Wednesday, November 25, 2009

my life in the movies

There's been a lot going on around here. Besides the regular craziness that is my life, I had 2 fundraisers from 2 different schools end before break. For all you leaders of varied groups out there, here's some free advice: do NOT run two fundraisers simultaneously. It'll make your head spin.

Last Friday I counted money and finalized the order for fundraiser 1. I had Friday DT duty, so why not use that time to my benefit, right? I ended up asking the kids why they were in Friday-- what did you do to get here? I'm not kidding when one kid looked at me and said "I didn't have anywhere better to be." And there he sat, for 2 hours, working on his essay for English. I've had kids show up for a Friday a week early not realizing they had the date wrong (and I NEVER turn them away-- if you come, you must know something that I don't), but never did I think I would live out this John Hughes moment.

Yesterday we had our student Thanksgiving. We got to a local church and made the full meal, and then delivered to local elderly and administrators who couldn't join us. And then we went around the table and highlighted one thing for which we were thankful. One of my seniors summed it up well: "I am thankful to be a senior but also thankful to know that even though it's my last year at school it's not my last year here." I am just as thankful for that as she is.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Both kids are sick. Girly came down with it first, a little head cold to just annoy her. She mentioned a sore throat, but it didn't act like strep, and she didn't have a fever. She is a trooper when she's sick, always has been, so it's hard to tell just how severe anything is with her. And, since she loves school and never wants to stay home, she'll keep it quiet if she's not feeling well. She got through Friday, and was set up to have a couch filled weekend. Boy, on the other hand, is much more of a hypochondriac. So when he told me yesterday his throat was feeling scratchy, I sort of rolled my eyes and prepared for the misery.

Today, however, it's obvious he really is sick. He left the couch long enough to get some soup... and when he got up after having it he said he couldn't see. WB replied that he could, and Boy said again that he couldn't. He tried to describe that change in vision that comes right before passing out... but couldn't get it out before his knees buckled. Luckily WB was right behind him and dragged him to the couch while I dialed the ER. He came to after a scary 10 seconds, and then threw up all over the floor. The on-call doc confirmed our suspicions that his vagus nerve got a little excited and that he is fine. Freaked out, but fine. We dug out the mercury thermometer (broken digital ones abound) and look at that-- 102.5. No doubt he'll be staying home tomorrow.

Nobody every promised parenting was easy, nor was it advertised for the weak of heart. But having Girly in the danger zone with her peak flows as her head cold moves south and a feeverish Boy in bed having passed out and thrown up... well, we've had happier family Sundays. I guess the only good news is that if we'd taken them to get vaccinated yesterday we'd have been turned away at the door, and if it is H1N1, the vaccine wouldn't have taken because they were already sick. So now we wait and see what happens. And hope they didn't miss the last best day of the year sick on the couch.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

if X then....

There's been a lot going on in the lands of my sunshines. Fights with each other, fights with parents, fights with administration, fights with the courts... stuff way bigger than physics and geometry and grammar. It's sort of getting me down. Not out, but down. I know you can't undo in six hours what is done in eighteen, but it still is sad watching from the sidelines.

One thing I struggle with in those six hours is natural consequences to actions. I've had a lot of people ask me why don't I give detentions, and my short answer is because they don't work. If they worked, kids probably would have changed their behavior back in middle school or elementary school and never crossed my threshold. The threat of detention works for certain types of kids, but not usually for the ones who actually get the detention. I feel the same way about suspension: I want them here in school, learning, rather than running around town. Suspension works for those kids whose parents would make the days off miserable, but I've had many students tell me they did X so they could get a few days off. Yup. Great.

I'm not saying I don't believe in consequences-- I'm a firm believer in them. I just want them to be natural, and meaningful. So what is the natural consequence to lying to me? I lose respect for you, sure, but how do I translate that into something tangible so you really understand why I'm so hurt by your actions? No wonder we settled on detention and suspension-- it's an easy consequence.

One of my sunshines who earned a suspension for saying rude things to an administrator came in to get make up work today and asked if a letter of apology could cut the suspension in half. I was thrilled that the student initiated this idea, and I hope it works out. Time away to cool down is important, but being able to apologize, sincerely, for your inappropriate actions is massive. Like I said, I'm down but nowhere near out.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

getting along

Yesterday we had an issue bring people to the polls in droves usually reserved for election years. I heard 60% of the registered Maine voters came out to the polls... incredible for having no candidates, but still sad that we're jumping up and down over 40% off the people staying home. Regardless, I think it's pretty universally accepted that people came to vote their hearts on the gay marriage law.

I've not once hidden my support for the rights for gays-- and everyone, really, who wants to-- to marry. I have a lot of personal reasons for this, including a gay uncle whom I adore. I have lesbian friends in committed relationships who don't get to refer to their significant other in the same way I get to refer to mine, just because 'she' is not a 'he'. I also believe that God created some people to fall in love with people of the same sex. I know what the Bible says, and what the conventional teachings are, but I also distinctly remember being in high school and learning that Martin Luther believed retarded children should be left to die. What I took away from that is that God has His Word, but humans are the ones to write it down, and could very well have left something out in translation. I don't pretend to know why God does all He does, and I don't pretend to understand why some people are homosexual. I also don't understand why some people hate them for that, or how that is part of His plan either. I do know that no one would choose to be isolated, despised, threatened, attacked, disowned or killed because of who they love.

Now, I also do not believe that everyone voting Yes on One is homophobic or ready to go out and lynch someone: that would be as ridiculous as saying that everyone who voted No is a homosexual themselves. Many of my dear friends voted Yes, and did so because they believed it was the right thing to do. I respect that. Truly. I may not agree with it, but I respect anyone who thinks through an issue and comes to a decision based on what they think is right, and then responsibly acts on that decision.

I do sincerely hope that someday homosexuals can marry in the same way that blacks and whites now can. (Well, can anywhere except Louisanna...) In my eyes, when the church allowed the state to sanction civil unions (heterosexual couples not getting married in a church) as marriages, it became a legal term and not an exclusively religious one. Should a church choose not to marry a couple, gay or straight, I have no problems with that. But the state cannot say the same thing. We stand for equality among all, even when we all don't agree. But I also want my friends to know, who feel as strongly as I do in the opposite direction, that I respect your position and hope you can respect mine. We don't have to agree, but we do have to get along. I like getting along. Getting along is what is best for all of us, no matter what we feel about any of it.

finishing feels pretty fine

This has been a big week around the yard. Yesterday, my go-to family for fixing the structural damage in our homes finished the sill project. I don't have a bill... yet... but I'm looking forward to paying it off and resting easily through the winter knowing my house isn't going to collapse as the snow melts away. This has been on my mind for 2 winters, so ya, this is a pretty exciting development.

Today, my CLP certified wood harvesting graduate finished cutting the 9(.1) cord of tree length wood. Well, the 5 cross pieces that kept the majority of logs out of the dirt need to dry off and be cleaned by rain to not ruin the chainsaw, but the pile is gone. Cut and stacked. Ready for winter and snow and cold. I cannot adequately express the relief that gives. Such a relief, actually, that I am planning on ordering another truckload to start seasoning for next winter... but that pile won't bother me all winter. That pile will be my Boy Scout Be Prepared pile. I feel a little like Frederick's industrious family, while also feeling as giddy as Frederick himself.

Monday the indoor wood stove arrives, and we'll need to get seasoned pieces to fit it. We need to get the chimney cleaned. But tonight I feel like this winter isn't going to kill my body, shivering away as the temperature drops. It's a really nice feeling.

Monday, November 02, 2009


So last night I was doing dishes. Which I do a lot, because the dishwasher died a while ago. WB comes in from the living room, having just figured out what is wrong with my feet and my back: dishes. By standing at the sink and constantly doing dishes, I'm putting extra stress on my already weakened feet, which then impacts my back. Which he knows because doing dishes is even harder on his back than it is on mine.

But I just convinced him to allow us to buy a new wood stove, for about twice as much as we can afford. How can I justify buying a new dishwasher? Especially since we need to fix the problem that caused the original dishwasher to be unusable? The look in his eyes, though, told me the cost of not fixing it is greater, and in fact, more expensive.

It just might be a good week to play the Megabucks.