Friday, February 21, 2014

The Comic Creator, and the PBS Kids Writers Contest Runaround

We've been doing a lot of writing lately, in this late winter season just before we can restart all of our wonderful, hands-on, OUTDOOR learning. Essays and biographies, stories and poems, letters and book reports, and also comics:
This astronaut is enjoying a lovely spacewalk, until his rocket unexpectedly powers up and crashes him onto the moon--yikes!!!
In late winter, I also always seem to arrive at the theory that everything is more trouble than its worth. Case in point: my attempts to enter a story by Syd in the nationwide PBS Kids Writers Contest. Back in early February, I went to the PBS Kids Writers Contest web site, saw that I needed to enter through my local PBS station, WTIU, found the correct contact info and link, and clicked on the link.

Yeah, that's the link for the WTIU home page. No writers contest entry forms there.

So I emailed the contact person, telling her the issue and asking for the correct information.


And thus, for sixteen days, "enter Syd into the PBS Kids Writers Contest" remained on my to-do list. I do NOT like things to live, uncrossed-off, on my to-do list. It's a thing of mine. Everybody gets to have a thing. So sixteen days later, again seeing this darned uncrossed-off chore, I filled out one of those Have a Question? contact forms on the WTIU web site, telling them the issue and asking for the correct information.

Happily, I was emailed within the hour by WTIU's station manager himself! Unhappily, his sentence-long email simply referred me back to the PBS Kids Writers Contest web site. You know, the one that refers me back to WTIU to obtain the entry form?

So I immediately replied to him, telling him the issue with even more specificity and asking for the correct information.


Seriously, am I crazy, or is that legitimately super annoying? Actually, it's fine to tell me that I'm crazy, as long as you also tell me that it's legitimately super annoying.

And maybe it's late winter, when EVERYTHING is super annoying, talking, but this brings me to one of my Homeschooling Pet Peeves:

It is so much more annoying to have to schedule every single thing yourself, and organize every single thing yourself, and figure out every single thing yourself, when you homeschool. If I want a spelling bee, or a pinewood derby, or a field trip to the art museum, or an entry for my kid into a writing contest, I figure it out, organize it, and schedule it myself. Sometimes, as with the field trip to the IU Art Museum that we're taking next week, I find myself dealing with amazingly organized, competent, knowledgeable people. Sometimes, as with the spelling bee, I find myself working with people who may not know any more than I do, but they're willing to work with me and help out. And sometimes, as with this stinkin' writers contest, I find myself working with people who don't have the thing organized, don't seem to know what's going on, and don't actually seem to care.

Okay, ugly rant over. And to be fair, I do have solutions! Matt suggested that I visit another PBS station's site, get the entry form for them, and just overwrite it with the correct information for my PBS station. My own idea is that since the outreach coordinator who's listed as the contact person for this contest has a campus office, and campus is in walking distance for us, we just walk to her office one nice day and ask her in person. And today, actually, is already a very nice day. The sun is shining, the temperature is [barely] above freezing, and right now the children are outside cleaning out the chicken coop and tidying the yard that's finally free of most of its snow. I have the pants for Syd's fashion show garment figured out, and merely have to sew them. The kids have lots of activities in the next three days, giving me plenty of time to myself to get all my work done, stress-free. Matt and I have our weekly ballroom dance class tonight. I really, really, REALLY like the novel that I'm reading right now. I have a new idea for a short story. And I'm going to take a nice, deeeep breath right now... there. Better.

Also, I think I'll go eat breakfast. I find myself much less grumpy after I've eaten. At least everybody has *that* particular thing, right?


Tina said...

We found that our local station isn't participating in the contest, so I think we had to send it off to some main contact. Not that Emma was interested in it.

And yes, everyone has their thing(s). Mine is having my child talk to me when she knows I am concentrating on something. Drives. Me. Crazy.

Love the comics! We have been attending a Christian homeschool group (despite the fact that we are not Christian- what better way to learn the theory of Christianity!) and this morning Emma decided she wanted to draw the Arch because the didn't provide a handout for that last week. Cool.

And woohoo for all your snow melting! It's snowing here :0(

julie said...

One of mine does that, too! It often goes like this:

"I can't listen to you right now. I'm writing/reading/running on the treadmill."
"Oh, okay. Blah blah blah blah blah..."

I will also often have two children talking to me at exactly the same time, totally ignoring each other, just saying whatever they're saying. I will say, "I can't hear you both talk at the same time!!! ARGGGH!"

One of mine also never stops talking. Never. Ever. She never stops talking. She is always, always, always talking. After a while, my brain just can no longer comprehend her spoken words anymore! Sometimes after Matt gets home from work, when she's talking and talking and talking to me, I'll say, "Oh, I bet Daddy missed you talking to him SO much while he was at work! Why don't you give him a treat and go tell this to HIM, instead?" Mwa-ha-ha!

Tina said...

AWESOME way to pawn off the talker!

Some days Emma will talk all day. On those days I will ask her, "Do you need more one-on-one time?" She'll say no, then keep talking. So when I am being a good mom, I will shut my computer (or school book), scoop her up while she is talking, then just sit on the couch with her. She is usually done in about 5 minute then is happy to be ignored for another couple of hours.


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