I wasn't ever planning it this way but life just happens.... One minute you think you are full beyond capacity and can't possibly fit in one more thing to do and next minute you have a paper route!
Okay okay, the paper route belongs to my 12 year old, but I help with it and consider it (partially) my own. He'd been wanting his own job for a long time so when an opening opened up for a carrier in our neighborhood, he jumped at the chance.
Micah and I talked it over and decided it would be a great opportunity for him so we signed him up. He has 153 papers in his route, and delivers once a week on Wednesdays. This route makes about $36 dollars a month. It became clear that he would need another person to help him since the route covers such a large neighborhood with a lot of back and forth across streets. By himself it would take an hour and a half. With another person it takes 40-45 minutes. Luckily his little brother Odin said he'd do it with him and they could split the wages in half. Yay! Unluckily, that didn't last long as Odin decided he didn't like the paper-routing-life and resigned after 2 weeks.
That's when I took over.
At first I was irritated, resisting the fact that I had to squeeze yet another activity into my life. However I knew that it was more sensible for two people to cover the route, and I knew that I was the only one for the job (Micah would still be at work and the littles are too little.) I logically explained to the recently retired Odin that by quitting the paper route I would now need someone to watch the littler kids for 45 minutes while I'm gone. I explained, "You are basically trading a paid employment opportunity to stay home and babysit your brothers for free. You get this, right? This is really what you want to do?"
"Yes, mom," he replied. "I just really don't like paper routes."
Well, as it turns out, I really DO like paper routes! My resistance quickly melted away as I discovered how fun it is to walk door-to-door and toss newspapers onto people's front porches! Not only am I getting outside, getting exercise, and having fun, but I also get to spend some quality time with this cute kid:
|Rain or shine, he gets the job done!|
Through talking and planning we have come up with faster methods to get it done under a specific amount of time. It's even exhilarating when we beat our own goals!
For instance, during the first month we were both tossing the papers onto the front porches and then returning to the sidewalk to walk to the next house. One day we realized that most of these people have really crappy landscaping and probably wouldn't care if we walked on their front lawns, therefore it would be much quicker to toss the paper onto the front porches then cut across the front of the yard to the next house and the next and the next... Now we have a "No sidewalks" policy to ensure faster delivery.
We have a good time each week. We make jokes and also some pretty weird observations about the way people live.
There's a house which has had broken windows all winter long covered up with cardboard boxes and duct tape. We wonder if the people will ever get them fixed or if having broken windows is their new (freezing cold) normal.
There is house with a repulsive, rotting, dead deer head on the front lawn. It looks like they went hunting and then tossed the head on the lawn with no forethought. We wonder if they think this is a good decoration or if there will ever be plans to remove it.
There is a house that never brings their papers in. Week after week the papers pile up until they finally throw them all away. Then we start over again. We wonder if they can't read or if they don't have time to read or if they simply hate the local news. I don't really blame them if it's the latter--our local newspaper isn't very exciting.
There's an annoying middle-school-aged kid that always follows Zadok for several houses in a row and asks him the same annoying thing,"Hey can I ride in your cart?" He first started asking that question one day when Z was pushing the papers in a stroller. But now the kid asks him every single time even though he's not pushing the stroller anymore. Sometimes Z ignores him but sometimes Z yells at him to go away. I never see it because I'm usually on the other side of the street in the cul-de-sacs. However, If it keeps happening I'll probably have to find the kid and the parents and have a talk about harassment and being an annoying little poop...
There's one house that has a cute blue door with a lovely colorful wreath on the outside. I wonder if I met the occupants, if we could be friends, because I like colorful doors and pretty wreaths, too! I'll probably never find out.
We both hate the houses with barking dogs and the houses with trash all over the lawns.
We both like delivering at the condos because the doors are so close to each other and makes it feel like we're going super fast.
Overall, my son really likes getting the money each month and I really like spending time with my son. I also think that he enjoys this time spent with me, but like most tweenagers, he probably won't admit that for another 15 years or so.