Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Mission (almost) Completed

Operation Merry Fishtank is nearing completion. Right on schedule. Even ahead by a day or so. My favorite decoration this year is my fireplace- new and improved for those of you who followed along with the fireplace saga earlier in the year. Pictures posted later.

Here was my favorite decoration last year. I am amused to say that it is even more laden this year and is beginning to look a little ridiculous. I give The Scientist a new ornament for it every year in his stocking and last year's was a three-fer. Three matching CU football helmet ornaments. If I weren't so attached to this one, I'd say we were going to need a bigger tree!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Operation Merry Fishtank

'Tis the season. I know this evokes lots of strong opinions. Some of you are horrified. "It's not even Thanksgiving yet, woman!" Others of you are seeing me as a kindred holiday spirit. Among those in the know, it is no secret that I am in the beginning stages of decorating for Christmas. The wreath isn't hung yet and we do a real tree, so that won't go up for awhile, but the groundwork is currently being laid for these things to happen. Here's how this process used to go a few years ago:

I would eagerly await the day after Thanksgiving so that I could start getting my decorations out. However, I am a social lemming, so I would never actually do this on Black Friday. I was at the malls. So, it waited until the day after the day after Thanksgiving. Which is always a huge football day, and we were too busy eating nachos and cheering or cursing, depending on the game(s). Then Sunday was here and nothing can ever get done on Sunday. Monday would come after that and the children were back in school and the official holiday maddness and Christmas countdown would officially begin. Maddness, I tell you. Pajama days at school, presents to buy. Cookie exchanges. Parties. Parties. Parties. Somewhere in there, I would start getting the decorations down from the attic. A big box would come down. I would race to get the stuff into it's appropriate place while the kids were occupied with a game or school. All the stuff that was now displaced in the house would get shoved into a closet or nook or cranny, awaiting the end of the maddness and it's return to rightful place on the mantle (or armoire, or side table or hallway wall). Invariably, this pattern would continue right up until the week of Christmas, at which point, I began hauling boxes down in a frenzy, throwing decorations up left and right and feeling guilty all the time that I hadn't done it sooner and that now we only had a short time to enjoy it and that my family didn't have a calm, cool and together mommy at the holiday helm.

None of this was joyful. It wasn't merry. It wasn't worshipful. It wasn't calm or bright.

It was crazy and frantic and all things that I never wanted my Christmas to be about.

So, Clemsongirl and I developed a plan a few weeks ago that I am eagerly and currently implementing. Here's how it works:

Today (yes, TODAY!)- the garage gets de-cluttered. I'm using this term pretty loosely because we are not un-cluttered garage type people. We are not European or South American. Therefore we don't park our cars in the garage. We store things there. So, really, it's a loose organization of the stuff we intend to be there. That loose collection of stuff has been organized (loosely, of course) and things that have been waiting in the launch-pad area to go up to the attic have been put up there. This is all in preparation for...

Friday- Christmas boxes are brought down from the attic and placed in a now cleared out area of the garage we will refer to as the "staging area." They will not be touched. Just brought down. This must be done this day because I will have the morning to myself with no children except Red Fish.

Sunday- Surface decluttering takes place and fall decorations come down. Anything that must be moved to make room for Christmas decor will be moved. Where? Not sure yet. Probably a big ol' box that will also be put in the "staging area." This is to prepare for...

Monday- The Most Wonderful Woman in the World (AKA- my cleaning lady) arrives. She cleans the now uncluttered surfaces and gives the house it's monthly thorough once over (Yes, monthly. Stop judging).

Tuesday- I teach in the morning (saying that still hasn't gotten old). In the afternoon, while Redfish sleeps and prior to school pick-up, I will begin putting up the decorations onto the clean and neat surfaces.

Wednesday- continue process from Tuesday.

Thurs- put empty-ish boxes back into attic. Boxes will have been re-packed with things that were removed to make room.

Friday- Thanksgiving feasts at both schools. Packing for...

Saturday- We leave for SC and will be gone until the Monday after Thanksgiving at which point...

We return to a schedule that will be wild until Christmas and a house that is ready to handle it! Voila! Now, won't it be fun to see how many excuses I can come up with for why this didn't happen as planned?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Trying to Reason With Hurricane Season

For those of you who have enough sense not to live at the ocean, hurricane season runs from June through November. Technically. Those of us who live here know that on paper it is six months long, but the reality is that as soon as the weather starts to cool, we can breathe a sigh of relief. So, I was breathing easier as of Halloween this year. Hurricanes are "fueled" by warm water and don't do well in cooler conditions. So, the November deadline is just to be on the safe side...or so we thought.

Hurricane Ida is aiming for us and I have my Thanksgiving decorations out. It just doesn't seem right.

I am not a girl to sit around and mope about a weather system I cannot control (although, The Scientist would argue that if a weather system could be controlled, I would be the girl to do it). So, I did what every other red-blooded American does during severe weather (like a mild snow flurry) and got my tail to the grocery store.

The beer was going fast. Thank goodness I needed Woodchuck cider. The ground beef and Bunny bread were flying off the shelves. Lucky for the rednecks behind me in the pre-hurricane supermarket buggy derby, that I didn't need beef or bread. Just Fontina cheese and roasted macadamia nuts for me, thanks. I threw in a few bags of Louisiana satsumas and some organic spinach and then bypassed the battery and bottled water aisles in favor of the aisle containing the all-important pomagranate-apple cider and the feta cheese. One bag of Fritos Scoops later, I was stocked up and prepared for Ida- whatever she may bring.

Wish us luck.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Hello, Long Lost Friend!

You're all right, of course. All of you who have been so kindly harrassing me via e-mail about my failure to blog. What you don't see is that this blog has become a very old friend- the one you know you need to catch up with and desperately WANT to catch up with, but the one you know will take a 3 hour phone conversation to fully catch up to. But, I'm vowing to chip away a bit at that phone conversation right now and reintroduce myself.

So, hello, old friend!

During our lapse in programming, I've been swimming with my head above water, but it hasn't necessarily been pretty. When we left off, I as headed back to work parttime. I dove back into the classroom at the end of August and have, quite frankly, felt like the luckiest girl in the world ever since. It was just like I remembered! The students are just as delightful and different from one another as they used to be. I've always loved the subject area and I think I love it even more now that I haven't been teaching it for so long. The technology has changed a bit (I was excited to have an overhead projector in my classroom the last time I taught!). Now, I lecture from Power Point slides and can post them online for any student who would like to print them. Strangely, you'd think the lazy ones would be the ones doing this. It's not. It's the on-the-ball students. The lazy ones didn't take notes back when I started teaching and they sure as hell don't print Power Point slides ahead of time now.

Here are a few of my observations since I was in the classroom 7 years ago.

1) It pains me to write this, but in the interest of full disclosure, I'll say it: I'm not as cute as I used to be. Not as young either. In a way, this is a benefit as it's easier for a 30-something to listen to me than to a 20-something for several hours a night.

2) With #1 out there, I'll also note that I have enjoyed doing what I can to maintain my street cred. New, cute shoes. Going through make-up a bit faster than I used to. No guilt about picking up some new threads when I see them. When you get right down to it, no one wants to listen to me (or anyone, for that matter) for 5 hours a week. It seems really wrong to have to listen to me if I'm ugly and fashionably challenged on top of it. So, I do what I can.

3) These modern students HUG a bit more than I think they used to and have more boundary issues in general. We've had to work on this as I do not particulary care for the assault on my personal space and have had to come up with repelling methods to avoid this at all costs. Hugs from my babies, immediate family members and friends= great! Hugs from Random Student I see at the park on a Saturday afternoon=weird! I also have had to discourage "text speak" messages being left on the class blog. "FML" is not an appropriate response to the newly posted study guide for the upcoming exam. Thank God for comment moderation.

4) What's up with the laptops in the classroom? I'm going to have to get a bit more savvy next semester. I can't tell when they're taking notes and when they're Facebooking someone. It also begs the question of whether or not I care...

5) I don't think I ever excused a grade on a test by saying I was hungover. This has been a new one for me. Not that this has never been true- I just wouldn't ever have said it out loud for heaven's sake!

6) They let ANYONE into community college. And I'll just leave that there for now.