Monday, June 26, 2006

So the drama fizzled out

Mrs. Doohickie talked to the principal at the school she was leaving and there was no plot to keep her there against her will. The letters were sent out to the few remaining teachers to let them know their jobs were still there and to try to convince them not to leave. It didn't work.

At this point, all the educational staff has found other jobs or are close to doing so. I don't think the school will reopen in the fall, which is a damned shame considering what they did on a shoestring budget over the last year. Even so, that shoestring was too much for the CEO of the charter school corporation. Tightwad.

So he had something that was benefiting kids, but that wasn't good enough. For some reason, he didn't seem too interested in educating kids at his charter school; he just wanted to max the profits.

Anyway, time to look forward. We drove by the school where Mrs. Doohickie will be teaching this fall. It's a public school with quite the Blackboard Jungle look about it. She is convinced she can do some good there and is actually eager to start. This amazes me. I don't understand it, but I love her for it. The charter school was similar (though not as hardcore) and she did some good there, so who knows?

Well anyway, that seems to be settling down. I was going to discuss my boys. I guess I'll just start with the basics. The older, 18, one I'll call Viola Player (or just VP) because, as you may have guessed, he plays viola. The younger one, 15, plays piano, so I'll call him Piano. (I decided to call him Viola Player because with the "a" on the end, viola carries a feminine connotation.)

So VP... if you read MetaChat (or click on the links in my second post), you know he had a rough time his freshman year at school... straight A's in high school, stumbled in college a bit, took a leave of absence....

So the big question is how he would land... would be a bounce back onto his feet, or a splat? He landed a job (his first) waiting tables at Cracker Barrel. And he seems to be doing okay. I think it's perfectly fine if he just needs to take a break from having to excel for a bit. All through high school, all those Advanced Placement course, all the pressure... let him regroup and decide what the hell he wants to do with his life. It's nice seeing him unwind before our eyes. He's starting to earn some decent tips, and I think that's good for his self-esteem.

As for Piano... well, he's visiting friends up in Michigan. We shipped him off Friday and he'll be gone for another week. It's amazing to me that he just gets on a plane and leaves us, without even looking back. From the phone calls, it sounds like he's having a blast. And he's found a few pianos to practice on while he's up there. He comes back on July 3, and Mrs. Doohickie leaves on the 4th for a trip to visit her sister and her new nephew. She's pretty geeked up about that, especially with the job search behind her.

Okay... that's enough for now.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

More drama!

Why am I obsessing over the wife's job you may ask? Because there are so many twists and turns- it's like a roller coaster.

State law says a teacher has to resign 45 days before the start of instruction. The charter school my wife had been working for always aligned its schedule with the local city school district schedule, so by that she should have by the end of June to resign. If she resigns after that, the state can suspend her teaching credentials for a year. She got a letter today "confirming" her employment by which she thinks they are trying to imply that she is already under contract (i.e., within the 45 day window). We looked at the calendar, and unless the current school moved it's start of classes up by more than a week, she can still resign.

I hope she can, because the good news is: She got an offer today! w00t! The principal of the city school district extended an offer to her for a social studies position; exact grade and course to be taught is TBD since there may still be some openings that pop up (after all, teachers have until the end of June to resign).

We're hoping the old school doesn't try to say her resignation is too late by moving up their start of classes or something. (If this is the case, they haven't notified Mrs. Doohickie.) She will be calling them tomorrow and let them know she is resigning, and will also be sending a formal letter. If the school gives her a hard time, she will be reporting them to the state, since they don't have a foreign language program, no physical education or athletics, no counselors, and actually, almost no teachers right now. (When the sh!t hit the fan at the end of the school year, most went out and found other jobs; there are only a couple left.)

Why do these things always have happen with so much drama?

Oh... to top it all off, my son got a ticket today for expired registration.... my fault, actually, since he was away at college when it expired, and I forgot to take care of it since no one was driving the car regularly. Damn.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Looking up

Fingers crossed, toes crossed, eyes crossed, everything crossed!

Mrs. Doohickie is taking a course on teaching Advanced Placement courses over the summer, and mentioned to one of the other teachers that she's trying to find a new position. So, last night, the principal from that school called and wanted to set up an interview!

Mrs. D went to the interview this afternoon after the course let out and things went really well. She said it went much better than the previous interview she had when thought she would get an offer but didn't. It's at a high school about fifteen miles from home, and she and the principal really hit it off. The principal said she'd be calling references and letting Mrs. D know by the end of the week. So keep your fingers crossed!

Then..... went she got home, there was a message from a new charter school she had applied to. The downside is that it only goes up to 8th grade and she wants to teach high school. the upside is that it's only a couple miles from home. She has an interview set up for Monday, so hopefully she'll know whether the high school has made an offer or not by then.

After a terribel week last week, things are definitely looking up!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Number one son

Well, Mrs. Doohickie is doing a little better; she's still on the muscle relaxants, but except for right after she takes one, she's doing pretty well. She has a course in teaching Advanced Placement this week, so hopefully she'll be able to hold it together for that.

I mentioned other happenings in the family... my older son didn't do so well after a year away from home at college. He was almost 900 miles away. The college didn't prove to be what he thought it would, and with the distance, well, he just didn't do so well. He's trying to figure out what comes next. The first step was to get a job. He started looking shortly after getting home from school, and it seemed like all his friends (who mostly got back a week after he did) landed jobs pretty quickly.

He finally landed a job at Cracker Barrel as a waiter. He started training last week, and starting tomorrow he'll be following someone around as he learns how to wait tables. A year ago I don't think he would have been crazy about the job, but he seems to be looking forward to it.

He started taking viola lessons again, from an instructor at a local college. If he wants to return to studying viola at some point, he needs to keep the lessons up. The plan is for him to take a few courses at community college in the fall, and decide on a four-year school after that. The school where he's taking the lessons is one possibility, so how he works there may influence his college plans.

It's been a period of adjustment. If you click some of the links in the previous post, I talked on MetaChat about how he kind of bombed at college. He had a nice scholarship, but that's gone now. He was a great student in high school, in the top 10% and all that, and we all just kind of assumed he'd skate through college as well. I guess he, and we, have had to recognize that you just can't skate through life and he's having to learn to work for what he gets. A good life lesson, I suppose, but as a parent it's hard to watch your kid stumble.

That gets us caught up on him, I suppose. I guess I'll have a post soon on my other son.

Friday, June 16, 2006

It's a family thing...

I've been finding myself getting wrapped up lately in the family dramas. For those who haven't been aware, I started this blog partly because I didn't want to turn MetaChat into my personal web journal with stories of what's going on in my family.

Well, this was quite a week for Mrs. Doohickie.

She started out on a high note on Tuesday, with a great job interview at a high school that she left feeling very confident. They said they'd be calling the candidates back later in the week for second interviews (since the department head wasn't there).

Wednesday went downhill a bit; she answered her jury duty summons. The way it's set up, you park at a baseball field a mile or two away, then they bus you over to the courthouse. She was told at 10 am to go to lunch and return at 1:30 for a possible afternoon assignment. So she had several hours to wander around downtown. It was a level Orange smog day, and she started getting a tingling in her right arm. She called the doctor who made an appointment for Thursday afternoon and gave her the instructions that if the pain got worse or went to the left arm, to go to the Emergency Room.

Wednesday night, well, you guessed it, tingling in both arms, shortness of breath, time for the hospital. We ended up there until two in the morning and they told her she had a pinched nerve in her arm and because she has fibromyalgia, the irritation spread, and the fact that there was a lot of ozone in the air only made it worse because it affected her breathing.

Because of the shot they gave her for pain, she slept most of Thursday. She's still not feeling well, but followed up on her job leads. The interview from Tuesday- they hired someone else. She started checking all her other irons in the fire and they all seem to have gone cold. So she started to wonder what's going on, and discovered that even though she is History and Social Studies certified, her certs only showed the History because she apparently didn't register her Social Studies certs properly when she passed the test back in April.

Not sure if this is what's going on, but she's convinced that principals are looking up her certs, seeing the Social Studies isn't there, and assuming she's been lying on her resume. Between this, and the fact that her muscle relaxant is taking a lot out of her, she's just kind of irritable as all get-out.

From someone on the outside looking in, I think that even if the cert thing cost her the job from the interview this week, this is something she's taken care of and things will sort themselves out. But she's feeling the pressure. She wants a good teaching assignment come fall, and she's convinced she won't be getting one at this point. I guess I gotta get her through the weekend and hopefully by Monday things will look brighter. Wish me (and moreso, her) luck.

I have more family stuff to talk about, but this turned out longer than I intended so I'll save the rest for later. Hopefully things will pick up soon and I'll be a happy bunny soon.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

A manifesto, of sorts...

This was originally posted a few days ago by me on DemocraticUnderground.

I am a Democrat, always been. I am a church-going, traditional family kind of guy... pretty mainstream really. As I've said, I've always been a Democrat; my dad was a local Democratic councilman (who had his run-ins with the Republicans on the board) when I was a kid. So from an early age, I viewed the Republicans as "them", the "enemy".

Getting back to the "traditional guy" thought. Like I said, I live in a traditional family. I've been married for 22 years to the love of my life, I've got two teen-aged sons, two medium-sized dogs, a decent, not showy, house, a couple sensible cars. Nuthin fancy. But it's all nice, decent stuff. And like I said, fairly traditional.

I sometimes think that socially, status-wise, etc., I should be a Republican. I fit the profile. But in the end I just can't do it.

The Bush years haven't been fun. I live in Texas, and the support Bush still enjoys is shocking, considering what a slime he's being revealed to be. (We've known that all along, but the Repugs are just now starting to get suspicious.)

Lately, though, I've begun to be proud to be a Democrat again. The days of slinking around are ending. I'm not saying the Democrats will take over; in fact I still worry that the Repugs will continue to rule in Bush's aftermath. After the redistricting in Texas, the Democrats will have a tough time winning seats back.

I post on several other forums. A couple of them are automotive forums. Lately, strange and wonderful discussions have broken out on them. In the middle of discussions of new models, questions about Bush's knowledge of the absence of weapons of mass destruction pop up. Amid discussions of suspension mods, threads pop up about gay marriage.

There are supporters and detractors on both sides. But I've found that through reading DU, posting on (of all places), and debating Bush's policies with my Texas conservative coworkers, I've become better informed than the average chimp-lover with respect to many of the issues of the day. I'm not by any means a policy wonk; I just pick things up.

Now, I have no intentions of marrying another man; I've been happily married to a woman as long as I remember. And that woman, by the way, called W on the WMDs when he first cited them as a reason to execute a preemptive war. I'm just this middle-class guy who quietly lives his life. But lately, after putting in my two cents about Bush's deceits in the buildup to the war, after justifying why I, a heterosexual Christian man, am against an amendment banning gay marriage, after embracing other causes where I, as a Christian, try to advance the side of the least, the last and the lost, I've noticed that when I make these stands, I get fan mail of sorts.

I got a nice email from a guy in NYC thanking me for my questioning of Bush's justification of the war. I get supportive and grateful emails from both straight and gay guys on an automotive site for articulating a mainstream case in support of gay marriage.

I don't think holding these views makes me a liberal freak. If anything, I hope it demonstrates that not every heterosexual middle-class family man is a gun-toting homophobic bigot. I hope it demonstrates, and sets an example of, compassion.

I am mainstream and proud of it. I am Democratic, and proud of it. The Republican revolution has just about spent itself. I'm glad, and proud, I stuck with my values, even when they weren't popular. They're starting to be popular again.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

I started at the beginning

(Insert obligatory first post here.)