Wish I was there . .
My passport is ready and I can be packed in minutes.

25 September 2007

Yet another reason to leave Florida

WARNING!!!!!!! I preface this with the warning that if you are one of those animal lovers who believe that all creatures are equal and should not be smashed with a shovel, then stop reading now. You've been fairly warned so no comments about my cruelty to animals.

Yesterday was a typical Monday - deviant students, half completed homework, classes, correcting papers. At the end of the day, I picked up my own children and raced off campus as though chased by Satan himself. As we arrived home, the kids were delighted. There was a package from our friends in Norway with some Elias the Tugboat DVDs and newly knitted doll clothes (Tusen Takk Gru!). Additionally, a CD of The Sound of Music had arrived after weeks of off-key singing:

So long! Farewell! Auf wiedersehen, good night, I hate to go and leave this pretty sight.
So long, farewell, Auf wiedersehen, adieu, Adieu, adieu, to yieu and yieu and yieu.

The kids were delighted to have the "real thing" and not just my tone deaf contribution.

As it was a "cool" 89, I agreed when the kids asked to play in the backyard. As they ran out across the screen porch, there was a sudden stop and hollering. There on the porch was a snake. Yes, it was only a little over a foot long, BUT IT WAS A SNAKE on my friggin' porch. I quickly hauled the kids back inside as I do not know the difference between a rat snake and a cotton mouth. Throughout the afternoon, the kids gazed out the glass doors and gave a running commentary on the snake's location.

An hour or so later, PH arrived home and with trepidation, we all approached the lanai so PH could perform his duty. Disposal of snakes is not, and never will be, on my list of duties. PH, trying to avoid a sleepless night filled with children's screams over nightmares, tried to shoo the snake out the screen door. The snake, not recognizing the universal sign of waiving of a manila folder as a peaceful request to leave, reared up and rattled its tail. That did it. Out came the shovel, a few well placed whacks, and the snake was obliterated with the kids watching on and cheering their brave daddy.

Just add this experience to the list - I don't think I need to tell you which list!

21 September 2007

Pass the Apple-tinis

After this week, I am ready to send a majority of my students off the some abandoned desert area in New Mexico. The whining, pouting, bad language, disrespectful back talking, dramatic girl fights, condescending eye rolling has finally pushed me over the edge. Even my advanced classes pulled this crap today. I'm thinking that rather than correcting essays this weekend, I'll enter all my students names into the running for the next season of Kid Nation and hope they'll be sent to the next forsaken location. At least by reducing their numbers, I may be able to tolerate the remaining whining.

15 September 2007


Just because it was 98 degrees here today, doesn't mean I can't pretend it's autumn. A little sugar, cinnamon, cloves, lemon, apple cider, and dark spiced rum and voila, an apple-tini. Tastes like a sour apple with a sweet kick. Beware however that after three, it has taken me fifteen minutes to type this.

The sugar and cinnamon edged glass.
The final product after chilling with the Halloween warning.


14 September 2007

An Exciting Friday Night

Currently Boston is playing the Yankees. As a good New Englander, I support the Sox but PH is a die hard Yankees fan. Both of us have made various attempts to brainwash our children. Right now they are claiming they like the Yankees, but they were Red Sox fans this summer.

After a lengthy week at work, I am sitting on the couch, in my tee shirt and comfortable shorts, with my hair in a giant pony tail on my head watching baseball, cheering for the Sox partly because I am good New Englander and partly because it will annoy PH if Boston kicks some Yankee butt. I don't even like baseball. I really need a life . . .

08 September 2007

The Beginning

After months (years) of talking, debating, assessing, analyzing, arguing, and evaluating, we have finally begun. We had decided that we would start sending out resumes at beginning of the new year and then we became aware of two positions being advertised now. Positions that seem to fit all of PH's requirements (and mine) - positions far away from this state, requiring an English speaking attorney in an American corporation, across an ocean, for a defined period that can be extended, in a place where we don't speak the language but it snows. In less than fifteen minutes, we decided that it didn't matter if we applied now or in January, we were both ready. So today, after a week of writing, rewriting, editing, revising, and with a kiss for luck, the first resume packet went out. It will shortly be followed by a second one, hopefully by the end of next week. Additionally, more positions have been found and more packets will be sent out.

I cried with relief.

We have a wonderful life here, but for years I have been ready to leave. I feel like I must justify why we want to leave. After all, we're not sure where we want to go so is this just a case of the grass is always greener? And we have security here, especially financially. Why throw that away for the unknown, my family (the only people who know about this) ask. So we should remain out of fear? We have remained here only for PH's job and that is no longer enough. I am grateful for it - it has allowed us opportunities and given us a safety net. I am ready for some calculated risk. I'll never be one who will put all my cares to the wind, but I am ready for this change we have been planning for so long.

The odds of any of these early resumes being "the one" is slim. This move will bring with it some substantial changes - I'll probably be a "haus frau" for awhile; but after this last year where my own family's needs have been sacrificed for ten months out of year so I can tend to the needs of other children, I am looking forward to this change. And maybe, there's another career path for me? Financially we will being saving less. I'll probably freak out and second guess and become frustrated with my lack of language skills and the cultural change. I wonder how my children will adapt? But I look forward to this challenge and finding out whether the expat life is an option for us. I wish I could control the racing thoughts, the "what if"s, my incessant need to know how it ends and to control it all. And yet, I am thrilled by the unknown. I wish I had the crystal ball that gave me the "right" answer; I'm not sure I believe there is "right" answer. I also wish I could say this all out loud here so it was more real. Leading this double life is hard. Pretending to be part of a community while looking for the exit door.

I wish I could keep this blog all about photos and tales of places far away. Fun stuff. Unfortunately for now, real life is keeping me pretty damn busy. And periodically, I need some place to say all the things I wish I could say out loud. This is what this blog has become when I'm not forcing myself to keep it all light.

So feel free to give me advice, to tell me I'm crazy for leaving, to encourage me to go, to assess all the good and bad of change and growth and moving. You'll only be adding to what I'm already thinking. And thanks to all of those who have already giving me some to think about by writing your blogs and responding to my emails.

04 September 2007

Trying to Smell the Roses

Here is my effort to begin this week in a more positive light then how I ended it. Just trying to smell the roses while avoiding the thorns!

01 September 2007

They said . .

They said it would be easier the second year; after all, I had everything I taught the first year to reuse. They said I wouldn't have to work so many hours and give up a majority of nights and weekends. What they failed to say was that I was getting two new classes and an extra twenty students, a new administration, a different and more encompassing extra curricular activity to supervise, and I was to mentor another new teacher. They wouldn't admit that past disrespectful behavior of the parents has become a predictable pattern that they will continue to allow. They not only failed to notice that my students from last year performed substantially above the national average on some standardized test, but instead termed the school's results as "humiliating" as other departments did not fare so well. They have not yet offered one compliment in my division to any teacher, and instead, have attacked those of us who have discovered student cheating as being "overbearing" all the while reminding us that we need to set a high bar for performance. They still have not provided an affordable health care plan as was promised last year. They have yet to receive all of the books ordered last spring so substantive materials are being taught with no books nor any other materials. They are not a public school, but instead one of the most expensive, well known private schools in the area.

I see articles like this one discussing a teacher shortage and I understand. The pay, the lack of benefits, the disrespect, and the pressure make a teacher shortage a reality. I know for myself that I will be part of the statistic that leaves in less than three years. I have options and this "job" is not worth it. And if you are one of those idealist who say teaching is a "calling" and that I would continue if I really loved the students, maybe that's true. But as a women with my own young children, my first priority is my own family and they suffer while I teach. For me, the cost is too great.