Tuesday, February 24, 2015


Stretching thinner and thinner here. A long, cloudy winter with mediocre snow and frigid temps has everyone acting snappish. Mr. T has rubber bands on his braces now and I seem to find those blasted little circles every two feet.  Mr. B is wrestling like a boss this season, and because of back to back meets this week and nobody around to do his laundry in a timely manner, his singlet will be stinky tonight.  I still cannot quite get used to the "required uniform" (fellow teens from the 80's, did you get that clever reference? I say it constantly these days), it's so tight and, well, clingy.  However, he's way more comfortable wearing it than Mr. T ever was. Mr. G is his typical rubber self, bouncing from activity to activity with more vim and vigor than a room full of toddlers drinking Mountain Dew.  I wish I could bottle whatever he's got running through his veins and take a swig twice a day.

Teaching pulls every last ounce of energy out of me. Can blood vessels be tired? Toenails? Eyebrows?  I believe so.  Happyland High is a good school.  A bit understaffed and underfunded (I know! Shocking to hear about a public school lacking!) but my co workers are phenomenal, supportive people. My students are mostly good, though verging on apathetic as they reach the end of their senior year.  I'm pleased with the amount of freedom I have to develop a curriculum and we've had more hits than misses so far this year. But oh dear did I forget how emotionally tapped out the gig makes me feel.  My students aren't even particularly needy or weird, but teaching 6.5 out of an 8 period day makes me really sick of answering questions and responding and even talking. Then I come home and Mr. G needs help with homework and Mr. T is bored (which makes me annoyed and point out to him all the possible things he might do to be helpful, but none of them are fun for a teenaged boy, you know). I drop my bag, kick off my boots and roll up my sleeves for the second shift--the dinner and dropping off at practice and dishes and such.

That last bit explains the silence around here lately.  Plenty is going on, but I haven't a whole lot to say.  I'm still tethered to Henry David Thoreau for a couple more weeks with the AP students, trying so hard to get them to appreciate solitude and silence and nature (incidentally, three things I wish I had more time to enjoy). I kicked the tires on a few seed catalogs but haven't ordered anything yet. I went to the big gala fundraiser for the boys' school last weekend and failed miserably and utterly at getting any auction items I bid on--except for a cedar bench. My knee is still somewhat inflamed and a recent attempt at upping the dose of my meds went badly.  It seemed to be improving, but not anymore. My hair needs a trim. The clothes dryer is making a wretched sound when we use it. Rose is into everything--houseplants and dirt and toilets and garbage, making her one of the worst free-range pets in the history of all pets.

Mr. D and I have had a few skirmishes. Nothing major, just sniping at each other about politics and youth sports and how we should spend our limited free time. In so many ways these are glory years, three kids who are pretty responsible and easy to raise, no health concerns, some money in the bank and gainful employment that makes us both feel useful. We shouldn't bicker, instead I need to stop and be grateful for the good stuff and shut up about the rest.

I'll end with a few more things that spring to mind:
Mr. G's fantastic fourth grade teacher
a friend's child healing after a horrible accident
Saturday morning yoga
a 3-day weekend coming up
Mr. T getting within shouting distance of his Eagle Scout award
good friends who say the right things and make me laugh and feel accepted
apple bread

Spill it, reader.  What's stretching you lately? 


  1. I wish more people who didn't teach could understand how exhausting teaching is. Truly, amazingly, exhausting. Maybe then the profession would get a bit more respect :-) I'm always absolutely in awe of my daughter's teachers, and I know that my gig, which involves less overall classroom hours, is easier than theirs.

    You know that the low point of most marriages is right now, with kids, right? :-) It's that U-shaped curve. We just have to survive the bottom.

    I am currently being stretched by having gotten a cold as payment for my three-day cleaning and cooking blitz in Ann Arbor. However, I know I'm blessed with lots of good, so I'm trying to ignore it :-)

  2. Your header photo is beautiful. It is a scene that is wonderful to look at while in the warmth of one's home.

    Having come from a long line of teachers, I am with Cassi in wishing that people could understand how exhausting the important task of teaching is. I hope you are able to get rest on your three-day weekend.

    KEEP AT IT, MR T! I am shouting at him to get his Eagle requirements finished, to save you the shouting, now that he is in shouting distance.

  3. Oh, teaching is exhausting, for sure. Shoot, just subbing in a preschooler room for three hours wears me the heck OUT!

    I am being stretched this week with the arrival of my almost 2 year old nephew. He's staying with us for 7 days. He is as easy as an almost 2 year old can be, yet I cannot get anything done and I'm exhausted all the time. We're only on day 2.

    Hope you can catch your breath this weekend.

  4. Hi... first time commenting here. I remember teaching a university course a couple of times and faking my way thru it. "What's the next project going to be Teach?"

    Oh, you'll just have to wait and see! I'd say. What I was really saying? "I don't know what the next project is yet! I'm too far behind with grading your papers!"

    I'm ready for some warmer weather. I think busy begets busy and lack of motivation begets more of the same. At least in my home. :P

  5. Either teaching or raising your kids would be an exhausting full-time job, my GOSH how do you do it? And I think, happy birthday to you :)

  6. Trying to find my groove with my multiple commitments - the snow and everything closing keeps throwing me off. I see the end in sight, with one commitment going away soon, but I still have my after school cooking classes two days a week to plan around. Not nearly as taxing as all day with high school students, but there is the walk in the door and feed my own family after spending a few hours teaching kids to cook. Sometimes I just want to plop down with a glass of wine.
    Happy Birthday!

  7. I think it's just February. It's a difficult month, in the best of times. I always want to fast forward it, to the greening of grass and the longer days and the slight balminess you can taste in the air. I hope things get easier soon. Order a few garden seeds. It'll make you feel better ;-)

  8. Life just seems to get busier and busier and being snappish just sort of happens, doesn't it? And yes, the weather doesn't help. It is just enough already. I always get so darn grumpy this time of year.
    Hang in there! I hear spring is coming! ;)

  9. "Tights."

    I'm actually, for the first time in three years, not feeling stretched. Life is calm even to the point of bordering on boring, but I'll take it for a while. A short while.

  10. I feel fortunate that I am NOT feeling stretched at the moment.

    But I recall that exhaustion after only 4 hours of work at the school (much of that was on the playground which I found truly stressful).

  11. Braces rubberbands! They're the worst. Seamus got his braces off in August and I am STILL finding rubber bands around the house when I clean.
    Interacting with people--even if it's in the context of an activity that you enjoy, such as teaching--is utterly exhausting.

  12. Voice mail. I came in this morning to a voice mail from a student who feared he might fail a class. I worked with him for a while one on one, and he started to relax and succeed. Then I had a meeting. I came back to a voice mail from his mom saying thank you, thank you, thank you.
    That's why I teach. It hurts to hear bigwigs compare our struggles with ... well, you know.
    Take care, you, and all of your family.

  13. Teaching AND three active boys? I need to lie down writing the sentence!
    I'm working on easing off medication while fretting over K's lack of work.
    I need prayers from the internet/universe for both.

  14. That header picture is a perfectly beautiful description of solitude and silence and nature. I almost wish I could climb into it right now (but first I'd have to put on boots and coat and hat and gloves).
    I can barely manage my part-time job along with everything else at home. I honestly am amazed at your ability to bear up under two full-time jobs. And the spousal snipping and sniping... I understand. Men seem to need so much ego-stroking and there are times it feels like just another job (especially when we really want them to pick up the slack at home and not need praising for it).

    I'm being stretched by having the 22yo living at home again. Still no job, but rent was charged for the first time this month.

  15. You highlight so well the way the edges fray when everyone's working, working, working and too short on time and energy to, say, pull out a new roll of paper towels. Other than that: what Patience Crabstick said. YES.

  16. Life is stretching me, but I am getting used to it.

    The glory years are also a little stressful with all the to and fro.

    I hate the mall.

    I love every Liane Moriarty book ever.

    I miss you!


Spill it, reader.