Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Speaking of...

Just returned from another 2-week check-up. It's so much better when Ben goes with me so that I have someone to talk with during the wait as the Dr. is fixing up an emergency elsewhere. In fact, we had a good financial chat. Speaking of finances...

...they've been on our minds a lot lately. We approached our financial advisor (F.A.) about how much to save for college, how to, what to use, and so on. Theoretically, if we save $400/month, we'll have around $90,000 guaranteed in 18 years. Theoretically, we won't have to contribute after 16 years. Theoretically, this is our best option since it's guaranteed and we'll have some life insurance in the process. Theoretically, we were looking for an option that didn't require forgoing saving anything for the next 16 years. Granted, eventually we'll get paid more and this will be an easier contribution a month, and on and on and on. But right now, realistically, this is a lot of money, especially when I'm not going to be paid for a few months coming up pretty soon. So if anyone knows of an easy, legal way to procure vast sums of money in the next 18 years that doesn't require me driving the same car for the next 18 years and giving up all hopes of any vacation in that same amount of time, let me know, eh? Speaking of cars...

...we're now going to be the proud owners of three cars. No car loans, thankfully. However, each vehicle will be at least 8 years old, but no more than 11. Which is a bit old. And there's quite a bit of milage in that mix, also. But when trying to save for college while also faced with the possibility of replacing an old fridge, some concessions must be made. Speaking of fridges...

...I'm worried that our fridge is on it's last legs, which it's been dancing on for a few months now. Either the fridge is too cold and things are freezing or the freezer is too warm and water collects in the fridge. This isn't a good situation for my ice cream. Speaking of ice cream...

...I was given 4 coupons for free ice cream at Culvers (mmm) today. I was willing to pay for them in a "silent" auction, but got outbid at the last moment for a special ed aide who has given ice cream up for Lent (so he says). I'm not sure why he outbid me. I guess he just wanted to be nice and make a contribution to the cause since I still got the ice cream. But in the next 2 weeks, the days I want to go are days that we'll be out of town. Ironic. I'm going to have to wait on that one. Not that my ever-increasing girth wouldn't mind if I stopped chugging down the dark chocolate and sugar so readily. Speaking of my girth...

...at my last appointment 2 weeks ago, my doctor said that I was measuring just fine regardless of how huge my school secretary keeps telling me that I am. Today, however, she says, oh, you're actually measuring about 3 weeks farther along than you should be. The signs of a big one? I was a large baby; who knows about Ben since his mom doesn't remember. I'm just sighing and mentally preparing for some good amount of agony as my body tries to disgorge a veritable bowling ball that has many nooks and crannies. If everyone just keeps looking at my ponderous girth, then maybe they won't be noticing other things. Speaking of other things...

...why are nearly all maternity shirts cut with such a deep V front? Really, must I have to show all? Why can't we have a wee bit more fabric? For that matter, I'm highly skeptical that these shirts are really going to last through 9 months. Some of them are really not long enough as is. Please please don't make me go buy even more clothes. I can just feel the extra weight on me around my face and hips. I know that it's largely vanity, but it really makes me uncomfortable to look and feel like this. I really thought that it wouldn't be a huge deal to gain this weight knowing that I was gaining it for a reason. But no, it's been heartwrenching every time I've stepped on a scale for the past 7+ months. Maybe I should have really tried to give up vanity for Lent. But then again, maybe I should try to give that up for always and not just Lent. Now there's a novel idea...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Flavor of the Day

I really like ice cream, really really really really. But I admit that I'm a bit of an ice cream snob. Why waste your quota of calories on sub-par ice cream? With that theory in mind, I'm going to admit to a somewhat strange addiction. I have Culver's flavor-of-the-day website saved in my favorites, and yes, I visit it. Nearly every day. I rarely go, but it's good to know that the information is there and handy at my fingertips. And, I can drool on the inside and plan my weekends accordingly. Yep. I have done it before.

I just felt like writing about this. I have no quote. I don't feel like searching hard core for a quote about ice cream.

Friday, March 13, 2009

What Ifs...and public school

Students complain that they would learn better if they were entertained more.

Girls are getting in huge fights over ex-boyfriends who can't even pass 7th grade.

Teachers are patrol officers of the hallways and are expected to continually do more and more for no other reason than we are to do whatever makes the school corporation look better to the public. Why are we groveling for a pat on the head? We'll spend almost $30,000 on an electric sign (to make us look good to people driving by) but we can't afford more teachers to make the learning environment better and class sizes smaller? Different funds, I know, but I don't understand.

The state of IN pays a fairly small fraction of a teacher's highest salary for their pension (approximately 30-40% depending on when you retire). The state of OH pays approximately twice that for their pensioned teachers.

The state of IN has implemented NEW and BETTER testing, piloting this year, counting next, of students to determine if they can graduate from high school. This test will be given in a few weeks and it has yet to be written. Juniors already take Core 40 testing that, really, appears to serve no purpose. Middle schoolers were tested a week ago on content that they were not necessarily expected to know yet and not in keeping with the sample material sent by the state to help prepare the kids.

A rural school in county south of us had a bomb threat this week. A teacher who was supposed to be attending a conference to learn about how the new spring testing would be affecting her students was not able to attend the meeting because she did not want to leave her students with a sub in the excitement.

A threat was found at Ben's school today, specifically citing a week from today, March 20th. Why would a parent want to send their child to school that day? Can teachers and administrators really guarantee that their child will be safe? Will there really be a learning environment that day? Why would a teacher want to go to school knowing that their safety is endangered by teenagers?

It's a sunny, mild-ish day. We had parent-teacher conferences last night, so my school had a half-day today. I ran some errands and did some grading. I was snuggled up in bed, in a half-nap with a cat and a little sunshine, and I get a call from the superintendent of Ben's school notifying parents that there was a threat made at his school. But don't worry--we have it all under control. Your child is safe. But is my husband? What if the next time someone doesn't find a threat? What if next time there is no threat made but the teenager just goes through with a plan? Of course "what ifs" only drive me or anyone crazy, but they're still valid. My biggest fear resurfaced unexpectedly--what if Ben is gone, suddenly and irrevocably? What would I do? Why would I stay here? Why would I stay at my job? And now, of course, how could I possibly raise a child alone? Sometimes I just can't ignore the What Ifs. And furthermore, I find myself more and more dwelling on the question of why would I want to put my child in the public school environment? These several issues are simply ones that have affected me within the last three days of teaching, and those certainly aren't all of the concerns or problems that have surfaced recently. I'm not in control of any of them, and I'm expected to be okay with that. Maybe I'm not, really. Maybe what really bugs me sometimes about education is that I'm not in control of very much at all. That makes the What Ifs of my life very potent poisons to my mental supports.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

laundry woes part II

This is a post that will be completely devoted to the wonder that is Ben, and he knows about it. So it's okay. :-)

Ben and I generally split laundy duties since neither of us minds it all that much. In fact, we often fold clothes together. And as I have posted before, I believe, Ben has serious issues with folding my underwear. He doesn't understand that concept of folding underwear, period, so therefore he just has serious issues sometimes. And to couteract his confusion at folding this particular article, he a) complains about it and b) does stupid things to re-assert his annoyance. Often, this means that he folds each and every pair into eensy-weensy tiny squares. Yesterday, he forewent this idea and instead alternated every folded pair by 90 degrees instead of the nice, neat stack that I prefer. What a booger.

Maybe he got thrown off his fold-the-underwear-into-the-tiniest-squares-possible game because of a couple of onesies that we had just gotten and I had tossed into the load. It should be noted that Ben has problems with nearly any female shirt, also. If it's not an easy, square t-shirt shape, i.e. if it has details of any kind, then it just gets confusing for him. Onesies are not only small to begin with, but they're not a t-shirty shape so much. Imagine the issues, the problems, the anguish, the woefulness. He tries, and I appreciate him for that. And it's humorous, so I guess he's a keeper regardless of his laundry deficencies. It could be much worse, nothing has been died or changed size. Can you imagine a shrunk onesie? It just might have to be called a half-y.