One of the benefits, or headaches, of being married to a CFO is the occasional “reading of the statement”. This is when Devin reads the statement in question, assesses the damage, and calls out the offender who has exceeded their limits. whether it’s data usage on a phone, gallons of water used in a month, the amount of gas used in a car or the amount of gigabytes used on our wireless plan…it doesn’t matter. Everything has a limit and we all have to do our part to make sure we don’t go over budget. Today just so happened to be one of those days.
Every day, when the kids get out of school, they make the short trek across the street to the Church office. It’s the same thing every day. They come barreling in the back door like a herd of buffalo, throw their back packs on the floor, and make their way to the break room for a drink and a snack. Once their hunger and thrust are quenched, they end up in Devin’s office, plopped in the two chairs reserved for guests. Most of the time, Devin continues to work like a trojan while I listen to the kids unwind and tell me about the ups and downs of their day. Today, when the kids came in, I was in the front office taking care of some business. After I finished, and began to make me way back to Devin’s office, I could hear some stern talking coming from across Devin’s desk.
As I rounded the corner I knew instantly that he wasn’t happy. He was sitting in his chair, holding a piece of paper in his hand while talking in a very serious tone. Oh Lord, I thought, who’s in trouble now. Is it another detention for not wearing the proper uniform? Was it a bad report on grades? I considered just walking by, acting like they weren’t my kids, and that I was on my way to pick up my children from volunteering their time at the local soup kitchen. But when I heard Devin’s stern words, I had to stop and find out what the problem was this time.
“$60.00 in four days! Four days!” Devin stressed the word “four” as he flailed around the evidence. “How can anyone spend $60.00 in the school cafeteria?” Eager to hear the answer to this question myself, I transferred my attention to the guilty party. Cassady and Caleb.
You see, being the money man at our church and school, Devin has immediate access to the kids lunch account (and everything else for that matter). I guess he gets some sort of red alert if they go over a certain amount, and today the alarms were sounding!
There they sat. Guilty as sin. Eyes big as saucers. Minds racing. Trying to figure out how they were gonna talk their way out of this one. Cassady went first, of course, arguing her point, “it wasn’t me! there’s NO way I ate that much food! It must have been Caleb” “no, it was both of you…” He replied, as he began reading off the items in question.. “That wasn’t me!” Cassady continued, “that was Caleb”, quickly throwing her brother under the bus. “It’s all right here Cassady”, he said as he slid the paper across his desk. They both began to look at the evidence and quickly saw they were caught red-handed.
Devin leaned back in his chair, and with a stern, irritated tone said, “That’s it. No more charging. I’ve already called Vicky and told her to close your accounts. No more charging! The only way you can eat from the cafeteria is with cash!” As the kids read the spread sheet, he continued, “y’all better start liking bologna and peanut butter is all I gotta say.” Cassady replied, “I’ll eat bologna every day if mom will buy it.” “I’ll eat peanut butter” Caleb added. Then, in an effort to lighten the mood and change the subject Cassady looked at Caleb and asked, “which one do you think would be the worst to throw up, bologna or peanut butter?”
Today was the first day for soccer practice at school, which of course included lots of running, and when there’s lots of running right after lunch…well…that which was just eaten, will many times come right back up again. Knowing that the likelihood of that would become reality, I guess Cassady figured they better choose whichever one was the least nasty. That’s my guess anyway. I stopped trying to figure out teenagers a long time ago.
As the conversation continued so did the laughter. Devin, who was still a little more than irritated said, “I don’t care what you eat, it just ain’t gonna be from the cafeteria. We’ve got plenty to eat at the house that’s free. There ain’t no sense paying for food, when we have stuff at the house you can take!” Then he had an idea, His eyes widened and his mood changed ever so slightly, “eggs! Y’all can take a couple of boiled egg’s to lunch every day. They’re easy to make and easy to carry. The chickens are laying like crazy so we’ve got all the eggs you want and their free!”
“Free” is Devin’s favorite word…right after “budget”.
The look on their face was priceless. Caleb sat quiet and somewhat stunned. Cassady, in an effort to prove he wasn’t getting under her skin said, “that’s fine with me, I like eggs.” Up till this point, Caleb had not said a whole lot. He didn’t want to encourage this boiled eggs for lunch idea at all, until Devin said, “Cassady, you like raw eggs, you wouldn’t even have to boil them. Just take them raw.” Caleb busted out in laughter and said, “yeah Cassady, just crack it on the table, throw your head back and gulp it down! Can you imagine how bad everyone would make fun of you for bringing raw eggs for lunch?” Cassady smiled, shook her head and said, “I don’t care. I’d do it.”
Cassady typically takes things by the horns and faces them head on, but her “bring-it-on” attitude changed a bit when I said, “Boiled eggs to lunch? Might as well make them carry their lunch to school in a lunch bucket like Little House On The Prairie.” “Yeah!” Devin said with a gleam in his eye, “we can use some of those rusty cans in the barn, drill two holes on each side and make the handles out of bailing wire. Put a little straw in the bottom so the eggs won’t crack….that’s a great idea!” In a panic Cassady said, “mom! Stop, before he makes us do it for real! Cuz he’ll do it.”
Now it was Devin and I who were laughing. He was laughing because the idea of them carrying an old tin can full of boiled eggs to school was a delightful thought. I was laughing because, there’s truth in jest, and I knew, if they charged one more cent to that account, this tongue-in-cheek idea would become a harsh reality.
I could just see it, Cassady and Caleb walking to school with their lunch buckets full of boiled eggs (that will be thrown up later during soccer practice). All they needed now was the bratty school bully, Nelly, to make fun of them. I think I have her already picked out 😉