Saturday, November 3, 2012

Hey you guys.

Oh, right, I have a blog, or something.  Well.  I've been working at the magnet school for a semester and a bit now, and I like it well enough, although I'm pretty sure I'm going to get on this grad school thing ASAP so I can move up to higher education.  I love high school but dealing with high school is hard--not just because of student drama, but because of the education system, particularly North Carolina's.

On Ace and TJ the other morning, while Katie (the math teacher who's next door to me at school) and I were driving to Mooresville for a conference, they were talking about a survey where they asked people what would constitute a survival income.  Based on the people they asked, "How much would you need to make a year to get by?" the answer was $33,000.

I don't make that, and I probably never will if I stay in K-12 education here.

Since I started teaching the salary scale has been frozen.  I'm a third and a half year teacher on first year pay.  I know fifth year teachers still on first year pay.  And the state's base salary is $28,000.  Not only that, but the NC Education Lottery?  Yeah, we rake in some money from that, but the state decided that since we're getting money from the lottery, that money can be removed from the education budget to go elsewhere--or they reallocate the funds to other budget areas.  Say we get $1 million for education from the lottery.  They can then rewrite the budget so that education loses $1 million, because that money will be coming in from the lottery, right?

Georgia and South Carolina have it worked out better, I think, but basically we haven't made education a priority and it shows.

So I don't think I'll be teaching high school five years from now.

On a happier note, crazy baby is talking up a storm.  He's two and a half now, y'all.  Still a ginger.  Tonight we went to see the Hickory Community Theater production of Winnie the Pooh and I think it was the greatest thing he's ever seen.  He clapped and cheered and jumped around and split the time between sitting like a normal human in a seat, making me help him turn somersaults, and running around the theater.

He also hit me in the face with one of those magnetic golf putting rings, and left a bruise, but you know.  That's not what matters.  What matters is, at night he says prayers and makes me read him Dr. Seuss's ABC and the book about my monster mama, and he says "luh you, mommy" and gives me hugs and kisses and is generally the sweetest, most adorable baby on the planet.  When he wants to be.

Further reading about the lottery:

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Oh Lord.

I just got back from Firefly, a three-day music festival in Delaware that rocked my socks off and made me forget for a few days what my life is actually like on a day-to-day basis.  I'm starting to get back into it, now that my mother-in-law has gone back home.  Here's a sample: I'm standing in the kitchen typing this at the counter (and thinking how great a standing desk would be) and my two-year-old is running around with his juice cup and a graham cracker saying "cracker!"

So he comes in here and points at the cabinet where we keep the crackers WITH THE CRACKER IN HIS HAND and says "cracker?"

"Yeah, you've got a cracker, buddy."

(Violent head shake.) "No."

"That's your cracker!  Eat it!"

"No!" (Throws cracker on the floor.) "Uh-oh."

The logic of the toddler mind.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Experiences #2

That Time I Swung Over Emerald Pointe

There is a water park in Greensboro called Emerald Pointe and that was the first place I went skyflying.  And the only place, actually.  Not because it wasn't fun (it was) but it was kind of expensive and it feels weird to do it alone.  This time I had my friend Caitlin with me.  We had gone, the two of us and my friend Monica, to the water park for the day, and Caitlin and I had wanted to go skyflying for a long time.  For those of you who don't know, skyflying is a GIANT SWING.  That's pretty much it.  You get hoisted up a tower in a harness attached to a long cord, which might be a bungee cord, and then they drop you and you swing and swing until your momentum ends the ride.  It costs like $20 a person, I think, if you get it on the cheap.  And it's kind of like bungee jumping lite.  Less chance of whiplash, I guess.  Anyway, Caitlin and I went but Monica wasn't cool with it so she waited on the ground, and the two of us--as noted earlier--got hoisted up and dropped into this long, glorious swing where we could see the whole park and the Greensboro skyline and everything for miles.  There is a moment, right after they release you but before you drop, where you feel like everything inside your body is lifting up but you're staying in place, and then all of a sudden everything catches up with itself and you fall, and as you approach the ground you have another moment where you're absolutely sure that something's going to go wrong and you're going to smack into the concrete like a bug on a windshield, but then you just...coast, upward and onward, and then back again, and again, and again.  It's a strange sensation and oddly calming.  But then I've always liked swings.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Experiences #1

I've been really bad about keeping track of this blog and I've decided to try to get back into it by writing about experiences I've had that I remember very clearly and that were generally pretty cool or memorable.  Also, my child is two.  We had a Sesame Street birthday party and it was amazing.  I'll write about that sometime.  But today's post is:

That Time I Saw Christian Slater in a West End Play (2006)

When I was abroad I spent a week visiting my friends in London.  Actually it was more like a week and a half, crashing on their couch, and I had almost forgotten how uncomfortable that couch was.  But I just remembered.  Anyway, I spent a lot of time sightseeing on my own while they were in class during the day, and while exploring the West End I kept seeing posters advertising that Christian Slater was appearing as Randle P. McMurphy in a revival of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.  I love the play, and I ADORE Christian Slater, so it was my one thing I really wanted to see if I was going to go to a show.  There were two guys who I talked into going with me, Cole and some other guy (I can't remember his name to save my life), but the night we wanted to go the show...wasn't happening?  I think they weren't doing student tickets or something, and that was the only way we could afford it.  Either way, we ended up walking all over the place looking for a show to go to, and ended up at Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? with Kathleen Turner, which was a fantastic show and very well done and I learned what Buffalo was.  The next time there was a show was on a weekday afternoon (strange, I know) but I went by myself.  I don't go to shows by myself, as a general rule, but this was Christian Slater.  And because I was by myself, I got one of the last-minute tickets in row F.  That's the sixth row, if you don't want to count it out.  I was six rows away from Christan Slater, one of my favorite actors, watching him perform this amazing role and just rock it.  There was almost a surreal quality about it, and there's no real reason for it, it was just that good.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day

You know what?  I'm super happy I'm a mommy and I don't give a crap about Mother's Day.  I bought my mom candy at Walgreen's yesterday and she was thrilled.  I didn't ask for anything from anyone and I ended up getting Bojangles' for breakfast and that was enough.  I'm sick, and I've spent half the day sleeping and the other half cleaning and playing with my toddler.  It's a good day.  Also it's raining.

There's a part of me that thinks I had the baby too early (not just in the sense that he came out at seven months, but that he came out when I was 23), but if I'd had him any other time he wouldn't be the same baby and I WOULDN'T EVEN KNOW.  Such a strange thought to have.  It's just weird because my friends at school are all a little older than me and nowhere near the same life place as I am.  One of them is about to have his first kid, and that's as close as it gets.  The other teachers with kids are older by several years.  I feel like I don't totally fit into either group, but I like almost all of them.  Taking care of Calvin for the last two years and trying to keep him from destroying himself or everything we own has been exhausting, and I know that I'm nowhere close to ready for a second one.

Did I mention that Calvin broke his tooth?  Because he broke his tooth.  I don't know how.  It's the top left front one, and the bottom 1/3 or so is just gone.  I was changing his diaper, and oh hey, what happened to your tooth?  He wasn't upset.  Never cried.  It was fine when I got him from daycare and to my knowledge he didn't fall when I was home.  He had such pretty teeth.  But there was never any way he was going to make it through childhood unscathed.  Kid never stops for anything.  He runs full tilt around the house and only takes a break when he runs into something or needs food or drink.

Oh, and he's talking now.  Mimicking like a little parrot.  Today he said "Cheeto" clear as day when I handed him one and I had another of those Mother of the Year not-quite-two-year-old is requesting Cheetos by name.  He has other words, too, and he imitates people's sounds, including coughs and sneezes.  He was sitting in our floor going "Achoo!" earlier.

We're starting EOGs with the middle schoolers this week and from now until the end of the school year it's exams.  I hate this time of year; I have books to finish with both my classes, more writing work for Core, exams to write, EOC prep, testing training, and so much other crap that on the morning of June 9 I'm going to wake up disoriented from running out of things to do.  And then I'm going to spend my summer planning for fall, getting sun, swimming at the Y, cleaning my house, and trying not to waste it.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Crap, I did it again. I'm really quite terrible at this whole blogging thing. You guys should see my baby now. Check this out:

Yup. That's my boy. He's three feet tall and he's a ginger. He's a lot taller than any of the kids in day care. He went through a phase of crying when I dropped him off, mostly after he fell and busted his lip, but then was fine for a long time until last week. He's had two ear infections in the last month, which is a bummer, and when he got the second one he reverted to the "NO DON'T ABANDON ME" crying he used to do, and it doesn't start my day off on a good note. He does race over to me at the end of the day and give me the best hugs, though. And the day care is a good place, from everything I've seen. The teachers know and seem to care about the kids, he doesn't cry for long when I leave, and he stays clean and gets food and a nap and a place to play and social interaction, and what more could I ask for? He's hitting the language explosion phase and we bought him a potty to try that whole thing. His words now include: slide, ball, beep-beep (car), button, TV, book, story, juice, mine, diaper, spatula (which was actually "payala"), and oh yeah, counting to five. He counts to five. Dear God, he's really not a baby anymore. He repeats a lot of things, which could be good or bad, so I'm making a REALLY conscious effort to control my language. I almost got him to say "dinosaur."

Work is going well. It took me a little while to adjust but I adore my freshman class, my tenth graders are crazy but all right, and I have one class on the alternative side that's hit or miss depending on their moods. We have this thing at the end of the day called team time where we get kids from one academy and we have some character development or career prep stuff to do with them, but no one cares about it and it's not well structured, so the end of the day is always chaotic. Also, I'm getting AP certified this summer! But I'm glad to be back in the classroom, and I like my coworkers a whole lot. There are some teachers close to my age that I've actually hung out with outside of school, so I guess I have friends here now. I like it. I like my school, I like my house, I like being close to friends and family. We've made a couple of trips to Raleigh, one to Asheville, one to Greensboro, several to the Charlotte area, and none of those drives are bad. We're driving distance to the beach (although it'd be a long drive--six or so hours) and will likely go at least once this summer.

We joined the YMCA and I've been working out, swimming or running or doing Zumba, which is super fun. They have an amazing outdoor pool and water park thing that Calvin and I are going to use this summer. And also, I'm going to the Firefly Music Festival in Dover, DE this July. It will be SO AWESOME. A lot has happened that I haven't documented well. I wish I were better at this, but it's hard when you're so busy.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

New Girl

We got moved into the new house and at some point I should probably take pictures. Not only that, but I'm going back to work starting Monday. It's kind of terrifying and exciting and heartbreaking, because it also means Calvin will be in daycare 5 days a week. I think it will be good for him, but I'm a worrier and my child is the most important thing in the world to me, so I'm apprehensive. The place seems really nice and I spent an hour there on Friday with him to see how he did. He ran right in and started playing with toys. He isn't terribly sociable just yet, because he's never been around that many kids at once, but he didn't seem afraid. I'll probably cry on Monday when I drop him off.

My new job is teaching English at the magnet school here, and it's two weeks into the semester and I'm replacing the English I and II teacher. There is no time for orientation or planning or decorating or anything. I'm jumping right in on Monday. I hope it goes well, and we need the money. We're hoping to save up enough to get a house within the next year or so, and we owe my parents money for the car they sold us, and Brandon's still paying off student loans, and now we have daycare costs, so...yeah. Lots of things to work towards.

The rental house is pretty good for a rental. We've had a few hiccups--the thermostat went crazy, the hot water went out, there are some repair issues we've had to handle with the back deck and the garage door--but mostly it's a super nice house for a decent price, much cheaper than what we paid in Massachusetts, and my parents are less than an hour away, and we can easily make day trips to Charlotte or Greensboro or Asheville and weekend trips to Raleigh, and all in all I think it's going to be nice. It's funny to think that I actually have a legitimate reason to look at real estate sites, and to consider that we could buy this house if we wanted to, and to start researching school districts for Calvin and and future kids. I feel like this is the kind of place we could settle in for a long time, and even if we want to try living somewhere else for a while or going back to Raleigh, it's going to be years before that happens, and we can actually put down roots.

I miss Molly and Jack like crazy, especially because we don't know anyone locally and there isn't a MOMS club, but with work starting and Calvin getting into daycare I'm hoping we can network a little. The other teachers that I met at the school seem pretty cool. We'll see how it goes.