Monday, October 3, 2011


I hate change.

I don’t mean I hate making changes to my life or having the world become different.  I love that.  Doesn’t everyone?
Little known fact: Death in tarot cards means change.
I mean, I hate coins.  Coins are heavy, nearly worthless, and tend to roll out of my pockets on to the floor of the car where my children find them and feed them to the CD player, making all the disks get scratched on one side.  When I am given change, I put it in this big wicker basket on top of my dresser.  Well, that’s the plan; usually I end up putting them in a big plastic filter in my washing machine that I have to clean out every few months.  However, they’re supposed to go into the basket.
"Honey, the laundry is done!"
Every few years, there’s an odd conjunction of stars that affects everyone I’ve ever paid with a check.  They all go to the bank and deposit my checks on the same day my mortgage payment is automatically deducted from my account.  Then I get these fun little emails from Bank of America: “Hey, your credit rating is about to drop from seven hundred to SIX!”  That’s when I know it’s time for me to roll some coins.

Rolling coins is an all-evening activity.  Here’s how it works:

First, you dump all the coins on the bed and get your kids to help you get all the non-coins out of the pile.  There really should be a phrase for that.  It’s like “treasure hunt,” but in reverse, because you’ve got a big pile of shiny coins and you have to dig through for all the old screws, paperclips, and earphone plugs.
"Now if I can just move all this gold over to get to the rocks underneath."
Second, you sort the change into denominations and take out all of the foreign coins.  The kids love finding all the old Chuck E. Cheese tokens and treat every Canadian coin as a rare find.  My eldest found a washer and, when I told him what it was he burst into laughter.  “A washer?  What does the dryer look like?”
My best guess.
Third, you count all of the coins and slide them into paper tubes.  The paper tube thing takes practice.  We used to have a coin sorting bank to do it for us, but the coins eventually wore grooves into the plastic and it stopped working.  To manually get coins into a tube, you have to put your finger in one side, slide in coins, then use your other finger to seat them properly.  Once seated, you have to push the coins towards one end so all the rest of the coins have just enough room to fall in the right way and not get stuck at an angle.  When they do get stuck, you can push them into place, but then they might not move and you jigger it, but still it won’t move and eventually you get so frustrated that you tear up the sleeve and start over and things are going fine until you find they get stuck again and you scream with frustration and tear the sleeve into tiny pieces and start again and they get stuck again and you throw it on the ground and stomp on it until your wife comes in and tells you that you have a New Zealand penny stuck in there.
Explains why they have a Jurassic Park dinosaur on the back.

When you have enough, you get on your bike and take them down to the bank.  Bank of America loves coins; they’ll deposit them right into your account without even looking at them!  Not that I’d ever do something unscrupulous to Bank of America, because nobody can out-unscrupulous them.

Make sure you call ahead and make sure the bank is even open.  Also, make sure they have lollipops for your son who biked down there with you.

What good is a bank without lollipops?  See!  I told you they were unscrupulous!


lenore said...

i take my coins (or my mother's poker winnings) down to Molly Stone's and throw them in the machine. If you take an Amazon credit instead of cash there is no charge. (There are other choices for credits too but I forget what they are.) The kids would probably enjoy the machine too - it makes noise and spits back out slugs, foreign coins and washers.

M. A. Kagle said...

But then my children wouldn't learn how to panic and dig for coins in the couch cushions to keep from being overdrawn! THERE'S A LESSON IN THERE.