Inventions, Creations, Experiments,  School Today: Eraserboard Jungle

Finn Fulfills The Contract & Plays Drums

Finn has succeeded in making decent grades, particularly in his Advanced Algebra class.  At the start of the school year we drew up a contract with him, setting forth our expectations for his grades.  The agreement stipulated that if his total GPA was above a certain number, he would be entitled to a cell phone.

This was his first year of junior high, and he had to learn to juggle numerous activities.  In addition to the core curriculum he had the advanced class and two electives, Band and Spanish.  He also ran cross-country every afternoon and of course kept up his once a week drum lessons.  I was looking through scrapbooks recently and realized he’s on his third set of drums and fifth year of lessons– he’s well on his way to being able to replace Charlie Watts when he gives out.

Here he is with his first set of drums:


Here he is about a year or so ago doing a gut-busting drum solo:

Finn On Drums from anneglamore on Vimeo.

I was positive Finn would remain phoneless.  Algebra proved to be a challenge, and it revealed weaknesses in his study habits.  We enlisted the help of the MasterMinds tutoring service in a last ditch effort to shore up his grades, and I’ll admit that I was snobby about the idea of tutoring, having never been tutored myself.  When we got to the headquarters, however, we discovered that everyone who is anyone algebraically was being tutored, and the waiting room was a prime social hour.  Plus, Finn’s tutor was much better than I was at explaining the commutative property.

So he’s entitled to a phone, and this afternoon we’re heading to Verizon to get it.

While we’ve been adamantly opposed to any technology for the kids that would take their focus away from reading and playing snipers in the front yard, I’ll admit that it will make things much easier on me once Finn is able to reach me when a practice is over, or when he has caught a ride home.

Tomorrow, for example, is not only Halloween, but also Homecoming, and Finn plans to walk from school to the village with a friend to watch the parade, then join other friends for Halloween activities, and then head to the football game.  I’ll need him to check in with me and let me know where he is and who he’s with.  He’s experiencing a new level of freedom, and so am I.

I’m taking the opportunity to upgrade my phone as well.  I have the free phone that comes with a Verizon account.  I need a phone with a QWERTY keyboard.  I mainly use my phone to talk, but now I’ll be doing a small bit of texting and I’d love to be able to check all my emails and moderate blog comments from the phone as well.  It would also thrill me to be able to tweet from my phone.

I’m completely flummoxed when I stand before the array of phones at the Verizon store and I figured I’d turn to y’all instead.  Do I need a Blackberry, even though I’ve made fun of Bill’s addiction to his for years?  Would something else like the Dare or Voyager or ENV2 be better?  I’m committed to Verizon so don’t go suggesting that I get an iPhone, lovely as that sounds.


  • cynthia

    i am a great person for this!!! i had the iphone, went to the voyager, and now i have the blackberry curve. i have to say, of all the phones, i like my curve the best.

    good luck, let us know :o)

    cynthia’s last blog post..jennifer hudson

  • Sam in SC

    I cannot believe he is old enough for freedom…let alone a cell phone! Man he grew up quick!

    I like my Blackberry – just make sure you get one with a full keyboard.

  • jen

    I tried to upgrade my phone with Verizon last month and found out they won’t let me until next year. 🙁 But I was rarin’ to go for the Curve. Wanted it desperately. Sigh… Be sure to let us know what you do get!

    jen’s last blog post..A Wednesday in bullet points

  • Karin

    This is exactly what I am struggling with at the moment. We have a family plan with Verizon. My husband and I have been eligible for new phones for a while,but our son has to wait almost another year. I have been trying to hold off until we all can move to ATT and get iPhones (maybe) and their roll over minutes. Several times,and again this week, I have received calls and letters from Verizon offering the most wonderful phones for free for a another 2-year contract. I looked at the phones and I am SO confused, there are so many different ones to choose. I sent them an email asking about extra cost if you use all these new features like Blackberry has. I have not heard back yet. I would love to know.

  • Brooke

    I love my BB Curve. I considered the BB Pearl, but I did not like that it had two letters on each key. The Curve does have the full QWERTY, with one letter per key. It is just techy enough for me without having way too many bells and whistles. I think Verizon also offers the BB Storm, which has a touch screen, probably to help compete with the iPhone.

  • Shayna

    Hi Anne, I’d recommend either the Dare or ENV2. I also have Verizon and I’m a big fan of their LG phones, which seem to have pretty well laid out software without being overly complicated to use. I dated a man a couple years ago who owned Verizon franchises, so I had the opportunity to upgrade myself to a snazzy Blackberry like the big boys (without the big boy salary, ’cause hello, I’m a WRITER). 🙂 Anyway, I hated the Blackberry! It was just too much for my amateur ways. It does have the nice keyboard, but the keys are tiny (even for dexterous female fingers) and the text message characters are limited. On less high tech phones, longer text messages will automatically split into two messages, but not on the Blackberry. You basically just have to stop typing and hit send. I found this annoying. Also, if you want internet access from your phone, Verizon charges about $15/mo. for a regular phone. For a Blackberry, it’s $45/mo…just because it’s a Blackberry. Unless you really need a Blackberry for work, I’d stick with a regular phone. They usually have all the features you need without the extra expense and hassle. Hope that helps!

  • BW

    I have the Blackberry Pearl and it suits my needs perfectly. I don’t text or email too much from my phone but love being able to read all of my emails. You may want the Curve b/c of the full keyboard, but I think that Blackberry is the way to go. My husband also has one and he has the unlimited data usage so I think I got my access for a discount on our family plan (maybe like $25 instead of the $45). Also, Blackberry has an intstant messenger feature that you can use with other Blackberry users and it is free (vs. texting fees, not that those are too much). Also, stay with Verizon. AT&T has terrible coverage in Auburn (or at least Cingular did) and I think I read you visit here fairly often. So, there is my two cents!

    BTW, I love your blog. I have three boys also, including a set of twins. They are 4 and 15 months, so I get to see what I have to look forward too!

  • Alison

    I love how you tied the phone to grades, with the expectations clear up front. Kids don’t need to think it’s their right to have a cell phone–it’s a privilege! Good for you; y’all are awesome parents.

    I’ve been thinking I need a phone with a full keyboard and I’m with Verizon too–looks like it’ll be the BB Curve.

    Alison’s last blog post..Speaking of Art…

  • Gina

    i have the env2 and i love it. the camera is decent, it’s easy to use and texting is a breeze. I’ve always been cell phone challenged but this phone changed all that. I seriously love this phone.

  • Holly

    I have a BB curve and love it. I was very skeptical that I actually needed a blackberry at all and thought it was just way too much tech. at first, but the phone was free so I decided to give it a try and I’m glad I did. It seems to free up more time because when I check email at home I always end up wandering aimlessly around the internet and now with the BB I don’t get on my home computer as much. I tried the pearl at first but HATED it and switched to the curve.

  • Mir

    Ugh!! Ugh! Anne, my heart is in my throat. I know my oldest is only seven, but being alone for that long? With friends and no chaperones? I feel woozy….

    I had a Blackberry for work purposes and you can’t go wrong with one of those. I’m trying to talk my husband into another one, or better yet, an iPhone….

  • Shawn

    Whatever you do, don’t get a Treo. I’m not sure if they offer them, since you didn’t mention them, but I hate mine. It randomly makes me log in TWICE, and is incredibly difficult. I had a Blackberry Pearl and loved it. I’d like a Curve some day when senior management lets us choose.

    Shawn’s last blog post..Earthquake Cake

  • Boulder

    I have a blackberry pearl, and while I understand why people *think* the two letters per key is a detraction, I have to say – go to the blackberry site and watch their video on sure-type. The blackberry learns what words you are trying to type and I rarely get more than about three key taps in to a word before it gives me choices that match my keyes, and I can select and move on. I text a lot. LOTS. And I’m so much quicker than anyone I know on my pearl. Plus, it is so small it is very easy to carry around, it also takes great photos. I use it on facebook, twitter, twitpic, and read the NYT, the Washington Post, CNN, all with no problems. One other nice thing is that I can select the default type size displayed on the phone, so if my eyes are tired, I don’t have to squint to read tiny type.

    Boulder’s last blog post..Are you kidding me?

  • Lisa Burnette

    Voyager has bigger keys than the enV2. Hubby is about to get that one in a few weeks, in fact. I think you can get the pink BB Pearl for free with free random phones tacked on, I think–excellent for you and Finn! Although the extras are pretty basic (read: uncool), so it might not be so excellent from Finn’s perspective.

  • Amy

    I love my Blackberry – got it in Aug of this year after using a couple of other different “smart” phones. The biggest plus with the Blackberry is that for an additional $15 bucks a month you can “tether” your phone to your laptop and have it act as a modem. The speed is almost as good as a wireless card and if a call comes in while you are online the phone will ring. This has been great for me as I can work remotely even if there isn’t a wireless signal or interet access. The blackberry is the onlv version that will allow you to be online and still receive calls.

  • Amy in StL

    Do not get a touch screen phone. They seem cool, but you have to pay a lot of full attention to it to avoid mistakes in dialing and texting. I am a huge texter and I don’t have a qwerty keyboard. I use the t9 texting and find it’s just fine. My big need in a phone was something with a good camera and good sound. Try Cnet and read recommendations on your carrier’s phones.

  • Erin

    What they all said! Seriously though, if you don’t want the extra cost of a BB go with an LG phone, they’re awesome. I would stay away from touch screens if possible though.

    Erin’s last blog post..DSC03892

  • Jen

    I may not be adding anything here, I was truly “I don’t need a BB” but my husband wanted one, so I got the Pearl. I am now completely addicted and don’t think I could live w/out it. Great for e-mails and FaceBook. I value small over full keyboard, and SureType lets me go almost as fast as I do on my laptop. Good luck deciding!

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