The boy has his eye on more Legos.
Why? I don’t know. We currently have, in our possession, enough Lego bricks to fill the ball pit at any Chuck E. Cheese restaurant in America. Kids could swan dive from a height of entirely too high and never sprain an ankle landing in our pile of Legos, because of VERY DEEP! FALL BREAKER! MANY FEET OF PROTECTIVE PLASTIC-BRICK LAYERS!
And still, the boy insists that there are certain sets which his life is not complete without.
Cue the Asking My Parents for Legos routine.
Naturally, the boy’s parents shot him down like an alien space craft that had hovered over Las Vegas for too long. Hubs and I insisted that after aiding and abetting him in securing enough bricks to fill a 45-gallon Rubbermaid tub throughout the last ten years, we were done on the Lego front. That war, to us, had been fought, and it was time to bring the troops home and count our losses in the pocketbook.
Cue the Whining for Legos routine.
If there’s one thing that Hubs and I have never put up with, it’s whining from the boy, and he is well aware of it. When other kids whined and moaned and draped themselves over the side of the shopping cart at the Wal-Mart center to score the Toy of the Moment from THEIR parents, our poor boy was Taken To The Car for like behavior. And the Toy of the Moment was blown off his radar screen for life. By the age of two, the boy realized that whining got him plum nowhere.
At the age of ten, he STILL realizes this, so whining is an option which he only employs for brief seconds, every fifth month.
And it still scores him nothing, other than a TRIP TO THE SUBURBAN.
Cue the I Need a Job routine.
The boy announced that he would simply be looking for employment outside the home, in order to earn enough greenbacks to purchase the coveted Lego set. Hubs and I did tell him his rights, as far as child labor laws went, so that he was savvy to the fact that if his employer made him work sixteen hours straight in the bottom of the coal mine at the age of ten, he could probably take said employer to court and come up with plenty of American dollars for Legos.
And also for his parents’ mortgage.
And the 2011 Chevy Camaro his daddy drools over. (Silver. Black stripes.)
The boy was saddened by the fact that McDonald’s required an individual to have reached their teenage years before they trained them on the French fry station, and that his own dad’s computer company wasn’t hiring anyone who couldn’t write html code.
Hubs’ parents own a medical lab in Small Town, USA, where the typical medical-laboratory-related shenanigans go down on a daily basis. Blood is extracted from veins, via really large needles. Urine specimens are collected in cups. Blood work is run through machines to determine cholesterol levels and triglyceride levels and hormone deficiencies; urine is run through machines to determine pregnancies and infections. Throat cultures reveal strep throat; other swabs give proof of eye infections and leprosy and gangrene.
People bring in mucus. Mucus in cups. Which they hand to Grammy at the front desk. Rest assured, this is the primary reason why I never sought employment at the medical lab. If someone handed ME a cup filled to the brim with warm mucus, I would gag and throw up right there, and whatever I ate for breakfast that morning would be dead to me for the rest of my life.
(Overshare much? No, I don’t think so; why?)
When Grammy learned that the boy was in desperate need of a large trust fund NOW, she hired him to sort files, alphabetize files, and arrange files by dates. She had a box at the lab stacked high with files that needed such attention, and she said she’d been putting it off for weeks, because it wasn’t her favorite part of work.
(I just hope she doesn’t say gathering up mucus samples is her favorite part of the job!)
Grammy called the boy at home and conducted a brief job interview over the phone.
“Hi, honey. Can you say the alphabet? Good! You’re hired! You can alphabetize files for me, and Grammy will buy you a king-sized Kit Kat bar for your after-school snack, since your stingy parents won’t let you have stuff like that.”
Grammy established some wages.
“Is $12 an hour okay, sweetheart? I know you’re ten, and that the going rate might be a bit higher, so just let me know if I need to pay you $160 per hour. $12 is fine? Great.”
Grammy laid out the job’s benefits.
“You can work whatever day you want to after school this week. Do you want any other snacks? Anything besides the Kit Kat bar? Dairy Queen, maybe? A cheeseburger from McDonald’s?”
(It was at this point where I said, “Can I work at the lab for $12 an hour and ice cream benefits? But can I be excused from mucus samples? I can say MY ABCs!”)
So began a lucrative career in filing for the boy.
His first day on the job was Monday. He took the bus from school to Grammy and Papa’s lab, and he spent an hour going through files and organizing them exactly as Grammy had specified. Grammy insisted that he’d done a fantastic job, and that he was, in fact, one of the very best filers they’d ever employed.
(That may be because he’s the ONLY filer they’ve ever employed. Grammy may also be a tiny bit prejudiced, because the boy is quite cute.)
Grammy and Papa both agreed that the boy had taken his job very seriously, and that he’d even caught a couple of files which Grammy had filed INCORRECTLY, and he’d MADE APPROPRIATE CHANGES! Grammy announced that she was more than satisfied with the job he’d done, and that he was a fine, upstanding worker in the American workforce.
Naturally, Hubs and I rejoiced to hear this, because at home our boy is not necessarily so upstanding where jobs are concerned. Getting him to use a Clorox wipe to scrub the toothpaste blobs off his bathroom sink takes an act of Congress, three entire rounds of tears (until I get myself under control), and a solid threat to list all of his Lego bricks on eBay if the job isn’t done WELL and in a timely manner. Grammy assured us that this is the nature of the beast. She said yesterday morning, “Good boys work really well for other people, but they refuse to clean their own bedrooms at home.” Grammy should know. She raised three boys of her own.
(The jury’s still out on how one of them turned out, though.)
Yesterday morning, after dropping the boy off at school, I stopped by the lab, where Grammy handed me an envelope. She politely asked, “Will you see that the boy gets this when he gets home this afternoon?”
SWEET MERCY, PEOPLE!
After a one-hour-long first day on the job, during which he earned twelve American dollars, the boy received a Special Delivery Envelope bearing his first WORK-RELATED BONUS!
Grammy and Papa had written him a letter, stating that they felt his filing skills were so superior, that he should receive a bonus of $20, which they wanted him to put towards the new Lego set his heart is currently pining for. Grammy insisted that grandparents have certain privileges, and that one of those certain privileges is simply helping grandsons save for Lego purchases in a big hurry.
A big hurry, as in practically overnight.
(Hubs and I will begin to really shake our heads when the boy receives health insurance and a retirement account from the lab next week.)
But Grammy loves her grandchildren thoroughly (all seven of them!), and she’s as devoted to them as a grandmother can be. If one of them asked her for the moon, she’d probably conquer her fear of heights to stand on a really tall ladder and reach it for him. And that grandchild would get the moon AND a king-sized Kit Kat bar, just in case he was a bit hungry, too!
The boy told me today, “You know, Mom, I wish I didn’t have to go to school. I wish that I could just work all day long at the lab with Grammy and Papa, because do you know what? If I worked ten hours today, I’d have $120! Think of how rich I’d be with THAT KIND OF CASH, when all I’m doing at school is sitting there, reading and learning division!”
If Grammy throws in a 2011 Camaro for the boy as a company car, which Hubs will have to chauffeur him around in, I think we’ll work out a full-time employment contract.
Under the table, of course.
Due to child labor laws. And also truancy issues.