Monday, April 14, 2014

7 Quick Takes: Spring Break, the Beginning

Today was our first official day of spring break.  Matt has taken some much overdue time off and we're all home for a good full week.  The boys return to school on Monday, and Matt returns to work on Wednesday.  It won't be an uneventful week with Holy Week and all of its different rituals and traditions.  We also all have our own plans on what we'll be spending our time doing.

1- This weekend was full of baseball.  Friday kicked us off with back to back baseball practices immediately following trumpet lessons.  Dinner was late.  And a group effort.  The rest of the weekend was baseball in the yard, baseball in the basement, baseball downtown and more baseball practice.  The boys are signed up for the Kids Crew at the Seawolves again, which means they received free admission to all Sunday home games.  Matthew actually caught a ball that one of the players tossed into the stands.  He passed it on to another spectator though because we had a ball a lady caught earlier and gave to them. 

2- We worked a little in the yard.  Both Matt and I are sore all over between all the baseball and yard work and some extra house projects that are finally getting checked off the list!  The boys dug out most of the invasive grassy stuff that fills the back corner, in preparation for the tree to be taken out.  There's a large overgrown bush there too.  I want to take it out because I think it's messy looking and ugly.  Matt wants to wait until we have a plan and resources to put something there.  I'm hoping we come up with something as a family.  We are going to be discussing a Mary's Garden next month...perhaps someone will have an idea or two.

3- The boys were a little dismayed to hear that the regular religious ed was wrapping up this weekend and they have a couple more weeks left.  We spread it out a little more with some different weekends off and we didn't plan more than one chapter a week.  There isn't any sense rushing things.  They may have been dismayed but not disgruntled, given how excited Matthew was that his 5th grade text book just arrived in the mail today.  And how "pissed out"* Josh was that his hasn't been ordered yet. 

*"Pissed out" - When Josh was barely a preschooler he was having a bad day.  Something made him very angry and he looked at me and said, "Mommy, I'm pissed OUT!"  This would be one of many Joshy-isms we've acquired...and enjoy.  Although he does know now he's not supposed to say "pissed" .... and takes great care to remind anyone who slips and does.  ahem.

4- Today is probably our most chopped up and hectic day.  This morning, I left all three boys to their own devices to attend the last of my Monday morning Bible Study sessions.  They had already left for their haircuts when I returned home.  Now, Matt-Squared is off to trumpet lessons.  Baseball practice must be cancelled for tonight - it's pouring rain.  I have a block of lessons.  And we've managed to squeeze in some laundry and ripping out Matthew's carpet.  The rest of the week is mapped out with Wednesday being a special day where we're packing up for the day and setting off an adventure, just the four of us.  Long overdue family time.

5- Yep.  The pink carpet in Matthew's room is gone.  We knew since we moved in that the bedrooms all have hardwood.  We could tell the carpet pad didn't have adhesive on it.  We debated waiting until we could afford to have them refinished.  The desire for something that could be cleaned and was clean won out.  The boys ripped it all out today, revealing some pretty beat up dark stained hardwoods.  A few questions were answered - yes, the light wood through the rest of the house much have been a refinished job by some previous owner.  The doorway into the bedroom looks like a kid who can't color in the lines between the light hall and the dark bedroom.  The nasty matted filthy pink was probably put in by the previous owners, given their paint color of choice is spattered on the floor.  There are other colors and likely nail polish also on the floor.  And yes, people are idiots. 

How people can abuse their home in such a fashion doesn't cease to amaze and shock me.  The scratches and gouges are pretty bad in a few spots.  But we are fortunate, relieved and grateful that there are no weird stains or massive areas of damage.  There's nothing we can't live with until we've saved up to have all the floors redone.  They all need it - the family room floor is particularly embarrassing to me and the dining room has terrible sun damage.  All four of us worked together after lunch to wipe down the floors with a warm water and vinegar wash.  Matt and I washed, scrubbing off what we could.  The boys following closely, drying as we went.  Then we wiped them down twice with the Method Almond Oil I use.  They look much better.  They will do just fine for the time being and they are CLEAN.

6- I always feel so conflicted when people comment that I should be teaching - even those loving, kind friends who don't mean immediately but later, when the time is right and the kids are grown and I'm ready for the next phase.  I feel conflicted because I do like teaching.  But I don't like being a teacher.  My brief stint in a classroom had far more bad things going for it, than good.  I have even less patience now than I did then for excuses and argumentative behavior, laziness and willful stupidity.  I also can't see ever doing what I used to do again - I know what it is to LIVE now.  Why would I ever willingly or joyfully go back to a life where I'm buried and constantly behind on paperwork, lesson plans, grades and grading? 

My certifications are on voluntary inactive statue, but seeing as my previous place of employment didn't file whatever hours I did complete during in-services, it appears I have 0 hours towards the required 180 before I lose the certifications.  That countdown starts up again as soon as they are active and might only be a couple of years - that would be additional work on top of starting over teaching some place.  If I could find a job in this area that is already over-saturated with teachers.

But I do have them.  In case Matt ever needs me to go back. 

Even if I did land an interview, my ideas of what I'd do and tolerate are a little different, or maybe better defined, or maybe I'm just not willing to be forced into compromising anymore.  Extra credit - nope.  Retakes - nope.  Late work - sick or death only excuse there.  I teach History.  If the kids don't read and come prepared for discussions or "activities", then I'm going to lecture.  I'll lecture whenever I want for however long I want if I'm teaching in a college preparatory program.  Full length research papers - not in my class.  I teach History not English.  It was bad enough grading poorly written essays.  The 8-10 pages of crap was torture.  And having to find all of the students' resources to make sure they weren't or prove they were plagiarizing took longer than grading the papers.  And why oh why should a History teacher have to spend hours evaluating grammar and then explaining it to the pissed off students....and their parents.

Another teacher told me after my first year, that someday it'd be easier, after I had kids of my own.  They were speaking of the whole issues of classroom management and discipline.  I can see her point. I know how to tell a kid to shut up and sit down 15 different ways without saying shut up and sit down, specifically.  But I don't think that will necessarily make my life easier because my idea of classroom management then or now doesn't gel with having to fill out forms about why I'm sending some little jerk out of my room.  I'm just going to want to tell him to get out even more than I ever did, because it's my classroom, I'm in charge and I don't care who your parents are. Plus, being a mom of boys, I still don't know how to accidentally avoid offending pms-ing teenage girls.

And right there is the biggest of all caveats....when I was young and single and that was my job and I had to rely on myself for everything and I was my only source of income and had bills to pay all by myself, I had to have self control.  I had to play the politics to keep my job.  Throw me in some of those same exact settings and situations now, nearly 10 years later, I'd be much less couth.  I should have been a teacher decades ago, when being the teacher meant something to the students, the parents and the administrators. 

7- On a much lighter note - I'm nearly finished with Faith's Princess Elsa dress.  Matt's sweater is coming along.  I'm on the body ....armpits to waist.  Some of my friends at Bible Study asked if was STILL working on it....I responded, "My husband is a big guy!  6'2"!  This is going to take awhile."  I knit Moses a hat, that was too small.  And I'm plugging away at mindless-ish seed stitch for a living room pillow.  OH!  And the baseball blanket is back out and will grow with every practice and game I knit through.  (See what I did there....knit through, instead of sit through?)

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