No Shame in Going to a Trade School


For some kids, the stress of whether to go to college is a pressure cooker waiting to explode, especially if they do not want to go. College is not for every kid, but parents often put their ambitions for their children on them. We are well aware of the extent some parents go to to get their kids into a university. Is college for the kid or for the parents? There was a time when the military was the go-to source of jobs for kids, especially African American kids. Parents looked at the military as a way out of the ghetto, which could eat their kids up and spit them out on the nearest-drug infested corner. That seems to have changed somewhat as military standards have changed. It wasn’t so much that parents didn’t want their kids to enlist; rather, it’s more that kids weren’t being accepted so readily.

There is an alternative out there that most parents fail to push, and that’s work that’s done with your hands. These are the construction workers, electricians, and plumbers, just to name a few. These jobs offer good salaries with much less cost to the student. I believe it’s how these types are jobs are perceived that makes them seem on the surface less important than the professions of a doctor or lawyer. Doesn’t it sound so much better to say “my child is a lawyer” than “my child is a garbage man”?

There are many kids out here who have no desire to attend college, but feel that they have no other option, so they go. Years ago, getting an associate’s degree was a sign that you’d made it, but that is no longer true. You need a bachelor’s degree, and with some occupations a master’s degree, to have a chance of getting that high-paying job. There are also cases where high-paying jobs still elude students because they haven’t scored high enough for Corporate America to even consider them. For some of our next-generation kids, high school is all they can see; they see nothing beyond that. It’s a strange thought that when you were a kid, you wanted to be a doctor, a lawyer, anything that was glamorized on television. When the drug craze came about, television started to glamorize that quick money, and then kids started to go in that direction. I’m not saying this happens to every kid, but enough kids get drawn into easy money and a flashy lifestyle. Then the technology craze hit, and now we have some kids sitting in front of a screen before they can even talk. In a sense, they are raised by screens. They have little if any ambition and college, is a definite no-no. 

My grandson is in the eleventh grade, and I often ask him, “What are you interested in”? Because everything I suggest is a NO! When he was small, he had dreams; what happened to them? He isn’t a bad student, but is an average student who won’t be getting into any Ivy League school. That’s OK because there’s an alternative: a trade school. A trade school occupation is something to be proud of; it’s like building a house, something you put your back into. In this type of profession, you can look at your hands, and see the ability to take something from nothing and made it real. There are trade school jobs that aren’t labor-intense, like web developer or dental hygienist, that a person can learn to do, and they can be proud of what they have accomplished. 

Parents, I think that you have to be honest in evaluating your child. Don’t try to make your child a college student when they have shown no desire, or when they’re just barely making it out of high school. It should be about giving them choices, and trade schools should be among the options that are discussed. I checked online, and these are some of the best jobs for trade school graduates: 1. Elevator Installer/repairer, medium salary $77,806 2. Radiation Therapist, medium salary $69,504 3. Web Developer, medium salary $58,448 4. Diagnostic Medical Sonographer, $55,106, 5. Electricians,$52,527. These salaries aren’t too shabby for a person not going to college. 
College is great for students who are going for themselves, not for their parents. However, college often involves a lot of debt, and offers no guarantees that graduates will be employed in their chosen field after they’ve sweated for multiple years to earn their degree. A trade school involves a lot less debt, and offers better chances of employment are better in one’s chosen field. Don’t sell your child short; give him/her every opportunity to succeed, even when college isn’t in the equation.

My Secret Is Out

There’s this concept online called crowdfunding. In basic language, crowdfunding is a group of people that buy into another individual’s/company’s idea. I mean buy as in money and buy as in you like what they are selling. I actually can’t tell you how I got involved, but believe me, it had to be something I saw online that made me say, “Wow!” I was working then, though money was tight, but what I saw made me say, “I’ve got to have this!” The problem was my spouse, who wasn’t my spouse at the time, but we were dating and living together. I knew that spending money on a watch was not going to fly. Yes, the first geeky item I pledged to was a watch. This watch connected to your phone and you got notifications. This was before smart watches were the rage. What I did was to first talk up the watch by saying how it could keep me from missing messages on my commute from New York to New Jersey. Well, that didn’t work, so I did what I knew was fail proof: it was an early birthday present to myself. While I was wheeling and dealing with my spouse on this watch, I went to a newfound website of geek items and saw another watch. This time, not only could I get notifications but I could talk into it. Dick Tracy here I come! Now, I’m talking about two watches. Well, I only have one birthday, so how could I get her to see things from my point of view? Nope, it wasn’t going to happen, so I did the unthinkable and just kept my big mouth shut. The website that had grabbed my attention that I was not mentioning was Kickstarter. 
Kickstarter

Kickstarter
was started in April 2009 by Perry Chen, Yancey Strickler and Charles Adler. The Kickstarter headquarters is located in New York City. Kickstarter is a very user friendly site for project owners and backers. Kickstarter responds to questions and problems about their site very quickly and you can communicate with the project owner by clicking on the comments section or emailing him/her through the website. The comments area is also a place to interact, not only with the project owner, but with other backers, during the course of the project.
Kickstarter has a global community of people from more than 220 countries and territories. Roughly 35% of successfully funded projects now come from outside the United States, as do 45% of backers. Together, these backers and creators use Kickstarter to reach across borders and shape culture into what they want it to be, rather than accepting it for what it is. And as ideas from different cultures collide with one another, they inspire new conversations, creative approaches, and cross-cultural connections.
 

Kickstarter Project Manager 
I will discuss the technology area of Kickstarter; however, there are many types of projects that you can back, such as films, music, and books. The Kickstarter site enables people to discover and back as many projects as they believe will become a reality. When a person, or groups of people, decide to start a project on Kickstarter they must first build a project page, which includes a video with a description explaining their project. The next step for the project owner is to provide information about their budget and a timeline from beginning to end of the project. The project owner must then decide what kind of rewards they will offer backers, such as a choice of item color or engraving the item with the project name and year. These rewards are given when the project funding reaches certain milestones. Project owners have to keep in mind that they pay for all of the rewards offered to backers. When project owners think about the funds necessary to bring their project to fruition, they must consider everything because Kickstarter will not let their project become a reality if the funding goal is not met. A very important part of the project is promotion. A project needs active promotion because a project no one knows about will never get funded. Kickstarter’s fee is 5%, with an additional 3 to 5% for processing payments. If the project owner doesn’t meet their funding goal, they owe nothing.

Kickstarter Backers
There are different tier amounts that a backer can pledge. When a backer pledges early there is usually a perk from the project owner as a way of thanking a backer for coming aboard early. The different pledge tiers not only tell you the item, but an estimated month and year that you will receive the item. The shipping information will also be listed in each tier box, along with any accessories that might be given. Once he/she has met the project funding level, the project owner will give their backers updates as the project develops through each stage. Backers like to know they’ve made a wise decision in backing a project and hate it when shipping has to be pushed back time after time. My experience with Kickstarter is that projects are always pushed back for different reasons. The project owners try to give realistic shipping estimates, but often a project of this magnitude is new to many of them and they are not prepared for the problems that arise. You, the backer, have to be aware that there are also scam artist that will go through the motions of creating a project, but once funding is met and they receive their money, you never hear from them again. There is really no recourse for backers when a project owner takes the money and doesn’t fulfill his/her part of the deal. Kickstarter backing is partially about being first to get an item that no one might know about or have even envisioned. As I stated, not all projects make it to the backers. An example of this was a watch that I pledged for my daughter. It was supposed to be the thinnest watch out in 2013. The company wasn’t able to make the watch because they encountered too many hurdles that they weren’t prepared for. I recently received a letter informing us that after liquidating all of their assets, there was no money to give to backers

Some might think this is throwing money away because these projects aren’t cheap, and if a project fails you can’t get your money back. I think of it like this: It’s no riskier than the lottery or going to the casino. You never know when you’ll hit the jackpot. There is a certain rush you get as the months go by waiting for your reward to make it from the project owner’s vision to you.

Sneakers or Shoes – What Are You Wearing?

Sneakers have become a million dollar business. It is not just the big companies, such as Nike and Under Armour that are making money. Kids are making money by reselling their sneakers and even adding drawings and other items to sneakers to make them stand out in the crowd. I was recently introduced to Stock X, a sneaker website where you can buy or auction your sneakers. It is amazing when you realize that sneakers have separated themselves from shoes in the footwear industry. There are all types of people that wear sneakers, from the great-grandmother to the sports star. There are all kinds of sneakers for different needs, such as cross trainers, walking, sneakers that can track your steps and calories and Ecco. There are some sneakers that can cost a bundle of hundreds. That’s insane. Sneakers have seemed to replaced shoes for dressing up an outfit for occasions. People wear sneakers to weddings, funerals and anywhere else they might go. There is a certain comfort to sneakers that you just can’t get from shoes. Shoes, whatever happened to shoes? I think the most famous person was Imelda Marcos, who was the First Lady of the Philippines. When she fled her country, over a thousand pairs of shoes were allegedly found in her closet. That’s a lot of shoes! If you grew up in the 60s or 70s, you wore shoes to occasions such as Christmas, church and Easter. These shoes were usually patent leather. There were stores like Pay Less that sold shoes off a rack. Pay Less was very reasonable when you were poor. There were a lot of shoe stores that used the Pay Less model of sales to get people into the stores. It was less formal and more customer open. This model let people come in and get their shoes off a rack and try them on at their leisure. I think that’s when the realization arose that the shoe industry was in trouble. Sneakers were making their move slowly into being a force in the footwear industry. I grew up loving sneakers. When I was being shipped overseas to Germany in the late 70s, I took a suitcase with just sneakers in it. The airline consequently lost my suitcase and I was never to see those sneakers again. Now, there are all sorts of sports figures that endorse sneakers that sell for big money. There is a connection between a sports figure and his/her sneaker in that we, the customers, reason that by buying a certain sneaker we are all for that figure. Sneakers represent a style of cool relaxation. I’m a senior now, but I still love my sneakers; maybe not for the cool and relaxed effect, but just for comfort. I very seldom wear shoes now that I’m not working, but even to go to work I wore my sneakers and changed into shoes when I got to work. Shoes still serve a purpose, such as when you want to go on a date. There is something about sneakers that doesn’t seem right on a first date, but that too I feel is changing. It takes a lot of work to keep sneakers in pristine condition. When I washed my white Nike Air Max, I took the shoe laces out of the sneaker and put them in an old pillowcase. I washed them with borax and detergent and turned on the washing machine and hoped for the best. I was quite surprised at the end of the cycle, when I took them out of the pillowcase, they were white, like new white. My grandson told me to use an old toothbrush to clean them with, but I thought that was too much work. That’s when I decided to try the pillowcase method, and for me it worked. You can take away my shoes, but please leave my sneakers alone!

Retirement and Dogs Part 20

I hope you have read the previous 19 blogs, because then you have an idea that there is something wrong with this dog. If you haven’t read any of the previous blogs, take a minute so you can understand why I say he’s a handful. I want to share with you how K, GG and myself deal with Mason.

I will start with K, because he pulled the wool over her eyes from the beginning. K was not a dog person at all, until I convinced her that GG needed company. I let her pick the dog, so she would feel a closeness to him/her. Mason was laying in a corner by himself while his siblings were all playing together. That should have told her something, but with her being a novice of dogs, and me not wanting to interfere, I didn’t say anything. Mason was sort of cute with his cross-eyes and fuzziness. K’s love for Mason didn’t come easy.

She wanted him out when he pooped on the floor and peed on the couch. We argued. She wanted him out when he barked all night. We argued. She wanted him out when he had anxiety and would run all over the house like every room was his bathroom. We argued. She wanted him out when he embarrassed her and got put out of Pet Smart dog training. We argued. She wanted him out when she had to spend money to buy 3 couches, a crate, and French doors to block into the kitchen and dog gates. We argued. I know you’re wondering how it is that he’s still here. He is still here because she went to Afghanistan and I knew Mason would bark whenever someone came near the house. That is the reason, and the only reason, he is still here. Mason is now 7 years old, and 2,555 days later, he’s finally got it.

K has come to love him and find him adorable. The biggest problem now is her begging and pleading with him to move over since he gradually weaseled his way up to the head of the bed so he can share her pillow. There is also the fact that he ignores us when we talk to him. We call his name, and he looks at you and turns his head. We can call him again and again and he will just ignore us. The only way to get him to respond is clapping your hands or making some kind of noise. Mason still stares at walls, which is a little strange to me. He stares at walls now even when the sun his shining. He is a dog that loves sunshine and warm weather. If it rains, thunders, lightening or snows his anxiety starts and he’s off into doggy mind land. The main thing is that, after all the arguments, money spent, begging and pleading, she loves him now. It was rough getting to this point, but we made it.

GG couldn’t stand Mason when we first brought him home. She would give me the evil eye if I touched him. When Mason came into a room she’d leave the room. GG would just look at K and I when we argued as if to say “You brought him here. I didn’t ask for him.” I think, after trying to get her to be motherly to him, Mason gave up and started trying to get her put out. Why do I say that? He’d go and hit her and steal her food and play with her toys. He’d hide milk bones and still does. Mason would do things and then sit innocently while we tried and figure out who did what. At night, going upstairs, GG would push him down the stairs and keep going into the bedroom. It was funny, but not so funny that we didn’t realize he could break a leg and cost us more money. It took her at least 5 of the 7 years to get used to him being here. She does her matador shuffle when she’s tired of him bothering her. The matador shuffle is her moving each of her paws like a matador in a bull-fighting ring. When she does that it’s on, and Mason better watch out. Mason still thinks he should be first, but I show GG love first. I can’t say that she loves him, but she tolerates him. I feel that one of Mason’s main jobs now is to keep GG moving. She’s 17 years old and I feel that he keeps her running and jumping.

I deal with Mason very incognito, because showing him too much attention in front of GG gets me the evil eye. He’s older and more settled into how he should behave. Mason is not a normal dog, and we know it, but he’s our abnormal big pawed Shih Tzu. I’ll surprise you with the next blog. Be safe.

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Retirement and Dogs Part 19

I sometimes wonder if Mason thinks he is a human because he stands on his hind legs a lot. He is the only male with three women and there are times when he thinks it’s all about him. A example is when it’s hot he lays in front of the fan thinking of only his comfort. He pushes GG out the way when they come in from outside because he wants to be first in. It’s all about him. Then when he has weather anxiety if we want peace we had better all get in the bed while he’s going through his episode. I’m counting GG with K and I because she is a female. Mason ways definitely remind me of some of the men I know. These men have limited consideration and a me first attitude. Here are more reasons where I can compare him to some men. He likes to sleep on a pillow next to one of us, but it doesn’t stop there he has to stretch out. I mean stretch out like you have no room to lay flat. You have to lay in your side. I can here K some nights pleading with him to move over. He wants to be in charge of GG, like he wants her to chase him, and when their food is put down, he likes to eat it first, and leave GG only what he doesn’t want. When GG happens to eat first, or he decides he wants more after she starts eating, he tries to sneak up behind her to snatch her food. K and I watch as he saunters behind our chair to come up behind her. It is funny because he actually thinks he’s doing something. We can dress him in different outfits and he doesn’t mind, but GG? She’s not having it. She somehow gets the clothes off, or she will just lie there like a lump of clay. One day, while K was in Afghanistan, Mason got out while I was looking in the mailbox. I had on my pajamas because it was a lazy day for me. A UPS truck drove by the house and Mason took off behind it. The UPS truck made a left turn and Mason was on the truck’s tail. I’m running down the street in my pajamas and slippers yelling, “Mason!” Of course, he didn’t stop. I haven’t run in years, but I knew as much of a headache as he is, I couldn’t explain Mason getting out and chasing the UPS truck, and me not running after him. I ran out of gas chasing him for a block and a half. Okay it wasn’t far, but to me at that time it was like a marathon. There were people out looking at me running down the street like a crazy person, however, when they realized it was Mason I was chasing, they understood. You see, Mason has gotten out before, but instead of me, it was K who was in her pajamas falling all over the yard out front trying to catch him. He’d let her get close, and then take off in the other direction. She had slippers on so when he would cut to the opposite direction and she tried to catch him, she’d fall on her butt. It was funny, but now that it was me being embarrassed , it was no longer funny. Our whole neighborhood knows of Mason because he is so loud that they can’t help but notice him. The other reason they know Mason is because when one of us is walking them, he is usually pulling us down the street while he tries to get after a squirrel. The particular day I was looking like an idiot running down the street ended when the UPS truck stopped and Mason stopped running. I think he realized he was not at his home because he was looking all around. When I finally got to Mason and picked him up, he was shaking. I guess he was scared. I didn’t care that he was scared because here I was in the street in my pajamas. I know he didn’t understand, but I used a few choice words on him from the time I picked him up until we got home. I tell you, Mason is going to get us killed. GG is nothing like him. If she was, I’d be crazy. I mean, she did have her moments, like wanting to play all the time until I’d have to go sit in my car to have some peace of mind. She has more sense than Mason, and she doesn’t follow him when he’s up to his antics. There is an opening where the gate and the gate door come together. Mason will go out the opening and run around to the front door and bang on the door. GG just stands there. What we used to do when he got was to open one of the car doors, and he’d jump in thinking he was going for a ride. When we brought him back, GG would be standing at the door, and as soon as Mason was put down, she’d jump on him. I guess she was trying to tell him something, but it took a long time for him to learn. Mason is older now, and the only thing that has changed is he no longer runs all over the place. He just goes to the tree out front, and then comes to the front door and bangs. I have stated this before just like a boy takes a little longer to catch on to things so true it is for boy dog too. I was supposed to blog about how each of us deals with Mason, but he ran out the back and came around to the front today, so while it was fresh on my mind, I decided to share some of his antics with each of you. Be safe.

Retirement and Dogs Part 18

GG being bad tearing up a training pad

This is as ferocious as Mason gets

I wanted to talk to you about the difference between GG and Mason. I wasn’t a dog person always and can’t say exactly how it happened. I know I don’t like cats, because to me they are sneaky animals with beady eyes. No offense to the cat-lovers, it’s just my preference. I’ve had three dogs in my lifetime and they were two different breeds: a lab and Shih Tzu. The first dog, the lab, I left when my relationship ended. GG, my first Shih Tzu, was gotten because I was lonely and needed company, and Mason, my other Shih Tzu, I got because I thought GG needed company. I’ve wondered how many people get dogs to soothe some kind of paternal emotion they have, since having a dog is like having a child that can’t talk. I have also come to realize that some dogs are more intelligent than others, and their personalities can be quite different. It has nothing to do with their breeds, but has more to do with their personalities, like people. There are book-smart people, and people who need a little more patience for them to get it. I have found with GG and Mason that there are teachable dogs, and some dogs that need waaaayyyyyy more patience than I have. GG took a weekend to learn to use a training pad, while it took Mason four years, three couches, two baby gates, a crate, and french doors before he got the message. GG is a clean freak. When she poops or her water is low, she comes over and barks like crazy until you get up and follow her to whatever needs to be taken care of. Mason couldn’t care a bit about cleaning up anything after him. GG tries to keep her food on her mat, while Mason will drag his food to any corner to hide it for when we can’t afford to feed him. When GG gets tired of walking, she will step down on her leash to say, “that’s it for me, take me home.” Mason wants to keep walking so he can disturb the neighbors with his barking. GG isn’t afraid of thunder, while Mason is afraid of rain, snow, thunder, and lighting. You get the picture – he only likes sunshine and warm weather. Mason is on medication because of his anxiety. I didn’t have to take GG to any pet training for her to understand commands, but Mason was taken and put out of a training class. I haven’t figured out if Mason is a protector or just figures barking should take care of everything. There have been a couple of occasions when I have been walking them, and a big dog had gotten out of his/her yard. On one of those occasions, GG started to fight with the dog, and on another occasion, she just stood there hoping – like me – that someone would come get this dog. On both occasions, Mason just stood and barked, no protection whatsoever. I am not saying GG doesn’t have bad habits, because she does like tearing up training pads when she doesn’t get her way. GG hardly barked before Mason came – it was like she discovered that barking gets attention. I do know that she got all her bad habits as a result of Mason. I kept Mason because his barking gave me a sense of security while K was in Afghanistan. Mason does have his good points, but right now I can’t think of any. Really. He did grow out of being cross eyed and can be lovable at times. The point is, just like kids, these two are as different as having a boy and girl in your house. Think about a boy and girl and how different they really are in personalities. When you compare dogs and kids, is there really that much difference? I look at my floor and there are toys all over the place from GG and Mason playing, and when my grandkids come over, my floor has this same look, except I can have my grandkids pick up after themselves. My final thought is that GG and Mason are as different as a boy and girl, and dogs are about the same as children. Want to start a conversation? Email me at anitadpowell@gmail.com. Don’t forget to checkout my other blog, uniquethings.blog, and visit our store at uniquethingsonline.com. Be safe out there. My next blog will be about my problem child Mason.

GG and Mason makes the same mess as my grandsons.