Friday, April 6, 2012

What is an hour?

I know it's late at night and I should be in bed so I can be up and happy for my family tomorrow morning - BUT - (there is always a rationalization) - I thought I'd gnaw and bite on a little issue,  because I can't deal with the real huge problem of feeling helpless watching the storms rip the roofs off and toss semi's around over my sisters head while her family destructs emotionally and probably physically - though not from the tornadoes.

What is a hour when counted for your time?  The Boy Scouts of America wants to know how many hours are spent on an Eagle Scout project.  Do they want to know the learning curve time, the discovery time, or just the time it actually takes you to go down the street and find it?
 Example: for any building project there is this great MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets) report that tells lots of information about how many particles are going to fly into the air when you saw a board, or pour out a bag of cement and mix it up.  In fact every part of construction has an analysis done to determine what the consequences will be somewhere.  These facts are written up on sheets and I've heard are floating around on the Internet.  So in order to present a project to the Eagle board you must have the fact sheet for redwood, glue, varnish and whatever else you will be using to finish your project.  I was told this was on the Internet.  How very nice.  Not WHERE to find it, just that it was there. I googled it of course and found quite a few hundred or more hits. Taking the first few sites they all wanted me to sign up for their fact sheets and pages which I don't really want to ever hear from again as I only want this information once, and don't want to give out an email address much less my name.  I went to the store websites to see if there would be any mention of these sheets where they were advertising the product - no luck.  Back to the googled sites and even skipped over the advertising and sign up and searched all over for any sheet on redwood and varnish.  Stretching after approximately 3 hours I realized I wouldn't find them easily.  I drove down to Home Depot and asked for a MSDS and was told I could have a report when I bought the material (do you have to pay for this analysis?)  I told them my son was doing an Eagle project and I wasn't going to buy anything until it was approved and it wouldn't be approved without the sheets.  They were very nice to give me the reports - I didn't pay anything at that time. But when I told Michael how much time was spent I gave him the hour it took to go down and bring it back home.   Does the Boy Scouts of America want the real time mom's use to help their boys?  Who reads these sheets? How are they useful? How does this help the Scout or the boys working on it?  Do they really want to know how long it took to find it?

I really don't know what the real time spent was.  Most of it felt wasted. Writing up a report in minute detail that no 12 year old scout would ever take the time to read.  The lady from the scout board who read his project liked all the detail, I'm figuring they want it so detailed because they want the Scout doing it to understand his project. Making a model helped him understand his project far more than the write up.   In reality my son learned and understood when he actually did it with a man who knew carpentry.
Then there is the cost.  We planned out all the food he thought it would take to feed boys working on the job.  Well the job took twice as many days than he had planned. So you would think the cost of food would double.  Not really.  One day I brought over a bag of burritos and tacos from El Pollo Loco, but some of the boys had already gone and some were going to lunch with other friends.  So I gave food away to the Scoutmaster and some to my other kids. It didn't really go to the Scouts and I didn't count it as such though I did pay for it because of the scout project.  It is very hard to determine exactly how much the food cost much less the materials that were just given from the scoutmasters garage.  Or when a friend made sandwiches she thought the boys would like - they loved them, best meal of the project.  The scouts didn't eat the apples and oranges either, the little kids did. There was lots of water bottles left over.

Then there are the details.  So many details. All the details written up in various forms and formats.  I would feel stupid telling anyone how many hours it really takes to find out all the details.  Calling, driving and typing, getting pictures, its really not for the faint of heart, it would br nice to have LOTS of time.