Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The ill-fated climbing expedition
Just north into Canada about 2 hours.


The best way to end the day? Sharing a Superman ice cream cone with Aunt Rach.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

I hate kindergarten...

but one of the kids said something funny to me today as I was subbing:

"'re kind of small for a grownup."

This sentiment was echoed later in the afternoon when I moved on to sub in a 4th grade classroom:

"Wow...I'm taller than you...and you're the teacher?" least I got a nice little vacation...

So...Florida was a bust from a professional standpoint. The job fair was a disaster. On the other hand, I had a great visit with friends and family!

After we got home, we headed straight for the U.P. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. We had a lot of fun. Drove to Canada on Saturdday so Rachel, Jeff, Matt and Owen could do some rock climbing. The rest of us just tagged along 2 miles back into the woods to take pictures. That ended in a bit of a quagmire as well.

It turns out the bugs were REALLY BAD. Taking Sam into the woods was a horrible idea and so Joseph (my 11-year-old nephew) and I took Sam back to the car to wait it out while they climbed. It was also pretty hot and so I passed Joe the keys from the backseat where I was sitting with Sam and asked him to start the car. The air come on and so did the music and there we sat, enjoying snacks and drinks and the cool, bug-free air. That is, until the car quit. And wouldn't start.

I panicked and told Joe to run back through the woods and get his Papa and tell him the car quit. Being 11, he chose to do it the 11-year-old way which involves standing at the edge of the trail and yelling back into the woods. It took a little convincing, but eventually they came and determined that Joe hadn't actually turned the car on all the way. He'd just turned the key far enough to power the dashboard. Crap.

Luckily, we had left Rachel and Jeff's Neon back at the road, and so the 4 of them ran back to get the car. It took about 45 minutes because the Neon kept bottoming out on the 2-track. But eventually we got the car started and headed home.

The next day we had a great time running through puddles in the limestone quarry with Owen's new Jeep. It's a 69/72 hybrid with big old tires and a lift. I imagine at one time it was quite the rock crawler but it did okay by us on Sunday. We had a lot of fun. Pictures coming soon (as soon as I can download them from the camera).

Monday, May 21, 2007

Waaay too much spare time...

I didn't have much to do today because yesterday I rode down to TC with my mom and dad in order to save gas by not driving myself down today. (I fly out from here at 7 a.m. tomorrow.) So I spent the entire morning at the house with nothing to do, which is an experience I've not had in a really long time. No school work, no homework, no housework and no baby. It was so weird.

So I found myself watching home improvement shows on the Fine Living Network - a new one to me since we don't have it. I love those shows. I love to imagine what I would do to decorate if I had a house. Anyway, as often happens when watching TV, a commercial came on and, since my parents don't have TiVo yet (it's still on order), I was forced to actually watch the commercials. And this commercial for a bagless vacuum came on.

It was so pretty! It was mesmerizing to watch all those shiny glitter particles flying around and around looking like what might happen if the Tasmanian Devil had babies with a disco ball. I found myself thing that Owen and I should have a pretty vacuum like that.

And then it occurred to me that it probably isn't nearly as pretty watching cheerios and dust bunnies flying around like that. In fact, there's probably very few things less appealing to watch than hair-covered, shriveled up pieces of hot dog and dill pickle flying through the air with the greatest of ease.

So, unless I am planning to start feeding Sam glitter (which may also make chaing his diapers a more pleasant experience), a bagless vacuum is totally out of the question. I mean, the whole reason we vacuum things up anyway (apart from the fact that it feels vaguely disgusting to step on them) is because we don't want to see them anymore. We certainly don't want to keep seeing them at 500 rpm.

It's a darn good thing we don't even need a vacuum. Also...I am beginning to think that having TiVo is actually saving us money.

Sunday, May 20, 2007


Well, after 3 ½ years of evening and weekend classes, I am finally finished with school. Friday was my last day student teaching in room 3-P. Now, as soon as I can find a job, I can finally call myself a teacher. (As one of my kids wrote in a farewell letter, "Mrs. H. I hope you get a job as a real teacher someday.")

I am surprised I didn’t cry on Friday when I opened my gifts from the kids. I got very emotional for a minute and then talked myself down, thinking that I didn’t want them to see me cry because I didn’t want to upset them too. But it was a bittersweet moment. I was so happy to finally be finished but was also so sorry to have to let them all go. I told them they were one of the best groups of kids I had ever been lucky enough to work with and that’s the truth – they are amazing.

It’s been a strange week. This is a huge accomplishment for me…and for my family. I feel like I am finally in a position where we might finally be able to get our sh*t together. 4 years ago when I finished college, my mom had to persuade me to have a graduation party. I didn’t feel much like celebrating. Yes, it was a big accomplishment since I had left school after Owen and I got married. But I knew I wasn’t finished - it was only a short-term victory. It didn’t seem worthy a big celebration. I knew I wouldn’t yet be able to begin my career and so it didn’t seem like much of a big deal.

Now I am ready. After 10 years of “post-secondary” education, I have finally finished and am ready to begin my career. I feel ready. I know I am well prepared. And I can honestly say that my “taking the long route” has better prepared me to be a good teacher. But this too has been a bittersweet ending. Finally, I feel that I have made a tremendous accomplishment. I have finished…this is huge. I am now able to have a real career. This means big things…HUGE things…for Sam and Owen and I…and yet I feel unable to celebrate it because…

And all that remains is for me to get a job and this is the very difficult part. The market for teachers in the state of Michigan is beyond horrible. Many schools are laying off employees and, in some communities, they are closing. As of right now, there isn’t even any guarantee that schools will receive the rest of the funding to finish out this year, let alone hire more teachers next year. Many schools seize the opportunity presented by retiring teachers to thin down the staff. This is a tremendous opportunity for them reduce their staff without having to buy out contracts or pay severance packages.

Despite almost daily searches for available positions, I have thus far found exactly zero positions for which I am eligible in this state. Opportunities in other states abound. In fact, I am flying to Fort Lauderdale on Tuesday and am guaranteed to walk away with an offer. And not just an offer of a job…an offer for THE job I want. No settling for a lower elementary job – a job that would do okay but which I would not prefer to middle school English. This is my insurance policy. It is the guarantee that I need to be able to sleep at night. It will allow me to know that, come hell or high water, I will have a job this fall. We can finally begin digging our way out of the financial mess we have made trying to finish college and working at Blockbuster. I did not work my ass off for all those years to work at freaking Blockbuster for the rest of my life.

But let me make one thing clear: I don’t want to leave. I lived in Florida before and, to put it mildly, I didn’t love it. But things are different for me now. I have a family to take care of…and many, many college loans to pay off. 10 years’ worth, to be precise. And have I mentioned that a job in the Broward County School District would pay $10,000 per year more? I have huge responsibilities…bills to pay…college loans…a child to support…a husband who wants to spend the rest of his life making $12/hr. teaching preschool.

The mere possibility of leaving home has already caused me more sleepless nights than I can count. I cannot communicate how much I hate the thought of taking Sam so far away from his grandparents and the rest of my family. I was so close to my grandparents…and I have always wanted that amazing relationship for him. He adores his grandparents. The thought of taking that away from him and from them breaks my heart. I tell myself that it will only be for a couple of years until the MI economy improves or until I have some experience under my belt and am more employable here. I could work on additional certifications so that I can find a job here and we can come back home. But still, leaving is leaving…for one year or 10…or whatever…and the thought of it makes me sick.

And so I don’t much feel like celebrating…even though I had just made one of the biggest accomplishments of my life.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The rundown: a few facts for your perusal

Just in case you need to tell my story to the Grand Jury:

Fact: Owen had to stay late at work tonight for CPR and First Aid training so it was just Sam and me all evening.

Fact: Fact Owen was joking about Sam's mullet when I went to pick him up at school today.

Fact: Once you snip a little, you have to keep going or it looks funny.

Fact: Just as it is impossible to dig your way out of a hole, it is almost as impossible to cut your way out of a bad DIY haircut.

Fact: Just because you watch Bravo's Shear Genius, it doesn't mean that you are in any way entitled to wield a pair of Cutter Bees (scrapbooking scissors) against the delicate locks of your year-old son.

Fact: Owen does not yet know that I cut Sam's hair, though me may find some evidence on the ground in front of our apartment building because I wrongly assumed that if I shook out the towel off the balcony, the hair would just fly away. It didn't. It's all over our entryway.

Fact: Apparently, I cut off a sizable amount of hair.

Fact: I'm not telling Owen. I want to see if he notices and maybe assumes that Sam was abducted by alien hair stylists during the night. (After all, it could be a family thing.) Or maybe that he has been prematurely affected by male pattern baldness. After all, that DOES run in the family.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Photos of Sam "The Man"

(Sam LOVES to read. It will soothe him when he is cranky or when he falls down. We often give him books in the car. They keep him occupied for a long time.)

(Sam regularly goes into his room and takes out several books and then sits on the floor with them all around him. Often, he has them all open and he takes turns turning the pages,)

(Sam also really loves to swing. His new favorite game is called "Kick Daddy in the Face." Guess how it's played...)

(And, of course, what kid doesn't love bath time? Sam especially likes to try out bubble wigs and bubble moustaches and goatees.)

Ta da!

After significant absence I have returned.

I’m hoping you’re all still lurking out there or that you might have begun to use Google reader and so you’re picking up the new post that way. Or you’re some poor loser who hit the Blogger next button and here you are smacked upside the head with this poorly updated P.O.S.

In any case, dear reader, I’m glad you’re still here!

Here are some updates about us:

I attended a job fair at CMU a few weeks ago and have gotten several job offers, some of which we are considering and some we are not. Our options include: Hoke County, NC; Baltimore, MD; Ft. Lauderdale, FL; Prince George’s County, MD; Louisville, KY. I’ll keep you posted as thing develop.

I have gotten a summer job as the lead teacher for the school-age day cam where Sam goes to daycare. This means that the Harrington family will be doing our part to keep Al Gore from making any more movies (that was a joke – I’ve never seen his movie) by all riding to work/school together every day. Hooray!

Sam is walking. Alternately, Sam is falling. A lot. Yesterday I thought he might take out our sliding glass door. Luckily, it’s still tougher than his head. Owen has taken to calling him “the walking bruise” while I remain attached to “booger face” as he has recently recovered from his first sinus infection brought on, no doubt, by his recently diagnosed allergies. (Could you hear me sigh just then?)

I am in my last week of student teaching and am having major separation anxiety about leaving my kids. Yes, they are “my kids” now. I find I am listless and without direction most evenings, having completely forgotten what life is like with no papers to grade. I am also fairly well dying to know what grade I will be teaching in the fall so I can start planning my year and gathering materials.

Well…I know that’s not much of an entry, but it’s something, right? I’m planning to post a few pictures of Sam here in the next day or so.