living.   But the amazing thing about my parents is that, despite the fact that they were starting to do quite well, they never really showed it.  We lived (and my parents still live) in the same house they stretched themselves to purchase in the mid-70s.  My Dad has always driven a Ford pick-up truck and I think he likes his trucks better once they’re somewhat beat-up and rusty with dog scratches on the door and a, mostly unused, gun rack in the rear window.   My parents purchased a wood burning system to forego oil in the winter and my Dad, at age 65 and an implanted defibrillator later, continues to schlep load after load of wood down to the basement to fire that sucker up every day because he prefers to “burn wood, not money.”

So, any thoughts I may have had of all the trendiest fashions, a car for my 16th birthday, big weekly allowances, whatever?  Sadly misguided.  I was not indulged.  But, don’t get me (or them) wrong.  I certainly didn’t want for anything I truly needed (and I admit to attending a tony private high school) but all the really superfluous spoiled only child stuff you might expect?  Nope.  Not even vaguely up for discussion.

But…there was one thing I loved.  That almost every child loves.  One thing that I was allowed to have.  In excess.


In the time that I resided under my parents roof, they also accepted residence of the following:  two cats, six dogs, two guinea pigs, two hamsters, a bird, an opossum, a rabbit, baby chicks indoors and countless varieties of backyard chickens.

And, I’ve probably forgotten some.

Sweet, huh?  Letting their little girl have a menagerie of pets?  Mostly, yes.  But, there’s this one other thing about that.  You see, the first pet that was officially mine was a kitten.  A black, fuzzy thing as cute as a button and only about twice as big.  And he was to be mine (all mine!) with one condition.  My Dad was going to name it.   Sure!  I’d take that deal any day.  I mean, how bad could it be?

Blackie? I suggested.  Nah, said my Dad.

Kitty? Nope.

Midnight? Uh-uh.

We’ll name him Dick.


Yup, Dick.  That’s what my Dad named that cat.

You laugh, don’t you?

Want to know what he named my hamster?  Dick the hamster. And the bird?   Dick the bird. I kid you not.   I lived with this.  Repeatedly.

I laugh now, of course.  And, truth be told, I’m a BIG FAN of giving pets human names.  Our other pet names (you know, when we already had a Dick in the house – snicker) were Mickey, Bonnie, Sam, Sonny, Katie, etc.

When I was in college, I went out and got a guinea pig (my roommates were not so excited but they grew to love her.   I think.)  We named her Joyce.  As an aside we thought we were naming her after that saxophone playing Muppet.  You know, the one with the crazy hair?  Turns out her name was Janice but whatever.  Joyce stuck.

Ross and I got a dog together after we were married and named him Bernie (after #51).  We’ve already decided our next dog will be Jorge (#20) although I plan to pronounce it “George” and Ross will likely drive me crazy by actually calling him “Hoar-hay”.  Just rolls off the tongue, no?

I’ll bet there are a lot of things that my parents are proud they passed along.  Things that I carry with me every day in the form of my happiest childhood memories.  And, there are also probably some things they hoped I’d forget.

I wonder where the memory of “Pets Named Dick” stands in their minds?

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You? Ick.

Hey You.

Yes, You.  You, the woman in the big ole’ white Mercedes Benz.

You.  The one that refused to move aside on the street today when I clearly had the right of way on that narrow, old town street meant for horses to pass alongside one another…not my SUV and your Benz.

Yes, You.  You, who saw that big old pick-up truck parked on your side of the street.  You who chose to speed up towards me instead of moving aside behind the truck so I could pass first.

Just so you know.  I know you now.  Because, I saw your vanity plate pass by as I was forced to barrel my Jeep onto a sidewalk, narrowly missing a mailbox.

It’s a memorable plate, lady.  You probably meant it that way.

But, I’ll tell you what “WKG MOM” in your giant Mercedes Benz.    I know one thing.  Even without your poor driver etiquette.

Yup, I know one thing for sure.  Call me crazy, but it’s just a hunch I have.  You and I, Miss WKG MOM?   Nope.

I wouldn’t have liked you, anyway.

I live in a small town and recognize that this is a somewhat risky post.  I’m irritated enough at the moment not to care.  But, if the post disappears sometime, you know why.

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