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Lemonade Standards




-FAMILY: Verdana">It was quiet in my house. The dog was sleeping, my daughter was at camp and my 11-year-old son, Lewis, and his friend, Will, were in the basement playing video games. I should have poured myself a glass of iced tea and stretched out on a chaise lounge. Instead, I made the boys turn off the television.

“Go play outside!!!” I yelled from upstairs. This is my mantra every summer and I repeat it often.


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-FAMILY: Verdana">Moments later, I heard them in the kitchen rummaging through the cabinets, opening the fridge and rooting through the pantry. I went to investigate.


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Every wineglass and water goblet was lined up on the counter; ice cubes were melting on the table and the kitchen looked like it had been ransacked by raccoons. Maybe video games aren’t so bad.


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-FAMILY: Verdana">“We want to have a lemonade stand,” my son said. “Can you take us to get supplies?”


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-FAMILY: Verdana">Impressed by their entrepreneurial spirit and pleased that they actually did turn off the TV, I agreed that if they clean up, I would drive them to the supermarket.


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-FAMILY: Verdana">At the store, I fork over $10. They trot across the parking lot and in moments, return with two cans of powdered lemonade-flavored drink mix, a tower of paper cups and $3.47 in change.


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pt; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana">“Mom!” Lewis says, as he hands over the change, “Did you know that this is enough to rent Revenge of the Sith?”


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pt; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana">I pull into the driveway and the boys race into the house. By the time I get to the kitchen, they have already emptied a plastic container of dry dog food and filled it with tap water and scoops of lemonade-flavored mix.


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pt; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana">“Taste this,” Lewis says, as he hands me a half cup of lukewarm, pink stuff. I try to ignore the floating particles of kibble and take a sip.


pt; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana">“Needs ice,” I say.


pt; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana"> 


pt; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana">They plop a tray of ice cubes into the lemonade and it overflows onto the counter and cascades onto the floor. But it’s nothing an entire roll of paper towels can’t absorb.


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pt; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana">“If we sell all of this lemonade,” Will says, eyeing the former dog food container, “we’ll be able to buy Revenge of the Sith.”


pt; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana"> 


pt; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana">“How much are you going to charge?” I ask.


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pt; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana">“Uhm, 25 cents,” says Lewis.


pt; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana"> 


pt; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana">“Fifty,” counters Will.




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n 0pt">“Whoa! A dollar a cup. Then we won’t need to sell as much,” my kid says, displaying some real business acumen.


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n 0pt">“Maybe you should donate part of the money you make to a good cause,” I suggest. “Like saving the whales or ending global warming. You might even sell more that way.”


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n 0pt">A glimmer of interest flickers in their eyes. “Nah,” they say.


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n 0pt">They swipe four sheets of paper from the computer printer and make signs that say:


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n 0pt">“Lemonaid 25 cents.” They are in a hurry to earn big bucks and can’t be bothered with stuff like spelling or rinsing out dog food containers.


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n 0pt">“Mom, can we bring the coffee table outside?”


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n 0pt">“Can we use the couch cushions?”


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n 0pt">“Is there something that we can put our money in?”


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n 0pt">“Can I take the spare change out of your wallet?”




 


I am tempted to send them back into the basement, but instead I drag a card table and two folding chairs out of the garage, evict a pair of dressy pumps from a shoebox in my closet and hand over the $3.47 from my wallet.


 


“If we do buy Revenge of the Sith, I get to keep it ’cause I have an Xbox,” says Lewis.


 


“No fair!” says Will.


 


They argue about where to hang the signs, about who will pour and about how to spend their profit. But it is all moot because the street is deserted and business isn’t exactly booming.


 


The boys take turns hollering down the empty street, drinking the lemonade and crushing the empty cups against their foreheads. I spy from behind the living room curtains to make sure that they are not approached by felons or abducted by aliens. Once in a while, I go outside, hand over 25 cents, bring the cup into the kitchen and pour the lemonade down the drain.


 


I figure it’s a small price to pay to keep them out of the house.




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