Thursday, 30 September 2010

Wrecking Mine and Everyone Else's Sleep!

Apparently my sleeping in days are over. I try to get to school early to get a head start on the day. On Sundays we have 9 am church. On Saturdays Jill has a swim practise at 6 am, and now on Thursdays she has one at 5:30 am!

Oh my goodness! I got up at 4:30 today!

I took her to swimming then went to the school at 6 am. I sure got a lot done! ....but man, 3:30 pm sure took a long time to arrive.....I feel like I used to feel when I worked for Canadian Airlines. I may never feel well rested again. I'm sure of it.

Today was the Terry Fox Run. I didn't run - just walked with all the fat kids. :0) After school Jill had a cross-country meet so I hurried off to that. Then we lost Peirce so I ran around the park in a panic (more on that story later) until I found him. Then we hurried off to get Peirce to Cubs late once again, then took Jill to YW, and waited for them to be finished. Right now at 8:30 pm I feel as close to a zombie as I've ever felt.

Oh, and to top it off, I set off the alarm in the school. When I went in I saw that the light with the lock on it was lit up - which seemed to say that the alarm was on.

So I called the number by the alarm for the alarm company. After a long conversation with a guy who barely seemed to understand English (and I'm pretty sure English IS his first language) he said it was fine to go in. However, as soon as I stepped past the foyer I heard a beeping. Oh dear. So I went back to the foyer and stood there and wondered if I really should go in. I finally decided that I set it off so I might as well go see if I could find that paper in my classroom that tells me how to get into the school after hours. I found it and realized there was a different number to call - so I called that one. It was pretty much the same conversation - don't worry about it. You're fine. So I got to work. About 30 minutes later some old guy with a flashlight who clearly just got out bed comes into my classroom. He's the maintenance guy they send in to see if there really is a break-in.


I think I owe the poor guy cookies.

Apparently they're going to get me a security pass code now though!

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

The Superintendent

The Superintendent: I know. It probably isn't right to capitalize "the" in the post below. It seems to me though that THE is an important part of his title. He's the guy in charge. Da boss. Da big cheese. Here's hoping he's a nice guy!

The visit from The Superintendent went well. Well, sort of well. I was well prepared and the lesson came off without a hitch. The Superintendent came in part-way through the lesson and sat at the back. That kid who always has to interrupt of course had to say, "Mrs. Ackroyd, who is that?" Grrrr! Do we have to talk about that??!

I introduced The Superintendent and we continued on with the lesson.

He sat in the back writing feverishly the whole time. I wished he would smile. I wished he would participate. I wished he wouldn't just sit there and write and write and write.

I tried to not let myself be nervous but I was. Apparently quite nervous - because at 9:10 I got everyone to line up quickly for music - only to discover that I hadn't paid close enough attention to the timetable. Music starts at 9:20 on Wednesdays.

We got into the room and the music teacher says: "What are you guys doing here?"

Me: "What do you mean? We have music today don't we?"

Music teacher: "Yes - but it starts at 9:20 and I'm really not ready for you yet. Can you take them back and come back in ten minutes?"

Me: "Oh!! Sorry! Sure."

The mortification process sets in. As I walk back down the hall with my class I realize that The Superintendent is STILL in my classroom. So now he gets to see me parade my class out, parade back in, and go back to the writing lesson.

Oh the pain!! Sometimes I'm such a loser!!

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Can't sleep.....

Tomorrow the Superintendent is going to come visit my class. I told my coach this and her response was, "How exciting!"

That wasn't my thought.

Try not to be nervous.
Try not to be nervous.
Try not to be nervous.

If I keep saying it will it work?

Monday, 27 September 2010

Family in the Trees

Tonight we were invited by another family in the ward to come pick apples for a couple in our ward who cannot do it all themselves. There were 3 families there, and we sure had a great time! The kids all loved climbing the tree and it didn't take much time before they had the entire thing cleared of all the apples. It totally took me back to reading Baron in the Trees when Allen and I were first married and joined a young married's book club. It was the weirdest book - but it really left an impression on me! I also was reminded of The Giving Tree. I think that tree was very happy tonight.

...and I was happy too. It was great to visit with the other moms, great to see our kids have a great time, great to give some service, and great to spend some FHE time together with great friends. It was a great night!

Friday, 24 September 2010

Date Night!

Tonight we went to the Stake High Priests Meeting and Social. First off, can I just say, it's weird being married to a High Priest. How did we get so old?!

They do this annually. They order chinese food and have a fireside - and TONS of people attend. It was actually quite a lot of fun. We sat with Allen's brother, Nathan and his wife, and we ate more Chinese Food than we should have (Chinese Food is like that it seems)

They had a couple speak who just came home from a mission to Africa. One of the countries they served in was Malawi - where The Heaven Shop is set. It was amazing to listen to their stories. It is amazing the abundance we have here, and the lack so many people live with. I was really touched by their stories.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

No Good Terrible Rotten Very Bad Day

Today has been terrible. Last night I attended a workshop from 3:30 - 4:30, so I didn't get a lot of time to plan. Then this morning Allen needed to take his car in way down in the south so we drove down to the south before school, dropped it off and then he took me to school - which got me there later than usual - so no time to plan again - which made my school day go less than spectacular. The day all went downhill from there. After school we had to do it again - drive down to the south to get his car. On the way home I call home to tell the kids to put a frozen pizza in because we won't have much time, and Peirce is bawling. We recently banned TV on weekdays and he was sneaking and watching TV. After a couple warnings we told him we were going to cancel the channels he loves and he still was watching - so Allen cancelled the channels. Today Peirce discovered this and boy, was he upset. He didn't want to go to Cubs tonight. I told him to suck it up and get dressed. I got home at 5:30 - just when I was supposed to be at the school for Parent-Teacher interviews. So we rush off there and miss our appointment and have to wait to get squeezed in. We finished at 6 pm - when we were supposed to be at the church for a Presidency Meeting for Primary and for Cubs. Peirce is unhappy because he won't get as many bones (bones??) Jill asks when we're going to her Parent-Teacher interviews. "After Cubs" I say. Now she's upset because apparently her interviews are on a schedule - you go from room to room and it starts at 7 pm and so we'll miss some of her teachers. She hadn't brought home the notice to fill me in on all of this so now I am frustrated with that. We go to Cubs, have our Presidency Meeting, and then rush out to what's left of Jill's interviews. Luckily when we got home Allen had cleaned up the kitchen and put a fresh clean table cloth on the table....thank goodness something good happened today! :0)

But I made it!! A little tattered...but I made it!

I think I'll go read The Daily Rotten....

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

So how's your teaching job going?

The pat question these days seems to be, "So, how's your teaching job going?"

Today it's going well. It's a roller-coaster. Some days are great and I think, "I love this!" and some days are terrible and I think, "I'll never get this!!"

Luckily there are more good days than bad days. I really have felt like I have been on a steep learning curve and feel like a first year teacher all over again. I suppose that's par for the course when it's been 12 years since I taught full time.

I think I will get good at this. In the little conversations in the staff room and work room I often get, "Don't worry, you have the toughest class in the school." If that's true, then I should feel pretty good about myself because if that is the case, then I'd have to say it's going quite well.

Next week the Superintendant is going to visit my classroom. Oh boy!! Let's hope that one is a good day!

Monday, 20 September 2010

Happy Birthday Allen!

Today was Allen's 40th Birthday! Gee is he old!!

We sure love him! Happy Birthday to my dear husband!! I even was able to come up with a flourless cake - and it was good!! :0) (....unlike some of my gluten free baking attempts)

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Back in the Two Car Family Way

We are the proud owners of a new van! Well, okay. It isn't exactly a new van. It's an old van. Quite old - but I'm so grateful for it! And no, I'm not going to post a picture. :0) I'm really not a car person. I like fancy cars - I just don't like how much money you have to sink into them. I'd much rather use the money in other ways - which I think sometimes drives my husband crazy. He'd like for me to have a beautiful new car...but I don't want the car payment. Nope!

I am so grateful to soon be able to run errands, book visiting teaching appointments, not have to get up and drive Allen to 6 am Bishopric meetings so we can come later to the church on our own, and drive myself to and from school....and when it works for me! Perhaps I will pick up my kid after school sometimes, or even drive them to school - and when we want to - we'll go to DQ and go through the drive thru for a treat......things we haven't been able to do for 9 months or more! Not only that, Allen can be free to set appointments and work and not have to worry about driving us around all the time. Oh the freedom!! Life can only get better from here on out! LOL

We decided to be a one car family for a while to cut down on expenses. Last year was not kind to us income wise. Luckily those issues are changing and things are improving. The darn sub-prime mortage fiasco and ensuing market issues really stabbed us where it hurt. However, we've survived and are stronger as a result.

In time maybe we'll even get a newer van. Until then, I'm grateful for a vehicle with an engine that runs so well! Tomorrow we'll call the insurance company to get it insured, get it registered - and then I'm off!! YEA!!!

Saturday, 18 September 2010

The Heaven Shop

Sometimes I don't like to go to movies because of what they do to me. I get so engrossed in the movie that when I come out of it I have a hard time shaking off the story and coming back to my own reality.

Debra Ellis' books do that to me too - but it's different. I love her books. This morning I finished The Heaven Shop. Ironically, this one has apparently been made into a movie!

It's set in Malawi and is about the affects around the HIV/AIDS epidemic there. Everyone should read this book! The Wikpedia website says it was written to dispel myths about HIV/AIDS and celebrate the courage of child sufferers in Malawi.

The website about the movie has a synopsis that says:

For Binti's father, who runs Heaven Shop Coffins in the small African country of Malawi, business is booming. Binti lives the life of a national celebrity, private school student and self-centered teenager. Despite her mother’s death and the reality of starring on a radio program created to educate people about the HIV crisis – Binti chooses to be oblivious to the AIDS epidemic around her. Her one goal in life is to become a famous actress or even better, a successful director.

Overnight, Binti’s belief that she is special ends dramatically. After her father’s funeral, Binti and her brother are robbed of their inheritance and sent to live with abusive relatives. Ostracized by their extended family, the orphans are treated like slaves. Once the child star of the most popular radio program in the country, Binti is now reduced to a desperate AIDS orphan.

“There is a lion in our village, and it is carrying away our children.”

Even as Binti clings to the hope that her former life will be restored, she faces a greater challenge... can she save her brother Kwasi from prison? Wrongfully arrested for defending Binti against a sexual predator, he has no chance at freedom. Binti Phiri is not about to give up. After a daring escape and journey into the unknown - help and hope is found in Binti’s grandmother and a group of ragtag children who identify themselves as cousins. There is no money, scarcely any food, constant work and little to hope for - a perfect environment to learn about what really matters in life. By helping others, Binti learns to look outside herself and find a new way to be special.

Binti’s whole journey comes full circle, as she dramatizes her own story for the radio program she once starred in. In the process, Binti finds her family and a place that will always be home... a place where the lion cannot roam freely.

My favorite part of the book is where they talk about losing themself, and then finding themself again. The Binti and her brother have found each other and they find out they're sister Junie is working as a prostitute. They're shocked and ashamed. It says:
Binti remembered their life in Lilongwe. "Junie got lost," she said. "I know what that's like, to feel yourself slip away."

Kwasi thought about this, than he slowly nodded. "That happened to me in Monkey Bay. I started to forget who I was, what made up me. It was even worse in

"I lost my self when my uncle's friend used me." Memory said. "Gogo helped me get myself back."

"And when I was told I was HIV-positive, I thought that the disease was all I was. There was no more Jeremiah, there was just the HIV."

"How did you get yourself back?" Kwasi asked.

"I met other HIV-positive people. They said they weren't sick, they were living positively. As soon as I heard that, I felt Jeremiah coming back into me."

There was quiet for a moment, as they all thought about their lives.....
The issues in my life pale in comparison to these children's, but I feel like I'm finding myself again with my teaching job. Thanks for the inspiration Debra Ellis! You never fail me! I love your books!

Friday, 17 September 2010

Exit Strategy?

My life has been a little crazy lately - which is the reason for my blog hiatus...but I'm back!

Here's the synopsis:

I was offered a teaching job last June. I accepted it. Mid-August I had to go to teacher training - which I loved. I love learning about curriculum. I love learning about classroom management. I love planning. And I love being in the classroom! It was all complicated by the fact that I was leery to quit my current job. The contract I was offered was only for 3 months. I didn't want to quit my other job until I knew if I could get something else after. If nothing else I'd sub - but I'm afraid that might not pay the bills.

Previously I worked 6-8 hours a day. With my teaching training, and then in September with my teaching job I was working 8 hours a day at school, coming home and doing all the mom stuff I need to do (although I have had a LOT of help from my dear husband and a lot of patience on the part of my children) while trying to squish the 6-8 hours I was working into 3 or 4 - which is practically impossible.....although I was pretty much managing. However, it has been painful. I never rest at school.....I run run run and don't even take time to eat or visit with other teachers. When I come home I make something easy for the kids to eat, and then sit down at the computer until I'm too tired to do anymore. Then I go to bed, set my alarm clock for a little earlier, and then do it again. Run! Run! Run! All day long. Originally I figured I could do anything for 3 months. Now, after a full month of it, I'm not so sure.

Things with my other job are rather unstable too. Crappy projects. Poor outlook for new projects, website issues and more website issues and more website issues, poor management who seem to think shoppers and schedulers are disposable, etc. Bottom line: it's been nasty. My manager decided she didn't like me only working a few hours a day. She didn't think I was performing up to par and so has decided to take away some of the work. In October I'll have about 1/4 the work of what I was doing before. At first I was mad.....but the more I think about it the more relieved I am.

I have a few friends who've quit the mystery shopping industry lately. It's been interested to hear their comments. We keep in touch on Facebook. One said:

It’s hard to believe it has been 5 months since I left my crazy, stress-induced, 60+ hour/week, no vacation/sick day job that I had for the past XXX years. Miss the thrill of scoring on a project and my boss/friends – but life is SO lovely right now. *Sweet loveliness*

She sure summed it up well. Then today another friend talk about what a great time she is having on a long-awaited vacation (only able to happen when you LEAVE the mystery shopping world). She talked about what a great time she was having. In the conversation her husband said:

We have been traveling for the last 7 weeks and finally XXX is able to enjoy herself, she always worked as we traveled before using our air card. She scheduled the day my mother died, the day after giving birth and during holidays. I think she was never appreciated for all her hard work.

Later he said:

The thing is Dawn that she always gave all her effort. She fell asleep almost nightly with the laptop in her lap, only to wake up and work some more before going to bed. She literally worked 18 to 20 hours a day, waaaay to much devotion. She hated to fail and took it personally. I could go on and on about all the sacrifice she made, but it would be a book. Appreciation and reward just did not come her way at all the last couple of years and enough was enough. Life is good for our family now though!!! :)

That about sums it up. When people hear that I work from home they say they wish they could do that and muse about how great it must be. I just smile and nod. I know that most people aren't cut out to do it. You have to be willing to work way too many hours, ignore your children and your house, and not leave the house hardly ever to be really successful at it. Don't get me wrong, I've been very grateful for it for the past 12 years. I'm so glad I was able to be at home when our kids were little. I think it's time for a change though. Recently I've been praying that another teaching position will come up quickly that I could apply for and therefore, feel more comfortable in totally quitting this job. I keep hearing there's a big baby boom amongst teachers. Here's hoping those openings show up soon!

Today wasn't quite how I planned an exit, but the more time goes on the more relieved I feel. Truth is, it isn't an exit - but it sure frees up a lot of time.

So why am I disappointed that they're not giving me as much work? I figure I work for $8 an hour or less in that job the past couple of years. Teaching definitely pays better! I guess the thing is I once made much better money at it and I keep hoping that things will get back to the way they were. I can only wait so long though. I've actually been thinking of quitting for quite a while but kept doing the "it'll be better when they get the new website up"...then they did and it wasn't better. So I said, "it'll be better when we get some new projects"...which they've been talking about for months but it never happens....and on and on it goes. So I guess eventually it's time to give up on it.

In the meantime, I'm grateful to be doing something I love! I really do love it. I'll blog more about that later!

What will I do with all my time if I don't have to rush home to sit in front of the computer? Maybe I'll clean my house! Maybe I'll hang out with my children! Maybe I'll get caught up on Swim Club stuff. Maybe I'll get organized for primary! Maybe I'll read!! Maybe I'll do some marking and planning! Maybe I'll read!

It kind of makes me giddy to think about it. October 1 can't come quick enough!