Monday, July 13, 2015

Sometimes you have to pay the stupid tax

I like to think I have a pretty good head on my shoulders; I read a lot, I have a Master's Degree, I am able to generally navigate life in a positive way. But then I get reminded that maybe I don't have everything as together as I think I do.

Our building has on-street parking. In order to sweep the streets, which, don't get me wrong, I am pro clean streets, you need to move your car off certain streets where we usually park. This is only one day a month, from 9-12 (one side is the 2nd Wednesday of the month, and the other side is the 2nd Thursday of the month). This doesn't sound too complicated. And it usually isn't - when school is in session, both cars are long gone by 9 am.

But now it's summer. so even though I like to think that the world stops and everyone isn't actually paying attention to what day it is, this is sadly untrue. Thus, exhibit A:

Bummer. I pulled it off the windshield, and chalked it up to summer brain. The Professor and I looked it over ruefully that night, and put it aside. Now, The Professor is no lightweight in the brain department either, having not only an aforementioned Master's Degree, but a Doctorate as well. Thus, the following day's excitement was even more appalling:

There was an episode of Cheers where Kirstie Alley's character has something awful happen due to her own mistakes, and she cries out, "I am too stupid to live!" Enough said, I think.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

And the living is easy...

Well, it's not summer yet, but I know it's coming because of this:

Another dog, you ask? Why no - it's the remains of Big Trouble's winter 'do. It's always funny to recognize the milestones and turning points of a year. A big pile of hair on my floor is one of those. Every year around this time Big Trouble decides he's ready to be shorn, although the breadth of the pile was definitely more spectacular than usual.

He decided somewhere along the way this year that he wanted longer hair, and actually ended up with the longest hair in the house. Unfortunately for him, however, he didn't reckon with the fact that longer hair requires some actual care; he showers before bed, and goes to sleep with wet (sometimes even dripping hair) and the morning result was often not to be believed. When faced with the realization that he was going to have to actually spend more than a minute on his hair-care routine, he decided it was time for it to go.

RIP winter - don't let the door smack you on the way out....

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Happy Mother's Day!

It's Mother's Day. A day set aside to recognize the hard work of mothers everywhere, and I wish my mother, mother-in-law, and grandmother-in-law a wonderful day. Now that my kids are older (12 & 14), Mother's Day has taken on a sweet, relaxing tone. Chocolate croissants for breakfast (Trader Joe's makes a frozen version that you let rise overnight and bake in the morning that are to die for), maybe dinner out. Pretty low key. And let me tell you - I earned it this year - all in one night.

If you have a delicate constitution or are averse to vomit stories, it would probably be best if you moved on at this point. Just saying.

We had attended a fund raising art auction last night, and I got to sleep a little later than usual, probably around 11:00. It wasn't too much later than that when The Professor nudged me awake, uttering my favorite of phrases, "I'm so sorry, but I really need you to come." Big Trouble was in the bathroom getting into the shower, and The Professor explained that he had gotten sick. Now, anyone familiar with Big Trouble's childhood will know that he is a champion vomiter. Before the age of 5, he had probably thrown up at least once in every restaurant we frequented, at most family gatherings, and as a fairly regular occurrence around the house. 

Now that he's older, this sort of thing either didn't happen, or happened without my involvement and in the proper receptacle. That was not to be this evening. I walked into his bedroom, and it was like a crime scene of vomit. I could re-create the action based on splash and pooling patterns. It was magnificent. And disgusting, And, being the mother, my job. The Professor was also graced with a delicate constitution, and had valiantly tried to start on the cleanup, only to lose his lunch himself (he made it to the toilet, however). I plowed through, and got the room cleaned up in about an hour (yes, it was that bad). By the time everything was said and done, it was after midnight. Mother's Day.

When I was young, I completely took my parents for granted. They were the authorities, the ones that knew what to do when you had a temperature, and did the clean-up when things went bad. And then you're the parent. The 105 degree fever is your problem, and you are the one that has to figure out what kitchen implement will best scoop up the pile of goo on your son's floor. 

All I can say is a heartfelt thank you - for your help, your advice, and your love. (And for the large pastry scraper you got me for Christmas - it did the trick!) Happy Mother's Day!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Tears aren't going to cut it

I am an elementary school teacher. My official job is to educate children; my unofficial job is to give hugs when my students are down, to mediate squabbles, and to teach my students how to be good people. I've started this post many times over the last several weeks, and have been unable to complete it.

The horrific events at Sandy Hook have left us all reeling. I have tried valiantly to avoid news coverage, and have marshaled all of my forces to behave as if everything is the same in my classroom. Except it's not. The parents that picked their children up on 12/14 knew it; they squeezed them extra hard, and one mother with red-rimmed eyes hugged me and simply whispered "thank you." I can't help looking at the first grade classes, continually noting how very, very small they are. We have all shed many tears, both for the children and their teachers, knowing that each one of us would do exactly the same for our students if confronted by the unthinkable.

There have been many calls for things people can do to honor those killed - performing 26 acts of kindness for each person murdered, creating snowflakes to decorate the new school where the students will be housed. These are loving and generous ideas. But for me, they are not enough.

I cried when 13 people were killed at Columbine, and again when 12 people were killed at the Aurora movie theater. I have tears springing to my eyes as I type this, and I have realized that my tears, and acts of kindness, and snowflakes are not enough.

I am a teacher, and I value information. So I started doing some research. And now, after digging through piles of information, though I am still fighting tears, I am also fighting anger. Anger that in a country with incredible resources, these mass murders are allowed to continue. Anger that we seem to value the lives of our youngest, most vulnerable citizens less than the "rights" of gun owners. Anger that the official response of the NRA CEO, Wayne LaPierre, is to call for armed guards in every school. I wonder if he realizes what a group of 20 six and seven year old first-graders looks like.

In a country with immense wealth and education, we have somehow allowed this state of affairs to continue. We have had so many mass murders in America that you can actually see a map of them (approximately 62 since 1982). What's even more appalling to realize is the amount of children that are killed by guns in America every year, which last year totaled the equivalent of more than two dozen Sandy Hooks. And still we do nothing.

I have had enough. America has had enough. I will shed tears, and I will make snowflakes, and I will mourn for all the children who have died. However, I will also take action. I will be writing to my congresspeople, both on the state and federal level. I will be donating to organizations who support gun control action and legislation. I will be writing to my mayor to ask why he is not currently a part of Mayors Against Illegal Guns. And I will return to school next week, and do my best to keep my students safe - with or without the assistance of my duly elected governmental officials.

We are better than this, and it's time to prove it.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Time Keeps Marching On....

Well, it's been over a year since I last posted, which somewhat boggles my mind.  I know that I am not alone in the fact that time changes as I age.  Twenty-four hours doesn't seem the same as it did when I was young. I still remember the seeming endlessness of summer vacation, with long, lazy days and complaining of being bored.  I'm never bored now.  I don't know if that's an improvement, but it is what it is.  Summer now zips by, and the next one is upon me before I can believe it.  I start school again at the end of this month, and as I am lucky enough not to be starting at a new job for the first time in four years, I am looking forward to it.

I am actually lucky enough to be teaching the same grade in the same school next year - I even get to stay in the same room.  It's another one year leave replacement, but I'm relishing the ability to actually build on the work I did last year, rather than leave it in a filing cabinet for the next person.

One of the reasons I'm now never bored is that there is always something new going on - sometimes good, and sometimes not so good.  One of the not so good things happened last week - I was getting ready to go out in the morning, and walked into the kitchen to find a puddle covering the floor.  Being the quick-witted gal that I am, I instantly recognized that something was probably not as it should be.  Upon closer investigation, I discovered this:

Even without my glasses, the cause was startlingly apparent - who would have thought a pipe could be metal one minute, and fine, dusty particles the next?  Luckily, one of the wonderful benefits of owning an apartment and not a house is that I have a super I can call on his cell phone who will come and fix life's little problems.  We now have a fully functioning, less airy pipe, and all the sundry nonsense I keep under the sink has been dried out and returned.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Still Knitting

Now that summer is here and I've packed up my classroom, my brain is free to concentrate on other things besides report cards and grading math homework - things like knitting!  Since we're going to Cape Cod soon, I decided I'd better finish the socks I started with the yarn I bought there last year (thus making the case that I definitely need more yarn when we go back).  Here they are (complete with Big Trouble's foot, which he felt was a crucial part of the photo):

They came together nicely, and passed the itchy test - I had no idea I had such delicate feet until I started knitting socks.  There are so many that have ended up with my Mom because after wearing them for about 5 minutes I want to rip my feet off.

The sock yarn blanket continues to make slow progress - in heat of the summer I am somewhat loathe to drape myself in wool as I work on it, but it's growing:

 I like working on it, because you can get a small square done in under 1/2 an hour - there's definitely something more gratifying about finishing one and cutting off the yarn than just going round and round on something that looks slightly bigger than when you started, but you can't tell for sure how much you've done.  Instant gratification is definitely not over-rated!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Father Time

As all of us are, I am getting older.  It doesn't bother me, and I'm not really doing anything to counteract it.  My hair has lots of white in it, which I don't dye.  I claim it's because I want to grow old gracefully, but it's really that I'm both lazy and cheap - I only get my hair cut once or twice a year - can you imagine the fabulousness of my roots if I dyed it?  I actually had a woman compliment me on my "highlights" and ask me if they were natural.   Ummm, yeah!  I thought she was joking, but she was looking at me rather earnestly with her 20-year old face, so I simply said they were.  Once when I was substituting in a 1st grade class, a little boy walked up to me and said, "You know, your hair is really different - some is brown and some is white."  The other 1st graders decided this was worth a look, and I was the object of wonder for several minutes - where I live you don't see much gray hair (you also see a lot of fake body parts, but that's a different post).

That all being said, I went into Fairway last week, and along with my groceries I bought a six-pack of beer.  As part of the cheapness thing mentioned earlier, I keep track of our spending, so a few days later I was typing the info from the receipt into Quicken.  And I noticed something odd on the receipt - where the beer purchase was listed, it had a birthday keyed in.  Apparently in this store you need to ask the patron their birthday and key it in when they make an alcohol purchase.  I don't expect to get carded, as I have long ago passed the age where anyone would think I am below the drinking age.  However, I am not a fan when the cashier simply picks an arbitrary birthday for me and punches it in to the register.

Especially when the birthday is 2 years too early. It's enough to make your hair go white...