Friday, February 21, 2014

Why Nick Is In High School

So... our town has these schools...

When we first moved to town, there were three schools. The Lower Elementary School for 1st and 2nd grades, the Upper Elementary School for 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades, and the Middle School for 6th, 7th, and 8th grades.

That was it. 3 schools. All High School students were bussed over to the next town for High School, and Kindergarten was private or nothing.

And then the town we sent our High School students to told us we had to find a different solution. We had too many kids and we were straining their resources. So the citizens of the ton fought and argued and bickered and we ended up building a High School.

Just around the time we built the High School, a law was passed that made public kindergarten a requirement. I fully support this. Our town, however, did not. Why should we do that when most kids went to private kindergarten anyway? But the law is the law, and after pushing it off and extending the deadline as long as we could, the town purchased a number of portable trailers to temporarily house the kindergarteners.

Let me say that part again.

The town purchased a number of portable trailers to temporarily house the kindergarteners.

This is where Nick went to Kindergarten. It's also where his Transition year was spent. It's also where Nate went to Kindergarten, and where he spend 1st grade.

Because somewhere along the line, it became apparent that we had to do something more permanent. So the town fought and argued and bickered and finally built a Kindergarten Extension to the Lower Elementary School. Not large enough to house all kindergarteners, but large enough to house the kindergarten only if the Half Day Schedule (less than 3 hours a day) was continued.

And it's a good thing it was built when it was, because about that time it was discovered that the Upper Elementary School was TOO CROWDED. So the town argued and bickered and instead of building anything, they came up with a temporary solution. Four 3rd grade classes would be moved from the Upper Elementary School to the Lower Elementary School.  The Kindergarten would move to the newly constructed Kindergarten wing, overlooking the playground the 2.5 hour day did not give them time to use, and many 1st grade classrooms would be moved out to the 'temporary' portable, previously occupied by the kindergarteners.

Which is how Nate spent his 1st grade year there.

That brings us to this year. This year, we had no one in the portables, All 3 boys were in the same school, something that wouldn't happen again until High School.

AND THEN!... And then And Then And Theeeeeennnnnn....... They found mold.

In the portables. Remember the portables they got as a temporary solution? The ones I've had kids living hours and hours of their lives in? Yes. Mold.

As soon as they discovered this, all 8 1st grades classed were crammed back into the main building in ever available space. Kindergarten classes doubled up so 1st graders could have a room. Music rooms,  art rooms, the library - all became 1st grade classrooms, 2 classes to a room.

What would they do? The school couldn't function like that!

Well, we recently received an email informing us of the solution.

The 4 3rd grade classes at the Lower Elementary School will now be held... AT THE HIGH SCHOOL!

But don't worry. They won't have to take busses with High School Students. They will take their regular busses to the Lower Elementary school, then get on another bus to take them to the High School (which we pass on the way to the Lower Elementary School). At the end of the day, they will take special busses back to the Lower Elementary, and then their regular busses back home.

This is Nick.

As thrilled as I am by the prospect of Nick spending an additional 30 minutes on a bus, I'm kind of horrified.

The school claims they will still have their Unified Arts - Music, Art, Library... but how? Where will the books be? Will they only have the 3rd grade books? And who will teach them music? Because the music teacher at the Upper Elementary didn't travel to the Lower Elementary, so will the High School music teacher be taking over? How about art? What about violin? Where will that  happen - at the High School? At the Lower Elementary? What if he misses the bus? Do they realize just how many additional places they've created for Nick to forget things? And what if he gets lost? What about the bathrooms? Won't that be a little awkward for both High Schoolers and 3rd graders?

Seriously, this is Bizzaro World, people.

And I got really prickly when the teacher sent out a peppy email about change and our approach to it. Life is change, people! Your attitude when it comes to changes will affect how your child blah blah blah and all I could think was "God Dammit! HE's had ENOUGH CHANGE already!"

 The thing of it is, Nick couldn't really care less about it. I'm the one freaking out. New Schedule starts in March. I'll let you know how it goes.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

What's In Your Future?

I've been spending a lot of time thinking about this blog.

"Really?" you say. "Because you don't seem to spend an awful lot of time writing it any more!"

And you are right. I don't. I got distracted, and busy. I've started working - at a grown up job at a grown-up place. I can't write during the day, and when I come home I try to fit everything else in the world into the 2.5 hours I have with my kids - get them home from karate, feed them, make sure they do homework, practice piano or violin, bathe them, read to them, get them into bed.

After that I'm exhausted, but still I have a to-do list of issues I need to research, emails I need to return, things I need to do... It's backlogged because I make myself stop once it gets to be too close to 11pm so that I can sleep.

Only, depending on what I was just doing, sleep doesn't always come easily.

Time constraints aside, I'm not sure what to write about anymore. I don't want to write too much about work, because employers don't tend to like that sort of thing. I can't write about this divorce that I am consumed with because it involves another person who might not appreciate it and might take legal action. I'm speaking about my lawyer, although Steve might not like it either.

But I haven't given up. I'm still going to write. I'm still going to post when I can think of it, and when I have something to say. For the time being. Until the people viewing this blog trickles down to such a tiny little trickle and I don't feel like it any more.

So there.

That's my plan.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Got Snow?

Old snow + New snow =   a lot of freakin' snow.

I hate snow. Right now. I hate snow, I hate snow days. I hate delayed openings and I hate early release days.

I hate snow boots and snow pants and mitten and gloves, and how easily they are left at school or on the bus or in the car. I hate how wet they get.

I hate how the driveways needs plowing, only now there's no place to put the snow because the banks are higher than my head.

I hate how every time it snows I think "This will be the last one this year," only a few days later we get another 8 inches.

I hate the color white. Or grey.

Monday, February 17, 2014


Remember my orchid?

It's blooming again.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Violin Concert

So, a few weeks ago, there was this violin concert.

What that means is that the 3rd graders who are taking violin all give a concert, playing through a number of tunes they have learned so far. And their wonderful teacher has them al playing the same notes at the same time.

I never realized it until recently, but a lot of people can't tell if they're playing off pitch. A lot of people can't tell if they are singing off pitch. Some people can't even match a pitch, which is to say if I sing a note, they aren't able to sing it back. I mention this because the violin is a string instrument, and it is entirely possible to be playing a note that is an "in-between" note, and by that I mean a not that is not written on our musical scale. Something in-between the E and the F, for example. There's no note there on the piano, but it's still possible to live there, like a hidden Harry Potter house of musical clutter.

Anyway, the kids all played these songs together, and they were really good! And then some students signed up for solos. Nick signed up for one. I didn't ask him to, I didn't even know they could, but he did. It turned out that anyone who wanted to could sign up and play a solo, and usually they were songs the whole violin orchestra had just played as a group moments before. Fifteen kids played "Merrily We Roll Along" which is just another version of "Mary Had A Little Lamb" but was called something else because of copyright issues, although I didn't realize Mary felt that way.

Anyway, Nick had a solo, and it wasn't "Merrily We Roll Along". It was "Seminole Chant" from his Essential Book Of Violin.

Here it is:

It's cut off at the end because I wanted to clap right away. So what you don't see or hear is the teacher commenting to all assembled that "that was the Rock Star Version." He might have been referring to the fact that Nick was playing at twice the speed the whole class played it at. Or maybe the hair?

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Sweet Beginnings

I hate February.

I really really hate it. It's overcast and it's cold and grey, even though by mow I'm ready for spring. January is enough for me. And yet, year after year, February settles itself in between the holiday recovery month and the month of March (which is when Spring begins to appear) with it's bland, cold, icy, self.

Sure, February is a short month. And it's a short month full of things like Valentine's Day, Birthdays of various Presidents, my mother's birthday, and an entire week of school vacation. Not to mention Groundhog Day, and Imbolc (the spring equinox). And a whole month of February is Black History Month, or African-American History Month, depending on how you feel like expressing it.

All respect for these important events and occasions aside, I still hate February.

But today, February 1st, is a little different.

It's Ice Cream For Breakfast Day.

We Celebrated. Even me. I strongly urge you to begin observing this sacred day of over-indulgence. It's Awesome, unexpected, and fun. We've gotten to the point where Nick starts counting down the days.

This morning, as we were navigating our way through melting ice-cream and sticky syrups, I asked the boys if they would celebrate Ice-Cream for breakfast day for ever, from now on.

"Yes!" said Nick. "Unless I get diabetic. Then I'll just do it for my family."