Flippin' CAR CRUD!

Friday, June 29, 2018

Image result for car maintenance funnyWhat is it about car maintenance that makes me feel SO completely and frantically upside down?

During this past month, I have had two very distinct situations that have literally made me want to peel my own skin off...

Let me preface this post by stating, I drive a Chevy Tahoe.  I have had 3 and loved each and every one of them.  My first was emerald green, the next silver, and this one luxury and charcoal grey.  As I think about my 2011 "trusty steed" - I think of all the journeys we have made together and the many many memories that Fisherman and I have made in this "car".  It has successfully hauled many things - groceries, fishing "stuff", my favorite 3 little peeps, my parents, Fisherman's family, friends, to destinations with narry a peep out of it.  It was purchased 2 weeks after my beloved Grandmother passed away and carried my Mom and Grandfather to and from California (fighting LA traffic, to boot), with tears, and provided a means for my Gram's brother to grieve her loss with those who loved her.

Over the last 3 weeks, my valiant steed (which I think can sense that I am committing "car adultry" by looking at other vehicles) has been cause for consternation.  As Fisherman and I took the car in to have the tires rotated and balanced - the clerk at Costco called us and and said "Mr. Fisherman, we cannot in good faith, rotate these tires again...they are showing too much wear and uneven wear at that."  Initiate total ugly crying in the middle of Costco.  What made it worse is that Fisherman was so great about it.  He tried to comfort me and keep my head from completely blowing off my body and having to scoop me up, like so many small puddles before.  "Babes, it is ok...we will be ok.  It is car maintenance, it has to be done."  So, at a cost of a small island, new tires were put on.

When we went to pay, the clerk said "Mr. and Mrs. Fisherman, you really should have the alignment checked out to see why there is such uneven wear." Issue ugly cry of the evening number 2!  Fisherman had just talked me off the ledge and consoled me with a Costco frozen yogurt and NOW this!!!  Is he trying to kill me?! I mean can the man sense that I am a puddled meltdown - and just sees "sucker" - but no, Fisherman is there...so it can't just be "take advantage of the blonde woman".
So we make the appointment, shuffle our entire world (Fisherman to work, me to work...etc.) and get the alignment checked out.  It was wildly out of alignment and was now fixed. Slightly apprehensive, I set out the next day, finished with all my summer teacher-y things, and headed NORTH.  It ran beautifully.  My new tires hugged the pavement and it rides very smoothly.

Finally, yesterday, I decided to treat my trusty to a "wash and set" so-to-speak.  I ran to the Diamond Car Wash (they do a great job). They polished her up and I was ready to roll...dun, dun, dun {{ominous voice}} my mom and I were about to toodle off to shop 'til we dropped when *clank*, *thwack* *thwack* *thwack* - AAAAAAGH! WHAT THE HECK!?!?!?! I pull across the street and look all around the vehicle...and NOTHING. I get back in and *clank*, *thwack* *thwack* *thwack*! SERIOUSLY....AAAAAGH! I know that I cannot go further, I KNOW I need to know what is going on.  Fisherman was still on summer school duty so I called my Dad (30 minutes out) and waited.

I could literally feel the nerves in my head M-E-L-T-I-N-G, like OH-em-GEE I think I am having a small stroke.  I was dizzy.
I KNEW it was going to cost me thousands of dollars and the remainder of my sanity. FISHERMAN was not there to put the puddle back together and was dealing with some bit of summer school stuff and didn't even ANSWER THE PHONE. Lawdhammercy! My mom calls my brother...he is about 10 minutes away and answers the call.

He pulls in, and I just ooozed out of the driver's seat.  My mom stayed in the car with him as he "Mario Andretti'ed it" up and down the street.  He comes back after about 5-10 minutes, and says very calmly in his loving brotherly voice...

"Um...it would be helpful if you wouldn't use 4-wheel drive on the pavement...DUH!"
"I can write it down for you if you need - 2 wheel drive = pavement; steep, weather, mude = 4-wheel drive"...bwahahahahahah!"
My response..."Mother of all CUSS WORDS, and the GRATITUDE!"

Hallelujah! I've seen the light, I was at the abyss and was yanked back from oblivion.  Everything was good, no FREAKING FANTASTIC!

Living to drive another day...

Help a teacher out!

Monday, June 25, 2018
What am I going to be when I grow up...said the little blog to the creator? After re-vamp number 3 here, and the smooth lines of the new blog, I find myself giddy with possibilities and topics that I want to discuss.

I started writing yesterday beginning down one vein and then I thought (or fell down the rabbit hole) I need to totally revamp this blog. Which leads me to my first topic.

During this past year I have been working (sweating, gnashing, pouring) on my National Board certification and it has overwhelmingly sucked up all my time. I am now done (all except knowing if I passed) - like STICK A FORK IN ME I'M DONE.
So now, ta da, I am back on the bloggy circuit. WOOT! The NBCT work has inevitably caused me to reflect on my teaching, the state of teaching in general, education and the state of education in America.

This past year I watched as some of the bravest and most admirable teachers - those who have been a mentor to me through the years agonize the choice of defending the profession and demand that they are treated AS PROFESSIONALS. They made a very brave decision to walk out of their classrooms and hold those in leadership accountable for the state of education in America.

Teachers are the backbone of America. We in the throes of the educational upheaval broach the tumult with apprehension, joy, nausea, as well as necessity. Our students demand our very best, and we as the aging part of the population, should demand that the generation who will lead our future, have the absolute very best. We enable EVERY. OTHER. CAREER.

I have been pondering my profession as of late...let me restate...MY PROFESSION - and for those of you who are unaware teaching is a PROFESSION. We are required to have a degree, and maintain licensure requirements that differ from state to state, continually PROFESSIONALLY develop, we are held  (some would argue) to a higher standard than even physicians (whom nobody would question as a professional).  However, for some odd reason, since everybody has been to school at one time or another, they believe that they are a professional educator.  

Let me draw a quick analogy - most people at one time or another have used a band-aid but would not call themselves a surgeon nor proffer opinions on the best method to reattach a severed limb; so, why do so many think they are experts in education because they attended school? Sure, I can address the needs of 6+ students on an IEP, know by heart that the focus standards of the CCSS are being met in lessons, use updated pedagogical strategies while documenting growth, and mastery; all while under the SCRUTINIZING eye of someone who thinks they have the silver bullet to education.

So, THIS summer like many others, I will confirm my allegiance to the multitudes of teachers who bravely find redemption and stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters and proclaim out loud "WE HAVE HAD ENOUGH".  Here is what we know...
  • We don't like testing anymore than students do - especially since our students are tested, to death.
  • We don't love having zero autonomy in our classrooms - trusted to be professional.
  • We don't like when we are punished collectively for the misdeeds of few.
  • We hurt when our students do.
  • We celebrate victories with students regardless of size or achievement.
  • We welcome evaluation where we can celebrate our students instead of hanging our head when students do not meet an arbitrary mark set by those who haven't a clue.
  • We welcome feedback but do not believe that everybody is an EDUCATION expert just because they went to school.
  • We are taking this time during the summer to re-charge, reclaim overtime put in during the year, educate ourselves, make-up lost moments to family, and yes...think about school.

So, if you see a teacher realize that they are angels on the good side of the fight. We love your kiddos, we will continue to love your kiddos and strive to make each one of them the warrior they are meant to become.  However, if you are able, fund a classroom, volunteer, ask what you can do with your child, drop off a bag of Hershey's kisses (I promise they will be devoured with love), ask your student what they are working on - EVEN AT THE HIGH SCHOOL LEVEL, send a note to a teacher, value teachers like we value your student! AAAAAND for the love of all that is holy...don't forget about us in the upper grades...we love your kiddos too and we love to know that we are a part of the time honored sacred triangle - student,  parent, teacher - working together to magnify the success of each student. 
Image result for elementary vs. high school teacher


Tuesday, June 19, 2018
What is it about love that makes us so stupid?

Image result for love makes us stupid
I believe that love is the single greatest thing that we as human beings get to experience. Studies have shown that all living things require love...ALL LIVING THINGS - which actually means that I talk and show LOVE to my garden and flowers in our home (it also means that Fisherman thinks he married a complete whack job because I do).

Related imageI have been re-reading The Five Love Languages that everyone, literally EVERYONE, recommends. I, like everyone else, have read this and know in my bones that my love language is physical touch.
Physical touch 
To this person, nothing speaks more deeply than appropriate touch. That doesn't mean only in the bedroom — everyday physical connections, like hand-holding, kissing, or any type of re-affirming physical contact is greatly appreciated. A person who speaks the language of physical touch isn't necessarily an over-the-top PDA'er, but getting a little touchy-feely does make them feel safe and loved.

Image result for acts of service love languageI feel SAFE both emotionally and physically.  I experience LOVE through CONTACT.

Fisherman is the type of man whose love language is that of acts of service:
Acts of service
For these people, actions speak louder than words. People who speak the language of service want their partner to recognize that their life is rough and help them out in any way possible. Lending a helping hand shows you really care. People who thrive on this language do not deal well with broken promises — or perceived laziness — and have very little tolerance for people who make more work for them. Basically, if you're not willing to show your appreciation by doing them a favor, you're saying you don't value them.

I know further that his "sub" love language is that of service and knowing that the domestic part of our life is taken care of - meals, laundry, and that we are organized, de-cluttered, and our home is clean.  He says that the latter two are "no big deal", but he walks in peace and is better able to be present and calm when these things are done.

Most of those who know Fisherman and I as a couple, know that we met through Match.com and to everyone's surprise (including my own), we are absolutely the right two people for each other.  We are a matched pair. Do we agree on everything...um NO.  Does he sometimes make me want to smother him with a pillow...um YES, NO. Do I frequently require more maintenance than a service station...um NEVER {{eye roll}}. Regardless, he and I just work.

I have been thinking about US recently, and the times where Fisherman and I have felt the most stress in our little marriage and home.  This past year I spent month after month working toward getting my National Board Teaching Certification (details much, much, much later).  Suffice it to say that I spent an enormous amount of time working on this to the neglect of our home and even at times to the neglect of the needs of my husband - which in turn lessens his ability to be my safety net. An epic cycle of continents drifting apart.  It may seem imperceptible to most, but the crack in our planet has left me with a sense of unease - a feeling of emotionally unsafe.
5 Love Languages
My relationship with my beloved husband is the single most important relationship in the entire world. It transcends a parent-child relationship, it transcends sibling relationships, and transcends even my very life. Even now, when I think about my husband, he takes my breath away and my heart beats faster. I realize how fortunate we are - we both know that our LOVE is a gift. It needs cultivation, it needs for us to tend the weeds that crash upon us like thunder, it needs for us to re-dedicate ourselves to each other and to be cognizant that our sense of self comes from the way we love each other.

So, the big SO - so, with this knowledge I vow as I did five years ago and twelve years ago to love, honor and cherish this Fisherman of mine. I vow, that I will renew my commitment to him and find again what it means to be an honorable wife, partner, and LOVE.

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