Someone Stole My Name!

Someone stole my name!  I know I am probably not the only Cheryl Huffer in the world, but someone had the audacity to steal my name!

I once had this blog at cherylhuffer.com.  And then it was stolen!  No, do not open a new tab and look at the miscreant’s page!  Do not give them the satisfaction.  Keep reading and all will come to light.

About forty days into the 366 days of my 42nd year of life, I decided I wanted to buy a domain.  For a measly $22.00 a year, I could provide direct access to my blog instead of asking my followers (I think I had a whomping  50ish followers by then) to go through the generic WordPress page.

As a firm believer in Hollywood movies that show people being “discovered,” I knew this one change was going to lead me into the paid writer world.  My pIan was to write something  genius, have it go viral, and because I owned my own domain, some publisher or editor would easily find my brilliance and insist on flying me to New York and offer me a writing contract on the spot!

So, Life as I Understand It officially became available on cherylhuffer.com in February 2012.  My foot traffic did increase, but that might have just been through my own marketing and WordPress access to users.  Thus, it worked, sort of.  It was easy to tell people how to find me.  However, besides for an amazing day in November when I was Freshly Pressed, I didn’t get much more than a hundred views a day.  Sure, my following increased, but my phone never rang, and like the bride left at the altar holding a bouquet too garish for any sophisticated wedding, I never did catch a big break.

Needlesstosay, I continued to write, and the next February, I renewed my domain.

My writing became sporadic, but still the next February, I renewed again.

And the next February…I let it lapse.  At that point, I hadn’t blogged in almost  a year, and people could surely reach me by means of WordPress once again.

A few months in, a faithful friend called me.  He said that he was trying to reference my blog to show it to someone.  Yet, he couldn’t find it.  It all but disappeared.

Frantic, I logged into WordPress and all my posts were still there, but the access points had changed to default, and it was more difficult to find.  I grappled with the necessity of having a domain; I decided it wasn’t necessary.

However, last year, I realized that my blog was funky.  I sentimentally went on to read “My Frank McCourt Moment,” one of my favorite pieces I have ever written, and I realized I couldn’t find it.  The website was haywire because my simple domain did not match well with the generic WordPress domain.  Fearing that I would lose some of my favorite stories to cyber space, I decided I needed my baby back.  I took out my handy-dandy green Citizens Bank Visa. I opened up the purchase page, I typed in my domain… and it was no longer available!  cherylhuffer.com had been bought!

Of course, I immediately opened a new window and found that some hacker stole everything: “Life as I Understand It.”  “Where Insight and Humor collide.”

My name!

My title!

My tagline!

The most egregious component of my stolen identity was that one of my blogs was still attached to the page– a little ditty I titled, “Say It Ain’t So, Joe;” and the only entry the rapscallion had written was about gaming.

I was besides myself.  I am not a gamer and I did not want my domain associated with a topic that had no understanding, no humor, and no insight.

So what is a girl to do when she has been wronged?  Rectify the wrong.  I bought a new name.  A better name.  cherylhuffer.org.  The “org” makes it more swanky, don’t you think?

So here I am today–blogging once more.  I still have my tagline, my title, and my watchful eye.  So, feel free to keep reading and tell your friends. It’s an easy Google search away.

Oh, and if you cheated and looked, you already know– the other blogger who tried to steal my identity no longer exists.  The gamer lost the game!

Advertisements

Say It Ain’t So, Joe?

Baseball.
America’s pastime.
Cracker Jacks and hot dogs.
Iced cold sodas and even colder beers.
Three hours of pure Americana– a timeless sport of modern heroes.
The strike of the ball, the swing of the bat, the crowd.
A coalescence of all walks of like coming together to cheer on the home team.

Danger.  Danger.  Warning, Will Robinson.  Warning, Will Robinson.

A coalescence?
Absolutely in 1950.
Definitely in 1980.
Probably in 2000.
Today?

It is almost impossible for an average American family to attend a ball game.  I find this reality to be somewhat of a tragedy, a precursor signaling the onset of the “us and them” attitudes of the rich and average.

We are a family of five.  My husband and I both work full-time.  We pay our mortgage, our car payments, and our taxes.  We find enough money to support the kids’ activities, and in the summer, when the city is bustling, we want to get involved and have our children experience life for all it has to offer.  We want them to feel a kinship with their fellow Clevelanders and become true enthusiasts and supporters of all this city has to offer.

“Let’s go to a ballgame!” 

What a great idea!

Then I look at ticket prices.

Within the last five years, what used to be a twenty dollar ticket  has skyrocketed to $55.00 a seat.  How do I justify spending close to $300.00 just to walk through the door (I’m taking into account Ticketmaster charges and parking)?   Once I factor in concessions, we are probably looking at another $100.00.  What middle class American family can afford to attend multiple games in the summer knowing this is what they will be spending?   Sure, we could go to one, maybe even two, but I LOVE baseball and I want to attend more than that!

I try to rationalize.

It’s only money.  Sounds good until I look at my checking account and sure wish I had an extra four bills to put toward the landscaping project in the backyard.

Tom and I could just go.  Well dang it, that defeats the whole “family” thing I’ve got going on.

We could pawn two off at a time, and only take one at a time.  Yes, we could do that, but the bonds of sisterhood can be formed over a blustering rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” that lands them all beaming on the jumbotron.

So, I am left with a few options: break the bank or skip the game and feel a slight sense of guilt because I cannot afford to give my children what I want them to have.

I guess baseball has finally entered into the arena with all other major league sports.  The problem is that no other sport plays 164 games in regular season.  The other sports can charge more because in a world of supply and demand, there are less seats in relation to the length of the season.  When taking into consideration they Browns only play eight home games, it is much easier to rationalize a more expensive seat.

Maybe the sport of baseball will remember that they need me to be able to bring my girls to five or six games a year so that they will develop into the baseball aficionados that I am, and someday, want to share the love of the sport with their own children.

Our family used to try to support the Indians a few times a year.  However, it seems impossible.  Maybe its just a sign of the times.  Baseball has moved itself into the realm of the other major markets who aren’t looking at “the family” as their customer any longer.

Sometimes, when I want to be able to embrace the spirit of sitting in the ballpark, I feel as if I have been tricked.  I feel as disappointed as that young fan standing outside the courthouse in 1920; the boy who thought of Joe Jackson as a paladin: a regular guy living out a dream one home run at a time.  However, it was a ruse, a curveball of the greatest proportions.  “Say it ain’t so Joe.”  Maybe, the greed of Joe Jackson has always been the driving stimulus of our sport, and I have been tricked into believing they were playing for me, my city, and for the love of the game itself.

 

 

21st Century Childhood Allowance: Contracted Labor

A few weeks back, I wrote a blog about motivating my children to do work around the house.  None of them are very motivated, and I have found in the past that offering a blanketed amount for a week’s worth of duties left me with less money in my wallet for less than par performances.

My two younger daughters, nine and eleven-years old respectively, have finally learned that saving money for something they really want has a higher sense of gratification than running to the dollar aisle at Target every time she has a buck or two.  Maggie recently saved for a Captain America Build-A-Bear, and Lizzie saved for an American Girl gymnastics set.  However, they have each learned that without a regular way of earning money, it is difficult to set her sights on something big because she is unable to make a timeline and work toward that goal.

This morning, after a very long conversation with Lizzie, the nine-year old, I decided to reinstitute allowance.  However, I refuse to allow for the handing over of moneys for the same level of effort I am getting at present.  Hence, I drew up two unique contracts for each girl, I had their father act as witness and legal advisor, and he, on their behalf, agreed to the wording and terms of my contract.

They have been signed.  Schedules have been made, and who knows what the results will be.   Hopefully, the girls will learn that their performance effects their pay; they will learn that economic survival is about one’s willingness to perform; and they will learn that earning money is actually rewarding and can lead to an early retirement!

Here is Lizzie’s contract:  (Moms, feel free to borrow my idea!)

I, ______________________________, not bound by the contract of habeas corpus, do agree that by the signing of this said legal document, that I will do my best to perform each activity listed so that I can earn a fair wage in the Huffer household.

I understand that by signing this document that I am aware that if I perform each activity to the best of my ability, I will be awarded a bonus for each activity a week. Likewise, I understand that if I do not meet said criteria, not only do I forfeit my bonus, but that my weekly allotment will be less because of my laziness.

In addition, mother and/or father have the right to ask me to take on an up to two extra duties a day that do not meet the requirements for compensation. These duties include, but are not limited to: picking up wet towels, taking paper to the paper pile, hang up my coat, taking cans and glass to recycling, etc.

If at any point I feel that I am asked to do an activity that is time consuming, it is in my legal right to negotiate for compensation for said activity.

Compensation Schedule:

I will make my bed and pick up my floor every morning for $.25. At the end of the week, if I have performed said activity each morning, I will have earned $1.75. However, I may also earn a bonus $.25 for performing this job for seven consecutive days, taking my earnings for said activity for the week to $2.00.

I will at the end of each evening, pick up all of my belongings off of the kitchen table, the tables in the living room, the living room floor, and the basement floor and put them in their specified locations: books should return to the book bag, toys to their proper location, and any other belongings should be placed NEATLY in my room. This assignment will also earn me $.25 a day with a bonus of $.25 at the end of the week if I perform my activity for seven consecutive days.

I will empty the dishwasher every day. As with the other activities, I will earn $.25 a day with a bonus at the end of the week of $.25, after I have executed my responsibility for seven consecutive days.

Lastly, on laundry day, I will be afforded $.50 for putting all of my laundry away NEATLY and appropriately. I must bring down my hamper to have my clothes washed, and I must bring down all hangars in my closet that are not supporting my clothing at the time.

If I perform all of these activities each week, I have the opportunity to earn $6.50 a week. However, I understand that my pay is solely based on my diligence to perform each activity each day.

 

Print your name ____________________________                    Date _______________________________________

 

Signature _________________________________                     Witness _____________________________________

 

Mother ___________________________________