#2 son has been accepted to the Summer Institute in architecture at the local university (last year he did Trebuchet Physics and had a great time). He has also received a great scholarship, but we still have to come up with some hundreds. I figure we will need to save $50 a week from now till it begins in order to cover it. So we are seeking out creative opportunities for frugality.

Some friends of ours had a list up in their kitchen at one time. They all added their ideas for preserving the spondulicks. Some were good reminders like turning off electrical things when they were not needed. The list also included “Wear bricks on heads to avoid having to buy new clothes.”

They had the right spirit, it seems to me. After all, you can always save by doing without things, but making it a matter of resourcefulness and ingenuity — and a little silliness —  can make it more fun. So we have sworn off delivery food, new books, craft supplies, game rentals, and such obvious luxuries, but we are thinking more in terms of clever reallocation of resources. We intend to have our camping trip, our summer entertainments, and birthday parties as required — and to put that $50 by, too.

#1 son is going to have to wear a brick on his head, though.

#2 son is also planning to earn something toward the institute, #2 daughter has to save up for next year’s tour, and #1 son hopes to get a summer job since he is 16 now. So they are all thinking about jobs. We have no unemployment here, so it is not a matter of desperately accepting anything, even for student summer jobs. People can pick and choose — often within the limits of low-paying dead-end jobs, it is true, but this is summer, not career paths. We’ve been talking about all kinds of possibilities.

#2 son also had the chance through his school to shadow someone at work this week — random assignment, not chosen by the students. He is visiting an insurance office. At first, I thought this might be disappointing, but then I realized that we do not know anyone who does that sort of office job. We know doctors, lawyers, artists of various kinds, teachers, and people in other academic and service jobs, but an insurance agent would be pretty exotic. Yesterday was his first day. He got to call people and remind them that their payments were due and prepare birthday cards with stamped signatures. They had him practice being “businesslike and assertive.” He enjoyed it. Of course, #2 son enjoys everything. That is such a gift — I hope he can maintain that attitude throughout his life.

In an unrelated note, Cleverboots has suggested to me that I underestimated the importance of regional differences in the TV program “What Not to Wear.” Being a Northeastern person herself, and living in the South, she is conscious of these differences. She tells me that the hosts are not mean. That is kind and supportive behavior. What was I thinking — they were going to say “Girl, I just LOVE your sweater!”? She also recommends that I watch “Supernanny.” I am not familiar with this program, but I might do it for Cleverboots.

And Scriveling finished her T-shirt, and has posted a picture too.