Years ago in a previous teaching gig I moved from an old high school building to a brand new one. I had windows in both classrooms, but the new one offered storage in cupboards along the back wall. I don't lack for storage in Room 212, in fact I have so much space that I store other people's stuff for them. But a window! I told Mr. D that if we don't get a building referendum I might look into the logistics and cost of installing my own by myself. One whole wall faces outside, one runs along my neighbor, one borders the stairway and one leads to the hall. It was a sick, black-hearted person who designed an entire row of classrooms along an outside wall and denied them windows. How could they not know people need light, daylight, sunlight, natural light? Especially in Wisconsin. Especially during winter. Especially when they're young and growing, but even when they're old and fading.
Speaking of Room 212, I decorated it this year for Christmas with the help of some students. People seem to really enjoy the gesture, it's the first time I've done this. One colleague stopped by and remarked that she liked it and it was "safe." I nodded and replied, "Yes, no paper hanging from the ceiling, not a fire hazard at all!" She answered, "Actually, I meant that you hung red balls and snowflakes--it's not specific to any religion." That got me thinking about how much teachers have to consider, the line we constantly toe--what might offend? How far to push? Who might get pissed? If they do get offended or angry, do we get support or are we thrown to the wolves?
Yes, in a world where a self-declared white supremacist advises the president-elect, a high school English teacher must cautiously approach holiday decorating. Then I turned around the next day and agreed with Sarah Palin. Good grief, life has become confusing.
The first snow of winter came today. I made Mr. T drive us home from church so he could experience that with me in the passenger seat. New drivers and snow, I am cautious with my firstborn when it comes to the "firsts."
|Second-born son and new kitten, Rose.|
|Kittens suck you in with their cuteness and make you give them a home.|
Our cat, Rose, is a real slob with the litter box and water dish. Her gear is in the basement bathroom and I have to sweep up after her every single day. Violet was never such a pig (RIP, dear cat). I went to the store and bought Rose a trough for her litter, the kind one uses to mix concrete for bricklaying. It's much larger than a conventional litter box. No matter, she still kicks up a mess. I laid newspapers, they absorb the water from her dish across the room, but the litter ends up all over. Yesterday I bought a LED nightlight, swept up the basement, mopped the floor and reset the space for her. I theorized that maybe the cat was messy because it was too dark and she couldn't see.
For the first time since she moved in with us, I walked downstairs to find just a tiny bit of cat litter scattered across the tile floor. The paper beneath her water dish was soaked, but it seems I solved the litter box issue.Turns out that all Rose needed to function better with her litter box was a little light.
I just realized I may have written a metaphor here--something about a little light and solving problems and having hope. Maybe that's enough if you think about it.