Education & Cars – in America

IMG_1647

Please don’t tell my wife, but I’ve dented the car.
The good news is that I never ever wash any of my cars, in the UK they only ever turned up clean on two occasions. Firstly after a service at the BMW garage, or alternatively when using valet parking at Heathrow airport. But now in America I don’t have a BMW, I have a Subaru, the only company that would give me credit, and lets face facts, they are not going to give me a free car wash. And the Audi with 140,000 miles on the clock is such an odd colour that is deserves to be dirty. Funny that it is this one that I always end up driving.
So the Suburu has 6 months of dirt on it, after two road trips you can’t really see what colour it is either, I think that perhaps she won’t notice the dent.
The weather has been bizarre in Denver these last few weeks of April, although the locals say this is normal for Spring. Last Monday I went to work in my shorts, at noon it was 60F, with lovely blue skies. But at 4pm it started snowing, the temperature had dropped by 30 degrees in 4 hours. Lots of strange people here do wear shorts at this temperature, but I just felt like a fool. A cold fool.IMG_1620
The boys are doing very well at school, it took some time for them to settle down, but they are now well entrenched in the US education system and can comment on the differences. Needless to say, Jake at 17 is quite vociferous, but having achieved 103% in his World History, he can probably comment from a position of strength.
I have degree in Maths (sorry Math), and in my day to get 100% you had to get all the answers right, even in a multiple guess exam. And to be honest, in my school days I wasn’t going to worry anyone with regard to getting too close to those kind of numbers. Luckily, Jake doesn’t take after either of his parents in his attitude to study, he works very hard, so I ask him “how do you get 103 out of 100?” The answer lies in a bizarre marking scheme which means that work is continuously assessed by the teachers, and they award extra marks when they see fit.
Yep he’s smart, he works hard, and they like him. I hope he grows up wanting to support his father in his ill funded dotage, perhaps I need to be nicer to him while there is still time.
Jake was very frustrated initially because the US school system wouldn’t recognize his UK achievements, but now a 35 out of 36 in his ACT has gained him recognition, and has put a smile on his face. He deserves what he gets, but unfortunately he now thinks that going to Harvard might be a good idea. With fees of $85k per year.
IMG_1616Ben at 12 is much more cautious about broadcasting his achievements. Last week a fantastic report arrived from the school on his work so far, and his mother then chose to ask him about the Honor Roll. This is a strange, but very common occurrence across America, I see bumper stickers all the while boasting about children’s achievements and cringe.
Anyway, it then becomes clear that Ben has been on the Honor Roll for some time, and has been given bumper stickers, but was so embarrassed that he hadn’t told us. Furthermore he had cut them up, re-arranging the letters into interesting anagrams far removed from the original intended sentiment.
His mother doesn’t know whether to be proud or to tell him off. She jokes that she wants the next one to put on the car.
And then I realize that this might just save me, I could use one to cover the dent on the bumper. The problem is I need two stickers, yes, I dented both cars. All I can say in my defense is that I have never had a working garage before. In 38 years of house owning, it is not something that has ever troubled me, why would you need a garage? But in this part of the US, everyone has two car garages, some have three car garages.
So without checking, I backed one car out of the garage into the other which was sat on the drive. I, one of the 2 people in our street that has actually taken a test that ensures you can drive safely.
Now I must go and search Ben’s room for a bumper sticker or 2. Proud, that’s me.

One thought on “Education & Cars – in America

  1. Hi Mike
    Nice to hear the kids are doing so well; tell them well done from us in Manchester.
    Can I have a bumper sticker too? To cover up the hole I punched in my bumper.
    Best wishes
    Dave

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