It’s super hot outside. This is what we expect in August, not July.

It’s on these kinds of days that work seems even more unpalatable – if you’re a teen, that is. The only thing that sounds good is a pool, the mall, a movie, or (for boys) x-box. Certainly not summer reading or, dare I say, a job! How does a mom steer a kid away from mental atrophy and toward completing required summer activities in a timely fashion without everyone involved losing their minds? I sure don’t know … but would love for ya’ll to share your strategies.

In our house, I’ve offered a little cash incentive for summer requirements. Employed summer workers get compensation. Readers can receive bonuses, based on when they finish their books. If a kid decides to put off until tomorrow what they can do today (following in their mother’s procrastinating footsteps) they get the big donut – zippo. However, if a kid gets on it and completes his tasks, we’ve set up a sliding compensation scale. All of our readers have more than one book to complete, so if they get them both done before August 5, they get $10/book. Before Aug 6, $9… and so forth until Aug 15. Any after that and their compensation is the joy of a job well done (they’re school starts the 17th.) For the one whose school starts the next week, he gets the same deal 10 days out. If a kid finishes his/her reading before 10 days out, there’s an extra prize of getting to go out to dinner at the place of their choosing.

Are there any other rewarding (bribing) parents out there? If so, feel free to share your strategy. If not, and paying your kid for what they’re supposed to be doing is a bit appalling to you … I hear you. Sometimes we need the a little extra incentive around here. But we’re working on it – and blaming our incentive need on the energy-sapping heat.

It’s not just the outside heat that has us lagging, Sadly it’s super hot inside our house, too. Actually inside Wembley. Our little Wembley girl is sick. She’s got some funky fever that is leaving our vet a bit baffled. He was so sweet yesterday, holding her head in his hand, looking straight in her dark sad eyes, cooing to her, “You can tell me… Why are you not feeling like a puppy today?”

It was so cute. But, she didn’t answer him.

Jack asked her, too. She didn’t answer him either.

Sister Save-A-Lot asked, too. No response. So she coaxed her to drink a little.

We’ve only had our Wembley for a little less than two months. Who knew how quickly a sweet little pup could steal your heart… even Jon’s. He’s more worried than any of us. She’s having a hard time getting up or eating anything. This morning she wagged her tail, but couldn’t lift her head. We’re really hoping her lab results will point the vet in the right direction and get her back on her feet … and that her fever will break soon. Even if the heat doesn’t.

Thanks for walking the road with me.


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