A place for family and friends to see what I'm up to. Visitors welcome here.

Hail Guest, we ask not what thou art.
If Friend, we greet thee, hand and heart.
If Stranger, such no longer be.
If Foe, our love will conquer thee.
-Old Welsh Door Verse

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Nothing stitchy...

Just updating my journal.

Re: Make it Healthy Monday. I'm still sick. I think I got this bronchial flu, which lasts a good two weeks with a residual cough that drags on and on, then as I was getting over it, caught the bugger again. It's closing in on five weeks of a nasty cough. I've seen two different doctors during that time on different matters who have both listened to my lungs and assured me my lungs were clear. I was pretty sure early this week that my luck had run out, though, as my lungs were rattling every time I exhaled. Had it progressed into pneumonia?

I really hate the whole doctor thing, so I did what all good net surfers do when they think they MIGHT have something. I hit Google. I learned there are several different kinds of pneumonia. The only way to know FOR SURE if you have it (and not something else like lung cancer or tuberculosis) is to get a chest x-ray. The only symptoms that I've had fit viral pneumonia, for which there are no drugs; the treatment is rest and liquids. I didn't figure I needed to wait for a half hour in my internist's office to be told to go to the emergency room for an x-ray, where I would wait anywhere from one to eight hours (depending on how many drunks were running into each other on the freeway) for the x-ray only to be told to go home and rest and drink fluids.

Today is slated for rest and fluids.

Tuesday we had a faculty meeting. We've been badgering our principal for two years to update our disaster plan. There are people with jobs on the current plan who haven't been at our school for years, new teachers who are not assigned anything, new portables that are not even included (in fact, our plan has our entire sixth grade lining up where those portables are now.) He's the nicest man in the world but lazy. Anyway, there was a school shooting in the next town the day before Valentine's Day (DH says it made the papers in Salt Lake so you may have read about it.) Once upon a time our disaster drills were to prepare us for earthquakes (or the possible fighter crash since we're under the flight path for Pt. Mugu Naval Air Station); now we try to prepare for an insane person going wild with a gun. Anyway, once this horrible thing happened, we thought the principal was finally going to get us together to make the corrections to our plan and train the new teachers, remind the rest of us of the procedures.

Not a chance.

He loves being the one "in the know," so we sat for twenty minutes listening to him tell us what he knew about what happened (most of which we already knew) and how the teacher had done all the right things (which again brought up sincere doubts about our plan.) And then he let us go. We still have a defective plan.

Wednesday I was asked to participate in a joint meeting of Building Reps and Crisis Captains for our union (I'm the Crisis Chair). Early last year the superintendent of our district came to teachers with this message: Our district is not getting applicants for positions - ANY positions - because our "compensation package" (salary and health benefits) is the lowest in the county (by thousands of dollars). Compensation is low because the district runs too many small schools, too close to each other. The district is going to close schools in order to raise compensation.

We've been telling them that for years.

We know,
he continued, that this will be unpopular with parents; school closures always are. We need you teachers to show the community that you support our efforts.

This is not good. In reality, the district had a laundry list of programs - especially music and art and technology - that they've been wanting to reinstate for years that they can't afford but COULD if they closed these schools. They knew that parents would never stand for having schools closed to support the arts (not in this jock town) but they do support teachers so, the district hung our salaries out there as the reason for school closures.

I was asked to be the chair for the action that would support the board of trustees as they did this difficult thing. Let's just say I looked at it a little differently.

Four of the five board members have been on the board for two terms and have started their third. I've been watching them work for a decade.
I know them. I do not trust them. Here's what I think they expected to happen. I think the board thought they would throw out there that they were going to close schools to improve teacher compensation and they wanted teachers to show their support. They did not expect teachers to do anything. This would give them an out. They could close the schools, then, because teachers didn't show their support, they could use the money saved NOT on salaries but to reinstate programs. As Action Chair, I saw this as an opportunity to not only show our support but to show them that if they didn't keep their word (closing schools to improve compensation) we would be able to rally support against them instead of in support.

It went very well. So many teachers attended school board meetings that they started calling the police and fire marshal to control the crowd (never unruly, but huge). The result?

Two schools closed. Not a penny has come to teachers.

So, Thursday I was asked to attend a meeting with one of the state crisis advisors. She had a lot of good advice for us and I look forward to meeting more with her, but I had to leave early because...

Thursday DH came home from Utah. Poor guy, I think maybe he expected me to be home with a nice welcome-home dinner on the stove. Instead he got home to an empty house and a wife who came hacking into the house, gave him a hug and - as I've been doing for weeks - stretched out on the recliner with a warm blankie. He felt sorry for me and make me a bowl of soup, but I haven't eaten dinner for two weeks so it wasn't really necessary. He's a nice guy that way.

Yesterday (Friday) I caught a break. The counselors from the high school came to our school to begin their registration process. All I had to do was keep an eye out for behavior problems, which are not usually an issue during these presentations because the kids are so anxious to move over to high school that they hang on the counselor's every word. I didn't have to talk at all, just sat and graded test papers from the day before. It was a good recovery day. I still went home and crashed in my chair with my blanket, but I wasn't coughing as much and definitely felt much better than I had in weeks.

Today is R&R day. My younger son is babysitting for my 9-year-old nephew while my sis and BIL take a little vacation for their anniversary (they married on February 29, so every four years they do it up big). DS2 has to work this morning so my nephew is here with us. Judging from his appearance, I'd say the boys stayed up very late last night and that nephew will crash here pretty soon if we keep things quiet. Then DS2 will pick him up for a visit to LazerStar and pizza (at the place where DS2 works).

Sad to say, the highlight of my week has been the Disney sweepstakes. Each day in February I could go enter the sweeps, then get a special digital prize. There were some really good ones like a list maker (that will print out Mickey and Minnie lists) and memo pad maker (four memo sheets per 8.5 x 11 with Peter Pan and Tinkerbell.) There were bobble heads and snow globes, and even a Goofy toy (you remember those toys with the five metal balls that would crash into each other?) I would get mine every day, then go to my favorite Disney fan site where I was running a list of the daily prizes. On the 28th the prize was a pretty spectacular (read tacky) snowglobe, so we were all excited to see what the last one would be.

On the 29th I went to enter and get my prize and had to laugh. When you clicked the link to get your digiprize after entering you were sent to the infamous white "file not found" screen. All through the Disney netdom we were cracking up because it appeared that Disney had forgotten it was leap year! As it turned out, someone had made a mistake in the url and fixed it late in the day. Unfortunately, for all of us who had already entered, there was no way to go back to get that prize. I am grateful to the folks at micechat.com. Someone posted the link and I was able to go snag my prize - a really cool desktop calendar with a different classic Disney movie poster for each month. I'm really happy to have this. I learned to read and tell time in the old analog (or paper) days and have a very difficult time with digital clocks and day-runner type calendars. I need to see time and date in relation to the entire picture for it to really make sense to me, and for years have kept a little calendar next to my computer so I could see relationships in a glance. Now I have it right on screen.

Today I have to run a few errands (out of milk and bread and laundry detergent and deodorant and other essentials), then am going to come home and crash for the rest of the day. We are celebrating DH's birthday tomorrow; it will be my DIL and me in a house full of big boys as both sons, nephew and maybe DH's "little brother" will be here. DH has asked for Chinese take-out for dinner (thanks, honey) but I'm going to make up a bunch of Mimi's artichoke and spinach dip; it's remarkably easy for as good as it is. I have part of a Costco chocolate cake in the freezer and will go to Marie Callendar's today for a lemon meringue pie for the birthday boy. Pretty easy and should not set my recovery back too far.

Monday I'll take a sick day to drive up to Santa Barbara to our ophthalmologist for my bi-annual check-up. I have a little growth on my eyelid to get checked (and the name of a good cosmetic surgeon for removal if it's a cancer) as well as the usual stuff. Dh is going to drive me up there and I look forward to the drive along the beach. Often the porpoise pod is prowling along the shore, and one time I saw an Orca near the surfer beach. It was a shock to see it there and I wasn't really totally sure that's what I had seen until I got to the OTHER side of the pier and saw all the surfers (about three dozen of them) just sitting on their boards in about six inches of water. A surfer on a board looks very much like a seal from under the water, favorite food of sharks and ORCAS, so these folks weren't taking any chances.

1 comment:

Chiloe said...

I hope you will feel better soon ... I couldn't go to your Disney site : the link doesn't work. I hope the growth on your eyelid is not bad ;) I loved Santa Barbara : I took great pictures there (we went from San Francisco to LA along the coast: one of my best memory of my year as an Au Pair !!! )