Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Here We Go

Tomorrow is reporting day for teachers. They day we go in, meet the new staff members, hear inspirational (or not-so-inspirational) addresses from our principals. The day we see precisely how much of a mess the cleaning crew made of our rooms. The day that means that summer is really and truly over.

I'd like to say that I'm all ready to go back. In some ways, I am. I am excited to revamp my AP Psych curriculum based on everything I learned this summer. I am very excited to see the kids, who I miss. I just wish that I had things more under control at home. Right now, there are still unexplored regions of the garage that very much need my attention. There are still four items pending sale on Craig's List that I would very much like to get rid of. I still have paperwork to clean up, bathrooms to clean, laundry to fold.

It's true that all of these things contribute to my sense of ambivalence. But truly, I think that I am afraid that this year at school will be the year that everything that we created our small school to be will go away. All the people who created the culture that put students at the center of our work have left except for a few, foolhardy souls who are too stubborn to give up.

I have spent the past two weeks trying to get my house into working order. This last week the focus has shifted to the garage and a large storage shed in the back yard. It involved countless hours of excavations and van-loads of donations to the thrift store. The thing about this process is that things have to get really bad before they get better. It's impossible to do this kind of work and have everything look neat and tidy every evening. I'm okay with that. I understand the need to dig in, spend my days covered in grime and cobwebs. I'm okay with being filthy and even stinky if it means that the reward will be a more organized and productive living space.

Unfortunately, our current administrator has no such understanding. He wants to promote a sparkling facade, unwilling to look at any aspect of our work that may involve dirt or sweat in order to fix it. Everything must look shiny and happy so that he may keep his job or even get a better one. I do understand that he is under the gun, but at what point does an educator decide that keeping one's job is more important than the self-examination that is absolutely necessary if one wants to move forward? And how on earth am I supposed to respect that??

Very wise teachers have told me to shut my mouth, close my door, and teach my kids. I'm afraid that this year, I just may have to follow that advice.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Money has been flying out of my bank account. Here are some of our purchases over the last two days:

Calculus textbook $160
Sociology textbook $70 used
Graphing calculator $40 (used from Craig's List!)
Cross Country gear $107
ASB Card/Yearbook/PE Uniform $120

Holy cow. High school and college are expensive!

On the bright side, I have been having a little love affair with Craig's List and have not only moved items on to new homes, but have made some cash in the bargain:

Bookcase $35
Storage bins $20
Train table $50

Now to get rid of that big green tractor in the garage that nobody has ridden in four years...

Saturday, August 21, 2010


My daughter is running cross country. The same girl who dreaded every Thursday at school last year because it was her day to run the mile. The same girl who sits in her room and reads all day. The same girl who hadn't run a step since June. Yep, that one. I can't believe it.

I went into this week with ambivalence. On one hand, I was prayerful that she would love the experience and find some success. On the other hand, um, have you met Nikki?? Because really, I would think that spending two hours per day running would rank right up there with eating bugs on her list of favorite things to do. I am SO GRATEFUL that I was wrong!!

Nikki LOVES cross country! And it doesn't really matter whether or not she can run fast because they don't cut anybody. She most certainly has the body for it (where on Earth did THAT come from??). And so every morning this week, including TODAY (Saturday) she has been up at 7:00 am to don running clothes and sun block. The first two days there was some wheezing that was keeping her from participating fully, so her doctor gave her an inhaler (along with a referral to an orthopedist for her scoliosis). The first few days, I waited for her to tell me she hated it. She didn't! Yesterday, she did her first long run. She loved it!

I am SO GRATEFUL for this opportunity for her, and to the coach who just wants all the kids out there being healthy and improving. He hopes to have 80 kids! For Nik, I think it's a huge confidence booster and a wonderful social introduction to high school. I am SO HAPPY for her!! I need to learn to trust her decisions. Clearly, she's able to make some good ones.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Where did the week go?

So I actually had a whole week off this week. No work at all! Here's what we did:
• Registered Emma for her classes. This was a four-hour process.
• All three of us girls went for eye exams. Emma needs glasses, too, but just for reading.
• Assembled an X-Wing Fighter from Legos.
• Took Nikki for her athletic physical. Found out she has scoliosis. Made an appt. with her real doctor.
• Scott finished the sprinklers and put sod in the front yard. It looks GREAT!
• Planned, bought, assembled, and organized a shelving unit in our retreat.
• Hosted one bunco, but not two because the second was only going to have three people.
• Had an MRI. It was supposed to be on Tuesday, but it wound up being on Friday instead.

And of course, there's laundry and cleaning and general business that goes along with having three kids in the house.

If I have a couple more weeks like this, I may be able to get my house back in order before school starts. Maybe.

Monday, August 9, 2010

You want to go where?

The disadvantage to being the second child is that, by the time you arrive, the parents are pretty much over a lot of the stuff that they got excited about (tolerated?) with Child #1. Things like toys that make noise and really big toys that take up lots of room. Oh yeah, and crazy, kid-oriented places like Chuck E. Cheese. Caleb is six, and he has never been. In fact, he would never have known that such a place existed if it weren't for the Sunday ads, which had coupons RIGHT ON THE FRONT of the coupon section. But now, he knows. And he is ALL OVER IT.

All morning, Caleb has been obsessed:

Dad, can I go to Fucky Cheese?
I want to go to Mouse the Cheese.
I would like to go to Smell the Cheese.
Can we go to Smucky Cheese?

After much recitation, he is now asking to go to Chuck E. Cheese. Every five minutes.

Yep, it's hard to be #2.

Sunday, August 8, 2010


For some reason, every August finds Caleb obsessing about a particular toy that he MUST have. This is unfortunate for him, because he gets toys for his birthday in May and for Christmas in December, but alas, no gift-receiving occasion falls in August. This year, it's the Lego Death Star. Granted, this is the coolest toy he's ever obsessed over, and both Scott and I spend several minutes staring at it each time a Lego catalog happens to make its way into our hands. But the reason we don't already own this particular item is that it costs FOUR HUNDRED DOLLARS!! Ridiculous! And yet, still so very cool.

We tried explaining to Caleb that there is no way that he will own this toy. Ever. Not now, not for Christmas, not for his birthday. He responded, "I have four dollars!" The ensuing explanation about how he still needs $396 more met with a puzzled blink and an expression that said, And the problem with that is??

Today we went to visit Scott's grandma, Flossie, who insisted that everyone be given $20 to "spend on something fun." Caleb, however, came away with $40 because his birthday money was lost in the mail. His response? "Tomorning we can go to Legoland and get a Death Star." I told him that we were in fact NOT going to Legoland (??), he STILL couldn't afford the Death Star, but he could certainly purchase a smaller Star Wars Lego set. He wasn't hearing it.

So I'm pretty sure Caleb is currently dreaming about the Death Star he will not be buying tomorrow. Sadly, there is just no reasoning with someone who has no concept of money. Wish us luck.