Next stop Paris

Our final morning in New York and we found a nice coffee shop to eat breakfast at before our meeting at the agency.

Here’s Beth at the agency playing solitaire on her Ipod while we wait. She spent a lot of time playing solitaire this week.

We had our meeting at the agency before we left New York Friday morning. We got to the agency early (as usual) and still haven’t adjusted to our position as someone they represent. The agency was mostly empty so we sat down in the unmanned lobby not sure if we should just walk in back. Someone we had not met yet came out and asked us if we had an appointment, yes we did with Tammy. Then she asked if we were with them, well yes maybe we just weren’t sure. So she told us to go ahead and walk back. Both Agnes and Tammy, the two people we’ve mostly been talking to were in and asked us to come into one of the unused offices to sit down and talk. After the meeting when Beth and I talked about this we both thought they were going to say after looking at all the photos they’re sorry but they’re just not going to be able to represent us. Instead what they asked us was about our flexibility. They wanted to know how available we were to travel to other markets. NEXT has agencies all around the world and we knew from talking to our mother agency that this was what you need to do to move your career forward. So Beth and I got our passports a couple months ago just in case. Good thing we did because the plan is for us to go to Paris & London in Sept.

That trip will be similar to our NY trip, every market has their own agency. So we’ll be meeting with a NEXT agency in both of those cities that will be representing Beth in their markets. We’ll go to photo shoots in those cities with local photographers to create Beth’s portfolios. If it follows the same schedule as NY we should have plenty of time for site-seeing.

We were warned that at some point I need to think about letting Beth travel to Europe alone because it shows those agencies & designers that she’s mature and ready to do this job. I said that’s something we could work towards but it’s going to take awhile. They also commented that there aren’t as many model apartments in Europe so that becomes an issue when there’s two of us traveling together. So that’s something we need to talk to our mother agency about. But they did stress that wasn’t something they expected to happen in a month or two. Well I hope not for heaven’s sake!

We did get a few of our questions answered; the model apartment in East Village is $350 per week per person. So that was $700 charged to Beth’s account. Plus the cost of the 3 photo shoots, who knows how much that was. All of these charges will accumulate in her acct until she starts earning money then they will deduct it from her pay. We have not signed a contract with neither NEXT nor our mother agency. I forgot to ask about that, are they all implied contracts? Are there no contracts? I do know that it is a standard rate of pay that all (or most) models receive. The model makes 80% of the billing the other 20% goes to the agency plus an additional 20% is paid to the agency by the client. Then the agency pays 10% of their payment to the mother agency. So Beth gets 80%, NEXT gets 30% and Mother Model Management get 10%. And the model pays all their expenses. There is the potential to make a lot of money but in the beginning I think a model is happy when they break even. I know I’ll be glad when we start breaking even. J

The final word on the elusive haircut; they are going to let Beth’s hair grow out until our next meeting then they plan on doing a haircut.

Our mother agency is located in St. Louis which has their own Fashion Week in Oct. So Beth plans doing that Oct. 12-18. I think that will be good practice for her and help her be a little more comfortable in that type of environment before the big Fashion Week in New York in Feb. Because that is what we’re working towards Spring 2010 Fashion Week! It’s hard to imagine in 5 short months she could be walking down a runway in New York with all the other fashion models. That’s just crazy to even think about.

That’s where we’re at right now on our modeling journey. In the airplane on the way home from New York Beth remembered that she had to wake up at 7am the next morning to go work at the farmers market. One week she’s living the life of a fashion model in NY the next week she’s back in the Midwest earning $40 for a mornings work selling bread. That’s OK though, she’s going to need that money for shopping in Europe!

Day 4 in New York

Our time in New York has almost ended. Tomorrow we go to the agency to see all Beth’s pictures, talk about the plans for the future and say our good-byes. We’ll have a car pick us up at the agency then head to LaGuardia enroute to Columbus. This has been a fabulous week. Beth and I have had a great time together. We have walked all over the city of New York, we learned how to hail a cab, navigate the subways and barter with the vendors. We’re no longer afraid of walking around after dark and we actually found our way home from the subway through east village without having to use the map. Plus Beth has almost mastered entering the subway through the turnstile; maybe on our next trip she’ll master the skill.

Our day started the same as the others; out the door by 8:30 heading towards SoHo looking for a coffee shop on the way. I’m so sad that I didn’t write down the great place we went to yesterday morning. Since we walk a different route every time I had no idea where it was. Thus we ended up in the world’s busiest Starbucks right next to our subway entrance. They actually had a person going through the line sending pre-orders back to the baristas and an expeditor to make sure the coffees made it to the right people. It also had a line across the very large store. As Beth said that’s some dedication.

When we got to the agency (early, which isn’t a surprise for anyone who knows me) the photos were just coming in from the first shoot. They looked great! As soon as we get copies of them I’ll put a few on the blog. Then we were told that they are going to hold off on doing anything to her hair. It’s long enough that it can be pulled back nicely and that seems to work well in the photographs. So she is not allowed to do ANYTHING to her hair. Just let it grow out then they’ll decide what to do. Next we were given our schedule & directions for the day. Unfortunately, Beth again chose not to listen to me, so she didn’t have her heels with her which she needed for the shoots today. So we raced back to the apartment then raced off to our first appointment in Queens (the opposite side of Queens from where we ended up the other day.)

The shoot went really well, there was a make-up artist there to work on Beth’s make-up and pull back her hair.

The photographer had several outfits for Beth to use. Funny thing about the outfits the photographers use (we found this to be the case at all 3 shoots) they buy the clothes at H&M, leave the tags on, then return them after the shoot. As long as they have a receipt and the tags are on the clothes the store takes them back. We talked to one of the photographers about this and he said they never say anything about it. So if you want to dress like a model in a magazine shop at H&M! This shoot ended about 2:30 and Beth and I were STARVING, besides coffee this morning we had not yet eaten. But our next appointment was at 4 in Brooklyn so we decided to get there first then we would eat lunch.

We made it to Brooklyn by 3 and went to a yummy pizza place for a quick slice of pizza before the 2nd shoot. The second shoot went just as smoothly as the first. The photographer did suggest that I could go to Starbucks during the shoot but I said I’d be happy to stay and watch. Turns out he thought I was just a chaperone not Beth’s mom. He thought I looked way too young to be the mom! That is actually the second photographer that said that. Yes, score one for me! Both the shoots today differed a little from her previous 2 shoots in that the photographers wanted Beth to move some on her own without being told what to do. That confused Beth a little and while they were very encouraging and positive in the way they led her, it did show us what she needed to work on. The first photographer suggested that she start studying some top fashion magazines and looking at the portfolios of the top 25 models to see how they pose. You have to be conscious of what you’re doing with your hands, fingers, knees, feet, elbows and your face. Every time they tell Beth to make an angry face she laughs. She needs to work on her anger in the opposite way people usually mean. Beth felt like she really learned a lot from the photographers today. Also both of the shoots today Beth did in heels, a first for her, thank you G-ma Phyllis for taking her shopping last week for those heels. Beth did OK but she really needs to practice walking in them and we need to get her a pair without straps that she can just slip on & off. With all of the practicing she needs to be doing; walking, facial expressions, moving her appendages, we’ve decided to add a large area of mirrors to her newly remodeled bedroom.

On the way home from Brooklyn we decided to stop by Battery Park (the southern tip of New York) to look at the Statue of Liberty from a distance. It was too late to take the ferries over but we got see her and the Governors’ mansion along with several sculptures and a few more really neat parks.

We also got to see the memorial sculpture for the World Trade Center. It was a sculpture of the world that had been standing in front of the World Trade Center and was damaged during the attack. They moved it to a park in front of the Native American Museum and put an eternal flame and plaque explaining the sculpture. That made me teary and was much more moving than looking at the empty construction area that we visited Tues.

On the subways, this evening, we saw our first subway street musician. It was so enjoyable, even on the very crowded and hot platform, to stand and listen to such wonderful music. We purposely skipped the first train that came by so we could listen a little longer.

After battling the very crowded subways at rush hour, leaving the financial district, we finally made it back to the village where we stopped for a very fancy and yummy Mexican meal. I had cactus for the first time and sangria for the first time (in a week anyways.)

This was our last day seeing the sights of New York, and I loved the whole week. The people were friendly, the city was mostly clean, we almost always felt safe, and it was an experience we’ll never forget. Even if nothing more comes from this modeling adventure at least Beth & I will always have this wonderful trip to remember!

Steps for the day: 23,510 which equals 1032 calories and approximately 11-12 miles. No wonder New Yorkers are all so thin!

Food Budget:

Starbucks $10.40

Pizza for lunch 12.00

Mexican for dinner $60 (it was very fancy and I had sangria, but really I thought the $10 for chips and guacamole was a bit ridiculous, of course, that wasn’t on the menu. If I had know how much it was I would have declined)

Total $82.40, well it was our last big day so we splurged a bit.

Day 3 in New York

It was another full day in the city but I don’t feel like there was anything too exciting to write about. We did sleep in a little later but we were still out the door by 8:30. We found a quaint little, open to the street, coffee shop where I finally got to have something yummy to drink and Beth had a bagel with cranberry juice. Then back to SoHo, you’d think we’d know the route by now but we still need to follow our map. We walked around for a bit then sat at a little park right outside the NEXT agency, waiting for our appointment.

(this is the purse Beth bought yesterday in China town)

Unfortunately, they still didn’t have the pictures from yesterdays shoot, so no decisions had been made about Beth’s hair. They did take her measurements and do a few more Polaroid’s. Beth had worn a little bit of eye makeup and she needed to clean it off for the Polaroid’s, which of course made her face all red. So we had to sit around and wait for the redness to go away. Then we were sent off again to explore the city and were told we would have 2 shoots on Thurs. I get the feeling that they’re going to leave Beth’s hair alone and let the layers grow out a bit before they do anything, much to Beth’s disappointment. She was really looking forward to a short funky haircut.

After walking around SoHo for a bit we went to the Art Institute of New York for a college tour. We’ve already toured Columbus College of Art & Design so we had an idea of what to expect with a Fashion Design program, which is what Beth is interested in majoring in. There are a couple other fashion schools in NY that we would like to look at also. While the school obviously has some advantages over CCAD since it is in the fashion capital of the world Beth & I actually liked CCAD a little bit better.

After the tour we stopped at an upscale deli that was very yummy. Much better than yesterdays Subway!

Then we were off to the Garment District where we got to go into a real fabric store, not quite the same as the JoAnne Fabrics that we have at home.

Next on our NY in 4 day tour was Central Park. Beautiful, relaxing, clean, quaint, peaceful are all adjectives that come to mind. It was lovely and I would have enjoyed spending the day there but a storm was blowing in.

So down 5th Ave. we headed with my secret plan of going to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. You know a storm is coming when all the street vendors start packing up. But we made it to the museum before started raining. Beth was finally able to buy a journal, she has been looking for one all week (do New Yorkers not journal?) But we didn’t actually go into the museum we only had 2 hours before it closed and we were both pretty tired. $30 was a lot to spend on something we wouldn’t enjoy fully. But at least I got to see how incredibly huge it is and I was in the lobby and gift shop, maybe on our next trip we’ll get to see the exhibits.

Unfortunately, as we left the museum it was still trying to storm so we raced several blocks to the subway and headed back down to our little village that I’m really becoming quite fond of. We did have to walk in a light rain for a bit but it was nice and cooling and didn’t even leave our clothes wet. On our walk back to the apartment I saw a sign for Tokyo toys, with Beth’s love of everything Asian and manga I thought that would be a fun store to stop in. Another bonus it was on the second floor of the building, that’s always fun because you feel like you’re finding a secret little shop that no one else knows about. Luckily as Beth was opening the door I noticed the sign that said no minors allowed, all children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Oh, it was that kind of toy store! Needless to say we didn’t go in.

When we finally got back to the apartment we were pleasantly surprised to find a cleaning lady busy at work. Then we noticed that our beds had been remade and our sheets that we had brought from home were missing. We did find them folded up and put away in the closet. I’m hoping she really did wash all the bedding before she put it back away. I did a smell test and I think it maybe smelled freshly laundered, I hope anyways.

We rested for a little bit before we decided to walk around the neighborhood looking for dinner. On our way out of the apartment we decided to check out the courtyard. It is an awesome private courtyard with plants, fountains and places to sit. Very nice, I could imagine living here and sitting out there drinking a glass of wine.

This neighborhood is a great place to take pictures. There are so many places covered with colorful wall art. It seems to cut back on the graffiti when you cover your walls in such great works of art.

We also found a sculpture garden.

And a community garden that is “open for all to enjoy” with a cute table and chairs tucked away under a tree and a small garden cottage. Unfortunately it was also padlocked closed, so I guess that open for all philosophy didn’t work out for them.

We ended up having Sicilian pizza for dinner then enjoying a stroll through the park on our way back home. I love the dog park, it’s so fun to see all the dogs playing together and chasing each other. There was a massive Brindle Mastiff that we saw sitting up on the park bench like a human. We also saw 2 black squirrels, they looked strange and ominous.

That was our day in a nutshell, not as exciting as yesterday but I’m starting to feel like less of a tourist and more like I belong. If I could only learn where all the subway entrances are!

Our steps for the day were 26,447 (that equals 1053 calories and approximately 12-13 miles) that was surprising since we weren’t out as long today and yesterday we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge. I guess we walked more than we thought today. No wonder we were so tired.

Food breakdown today:
Cranberry juice 3.50
Coffee & bagel 7.02
2 bubble teas 10.50
2 awesome sandwiches for lunch 21.51
Ice cream bar 2.00
Pizza & soda for dinner 12.00

Total $56.53 (man that $50 budget is hard to hit)

Day 2 in New York

Today was such a full, crazy, busy day I don’t know if I can fit it all into one blog. But I’ll try:

First of all we’re kinda morning people, New York is not a morning city. Beth & I were out by 8am this morning but most places don’t open until 10 or 11. So we did a lot of walking and window shopping but not much else. Also there is a serious lack of coffee shops in the city. I have seen maybe 4 Starbucks this whole trip and there are not that many in dependent coffee shops, weird. However, there are an abundance of Dunkin Doughnuts, we see them all over the place. Thus that is where Beth wanted to stop this morning so I tried to get an iced latte from there but ultimately had to return it because a Big Gulp size cup of milk with flavoring does not an iced latte make! Then we off to SoHo to do some window shopping (because none of the stores opened until 11.) We did see what I thought was a coffee shop but turned out to be an Asian grocery/ sushi/ breakfast bar where we got a tray of veggie sushi to split for breakfast.

While were walking around SoHo we were approached by an Asian man that very quietly asked if we wanted to buy a purse. Yes! finally the mysterious back alley purse sale that I’ve been hearing so much about. So of course, we followed. But then I started getting a little nervous where were we following this strange, speedy little man to? He said is car was parked by parking lot. Hmm, OK I knew I would NOT follow him into a parking garage but we were still on a pretty busy street with lots of pedestrians so I thought it was probably OK. I did take a peek over my shoulder to see if we were being followed. I have to admit this was not one of my better moments. It was one of those times when it starts out OK but then quickly turns into something a little scary. His van was parked on the street so it seemed safe enough to look inside but no we couldn’t just look inside we had to actually get in the van. He was acting very nervous like there could be a police bust at any moment. Honestly, I knew these purses were all knockoffs I had no delusion that they were real but I was in it for the experience at this point. So I grabbed a purse as quick as possible handed over $40 and we got out of Dodge. Beth was very upset with me through this whole process. She obviously has much more sense than I do. We walked away quickly then made a quick turn into the NY Art Institute to make sure we weren’t being followed and to set up an appointment to do a college tour.

We made it out alive and I think we learned a valuable lesson. Just go to Chinatown and you can buy the exact same purse for $25, plus they’ll put on whatever type of label that you want. J And you don’t have to worry about a police bust. Which I think was all for show anyway.

At 10:40ish we went to the agency a bit early but we were tired of people watching and on edge from our brush with the seedy purse business. Unfortunately they weren’t able to make a decision about her hair so they set up a photo shoot instead. They handed us printed instructions with step by step walking and subway directions to Brooklyn. The direction said it would take 27 min so we had some time to kill. While we’re surrounded by all kinds of great little restaurants we ended up at Subway splitting a 12inc sub. After lunch we decided to head over to Brooklyn to do some exploring before the photo shoot. Well I got confused by the very clearly explained directions and instead of just getting on the A train that goes in the direction of Queens/ Far Rockaway (the very last stop on the A train) I thought I had to actually go to Far Rockaway. Well about an hour later we were at the last stop and realized that something just didn’t seem right. It kinda looked like an inner city neighborhood in Detroit. I was really hoping this was not where the photographer was located. After talking to a very helpful police officer we realized that we should have got off 19 stops before. So back on the train and another hour of heading back into the city. We got to our stop with minutes to spare but we still had to hike about a half mile to the studio. We got there only 6 minutes late, Yes!

The photo shoot was great. Beth got dressed up in 4 different outfits and one of the shots was done outside. She looked much more grown up in this photo shoot than she did in St. Louis a long 3 months ago. After the shoot we tried to go to a great smelling café for dinner but they had stopped serving food so we went to a market and settled for drinks and a small bag of chips.

On the walk back to the dreaded subway I saw a sign for the waterfront so we followed that and found a beautiful deck that over looked the bay and had an awesome view of the city from under the Brooklyn Bridge. We got some homemade ice cream and sat there enjoying the view while we had what turned out to be dinner, 1 scoop of very yummy ice cream. We finally spotted the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building. Then we learned that you can actually walk back into the city over the Brooklyn Bridge.

So we did it, we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge, that was so cool!

After we got back into the city we decided to visit China Town. That is an insane experience, talk about a hard sell. There are people coming at you constantly. But Beth and I have mastered the art of bartering. We simply stuck with a budget and if they wouldn’t sell for our price we walked away. Eventually Beth got a purse she wanted for $25 and a hat for $5. Much better than the van transaction!

12 hours after we left our apartment we finally returned. I can’t believe we’ve only been here 2 days. We have seen so much, it feels like a week has gone by. But we’ll be back on the streets tomorrow with a trip to the agency at 10, hopefully a haircut, maybe the college tour that we missed today and a tour of the garment district.

Our money breakdown for the day:

Dunkin Doughnuts 11.53

Returned coffee (3.80)

Cranberry pills to fight of a UTI 10.49

Sushi 6.80

Subway 7.17

Market for drinks & chips 6.05

Ice Cream 7.00

Market for drinks 3.50

Total $48.51

We walked about 18000 steps which is about 9 miles.

Day 1 in New York

Well we made it into the city and today has been a never ending adventure. We did have a driver waiting for us the airport so that went very smoothly. We didn’t have to pay for that (up front anyways) but if we want to have him take us back to the airport on our way out it will be $50 (plus tip, of course.) He brought us right to our apartment in East Village. This area of town feel very much like the Short North in Columbus. Lots of neat little restaurants and small shops. An awesome park just a half block away with lots of trees, play spaces for kids and a fenced in area for dogs to play! The building has a front desk person working 24 hours a day so it feels secure.

Now the funny/ strange part about the apartment: it definitely has the feel of a dorm room, 2 bedrooms with 2 beds in each room, sitting area, kitchenette & bathroom. And just like a college dorm it’s kinda dirty, with 6 bags of trash piled up in the kitchen (but the dishes were all done) and lots of girlie stuff in the bedrooms. While we haven’t seen the owners of all the luggage we assume some other models are staying here. It was hard to tell which beds we should take because as happens with girls their stuff has migrated to the other beds. So Beth and I each staked claim to the beds with the least amount of stuff on them. We just hope that we’re not going to offend the other tenets. And just now while Beth and I are back in the room for the night, there was a knock on the door and a beautiful young girl has come to join us. She is another new girl to the room so hopefully the owners of all the other luggage are off on modeling jobs out of town. Our new roommate is 16 years old from Poland and traveling alone. She has broken English but if she understood my question correctly she has been modeling for 20 days.

So back to our day; I asked the driver how much it would be for him to drive us to the agency after we dropped off our luggage at the apartmet, $30 for a 1.6 mile drive. No thanks I figured we could walk. But he did tell me that a cab would be about $10 if we decided not to walk. Well Beth & I took off walking following my small map that I picked up at B&N the night before. Normally I can read a map no problem but something about the maps in NY has me stumped. Maybe it the sheer number of roads and the fact that only a portion of them are actually listed on the maps, either way I got turned around and we walked for about 30 minutes in the 90 degree weather in the wrong direction. When I realized that something wasn’t right I noticed we surrounded by high rise govt housing. The projects the one area I read we should avoid in the East Village. OK turn around quick and hail a cab, we were sweating, uncomfortable and willing to pay for a ride. It was only $10 including tip and well worth it! That was a first for me, I’ve never hailed a cab before.

So we finally made it to the agency. I wasn’t quite a big as I expected the 6th & 7th floor of a building in SoHo. It was white with pictures on the walls of all the girls they represent. Everyone was friendly and welcoming. They had Beth fill out a short 1 page info sheet then took a few head shots so they could confer and decide what to do with her hair. After that they told us to come back tomorrow at 11 for the haircut and sent us on our way.

So Beth and were off it was only 2pm so we had time to do some exploring. First stop was the subways we bought a 7 day unlimited pass ($27 each) and got on the A train going uptown. As I’ve found from my travels around Seattle it’s always easier to get downtown than it is getting home. So I was a little worried about finding our apartment again but I figured I could always hail a cab if I got desperate. We had planned to head to Central park but we got off at Times Square to check that out. We had fun looking in some of the VERY inexpensive shops that are underground in the subway area. Beth bought a few things but spent very little $. Which is good because I put us on a $50 a day budget for food and drinks.

Speaking of our food budget we spent $9 at Starbucks at the airport, $8 on an awesome veggie pizza for lunch, $2 in a stupid vending machine where I tried to get water but it would only give me Sprite. $19 so far plenty of money left over for dinner.

After we finished up at Times Square we had quite an ordeal finding the subways again. That is a very chaotic area of town and we were getting tired. By the time we found the subways we were ready to head back to the apartment and had given up going to Central Park. Our first trip on the subway was a little scary because of the rough ride and loud screeching. But this second ride we were so happy to be in air conditioning we didn’t mind. We decided to stay on the E train until the end of the route at the World Trade Center site. While the remembrance of that day left me teary the actual site didn’t leave me feeling anything. It was surrounded by construction type plywood walls and just looked like all the other construction sites you see around town. Maybe we missed a memorial or something that was more meaningful. Beth was tired, cranky and ready to rest so back to the subways we went.

Unfortunately, Beth slid her Metro card but didn’t walk through the turnstile because she got confused. So she was locked out of the subways for 18 minutes. So back up the stairs to find AC until our time had passed. We found a Starbucks and settled for water and a cookie (only $6, putting us up to $25.) Once our time had passed we headed back to the subway took the A train then transferred to the L train (yes by now I’m feeling like an expert) and walked the last few blocks back to our apartment. We did stop in an awesome little vintage clothing store, “Graffiti” it got its name because the building was featured on Led Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti album. We stopped and picked up veggie Panini’s for dinner ($17 for 2, ouch! $42 total) and stopped at the grocery for TP, paper towels, trash bags and 2 drinks ($12 man that seems pricey, I think this has to go in our food budget putting us at $56 for the day, not too bad!)

(funny chair we walked past & couldn’t resist taking a picture of )

One more thing about our apartment, it’s an apartment shared by a bunch of traveling strangers so who buys TP, dish soap, cleaning supplies. I don’t know but at least I know we have a couple rolls of TP to get us through the week. What we don’t have though are towels. We did think to bring our own sheets just in case (thank goodness) but we didn’t bring towels. We’re hoping to find some cheap beach towels tomorrow so we can shower sometime this week.

We just had another girl join us, she was one of the previous inhabitants and we didn’t take her bed, yeah! She is also beautiful and from Russia. This is quite the international apartment! I hope that is the last girl to come in tonight, all of our beds are full and I really don’t want to sleep on the very hard futon in the living room.

One last thing I brought my step counter because I wqas curious how much walking we would do. Todays total was 11,994 steps. Which equals about 5-6 miles. Not as much as I thought it would be. No cab rides tomorrow!

Industrious children

Beth & I have started on yet another project. With one week to go until we leave for NY are we out shopping, putting together a great wardrobe for our first visit to the big apple? No, we’re renovating her bedroom, but more about that in the next blog. This is about how impressed I am with my children. I love that my 16yo daughter knows how, completely on her own, to prep and paint a room. She can mix drywall mud, fill the holes (now she knows that you’re also supposed to sand those spots to get a smooth finish) lay out tarps, tape things you don’t want to get paint on, remove all the outlet covers and take down the door. She also hunts down all the supplies we need to paint the room. We’re a great team when we redo a room. I do all the edgings with a brush and she comes in behind me to roll it all out. We work pretty well together, we’ve found our groove. I’ve learned to keep my mouth shut and not be critical and she’s learned how to do a great job all on her own. Beth has also helped Dan shingle the shed and she knows her way around the wood-shop. She is often rebuilding and refinishing furniture for her room and building her own creations.

Daniel, although he really hates manual labor unless it involves destroying things, is also pretty handy. I was amazed that he could, again all on his own, dig out the post holes, set and stake the posts so they were level, mix the concrete and fill the holes for our new back deck. He also helped frame the back porch and deck. Plus he helped Dan with the construction of the shed/ green house a couple summers ago.

Thomas is the one I go to whenever something around the house needs to be fixed. At 11 he has his own tool box and is more than happy to fix whatever is broken. He knows how to get the garbage disposal running again when it gets stuck. He tightens door knobs and screws whenever he notices them loosening up. He also recently climbed into the cabinet under the sink to reattach the spring to the dishwasher door. He’s Dan’s assistant for all the plumbing and electrical jobs around the house. He also helped shingle the lean-to we added to the garage last fall. He’s always happy to climb up on a roof, the higher the better, to help out. He is also in charge of the lawn mowing, weed whacking, and using the blower for our yard and 2 of our neighbors.

I’ve often cursed having a 100 year old house because the endless chain of work it creates but I hadn’t, until recently, realized how industrious it has made my children and for that I am very happy.