It’s summer time!  It’s time for sipping lemonade in the shade of a live oak before lunch, lounging on a pool float during the hottest part of the day, and leisurely walking at the nearby state park in the cooler evening hours.  We do some of that every summer.  But, summer time on the franch is also a time our children can earn more spending money doing extra chores with their extra time.  How much more is up to them.  There’s a percentage of what they earn that goes to savings for college and another to give on Sunday mornings.  But, how to spend the rest is always theirs to decide.  So, they carefully write start and end times, rounded to the nearest minute, on self-made time sheets.  It’s sweet to see our kindergartener proudly write in her best handwriting, 10:08 – 10:23, for her time in the garden picking ripe cherry tomatoes.  Early in the summer this year our son lacked any real motivation to do extra chores until a trip to a pet store with my husband and a conversation with a clerk in love with bearded dragons.  He came home to tell me he was going to have a bearded dragon by the end of the summer.  An hour later, he dusted off his overalls and work gloves and asked for a list of chores.  Thank you, pet store clerk.  That’s sarcastic, by the way.  I mean, I’m certainly glad he’s motivated…but, even if this lizard is completely his responsibility, I really don’t want to think at all about yet another creature on our franch, and in the case of a lizard, in our home.  I know a good mother wouldn’t say to her young son, “How ‘bout saving for a toy?  Or a video game?  That way, you can throw it away when you’re done?”  Okay, I know – it wasn’t my finest moment.  And he’s only following in my footsteps, as I look at all the animals I’ve brought home to the franch.  When my son calculated the final cost to be nearly $300 for all the supplies and the bearded dragon itself, I did breathe a sigh of relief.  I figured by the time he earns that much, he’ll hopefully be on to some other thing – something that doesn’t breathe.  But, he’s really excited about this bearded dragon and getting closer to his goal every day and it isn’t yet mid-summer.  He has read four books from the library on lizards already.  He even came up with new ways to earn enough money like making my bed every day for a couple more bucks a week.  Well, I guess all I can do is leave some Lego catalogs open on the kitchen counter knowing Legos are his only Achilles’ heel in this situation…and start making my own bed.

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